Fast dogs and derby girls are ready to Meet and Greet

Posted April 17, 2013, at 11:15 a.m.

By Debra Bell

Of the Weekly Staff

In celebration of National Greyhound Adoption Month, Maine Greyhound Placement Service volunteers, their greyhounds, and the Bangor Roller Derby Girls will join forces to

promote greyhound adoption and show off just what kind of pet a greyhound can be.

That’s because For Dogs Boutique, 251 Main Road in Holden, will host a Meet and Greet 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 20. And the public is invited.

“We at [For Dogs Boutique] are excited about hosting a benefit for the promotion of adoption and rescue of our beloved canines,” said Anna Perna, For Dogs Boutique owner. “Our store brand is to offer products and services that are not only healthy and fun but also for the emotional safety of our family dog members.”

The event, called a Meet and Greet, is part of ongoing outreach events to showcase the grace, athleticism and personality of the breed. MGPS has demos throughout the state every month.

According to Sue Sprague, MGPS secretary and Bangor-region demo leader, these kinds of outreach events have been held since MGPS’s inception 20 years ago.

“The Meet and Greet gives people a chance to get up close and personal with a greyhound,” Sprague said. “Many people have never seen one ‘in person’ and they always have questions to ask about the breed.”

Sprague speaks from experience. She and her husband Skip have had greyhounds at their Winter Harbor home since 1984. Today they share it with six greyhounds, including two pairs of littermates and an Italian Greyhound named Spyro.

Greyhounds are classified as sighthounds and are bred to race. They are retired by age 5 and many are taken in by rescue agencies like MGPS. These athletes can reach speeds of 45 miles per hour and are second to the cheetah as fastest land mammal.

But that doesn’t mean they’re high maintenance or require lots of exercise, Sprague said. In fact, greyhounds are considered “couch potatoes.” They require a walk several times a day and must be kept on leash at all times unless the space is enclosed.

“Since they are sighthounds and can see better than we humans can, a tiny leaf blowing nearly a half-mile away can bring on the ‘chase’ mode,” Sprague said. “And since they can go from zero to 35 miles per hour from a standstill in less than five seconds it makes it a little hard to catch one.”

But this Meet and Greet will be different, Perna said. That’s because the Bangor Derby Girls will be helping out MGPS.

“Athlete is the operative word here,” Perna said. [Desi], a staff person for Ren Dogs happens to be a member of the Derby Team. She had said numerous times in the past, that the team would be happy to help with any of our fundraisers at the shop. I put two and two together: derby dogs and derby girls and voila!”

Desi Clark, who skates as DZ, said it was an easy decision to team up with MGPS. “We are all very avid dog lovers and have done a lot of work with Bangor Humane Society,” Clark said. “We have 30 girls and they all have to do two hours of volunteer service a month. We thought it was a great thing and an easy way to get out in the community.”

In addition to helping MGPS volunteers showcase the dogs and educate the public, the Bangor Roller Derby Girls will hold a raffle for tickets to their next bout against Fog City Canada on Saturday, April 27. Proceeds from the raffle will go to MGPS.

MGPS will not have any adoptable dogs on site. However, adopted dogs will be on hand to visit with anyone who comes to the Meet and Greet. To see videos of adoptable dogs, visit greyhoundplacement.com and click on the “see our adoptable dogs” link at the top of the site.

”If anyone ever thought they would love to have a retired racer then they should come and meet a whole bunch of them on the 20th at For Dogs Boutique,” Sprague said. “We have a saying about greyhounds that is so true: ‘As they race their way to the sofa, they are also racing their way into your heart.’”

To learn more about greyhounds, visit greyhoundplacement.com and critters.bangordailynews.com.

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