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Nittany Greyhounds expects an influx of dogs

by on December 06, 2018 9:36 AM

PORT MATILDA — You can tell they really love their dogs at Nittany Greyhounds, an organization just outside of Port Matilda that specializes in finding homes for greyhounds whose racing days are over. 

Toni Duchi, who is the president of the nonprofit organization, and all her staff gush when they talk about the breed and how they are just different than other dogs.

“The way they look at you, it is just hard to explain; there is something there,” said Duchi.

There is soulfulness to their eyes, almost as if they understand what someone is saying. The lean and sleek dogs are well-trained and make great pets, said Duchi, especially for people who have a fenced-in yard, as they are, after all, trained to run. But when they are not running, they are typically calm and easy-going, she said.

“Most people think that these dogs are high-energy all the time. And they do need exercise, but afterwards they are the calmest,” said Duchi.

Over the next few years the group is preparing for a potential influx of the dogs, as the state of Florida recently passed a referendum to end greyhound racing there by May 2020 — meaning that 15,000 dogs will need new homes. Nittany Greyhounds expects to see a fair share of those dogs, said Duchi. She said that there is currently not a larger number of dogs needing homes, but she is concerned about what will happen in the future as the tracks in Florida start to close over the next few years.

The organization has been in existence for 23 years and most of the dogs it currently gets come from Florida — one of the last few states that have greyhound racing — along with Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Iowa and West Virginia. A few other states allow racing but there are no tracks currently operating in those states.

Nittany Greyhounds is neither outwardly for or against greyhound racing. What it does is openly support the greyhound race dogs and find them homes, said Duchi. The group works hard to find good homes for the dogs it gets. That means when the dogs come up, they need to help teach them how to be pets instead of racing dogs, which isn’t difficult, said Duchi.

Greyhounds typically race from age 2 to 5, but their race days could be shorter if they get injured or aren’t doing well, said Duchi.

“We kind of rehab them, see what their personalities are, see if they need any veterinary care and then we match them with people who have applied,” she said. “We have been doing that since 1997 and we have placed almost 2,000 greyhounds.”

The dogs get adopted around the central part of the state mostly, but sometimes they find homes for the dogs in nearby states. The group spends a lot of time spreading awareness by taking the dogs to events so the community can understand what they are all about.
Duchi said they have a great volunteer community and many people in the community support what they do and it is like a family of caring people who love these dogs. But the mission is costly and the organization is always in need of more support to help the dogs and give them as much love as possible. The transportation and veterinary care of the dogs can be very expensive.

But to the family of dog lovers at Nittany Greyhounds, it is worth it. To learn more about the organization, visit nittanygreys.org.

 

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