South Carolina and Georgia are home to the two greyhound adoption organizations that have been named winners of the 2015 Greyhound Adoption Program of the Year Award. The groups are Greyhound Crossroads of Greenwood, SC, and Second Chance Greyhounds of Douglasville, GA. The award is presented each year by the American Greyhound Council (AGC).
AGC Communications Coordinator Gary Guccione said the organizations are very different in their focus but share a common commitment to going “above and beyond” to ensure that every retired greyhound finds a loving permanent home.
“Both of these organizations exemplify the total dedication that has made greyhound adoption the remarkable success story it is,” said Guccione. “The AGC is honored and proud to recognize them for their extraordinary contributions to the adoption movement.”
Greyhound Crossroads has been placing retired racers for approximately 19 years. Although its primary service area is North and South Carolina and Georgia, Greyhound Crossroads has been known to facilitate adoptions as far away as Alaska. The group places 150-200 greyhounds per year in adoptive homes.
Its trademark event is Beach Bound Hounds, an annual gathering that draws over 500 greyhounds and owners each year to beautiful Myrtle Beach, SC. The program includes speakers and workshops, education and training programs, and “a whole lot of fun,” according to Greyhound Crossroads Director Kim Owens.
Nominators for Greyhound Crossroads paid special tribute to the organization’s “amazing network of volunteers, who step up whenever they are needed because the dogs are always the priority.”
Second Chance Greyhounds operates a unique program in which retired greyhounds are fostered and trained by prison inmates for ten weeks before being placed in their permanent homes. The program was developed in partnership with Jenkins Correctional Center at Millen, GA. A dozen inmate volunteers were trained as trainers, and they work with 12-15 dogs at a time. Second Chance provides complete support, including crates, dog beds, toys, food, training treats, veterinary care and transportation.
Second Chance Chair Patti Peterson said the program benefits prison residents as well as the dogs. “The dogs learn the behaviors and skills they’ll need in their new homes, and the inmates learn patience and responsibility. They also experience the unconditional love that comes with the human-animal bond, something many of the prisoners have never experienced,” she said. Peterson also noted that working with the dogs reduces inmate boredom and tension, which makes for a safer prison environment for inmates and staff.
The two groups will receive donations of $1,000 each for their programs, as well as commemorative plaques for permanent display in their offices.
In 2014, the GAPY Award program was modified to recognize outstanding adoption organizations instead of deserving individuals. The award began as an initiative of the American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA) in 2007, and became an AGC program in 2010.