Hometown Heroes: Greyhound rescue

- It's hard not to fall in love with a greyhound— Just ask Joann Griner and Maryann Tolliver. They've been rescuing retired racing dogs for 20 years, and run Greyhound Pets of America's Tampa Bay chapter.

Their goal is to find permanent homes for the hundreds of dogs that retire from Derby Lane in St. Petersburg each year. 

"Most people have more than one. It's very rare that someone has just one greyhound. You fall in love with them; they're so easy. They're small, and they're easy dogs to own," said Greyhound Pets of America President, Joann.

They may not be small in size, but their docile demeanor makes them seem not-so-big.

"There's no aggression to them. They're very sweet, gentle beings," said GPA vice president, Maryann.

Don't let their former racing job fool you, greyhounds love to relax.

"They're very lazy dogs. The most common misconception is that because they're racing dogs they need a lot of exercise, but they're very lazy dogs. They take retirement very seriously," said Maryann.

And GPA takes the adoption process seriously too. They do everything they can to understand each dog's personality and find their perfect match.

"That helps us be a match.com for greyhounds. We want to make sure we find good dogs good homes and find the right placement," said Maryann.

Going from life inside a kennel to being a pet inside a home is a big adjustment for this special breed. So GPA helps with the transition by placing every greyhound in a foster home first.
"Once they come into your home it's your responsibility to teach them windows, doors, tv, doorbell ringing, anything that they're not familiar with because they live in a kennel environment so they're used to these things," said Joann.

And when Joann and Maryann can't find a greyhound a home, they invite them into one of theirs. 

"I thought one dog was plenty in my house. I couldn't imagine having more than one large dog in my house. Now, I have anywhere between 3 to 5 at a time," said Joann.

Maybe it's their sweet eyes or their smooth coat and graceful stance, but there's something about a greyhound that even has a small dog lover like Jen considering taking one in.

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