Contact: Nancy Beach, NC GAP webmaster
Phone: 1-877-856-2427
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Released: Sunday October 13, 2013, 8 a.m. EDT

Greyhounds set to race into hearts at Chapel Hill pet store Saturday

Greyhound advocacy group to showcase retired racing dogs as companions

Have you been thinking about adding a canine companion to your home?

North Carolina Greyhound Adoption Promotion (NC GAP) will offer an opportunity on Saturday to meet retired racing greyhounds.

Group members will hold a ‘show and tell’ with their dogs from 1-3 p.m. at Phydeaux pet store at 400 S. Elliott Rd. in Chapel Hill, answer questions about having a greyhound as a pet, and offer adoption information.

Retired racers need homes

Tough (racing name Red Coat) plays with a Frisbee in his back yard. Photo by Nancy Beach. Download high-resolution image.

Greyhounds no longer fast enough to race but not retained for breeding need loving, permanent homes. Since the 1970s, advocates from both inside and outside the racing world have banded together to meet this need. Today there are adoption and advocacy groups in every state in the U.S. and many foreign countries, mostly staffed by volunteers.

NC GAP formed in 2009 to continue this work in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area. While pet ownership of ex-racers is more common now than ever, many people have still never seen one in person and don’t know they make excellent companions. NC GAP works to raise awareness of greyhounds as pets through public outreach, publications and events such as Saturday’s ‘meet and greet.’

Learning about the retired racer as a pet

“People are always so surprised when they pet a greyhound for the first time,” said Phyllis Nunn, one of the founding members of NC GAP. “With their lean frames, they don’t really appear to be cuddly. ‘He’s so soft!’ is the usual reaction, often followed by ‘He’s leaning on me!’ ”

Lee, an employee at Phydeaux, fascinates NC GAP’s visiting greyhounds with tasty treats at an earlier visit in August 2013. Photo by Nancy Beach. Download high resolution image here.

“That’s pretty much why we formed NC GAP – to share the many things people don’t know about these gentle, sweet-natured dogs, and why they make such great pets.”

While some people might think the racing greyhound’s upbringing as a working animal might not make them suitable for household living, actually the opposite is true.

Over their working lives, greyhounds become well-socialized with both other dogs and people. As puppies they live in a group with their littermates for up to a year, while a typical pup bred to be a pet might do so for only 6-8 weeks. At the track, each dog has its own crate in a kennel building which typically houses about 60 in all.

Racers are also handled by numerous people during their careers, such as trainers, kennel helpers and track officials. They are taught to walk nicely on lead and become used to being examined.

These experiences make ex-racers easy for people to work with, and they generally enjoy the company of other dogs. And like any dog, they crave attention and companionship.

A swift, but quiet, companion

Tough (racing name Red Coat) snoozes on his blanket at home. Photo by Nancy Beach. Download high resolution image.

Another common misconception is that greyhounds need a lot of exercise. While they appreciate having a fenced yard to sprint in and love walks, their exercise requirements are actually less than many other dog breeds.

“You’ll hear experienced greyhound owners call their dogs 40-mile-an-hour couch potatoes,” said Martin Roper, another founding member of NC GAP. “While they are among the fastest land animals on Earth, they actually spend a good deal of their time sleeping or resting, and are calm and quiet in the house.”

While greyhounds are large dogs, with the average female weighing 50-70 pounds and the average male 60-80, their calm nature makes them suitable for living even in smaller homes such as townhouses and condominiums.

Judge for yourself

The best way to experience the charms of a greyhound, of course, is in person. The members of NC GAP hope that Saturday’s event will familiarize more people with this wonderful dog breed and lead to hounds racing into hearts and homes in the very near future.

Fast Facts about this event

What: Meet retired racing greyhounds and their owners
Who: Sponsored by North Carolina Greyhound Adoption Promotion
When: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 1-3 p.m.
Where: Phydeaux pet store, 400 S. Elliott Rd. in Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Phone (919) 960-3606, email
Why: Greyhounds who are retired from track life make great pets, and they need loving homes. Come see if a greyhound would make a suitable pet for you.
Other greyhound adoption resources in North Carolina: Greyhound Friends (Oak Ridge, Google map) and Project Racing Home (Randleman, Google Map).

Map to Saturday’s event at Phydeaux:
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Other media:

Proof that greyhounds are calm and quiet. A couple interested in adopting a greyhound pet some sleeping hounds at the Durham, NC Earth Day festival, April 2013. Photo by Nancy Beach. Download high resolution image. A dad and his daughter pet a greyhound at the Earth Day festival in Durham, April 2013. Photo by Nancy Beach. Download high resolution image.
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