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Dog Days

Retired Racing Greyhounds Get a New Leash on Life

When the doorbell rings at the Turner household, four long, sleek snouts line up at the front door with a wet welcome. Doug and Sarah Turner are parents to teenage daughter Emily and fur babies, Eva, Rummy, Sheeba and Sid. The tall, lean dogs are retired racing greyhounds, adopted into the family through Greyhound Adoption of Greater Cincinnati (GAGC). While they are eager to greet and meet someone new, they quickly retreat to various cushions in the family’s living room, ears back and tongues hanging out, super chill. 

Doug fell in love with the unique breed when he and his mom adopted their first two greyhounds in 1995 and since, he and his family have adopted six others and fostered more than 15. 

“I’m like a moth to a flame when it comes to these dogs,” Doug says. “There’s something about them that I’ve been drawn to for decades.”

Now a senior at Lakota West High School, Emily is used to being surrounded by her fur family. 

“All my friends say, ‘Oh my gosh, your dogs are so big!’ And I’m like, ‘They’re big babies!’” Emily says. “One of my first very clear memories is little 4½-year-old me running alongside Wally [the first family greyhound]. We picked each other.”

When they retire from the track and enter the adoption process, many greyhounds are coming into homes for the first time and must navigate suburban basics, like how to go up and down stairs and the dangers of slippery floors and glass doors. The foster program helps ease this transition.

“It’s amazing. Our dogs kind of show the fosters the ropes,” Sarah says. 

“That’s why the foster program works so well,” Doug adds. “They are very intelligent and pick up on the patterns of the other greyhounds. We get them acclimated.”

The four pets are happy at home with the Turners. Each displays its own unique personality. At age 12, Rummy is the diva of the pack. Nine-year-old Eva sprawls on her back on the couch with legs mid-air in a pose the Turners call “cockroaching.” Four-year-old Sid’s tongue is often hanging out. He is still learning how to share squeaky toys with 2-year-old Sheeba, the newest addition to the family. All of the pups enjoy treats and are motivated by scratches behind the ears. 

“They are the best dogs—so sweet and so loyal,” Emily shares. 

GAGC Founder and President Brenda Pennix of Liberty Township has been in the business of finding loving homes for retired racing greyhounds for 25 years. What started as a hobby has grown into a passion. The organization celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, having placed more than 1,500 dogs in tri-state homes.

“I’ve found it is my mission to find loving homes for greyhounds,” Brenda says. “The Turners are super owners. I wish all of my families were as passionate about their dogs as they are!” 

While greyhounds tend to be sensitive creatures that love human attention, they are pretty low maintenance and require no more exercise than your average dog. GAGC dogs come from caring owners and healthy training environments. 

“There’s a common misconception that they are high-energy animals that come from a bad experience—the truth is quite the opposite,” Brenda explains. “They are 45 miles an hour couch potatoes,” she says. “We do not rescue dogs. They are all cared for very well. We simply find homes for them,” she says. 

Since they are sprinters and trained to chase game, greyhounds can only come off leash in a fenced area. After some morning “zoomies” around the yard, the Turner’s fab four spend a majority of the day relaxing, living out the dog days of summer in the air conditioning. 

“I’m kind of like the dog dealer among my friends,” Doug says. “The danger is that you might not be able to stop with just one!” he says with a knowing smile.

Thinking about adopting a greyhound? Learn more at: CinciGreyhounds.org, 513.777.7494.

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