Annual event promotes greyhound adoption | News | abilene-rc.com – Abilene Recorder Chronicle

Greyhounds from coast to coast, and their owners, came to Abilene last week in support of greyhound adoption.

Bec Maier, from Indianapolis, was the event coordinator for the 2017 Heart of America Greyhound Gathering.

We strive to bridge adoption with the racing industry through education and promotion, she said.

The four days of activities included tours of the Greyhound Hall of Fame, tours of several local farms, education programs and other activities.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Halfway Home Greyhound Adoption, a one-of-a-kind facility in Tulsa, Okla., that serves as a halfway home for newly retired greyhounds and the adoption groups who will ensure they go to good homes.

Maier described Halfway Homes founder Teddy Palmer as a pioneer in the industry one who has changed the way greyhound adoptions are handled.

She forged what we now know as adoption groups, she said. She has currently moved 6,537 greyhounds. She is a small organization, but she is a little powerhouse a keg of dynamite.

Palmers interest in greyhounds started in 1999, but only because she was outvoted in her family on what kind of dog to get. She blames her husband for their current situation with the greyhounds.

She explained the family dog, a poodle they had for 19 years, had died. While on vacation with her husband Russ and their children, the family started discussing getting a new dog.

I grew up with bird dogs; I like to hunt, she said. I wanted a lab, but my kids had spent the night with some friends (who had a greyhound). They said, we want one of those tall, skinny dogs that run fast.

Palmer had no idea what they were talking about.

My husband voted with them three against one, no lab for Teddy, she said.

When they got home, she got her first greyhound, which had been being fostered. She quickly came to love the breed and was amazed by their temperament. As many greyhound owners will attest, once you have a greyhound you become addicted to the breed. Palmer was no different.

A visit back to Abilene where her father, Ted Saum, was born in 1904 and grew up, would change the direction her life would go.

I came to Abilene with a friend because everybody who adopts a greyhound wants to come to the Greyhound Hall of Fame, Palmer said.

There they met Paula Scott, who offered them a visit to a local farm to see greyhound puppies.

We said yes very loudly and hopped up and down, she said, her eyes still light up every time she says the words greyhound puppies. The fist dog I met was Flying Train. He was really up there in top standing with the studs. I got to meet him and hold the puppies, You could have given me a Mercedes Benz, but holding the puppies was better.

During that visit she started learning about the relationship between the greyhound racing industry and the adoption groups.

On the way home is when Halfway Home was born, she said.

There were foster homes and adoption groups, but the foster homes werent always the best answer for the dogs waiting to go to their forever home. She came up with the idea of having the Halfway Home as a place for the dogs to come until they could be brought to adoption groups who would then oversee their adoptions.

She and Russ moved onto 15 acres and built an adoption kennel. Her first 18 dogs moved in when the track in Wichita closed.

This weeks event in Abilene helps fund her efforts in making sure the dogs who come to the end of their racing careers have good homes to live out their lives.

Maier has 16 such animals at her home. Since she started adopting greyhounds 25 years ago she has had 51.

I love the breed, she said. The breed is such an affectionate breed, but also they are such a well-behaved dog. When they come to you they are already housebroken and they are very, very quick to learn your house is now their home.

The Heart of America group works close with the farms and they have, over the years, worked on building strong partnerships.

Our biggest goal is to bridge the adoption and racing industry together and have a mutual respect for each other, she said.

The annual gathering in Abilene goes a long way in helping build those relationships.

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Annual event promotes greyhound adoption | News | abilene-rc.com - Abilene Recorder Chronicle

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