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There’s a glut of greyhounds up for adoption these days. At least half a dozen dog tracks closed in the U.S. last year, including established racing outposts like Raynham Park in New England and Dairyland Racetrack in Wisconsin. That’s caused a relocation of thousands of greyhounds to still-viable circuits, mainly in Florida. And dog racing is a survival-of-the-fittest realm, meaning a lot of Sunshine State racers have been forced into retirement by better-performing immigrants.
Retirement hasn’t historically been a pretty place for greyhounds. So rescue groups will take displaced dogs and give them homes wherever they can get them. Even if it means the animals have to leave Florida for D.C. during the worst winter ever.
“A load of six dogs from Daytona arrived on Friday,” says Meredith Dowell, an organizer with Greyhound Welfare, a rescue group that operates throughout the D.C. area. “They left 60 degree weather for a blizzard. But we’re trying to pull as many dogs out of Florida as we can.”
Dowell says the six arrivals taken in by Greyhound Welfare — out of a total haul of 33 being delivered from the Daytona kennel — were immediately placed in separate foster homes here.
And while they showed some signs of being bummed at the change of scenery and diet — “Three had diarrhea after they got here,” Dowell says — they have settled down nicely already.
Even though greyhounds are the fastest dogs on the planet, they’re better equipped for being snowed in than other breeds. “Greyhounds sleep 18 to 20 hours a day, and they conserve energy,” Dowell says. “They don’t mind being shut in at all. It’s not like having a lab or a border collie. Those dogs would go crazy in this.”
Dowell’s own greyhound, Turbo, who she got several years ago out of Wonderland Racetrack, a recently closed track in Massachusetts, has ridden out the recent snowstorms on the floor of her Point of Rocks, Md., home.
“Turbo is fine with doing nothing all day,” Dowell laughs. “I had to literally shove him out the back door today to get him outside. He came running back in as fast as he could.”
And that’s fast.
For more information on how to adopt a greyhound or help out during this glut of displaced dogs, visit www.greyhoundwelfare.org.