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November 15, 2013 at 8:29 PM

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Rest for these retired racers


Bundled up volunteers stand outside in the cold early morning waiting patiently.

"Bob, who has Bob?" a voice calls out as a greyhound dog is led out of the back of a truck. "I do," someone calls out. And Bob, now officially retired from racing, starts his new life.

Usually about 16-20 dogs arrive from Florida and Kansas every eight weeks at Greyhound Pets, Inc., (GPI) in Woodinville after they retire from the race track. The dogs retire because they might be injured, have no interest in running, or have just slowed down. This time, 30 dogs, from two- to ten-years-old, arrived -- GPI's biggest load ever.

Volunteers skillfully get muzzles on the thin-skinned dogs who could easily accidentally hurt each other, take them to a place to relieve themselves, get them water, and then put them in runs where they wait before they are officially checked out.

Then, volunteers remove stitches if necessary if the dogs have been spayed or neutered. They are immunized and are treated for fleas, ticks and worms. Their teeth are cared for, they are "cat" tested to see if they get along with cats and, after they get a complete physical examination and a microchip from a veterinarian, they are adopted out.

Some are adopted in a week, others can take up to a year or more. The dogs are placed all over Washington, British Columbia, Northern Idaho and Alaska. Adoption fees are $250.

GPI is here for the life of the dogs, according to GPI president Moira Corrigan. If for some reason new owners can not keep their dogs, the dogs are returned and GPI finds them a new home. 250 volunteers and a few part-time employees keep the place running.

Funding comes from donations, investments, fundraisers, and The Craft Fair. Every weekend volunteers are out at locations with some of the greyhounds -- they set up booths, hand out information about adopting and educate people about the dogs.

Corrigan says that the dogs are laid back, easy going and are very people oriented. They are quiet, calm and seldom bark. They need to be on a leash or in a fenced yard, though, because they will be up to 40 mph in three strides. Since they were trained to chase something and have spent their lives racing, that is all they know and they have no street smarts. If they get loose, they could run until they are killed by a car or stopped by a fence.

Greyhounds were bred with four goals in mind -- speed, health, intelligence and sociability. Their good nature and the extensive handling they receive in the racing kennel make many of them good with other pets, children and people.

"Every time I'm having a bad day," says Corrigan, who owns two greyhounds and fosters three more, "I turn around and look into those eyes and I'm okay. They just draw you in."

For more information about adopting a greyhound, volunteering or donating, contact GPI at www.greyhoundpetsinc.org or 877-468-7681.



ELLEN M. BANNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Yumi Burnett reaches for a new collar for one of the greyhounds.

ELLEN M. BANNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

After traveling across the country and being thoroughly checked upon arriving in a group of 30 dogs at Greyhound Pets in Woodinville, Sunny cuddles with volunteer Anne Wooden.

ELLEN M. BANNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Colleen Laflam, left, gets ready to muzzle her dog, Dino, moments after it was unloaded from the truck. The dogs wear the muzzles because their skin is very thin and it wold be very easy to accidentally hurt another dog.

ELLEN M. BANNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

From left to right, Anne Wooden, Moira Corrigan and Mary Gibbons check out Sunny shortly after she arrived at Greyhound Pets, Inc., in Woodinville. Sunny is wearing a cast -- the women think it probably happened when she was racing. The dog will be taken care of and when she's ready, she will be adopted.

ELLEN M. BANNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

One of the recent arriving greyhound dogs looks ready to be adopted.

Most Popular Comments
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This a shameless plug for GPI! We got adopted by a 65 lb brindle male Greyhound a ye... MORE
I was just wondering how many 'Duties' the test cat works before he/she is sent... MORE
Id love to adopt one but I already have 2 dogs. I'd spoil the greyhound for the rest of... MORE

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