On Saturday April 16, families of dog lovers are invited to Gallery 55 in Natick for an informational program on retired Greyhound racing dogs.
The educational program will be run by the Greyhound Friends, a nonprofit Greyhound shelter in Hopkinton. They are one of very few Greyhound shelters in Massachusetts with a physical kennel, and since their inception on Mother’s Day in 1983, over 9,000 dogs have called Greyhound Friends their home.
Topher Allen, the organization’s education director, describes the Greyhound Friends as “a conduit to bring retired racing Greyhounds from race tracks...[We] care for them, spay/neuter [them], [and] get them to great families.”
He noted that since dog racing was banned in Massachusetts in 2008, many people feel that Greyhound shelters are unnecessary; however, the Greyhound Friends perform rescue missions in states where racing is still legal like in Florida as well as abroad— they have dogs from Spain, Ireland and Guam. “We take dogs anywhere there’s a need,” Allen said.
There is a huge surplus in unplaced racing dogs, and tens of thousands are put down each year as a result. Luckily, the Greyhound Friends are a no-kill organization and employ volunteers to ensure all dogs enjoy a comfortable, active life. Approximately 350 dogs are adopted from the Greyhound Friends each year.
Though Greyhound racing is a hot-button political issue, Allen notes that the Greyhound Friends are a nonpolitical entity. “Everyone has a personal opinion, but as a group we don’t take a stance on it.”
At the April 16 event, families and attendees can meet several dogs and learn about the history of the breed, the work performed by the shelter, and the adoption process. The Greyhound Friends’ latest addition is a virtual adoption program, where families who may not be equipped to house a dog can care for a dog without bringing it home (i.e. supply food/donate money for healthcare).
To learn more about the Greyhound Friends, visit their website. If you plan to attend the information session on April 16, RSVP by email or telephone to email@example.com or 508-918-9596, or stop by Gallery 55 at 10:30 a.m. Gallery 55 is located at 55 South Main Street.