Meet The Unique 40 mph Couch Potato

Story and photos by Debra Hankish Hardman of Southern Arizona Greyhound Adoption
Southern Arizona Greyhound Adoption (SA Greys) has placed more than 800 greyhounds since forming as a 501(c)(3) organization more than 10 years ago. With the United States, to soon have only one state with legalized racing and operational tracks, the availability of greyhounds has greatly reduced with the track closures. SA Greys has now taken on the challenge to help rehome greyhounds worldwide, beginning with Ireland.

Greyhounds are graceful, quiet, and nonaggressive and have a love for a quick zoomie before returning to their favorite napping place(s). Greyhounds are lovingly referred to as 40 mph couch potatoes. People who have shared their life with a greyhound usually return for another, staying loyal to the breed. SA Greys has a long list of interested adopters. This helps SA Greys to match the perfect family with the perfect Irish hound as there are hundreds of Irish hounds looking for a new home.

Why Irish Greyhounds?

With more than 100 greyhound adoption groups in the U.S. and soon to be only two tracks in West Virginia, there are now more adopters than available retired racing greyhounds. Many adoption groups are only adopting to people in their area and or to people who have previously owned a greyhound or large breed dog. Some organizations are suspending their adoptions or limiting adoptions to their area because of the national shortage.

Ireland racing is much like the U.S. 25 years ago. According to Grey2K USA, there are 16 greyhound race tracks in Ireland. Ireland is the size of Indiana and has a population similar to Alabama (about 5 million).

According to an Irish Greyhound Board commissioned report in 2017, the Irish greyhound industry breeds 1,000% more puppies than it needs to conduct racing. Local adoption groups estimate that only 1,000 dogs find homes in Ireland each year. There are more dogs coming off the tracks and farms than homes available in Ireland. In addition, greyhounds are considered farm animals as opposed to family pets, which also impacts the adoptability of greyhounds in Ireland.

There has been a significant drop in Irish greyhounds being rehomed in Europe, which has led to a surge of Irish hounds being rehomed in the U.S. and Canada.

What is different about rehoming Irish greyhounds?

In the 10-year history of SA Greys, the majority of the dogs were from nearby race tracks and their physical conditions would vary. It was not uncommon to incur large veterinary bills to cover broken hocks (like a wrist or joint in humans) and other injuries.

With the Irish greyhounds, their journey is much different. When they are no longer associated with racing, the dogs remain with the kennel owners until they move to a foster home. The Irish Retired Greyhound Trust (IRGT) and Grey Racing Ireland (GRI) provide the necessary vaccinations, dental cleanings, and spay/neuter for the greyhounds. Strong, healthy greyhounds are considered candidates to be rehomed in Arizona and only during the cooler months of October through March.

The Irish greyhounds begin their North American travels by being ferried in a van from Ireland to Heathrow Airport. They travel in handcrafted, roomy crates, complete with a comfy bed and access to water. Before placing the Irish hound in their forever home, SA Greys bathes each according to USDA requirements and also schedules a well-visit with the veterinary clinic to make sure there were no issues, which could have developed during travel.

IRGT and GRI cover the veterinary expenses and the participating adoption groups assume 100% of the transportation and related customs fees, taxes, and wellness check. The expense to cover the cargo and associated customs fees and taxes can average around $2,700 per dog before the adoption fee.

SA Greys is a 100% volunteer-run organization and depends on donations to support the rehoming of all greyhounds. If you are interested in adopting a greyhound or making a donation to help defray transportation costs, go to sagreys.org or email communications@sagreys.org with questions or to request more information.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *