By: Sophie Farnan
TAMPA- “All you have to do is meet a greyhound, and you’ll fall in love,” stated Danielle Hauser from Bay Area Greyhound Adoptions. Not only are greyhounds loving animals, but the process behind their training at the Greyhound Advancement Center is one of a kind! In partnership with Hardee Correctional, inmates have the unique opportunity to train greyhounds before the dogs are sent off to their forever homes. This program benefits the inmates by giving them something positive to focus on, and it provides the greyhounds with a loving home as well as teaching them obedience commands and companionship.
Danielle Hauser became involved in the program when she and her family adopted their first greyhound, Spunky, who went through the training program with the Greyhound Advancement Center. During the process, the dogs live at Hardee Correctional with their trainer for almost two months, and the dogs bond with their inmate trainers while learning many important skills. “After the dogs have completed their program, there’s a big graduation ceremony, and the new adoptive families get to meet the inmate trainer [and] hear about their dog,” stated Danielle. The inmates also keep a diary of the dog’s process from day one, which the adoptive family gets to keep! “I still have my diary from Spunky. It’s a really special thing,” she added.
Not only is this a special program for greyhounds, but it’s also a heart-felt experience for the inmates. “These men get really attached to their greyhounds,” Danielle mentioned. “A lot of them cry when [the greyhounds] leave… but there’s always new ones coming in. It’s a privilege to get to train a greyhound.” On top of that, this experience can benefit the inmates long-term. From being involved in the program, they can earn credentials through the state of Florida. When released from work camp in the future, the inmates can return to the work force by showing certificates of their dog-training occupation.
Over the years, hundreds of greyhounds have gone through the program with Hardee Correctional and were adopted by loving families. With that, Danielle mentioned how important it is to adopt a pet rather than purchase one from a pet store or a breeder. If you adopt a dog, “you’re getting it from somewhere where the organization’s working really hard to find homes for their dogs that really need them.” For that reason, programs like the Greyhound Advancement Center and Bay Area Greyhound Adoptions are remarkable; working hard to give back to the greyhound community!