A wave of greyhounds will be flooding rescue groups across the country, after Florida voters approved a ban on dog racing last week.
Hounds of the Heartland is the local organization accepting retired racers, but dogs like Kevin the Greyt are finding a new purpose.
Kevin the Greyt was once a great racer in Florida himself. Now he is the University of Central Oklahoma’s first full-time therapy dog, and more just like him may be heading our way soon.
From winning races to winning over students, the six-year-old greyhound is still living life in the spotlight. Although he was bred to run, Kevin's owner Alex Russell says he is perfectly happy to spend the rest of his days relaxing.
“They’re known as the 45 mile-per-hour couch potato,” Russell says, “so if you’ve ever been around Kevin, he’s always chill.”
When he is not roaming the halls of UCO calmly comforting stressed out co-eds, you can find Kevin lounging in Russell's office as she works. She knew he could be the perfect pet from the moment they met at a Hounds of the Heartland event.
“Just seeing that cute little face, I was like that’s my dog,” Russell recalls.
Kevin still gets in a good sprint at least once a week, but Russell says it took patience to turn him from a serious professional athlete into a playful pup.
“We’ve had him two years and it probably took him at least a year to become playful and start playing with toys and let his personality come out,” says Russell.
Russell says that kind of demeanor is what you can expect if you choose to adopt a retired racer. There are currently an estimated 15,000 greyhounds in Florida that are either racing or training for the track.
There are just five states left that allow dog racing. Oklahoma is not one of them. As the Florida ban is implemented over the next two years, most of the racers will need new families.
Russell says, “It makes me sad because I just hope that there are going to be enough homes, whether that’s foster homes or homes that actually adopt them. I know there’s going to be a big need.”
Hounds of the Heartland has meet and greets with their adoptable greyhounds every week. To connect with them and learn more about the requirements to adopt, click here.