Greyhounds slow down for reunion

Athletic breed, owners gather at Oregon Ridge

Family: Events, Activities

September 23, 2004|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,SUN STAFF

Gentle, graceful and athletic, greyhounds are one of the oldest and most interesting breeds of domesticated dogs. And Saturday, visitors to Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville can celebrate the breed at the Midlantic Greyhound Adoption League annual reunion.

The event offers greyhounds and their owners a chance to mingle and gives the public an opportunity to learn more about the breed.

"It's a gathering of the owners who have adopted greyhounds from our group and from everywhere," says Judy Leyse, president of the Midlantic Greyhound Adoption League and owner of two greyhounds. "Greyhound owners tend to gravitate to each other."

Historically a hunting dog, the greyhound today is bred for racing. Greyhounds can sprint at 45 mph, which is faster than a horse. Only a cheetah can accelerate faster from a standing start. Many of the canine visitors to Saturday's reunion are former racing dogs.

"Because greyhounds live in large numbers and close quarters at the tracks, they just love to meet and spend time with other greyhounds," says Graham Fowler, MGA reunion coordinator and owner of two greyhounds. "So the reunion is a great opportunity to allow the greyhounds to meet more of their own kind."

MGA, a Howard County-based organization, works to place retired racing greyhounds in loving homes and to educate the public about the breed.

The reunion includes fun for all - humans and canines alike - with games, a silent auction, door prizes, a raffle, a blessing of the hounds, people and pet foods and goods for sale and more.

Greyhounds can participate in several competitions, as well. There will be contests for longest tail, tallest male, shortest female, oldest male, oldest female and barest buns.

Also, pet owners can get advice on greyhound topics, including basic first aid, allergies, trimming nails, collar tightness and lots more.

"The reunion really is a place for friends to spend time relaxing with their dogs, swapping stories about their greyhounds and meeting new friends," says Fowler.

For those interested in adopting a greyhound, the organization will be accepting applications.

"There's a process we go through for adoptions," says Leyse. "We find the dog that best suits [a potential owner's] situation."

MGA works mostly with the Seabrook Greyhound Park in New Hampshire but also has found homes for greyhounds from all along the Eastern Seaboard.

Dog owners are asked to bring plenty of water for their dogs, to keep dogs leashed at all times and to clean up after their dogs.

The Midlantic Greyhound Adoption League Annual Reunion takes place from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Oregon Ridge Park, 13401 Beaver Dam Road, Cockeysville. Free. Call 410-461-4430 or visit www.midlanticgreyhound.org.

For more family events, see Page 38.

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