Randleman group finds homes for retired greyhounds
Kimberly Jewell considers Project Racing Home, the nonprofit greyhound adoption facility she established 10 years ago, a retirement home of sorts.
“I prefer to call our dogs retired greyhounds, rather than rescues,” the Randleman woman says. “It sounds more positive, and we try to focus on the positive.”
There’s very little negative to say, if anything, about Project Racing Home, which over the past decade has found permanent homes for nearly 2,000 greyhounds that were bred for racing but have since been retired.
Jewell, the executive director of Project Racing Home, actually began finding homes for greyhounds 11 years ago — out of her home — but she opened her kennel in 2003. She works directly with the individuals who breed and race the dogs in such states as Florida, Arizona and Texas, where greyhound racing is legal.
“The idea of Project Racing Home is to be the extension of the industry,” Jewell explains. “In other words, we don’t want to work against the racing industry — the owners and the breeders — we want to work with them.”
The number of dogs in the greyhound racing industry has dwindled over the past decade — from about 26,000 dogs bred a year to about 12,000 — but Project Racing Home remains busy. Jewell currently has about 45 dogs at her kennel waiting to be adopted.
According to Jewell, the dogs at Project Racing Home typically range from anywhere between 2 and 5 years old and they make great pets.
“They don’t shed much,” she says. “They’re a large breed, but they don’t eat a lot — they have 3-percent body fat. Most of the time, people who have allergies can handle greyhounds. They don’t bark much, and they don’t require a lot of exercise, so they make great apartment dogs. And they’re fairly lazy — they prefer to sleep about 20 hours a day. Some are more high-strung than others, of course, but most of them are laid-back, despite how fast they can run. I tell people they’re like a 40-mph couch potato.”
Greyhounds also tend to get along well with children, other dogs and other small animals, she adds.
The thing to keep in mind when adopting retired greyhounds, though, is that the window of time for the dogs’ acclimation is generally larger than it might be for other breeds.
“The hardest part for these dogs is going into a home alone — they’ve never been alone,” Jewell says.
“They can do some strange things because of separation anxiety. So if they start trying to get out of their crate or if they’re having problems with housebreaking, it’s probably because of separation anxiety. It’s the stress of being an only child, of being a dog in a house instead of an athlete in the Olympic Village. So you have to teach the dog about ‘alone time,’ and we work with the new owner to get you through the acclimation process.”
Prospective owners must first fill out an application, which includes questions about the type of dog you’re hoping to adopt. That way, when you come to the kennel to meet the dogs, Jewell and her staff or volunteers will have weeded out the dogs that don’t match the personality you’re looking for.
“We’ll probably show you about five or six dogs, and what you’ll notice is that the dog will pick you,” Jewell says. “That happens a lot.”
The adoption fee is $285, which includes spay/neuter services, updated shots, a collar and a greyhound adoption manual.
Jewell points out that her family members — husband George and children Emily and Spencer — are instrumental in helping her run Project Racing Home, as are her 30-plus volunteers.
“It’s a labor of love,” she says. “At the end of the day you might be really tired, but you know you’ve done a good thing.”
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Want to go?
“Early Valentine’s With Elvis,” a fundraiser for Project Racing Home, will be held Saturday at 3950 W. Market St., Greensboro. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with dinner beginning at 6 and the show starting at 7:15.
The show will feature Elvis Presley tribute artist Wayne Euliss of Greensboro.
Tickets are $25 apiece, which includes dinner provided by Libby Hill Seafood, as well as a beer or wine ticket.
There will also be several items raffled at the event.
All proceeds will benefit Project Racing Home, a nonprofit greyhound adoption group.
For more information about Project Racing Home, visit www.getagrey.com.