Who'll take the dogs in? Greyhounds up for adoption

PORT CLINTON Aaron used to speed down the track. After competing in 169 races in his younger days, the 5-year-old grey
May 24, 2010



Aaron used to speed down the track.

After competing in 169 races in his younger days, the 5-year-old greyhound now walks with a limp.

Aaron is one of several greyhounds are either past their prime or injured from years of racing.

"They've never had anything," said Sandy Augugliaro, president of North Coast Greyhound Connection. "They've been used ... whether it's good or bad."

North Coast helps former greyhound competitors find a home.

"The myth is that they're high-strung athletes," said Jo Ann Fuchs, North Coast adoption coordinator. "They're very gentle spirits. All they want to do is be with you."

About 20,000 greyhounds each year are left without a home throughout the country, Augugliaro said.

North Coast, created in October 2005, specializes in finding homes for greyhounds with special needs, such as injuries or age-related problems.

"We try to help the ones that are hard to place," Augugliaro said.

Aaron shattered his right rear leg competing in a race and needed several surgeries and physical therapy to repair the damage.

"They pay a price," Suchs said. "He's going to be crippled for the rest of his life."

Greyhound racers bred for the track have never known the comfort of living in a house.

Eleanor, a 9-year-old greyhound, recently left the track and is learning to become a "normal" dog.

"She's a senior dog, spent her whole life in a kennel," Suchs said. "She's never been in a house."

Some of the group's greyhounds go through Second Chance at Life (SCAL), a 12-week program in which prison inmates train the dogs to walk on a leash and respond to commands.

Several dogs are also educated in a foster home program, where they are house-trained.

Any of the greyhounds can be adopted by filling out an application online at www.northcoastgreyhoundconnectio....

"We'd like to put a greyhound in everybody's house," Suchs said. "They're just a wonderful addition to your family. They're like your kids."

According to Greyhound Racing Association of America (GRAA), there are 15 states with active greyhound racetracks. Ohio does not have an active greyhound racetrack.

"In greyhound racing, industry organizations and state regulators work together to ensure the health, safety and welfare of racing greyhounds," according to the GRAA Web site.