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RECYCLED LOVE: Nova Scotia company designing collars for retiring greyhounds

If I Had a Million Collars, a Nova Scotia company, will be designing collars for Greyhound Pets of Atlantic Canada’s Red Collar Project. - If I Had a Million Collars
If I Had a Million Collars, a Nova Scotia company, will be designing collars for Greyhound Pets of Atlantic Canada’s Red Collar Project. - If I Had a Million Collars - The Chronicle Herald

One step forward for racing dogs

Everyone loves good news stories, but what happens after the hype settles down and the story turns out to be sad news?

I would think that is how some people involved in assisting retired greyhound racing dogs felt after Amendment 13 was passed in Florida.

It comes into effect this month and it gives Florida greyhound racetracks two years to prepare for the end of dog racing.

As terrific as this news appears on the surface, there is a sadder side. An estimated 8,000 greyhounds will be looking for permanent homes before Jan. 1, 2021, according to Jeanette Reynolds, who owns and operates Greyhound Pets of Atlantic Canada (GPAC).

Reynolds has worked closely with racetracks for more than 26 years. Reynolds says most racetracks and breeders care deeply about their dogs, which is why they work closely with groups such as GPAC.

Reynolds’ organization brings many of these retired racing dogs up from Florida and her organization finds loving homes for these healthy dogs.

These sweet, elegant, long-legged and graceful dogs make terrific pets. I have met many of these dogs and I always find their innocent faces remind me of fawns. They naturally seem to want nothing more than to be loved and to cuddle with their humans.

With the estimated 8,000 retired greyhounds looking for new homes over the next 24 months, organizations like GPAC will be extremely busy.

It will take many working hours, resources and everyday hard work to help relocate these dogs. Reynolds says she will need more volunteers and they also need help raising funds for the influx of dogs.

GPAC has already organized a couple of large-scale fundraisers for 2019, but Rhonda Martins, the fundraising chair with GPAC, has been diligently working on a philanthropic campaign called the Red Collar Project.

“As most of you know, in light of Bill 13, we will be receiving an increase in female breeding greyhounds. These lovely senior hounds make wonderful pets. Because of their ages (7 and older) we don’t charge an adoption fee, however there are still costs involved. To help offset these costs we have started the Red Collar Project. For a $100.00 donation, the cost of the seniors transport, we will give a beautiful unique red collar and leash to the donor, designed solely for this project. This will help GPAC greatly with the associated costs,” notes the GPAC website.

Martins showed me a sample collar and leash from the Red Collar Project and they are exquisite.

The design includes large red roses lined with gold and they were made by If I Had a Million Collars, a Nova Scotia company.

I have been thinking about greyhound dogs and Amendment 13 with my good news/sad news dilemma.

I truly believe it’s a good news story in the end because many kindhearted people will step forward to help foster or adopt these lovely, gentle retired racers. If you would like to help, I would urge you to reach out directly to GPAC.

Please be kind to animals.

Tracy Jessiman is a pet portrait artist who lives in Halifax with her husband and their three pets. She is a volunteer with Animal Rescue Coalitions of Nova Scotia. She has been rescuing animals most of her life, but more intimately, animals rescued her.

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