GRNSW Celebrates Major Milestone: 500th Greyhound Rehomed in the US

10:44 01 February 2024
Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) Chief Executive Officer Rob Macaulay today announced that the 500th retired greyhound from NSW had been successfully rehomed as a pet in the United States.

The major milestone marked a one-year anniversary for GRNSW’s international rehoming program, Aussie Mates in the States.

“This is a remarkable achievement and we are delighted to see our 500th greyhound find a loving home in the United States,” Mr Macaulay said.

"Such is the demand for greyhounds as pets in the United States, we are on target for 1,000 adoptions for 2024.”

After a pilot program launched 12 months ago, GRNSW is now working with over 22 rehoming groups in North America.

Retired NSW greyhounds have so far been rehomed in Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, Tucson, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minneapolis, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Kentucky, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay.

Ginger, a five-year-old former racing athlete, left Sydney last week and became the 500th greyhound from NSW to be rehomed in the US when introduced to a new home in Coppell, a city in Dallas, Texas, with Pam Graham and Jim Vandehaar.

“Jim and I have been fostering and adopting greyhounds for over 25 years and to date we have had the pleasure of fostering 300 greyhounds,” Pam said. “It was love at first sight with Ginger and already she is making herself at home with our other two greyhounds Aussie Skye and Angie.”

One of the groups GRNSW has worked closely with in the United States is Greyhounds Unlimited, which helped facilitate the adoption of Ginger.

“Greyhounds Unlimited have been finding forever homes for retired racing greyhounds since 1991,” Susan Lemon, president of Greyhounds Unlimited, said. “Our first Aussie greyhounds from NSW came over in March 2023 and we couldn't be more delighted with our partnership with Greyhound Racing NSW and Greyhounds As Pets NSW.

“We are honoured to be the recipient group of the 500th greyhound to be rehomed in the US and we thank them for entrusting us with these beautiful dogs.”

Photo courtesy of Daily Telegraph

In December last year, the Dallas Police Department in Texas made international news when they adopted Aussie, a former racing greyhound from NSW.

“Aussie is changing lives within the Dallas Police community,” said Officer Joe King of the Dallas Police Department. “His kind energy is being taken on by the officers that might be affected or struggling that day. Fair to say we have all fallen for Aussie.”

There are currently five emotional support dogs in Dallas being matched with recipients, and John McQuade, President of Greyhound Adoption League Texas (GALT) and himself a retired Vietnam Veteran, has partnered with GRNSW in Dallas, to continue the training of Aussie Mates emotional support dogs.

“These dogs literally change lives,” he said. “Having seen first-hand the therapeutic traits that greyhounds transfer to humans, we know they can have a positive impact on people's emotional well-being.”

John’s work complements that of renowned canine behavioural expert Steve Austin who joined GRNSW in February last year to not only work on pet retraining but also working with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) companion animals to be supplied to law enforcement officers both here in Australia and in the US.

“Of the 1,000 greyhounds we plan to send to the US in 2024, we are looking at having close to 100 of them embarking on new careers as PTSD companion animals,” Mr Macaulay said.

“To see our retired greyhounds undergoing a career change and playing such a vital role in these people’s lives is something all within our industry should be proud of.

“And while the US program is significant in GRNSW’s rehoming strategy, it is there to support the strong foundations we have in place on the domestic front.

“GRNSW’s investment in Greyhounds As Pets reached record levels last year and remains at the forefront of everything we do, and as we always say, the welfare of our greyhounds is, and will always be, our number one priority.

“When we first launched the Aussie Mates in the States program back in January last year, with the first eight greyhounds touching down in Los Angeles on Australia Day 2023, there was a great deal of scepticism about whether the program could be a success.

“But we all knew exactly what this program could be, we all knew what loving pets greyhounds are, and we knew the demand was there in the US for pet greyhounds.”

The Aussie Mates in the States program evolved after GRNSW was contacted by US adoption agencies interested in exploring a partnership to help with a demand for greyhounds as pets in the US.

A contingent from GRNSW was invited to the US where they met with representatives from a number of adoption agencies, and witnessed first-hand the loving homes on offer for NSW greyhounds. After due diligence, the program was initiated with industry support across NSW, and demand for greyhounds as pets has been staggering.

“Credit goes to everyone involved both here in Australia and our valued partners in the US,” Mr Macaulay said.

“The demand for our greyhounds is quite remarkable, and with the relationships we’ve established and unwavering welfare processes put in place, I’m confident we can reach 1,000 greyhounds this calendar year.

“While Ginger is being celebrated as the landmark 500th US adoption, I can tell you that the previous 499 are each being celebrated, spoilt and loved in their new homes right across the United States.”

Dallas Police Department's new recruit, Aussie.

Ginger enjoying a welcome home cake at Pam and Jim's Coppell Texas together with Greyhounds Unlimited Susan Lemon and Kelly Wells.