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Stan Pawloski

Feb 10, 2020

On the racetrack, greyhounds are a picture of beauty, grace, determination, speed – doing what they are born to do and love to do – run.

Off the track in retirement, they make exceptional pets – easy to fall in love with in a heartbeat. They are quiet, well-mannered, affectionate, very easy to live with and provide great companionship.

Since 2010, the Wheeling Island Greyhound Adoption Center has facilitated in the adoption of more than 2,700 greyhounds. The majority are from Wheeling Island with others from Tri-State Greyhound Park, West Virginia breeding farms and out-of-state transfers.

“Greyhounds make wonderful pets and, more often than not, transition to retired life with ease. They can be anywhere on the continuum from a lazy couch potato to service, mobility or agility dogs. As typical soft dogs who have been surrounded by humans their entire life, greyhounds aim to please,” Deb Reed, Wheeling Island adoption coordinator, said. “They have as many different personalities as there are shades of greyhounds – from shyness to extreme confidence. These aren’t cookie cutter personality dogs and in all my years of working with greyhounds, I have yet to find two that are the same.”

Reed has been around greyhounds for 20 years, first working in the family racing kennel at age 16.

“Greyhound racing is the fulfillment of a life-long passion. My step-father, my husband and I are licensed trainers. I have tried to find other employment at times, but this is my place,” Reed noted. “Greyhounds, from raising to racing to retirement, are my life. My employment in the adoption center allows me to continue the kennel care to ensure these athletes receive and retire to the best homes possible.”

The process of adopting a greyhound at Wheeling Island involves several steps, including an application form, telephone interview and home visit. The online form can be found at:

“Applicants must provide three references as well as a veterinarian. The adoption fee is $300, which covers the cost of spay/neuter, update on any shots and blood testing,” Reed said. “While the greyhounds are at the adoption kennel, they receive regular deworming, flea and tick medication.”

The onsite adoption kennel has space for 48 greyhounds and is usually at full capacity, Reed said. “We don’t have enough greyhounds to meet the adoption demand. While we will adopt to local individuals in the Wheeling area who meet the requirements, most of our greyhounds go to responsible adoption groups we work with,” Reed said.

“Our youngest greyhound adopted was 3 months old and our oldest may have been close to 10 years old.”

The Wheeling Island Greyhound Adoption Center holds weekly meet and greet sessions on the first floor of the racetrack. The sessions are held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.

“The public is welcome to come and meet real retired racing greyhounds,” Reed said. “We also provide education targeting the misinformation the public may have heard from anti-racing groups.”

Monetary donations in any amount are greatly appreciated. Checks can be made payable to WIGAC and mailed to:


P.O. Box 6314

Wheeling, WV 26003

Donations are entirely used for the adoption of greyhounds at WIGAC, including necessary veterinary care to prepare them for placement in forever homes.

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