|Mya, a rescue greyhound, keeps her eyes peeled for a treat. (Photo: Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribune)
PERRYSBURG - Mya, Bella and Emma could care less about getting their picture in the newspaper. Of course, they surely would be more cooperative if they knew this publicity will help other retired, rescued greyhounds like themselves find loving homes.
The sleek dogs, fancy collars jangling, were more interested in juggling for the best spot on their gigantic dog bed and finding the optimal sunbeam shining through the home of their owners, T.J. and Mary Held.
So much for racing.
"They're only high energy for small amounts of time," said T.J. Held. "They're awake long enough to eat, they'll go outside. They like to play. But after five or 10 minutes, they're done."
The Helds opened up their home to talk greyhounds, which have been in the news lately due to seven racing tracks closing permanently last year, including Dairyland Greyhound Park in Wisconsin.
The Helds are members of North Coast Greyhound Connection and Adoption of Ohio, which has taken in 20 of the greyhounds from Dairyland, including nine earlier this month. The dogs are being cared for at a Milan, Ohio, kennel, awaiting foster or permanent homes.
Emma was a Dairyland rescue, but didn't have much of a career. She came to the Helds when she was just over a year old in 2006, with a broken leg. Her "sisters," Bella, 5, and Mya, 4, are also rescue dogs.
The couple's fascination with greyhounds started in 1998 when they were living in Fort Wayne, Ind. They went to a home and garden show which had a greyhound booth. Their first adoption, Nino, lived to be 14.
After retiring from First Solar in Perrysburg, Held got more involved with North Coast and became the events coordinator. One of the group's biggest fundraisers is a wine and cheese tasting in March.
Since North Coast started in 2005, it has adopted out 423 greyhounds. The 160-member group has about 28 dogs in its care right now, which is considered "full," Held said.
The group has a hauler that it can take to a track to bring dogs back to Ohio. Once here, they are bathed and "vetted," given a physical and shots and spayed or neutered, if needed.
The dog is a popular pet, the Helds said, because they sleep a lot, have very little hair or dander and are very loving.
The couple has a large, fenced backyard for the dogs' exercise.
"The dogs like to run with each other. And they will run as fast as they possibly can. It's a beautiful thing to watch," T.J. Held said.
The only negative with a greyhound is their speed and intensity when they focus on a target.
"The biggest thing that you watch for is when you open the door. They're a sight hound," Held said. "They're going to see something. They're going to focus and they're going to run because they're so focused."
If a greyhound escapes too far from home, often the dog can't find its way back because of that sight - not scent - focus.
Another quirk with the breed is sometimes having to introduce them to things that other pets take for granted. Mya, the Helds said, went from a racetrack to their home. She was scared of a ceiling fan and had to learn to use the steps.
"All she saw was the inside of a cage unless she went out to race," T.J. Held said.
(For more information, including how to adopt, foster or donate, visit the Web site northcoastgreyhoundconnection.org.)
|Mary Held plays with Bella while Emma and Mya bask in the sun in the background. (Photo: Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribune)