A gift for life

There are many heartwarming stories to share during the Holiday Season, but my recent exposure to one honorable cause touched my heart so deeply I’ve decided to dedicate my December blog to it. This is a noble purpose to match the season, one filled with giving and sharing, and hopefully, the saving of not only one life, but of many.

When I visited a local PetSmart a few months ago I met several kind individuals volunteering their time and resources to promote an organization they believed in (Greyhound Pets of America). They were also fostering many of the retired racing dogs in need of good homes. As I spoke with the volunteers I found myself hugging a fawn-colored female named Frances and petting a brindle-coated male named Joey. With wagging tails the dogs bathed my face in sloppy kisses. Their affection seemed so endless I felt a need to promote their cause. After all, who could resist sweet, doe-eyed pups brimming with so much love and trust? Sadly, their tender spirit hides the loneliness they’ve endured most, if not all, of their lives. I find it difficult to imagine these loyal animals alone for the holidays, pining in metal cages. As a pet for a happy, dog-loving family, greyhounds are the perfect choice. I can think of no gentler or more deserving animal with whom to share a home.

Photo courtesy of fastdogs.org via Google Images

In my recent research, I’ve discovered the truth about greys (greyhounds). They are not simply a logo or a caricature painted on the side of a bus, but they are the fastest—and most loving—couch potato on the planet. I also found the objective of most greyhound rescues simple and straightforward. Their primary goal: to protect the animals they serve and save as many lives as possible. Most grey shelters work hard to place ready dogs into reliable homes. Some go further to promote awareness, informing the public about the over-breeding of racing dogs and the thousands of euthanized greyhounds as a result.*  But too often, these rescue efforts go unnoticed, buried under a stampede of other charitable organizations beating a path to everyone’s doorstep, especially during the holidays. Even so, it doesn’t make the life-saving message any less urgent or the need for forever homes any less vital. Fortunately, there is a way for anyone interested to aid the greys without a great deal of time, effort, or expense.  I speak of a gift that will provide seasonal cheer and much more to numerous loving pups, and continue giving well into the New Year.

Most greyhound agencies, staffed by volunteers, exist mainly as a result of local goodwill and donations. Without community support, fewer and fewer dogs will be saved. For that reason, I volunteer my time and labor to help out, and look forward to fostering greys in the near future. Of course, not everyone is able to donate in this way, but there are other ways to aid the greys. Sometimes, a worthwhile donation can be as simple as a used blanket. Getting rid of old and unwanted items can be a huge help—one dog’s garbage is another pup’s treasure, so to speak.

Photo of Jet, courtesy of Dave Kirschner

Apart from a dire need for foster homes, monetary donations, and volunteer efforts, here are a few items listed on local greyhound rescue sites that will benefit their work and their dogs, and won’t break the bank:  
MilkBone dog biscuits, chicken & rice canned dog food, canola oil, canned pumpkin (not spiced), dog toys, old collars and leashes, new or used comforters and blankets, bed sheets, bleach, laundry detergent, scrub sponges, baby wipes, paper towel, duct tape, pens and pencils, giant plastic crates, high-grade dog food, (Adam’s) flea and tick shampoo, and if the opportunity presents itself, a full-sized vehicle in excellent working condition for transporting animals and supplies. 

Photo courtesy of fastfriends.org via Google Images

So, if you’re rummaging through pantries, closets, or the garage in preparation for the season please think of the greys. And if you own any of the items listed above and wish to donate them, know that your gifts will be well received (see links below). And know your generosity can provide happier holidays for needful pups without adding additional burden to your limited time and resources. 

Of course, if you prefer to donate funds or volunteer to aid these gentle dogs, then please do so by visiting a local greyhound rescue (also see links below). And if you are able to give the ultimate gift—your loving home—open your heart and arms and welcome a greyhound into your life for fostering or adoption, and give a loyal friend the best present of all—a forever home.   

Photo of Zoey and Jet, courtesy of Dave Kirschner

For more information please search your browser for a listing local or national greyhound rescue agencies near you, and ask how you can help. If you would like further information about greyhounds in general, feel free to visit Grey2K USA, a non-profit advocate for the breed and the largest greyhound protection organization in the world. 

Whether or not you celebrate the Holidays have a safe, healthy, and happy season. And if you’re able, please share your love with others by giving your support to a worthy cause. But if you have room in your heart and home to make a friend for life, and in the process save a life, please adopt or foster a greyhound, or simply spread the love and good will and pass on this message.  Happy Holidays!

Photo courtesy of longleggedbeauties.org via Google Images

*For information regarding this topic and how to help these animals or end greyhound racing, please visit the Grey2K website: www.grey2kusa.org