Background, history, and information about A Place for Us Greyhound Rescue and Adoption Group
Who were the founders of the adoption group?
Two caring individuals--Laurel Drew and Elaine Summerhill--saw the need for a Greyhound adoption and rescue group in Albuquerque, New Mexico and proceeded to incorporate. They ultimately found homes for more than 100 Greyhounds and stated that the impetus to begin the group was based on a request to help with a litter of "oops" puppies that were born on a Greyhound farm, in Iowa. Greyhound adoption groups were still in their infancy at this time and most of the persons involved did not have experience with puppies. Since Laurel and Elaine were raising Greyhounds as show dogs, it seemed logical that they could raise the pups and find homes for them as a rescue organization. Laurel and Elaine's husband, Rob, drove round-trip to Dodge City, Kansas to get the pups--making the round trip in one day! There were similar adventures as they rescued a litter of pups that had rickets--someone thought they could raise them in their garage. A good dose of New Mexico sunshine and nurturing got them in good shape and ready for adoption. The founders rallied their volunteers and successfully captured three stray Greyhounds from a mesa near Albuquerque. Elaine and another volunteer, Carol Nichols, commandeered a re-worked mobile mamography unit that was affectionately referred to as the "Dogmobile" and drove it to Roswell to rescue six Greyhound puppies that had been dumped at the animal shelter. Networking, in the early days wasn't easy as the internet was barely usable--remember waiting for dial-ups(?) and there weren't many groups to interface with. (An early networking organization was the Greyhound-L and Greyhound Underground Railroad. These groups still exist but are less active as newer online versions such as Greytalk have emerged.) After about ten years of hard work, they decided to pass the organization on to others. They learned of the interest in re-organizing a group in Lubbock and entrusted A Place for Us Greyhound Rescue and Adoption to volunteers located there.
Lubbock is now the principal place of operation and has been since 2008. Linda Dunn and Robin Holder are the primary directors for the Lubbock branch. They started small--with a garage sale to raise funds and promote awareness. Since that time, the group has grown incrementally and on average, finds homes for two or three Greyhounds a month. Since its reorganization, the group has found homes for 200 Greyhounds/sighthounds.
Are there additional branches for APFUG?
Yes, there is an active branch located in Midland/Odessa, Texas that was organized thanks to Vanessa Gunn who had adopted a Greyhound named Whistler from a group in San Antonio. Vanessa believed that a local Greyhound adoption and rescue group would do well in the area. She was correct and since the satellite group started in 2009, a multitude of Greyhounds have found loving homes in the Permian Basin. The group also boasts its own private Greyhound park and has gatherings on a regular basis.
What are the sources that APFUG relies on to acquire adoptable dogs?
If a Greyhound in our area is in need--we are responsive. Over 50% of the dogs placed are from the racing industry. APFUG is fortunate to have a cooperative agreement with a family that raise Greyhounds to race and are located in the Lubbock area. The family has asked APFUG to find homes for many dogs that are retired from racing. In some cases, their temperament wasn't suitable for racing or they might have had an injury that was not serious but would have prevented them from racing competitively.
In addition to Greyhounds that are raised to race--there are persons in the area who raise them to hunt--more specifically run in a pack and chase rabbits and coyotes. This has been a difficult element to deal with as the dogs--for the most part--are not given a high standard of care. Many of the dogs that are acquired from "hunters" have been infected with tick fever, have internal and external parasites, and/or have evidence of scars or injuries from the rigors of hunting or from living in an unsupervised pack. Immunizations are most likely neglected in the dogs that have been under their care. The hunters may not bother to search for a dog that goes missing from their hunting expeditions and by the time the Greyhound is found--they are weak,infected, and malnourished. These individuals are more likely to set their dog loose on the streets, leave them to fend for themselves in a rural area, or fail to notice if their dog has escaped. This reality was brought home to the group as an animal cruelty case in 2009-2010 initiated the group to the grimness of this situation. Ultimately, the person who owned and neglected seven Greyhounds/sighthounds pled guilty to "animal cruelty" and APFUG found homes for all of the dogs.
The group is responsive to all Greyhounds/sighthounds in need in the Lubbock and Midland/Odessa area and answers the call to help them, regardless of their origins or state of health.
How does APFUG meet its operating expenses?
The paid adoption fee for Greyhounds meets about 75% of costs incurred for a healthy dog that does not need additional medical care or procedures during its pre-adoption or fostering period. The group has qualified for grants from the American Greyhound Council and Texas Greyhound Association. They were fortunate enough to win a community grant in a competition sponsored by Lubbock's City Bank, in 2013. Fundraisers have helped supplement operating expenses. Individual donations have also been beneficial. Ninety-six percent of the group's budget, in 2014, was spent on medical needs and supplies for the Greyhounds under their care. Eighty-five percent of the total budget went to pay for veterinarian care. Volunteers are unpaid and spend countless hours caring for and finding homes for the Greyhounds.
Does APFUG have a kennel?
The group does not have a kennel. If a situation arises and a Greyhound or sighthound is found to be in peril-there is a cooperative agreement with Saving Grace PIt Bull Rescue allowing for dogs to be housed there until a foster or forever home is available. The group has also enjoyed similar support from the Morris Safe House. When a rescue group provides kennel space, APFUG has a policy to pay a stipend to offset kenneling expenses. In several instances, volunteers have stepped up to go to the kennels and walk the dogs or provide kennel support when a dog is being boarded there.
Adoptable Greyhounds located at the Greyhound Farm are kept there until a foster or forever home is found. While awaiting placement, the dogs that are available for adoption are given the same care and consideration as the dogs that reside there. There is no discrimination and the owners do not pressure the adoption group to remove the dog by a certain deadline or on short notice. This is a huge consideration as the group can work to find suitable homes or foster homes and feel confident about their decision. As an additional consideration, qualified families and individuals are able to come to the farm to meet dogs that they are interested in adopting or fostering. The volunteers and coordinators are always welcome to come to the farm during its working hours to interact with the dogs, take photos, etc. In many cases, the owners and managers at the farm have provided direct medical care and support in order to help get a dog ready for adoption.
If the group doesn't have a kennel--where are the available dogs located?
The dogs are located in foster homes, on the Greyhound farm, or in designated rescue kennels.
How can I meet APFUG's adoptable dogs?
Qualified applicants can meet the dogs at a neutral setting such as PetSmart, in their foster home, in a kennel, or at the Greyhound farm. In the event that the home visit has been completed, it might be arranged that the Greyhound can visit the home of the potential adopter. Available dogs would be in attendance at adoption events.
Why am I required to complete an adoption application and undergo a home visit before I meet APFUG's adoptable dogs?
Sadly, the group has allowed persons to meet Greyhounds only to discover that they weren't qualified to adopt. The group prefers to spend their time and resources on persons that are qualified to adopt--individuals and families with a strong sense of commitment and responsibility that wish to adopt and provide a safe and secure home for the Greyhound. All of the volunteers are unpaid and resources, including time, are limited.
Are there any volunteer opportunities available for persons interested in working with APFUG and its dogs?
Yes! APFUG is always in need of foster homes. In some cases, the group may need help with transportation. If there are adoption events, we can use help setting up and dog handlers. If dogs are at a kennel--you can go out and visit them or help us walk them. The group's needs vary widely depending on the dogs that are under our care. Give us a call--we want to get you involved and welcome your help!
Several groups on the internet voice opposition to Greyhound racing--how does APFUG feel about this issue?
Sigh. This issue is probably not going away. Sadly, there were problems with past management and how the industry dealt with Greyhounds that were unable to race. These difficulties are in the distant past--more than 20-30 years ago. This proves that poor public relations and management can haunt an industry or person for many, many years. At this time, it is believed that 90% of retired racing Greyhounds are re-homed every year. Few breeds can boast a similar success rate. The successful re-homing of Greyhounds has taken a collaborative effort on the part of the breeders, the National Greyhound Association, and local adoption groups. However, the anti-racing sentiment remains a strong presence.
That said, APFUG is "neutral" regarding Greyhound racing--preferring to spend their time and energy in finding homes, providing comprehensive care, and focusing on the importance of education and support to benefit and promote this wonderful breed.
A Place for Us Greyhounds