Many of us have read or heard about the fate of ex-racing greyhounds. This is not that story, but rather the story of some dedicated people who decided to do something about these wonderful and loving dogs. This is their tale, as told by Joyce McRorie…
Daphne, Chip, Flicka and Zeus (tag numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4) were our very first greyhounds. On October 1, 1995, we received our 501(c)3 nonprofit status. On Oct. 7, we heard that there were four greyhounds ready to be picked up at the Agua Caliente Greyhound Park. Those of us on hand that day will never forget seeing those four dogs jump out of the back of an SUV and into our arms. One month later, we got our first “broken” dogs, Andy and Adam.
We quickly found that there was more than we had realized to bringing in greyhounds and finding homes for them! Our “staff” was one vet, who was helping us, and one vet tech. We had four foster homes, about 10 volunteers and $1,500 from a garage sale. We worried that the dogs with the over/under bites would be hard to place. We thought no one would want the “broken” dogs or dogs with scars. We were shocked when we got our first bounce-back. We were sure the older dogs would never find a home.
Our biggest obstacle seemed to be that the public really didn’t know about greyhounds, so our first PR task was getting the word out about what great pets greyhounds make. A significant development in our relationship with the track came in 1997 when the management agreed to allow us to put a pet kennel on the track premises. For the first time, retired greyhounds had a place to go and be cared for until an adoption group could pick them up. When a wonderful volunteer donated a dog hauler/trailer, the trip from the track became easier for both the humans and canines.
Over time, we have found that every greyhound has a forever home in his future. We have learned that without a large, dedicated volunteer base, we are nothing. We also know that, somehow, our supporters manage to give us the financial resources to provide the best care for all our greyhounds. We take pride in knowing that 15-plus years since we started, we have never left a sick or injured greyhound behind and we have always been able to provide excellent veterinary care for each of them. Most of all, because of all the work our dedicated volunteers have done, almost everyone knows about greyhounds and what great pets they make.
On Jan. 8, 2011, a little, red, female greyhound came to us with a broken hock (ankle). Her name is Heidi, and she is the 192nd “broken” greyhound we have rescued. Daphne wore tag #1 and Heidi wears tag #3,000– and that’s something we’re very proud of!
Homes for more than 3,000 greyhounds! It’s a milestone we could barely have imagined when we started in 1995. The credit for this accomplishment belongs to you and everyone who has supported us so faithfully through the years. Your continued support will mean that we never have to say “no” to a greyhound in need of a home or medical care. Thanks to you, Daphne, Heidi, all the greyhounds in between and those yet to come will have their own forever homes.
To volunteer, send a donation, or adopt a greyhound, contact FastFriends at: 1210 N. Cypress St., La Habra Heights, CA 90631; call (800) 298-5743; or visit their website at fastfriends.org.