Racing greyhounds are truly a breed apart: These speedy canines spend the early years of their lives working as elite-level athletes, then retire to lives of leisure afterward. After racing, greyhounds usually go to adoption programs or retirement owners, where they transition into "greyt" pets.
Racing greyhound owners are for the most part aware of their dogs' racing longevity based on information they get from their dogs' trainers and on race results. When retirement time is near, owners or trainers will typically contact a greyhound adoption group to arrange for pickup of the dog. The greyhound adoption group then seeks appropriate adopters for the dog. It's a Grey Area Greyhound Adoption group President Lesley Tierney Ezkovich said, "Many racing owners want their dogs to find a nice home after racing. Developing good relationships with greyhound racing owners and trainers helps ensure that adoption groups like ours always have a supply of wonderful pets."
"Our group is pro-greyhound racing," Ezkovich went on to say. "I am both a racing greyhound owner and a strong adoption advocate. Since I am somewhat of a 'hybrid' I've seen every aspect of a greyhound's life. Beyond doubt, it is the greyhound's early life and racing training that makes them the wonderful pets they are in retirement. I'm glad to be helping these amazing dogs find great homes as pets."
Some racing greyhounds have retirement homes long before their actual retirement date. Follow That Hound, perhaps the best-known dedicated pre-adoption program for racing greyhounds, launched in 2004 with the goal of allowing people to "adopt in advance." Many Follow That Hound dogs were pre-adopted soon after birth, allowing their adopters to follow their dogs through the years, watching them grow up through photos, watching the dog race and preparing their home for the dog's eventual arrival. The Follow That Hound program has sent more than 80 greyhounds to happy retirement homes since its inception, according to program founders.
Some racing greyhound owners do private adoptions for their dogs. Although this is less common than working with adoption groups, it can be a very viable adoption option, especially for racing greyhound owners who have developed relationships with good potential greyhound owners. Many racing owners like to keep up with their dogs after retirement. Private adoptions, arranged directly between the racing owner and the post-racing owner, can make this easy.
Retiring With Owner
Some greyhound racing owners have only a few dogs racing at a time, and then bring those dogs into their own home upon retirement. This has happened in cases where the racing owner simply "fell in love" with a particular dog and simply couldn't send the greyhound away with anyone.