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Racing Dogs Get A New Life With Adoptive Families

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Christopher Crane adopted Cinnamon Boy from the Dairyland Race Track in Kenosha, Wisconsin after it shut down on 31 December 2009. (photo by Kat Brannaman)

By Jennifer K. Woldt for THE NORTHWESTERN

After spending years racing other dogs, Cinnamon Boy is now content to find a comfy spot on the couch and settle in for a long nap.

This new life, one that includes lots of affection, squeaky toys and some feline roommates in addition to the couch time, is one Cinnamon Boy, or C Boy as his new owners Christopher and Brittany Crane call him, is different than the one he had as a racing greyhound at Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha.

But it’s one he has come to enjoy.

“He fits right in and he enjoys the new things in his life,” Brittany Crane said. “It’s important that he gets to enjoy life and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

C Boy is one of hundreds of dogs there were left in need of a home when Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha closed its doors Dec. 31 and Heart Bound Greyhound Adoption, a non-profit organization aimed at finding retired racing greyhounds their “forever homes” stepped in to help.

Greyhounds are bred to be racing dogs and were never meant to be pets, said Larry Phillips, president and one of the founders of Heart Bound. While their racing careers are short — most dogs retire by age 5 —

greyhounds have an average lifespan of 12 to 13 years and need a place to live out the rest of their lives, Phillips said.

Which is where adoption groups like Heart Bound step in.

Since it was founded about three years ago, Heart Bound has helped find new homes for between 50 to 60 retired racing greyhounds. When the organization heard about Dairyland’s impending closure, Phillips said they did what they could to help find homes for the 250 to 300 dogs that were at the park.

In late November, Cinnamon Boy and Drive Me Crazy, a greyhound that was eventually adopted by a Fond du Lac family, came to Oshkosh and were placed in foster homes. Used to a life that featured wire crates, cement floors and dirt tracks, the foster homes helped acclimate the dogs to a lifestyle they had never seen before, Phillips said.

“You’re taking these dogs and putting them in a house with patio doors, stairs, mirrors and all kinds of things they’ve never seen,” Phillips said. “We’re introducing them to civilian life.”

After a short stay with a foster family, C Boy was ready to go home with his new family.

And four weeks into his new life, Crane said the dog is adjusting well, getting along with the family’s two cats and enjoying his new life as a lap dog.

“He’s brought so much joy to our family,” Crane said. “Everyone he meets, he seems to nestle right into their hearts. It’s great.”

While C Boy has found his “forever home” with the Cranes, Phillips said there are still more retired racing greyhounds that will be looking for theirs.

Heart Bound is getting another four greyhounds this weekend, and although those four have been spoken for through applications the organization has already received, Phillips said the group is hoping to get another eight to 10 dogs that need homes into foster care in the next few weeks.

“A racing greyhound, when you get one you get a blank piece of paper,” Phillips said. “They are very adaptable and they can become whatever you want them to be.”

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Dog Gifts
Dog Gifts
12 years ago

Shamefully, the dog racing community have failed to provide any kind of support for the dogs they make a living from. Governments should ban dog racing until the industry can prove it can behave responsibly.

11 years ago

I am against dog racing (and horse racing for that matter), but not all the breeders are bad. I had an ex racing greyhound that I rcvd through Greyhound Pets of America. The breeders took Janey back after she retired because the owners wanted her put down. The breeders agree to keep all retired dogs (in a nice place… I saw it) until they are adopted. At least these guys try to take responsibility for the dogs they bring into the world… . although the very nature of the business they are in goes against it…


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