‘Grey-t’ things happening in Williamstown

Greyhound Angels Adoption is a unique facility that finds homes for retired race dogs

Ira Weinstein and Lisa Newbold, the Assistant Director and Director of Greyhound Angels Adoption in Williamstown, stand with Sven, one of the adoptable greyhounds. The two have 15 years of experience in caretaking for the retired race dogs. (Anthony J. Mazziotti III/The Sun)

You’ve driven past it dozens of times – when you’re driving southbound on the Black Horse Pike, before you get to Hospitality Creek Campground and inevitably leave Williamstown, there is a small, inconspicuous sign on the northbound side of the road that’s in the shape of a greyhound. At that location, hidden in plain sight, is Greyhound Angels Adoption, a nonprofit whose mission is to find forever homes for retired race dogs.

The daughter-father duo of Lisa Newbold and Ira Weinstein are the director and assistant director of Greyhound Angels and for the past 15 years they’ve made it their goal to find the right dog for the right owner. Their story is one for the books, too.

“I adopted one and fell in love with the breed,” Newbold said. “I adopted a second, adopted a third and said to my husband, ‘Either we start placing them or we’re going to have so many dogs.’ So I took in a foster and found him a home within three weeks. Took in two fosters, then sold our house, put the money into Greyhound Angels, moved in with my dad and started taking dogs and placing them.”

Greyhound Angels has relationships with the racetracks, dog trainers and dog owners. Once a trainer and owner deem a greyhound unfit for racing, the owner will find it a place to go.

“Our dogs come from the racing kennels or from the farms, and we bring them here, get them spayed or neutered, up-to-date on shots, heartworm tested, tick borne disease tested, microchipped and find them homes.”

The tracks Newbold and Weinstein will visit and/or receive their dogs from are in West Virginia, Florida, Kansas or even Arizona. Greyhound Angels is in support of the race tracks.

“We work with the trainers and owners to place their dogs in responsible homes,” Newbold said. “It makes it easier because if I place a dog and there’s an issue with the placement, I can go back to the owner and trainer because I’m friends with them and find out ‘did you ever see this or that in this dog?’ Having that open relationship is beneficial to the dog.”

While greyhounds are known for racing and their speed, they really don’t need much room to operate in retirement. For example, a dog named Sven played outside for roughly 15 minutes and he was exhausted.

“People see the races and think they won’t have room for a dog to run around like that,” Newbold said. “I’ll bring him [Sven] inside, he wants a cookie and goes to sleep.”

Greyhounds are known to sleep between 18 and 20 hours per day.

“We have a lot of them, Center City, Midtown Manhattan, Central Park West!” Weinstein exclaimed. “They don’t bark, leash walk them and done. It’s not a big deal.”

The greyhound, much like Greyhound Angel’s physical location, is the best kept secret.

“People don’t know about it,” Weinstein said. “Once you have one, it’s your breed forever. You’ll never go to another breed.”

“What’s there not to like?” Newbold added. “They’re beautiful, calm, gentle. The way they’re raised and loved by the people at the farms and tracks makes them the loving, caring, respectful dog they are.”

The adoption process for Greyhound Angels is simple, fill out an application form on the website and schedule a time to visit the facility. From there, Newbold and her team will find the dog that best fits the description in the application. Questions include: how long will the dog be home alone, do you have to leash walk the dog, do you have a fenced in backyard, do you have other dogs, small animals, or children, etc.

“We match you to the dogs we have here at the facility and let them pick you,” Newbold said.

Greyhound Angels can accommodate up to 20 greyhounds, and every dog will stay as long as it needs to, they are a no-kill organization.

“I have some that come in one week and are gone the next,” she added. “If your application fits every dog here, we’ll let you see every dog here until that dog picks you.”

An average day at Greyhound Angels starts at 7 a.m. when the dogs are fed, given fresh water and let outside while their crates are cleaned and disinfected. Upon returning, they are given a cookie. Around 11:30 a.m. to noon, the greyhounds are let out again for a longer period of time to stretch out their legs and have more play time. From 5:30 to 6 p.m. is dinner time, and they are let out again around 9:30 p.m. The purpose of a regimented schedule is to break the habit of the track lifestyle.

“We try to keep a home schedule here so this way they adjust from the track here and not in your home,” Newbold said. “At the track, they get started at 4 in the morning.”

A $75 deposit is due once you are matched with your dog; $275 is due on pick up day. The application is available online at greyhoundangelsadoption.com.

“We give a half-hour presentation when you pick up your dog that goes over specific information about your dog and specific information about the breed,” Newbold said.

“No surprises.” Ira added.

Greyhound Angels Adoption is 100 percent volunteer run. Newbold and Weinstein estimated they have 25 regular volunteers but they are always looking for more. For volunteer information or information about adoption, call (856) 292-8780 or visit greyhoundangelsadoption.com or their Facebook group “Greyhound Angels Adoption.”