By Laura Krantz/Daily News staff GateHouse News Service Posted Mar 17, 2013 @ 11:47 PM Last update Mar 18, 2013 @ 07:11 PM HOPKINTON —
It can be hard to say no to a wagging tale and a slobbery mouth that just wants love.
That's part of the reason Greyhound Friends, Inc., a non-profit on Saddle Hill Road, has begun accepting other breeds of homeless dogs, too.
"Basically what we’re doing is saving dogs’ lives," Director Louise Coleman said Friday.
For nearly 30 years the local organization has paid to transport greyhounds from the South and Midwest to Massachusetts. The facility spays or neuters dogs, gives them medical care and finds new owners.
As greyhound racing has declined in the South, the organization in the past year began accepting other breeds, still mostly from the southern states.
Many dogs come from economically depressed areas where owners lose jobs and homes and give their dogs to shelters, she explained. Dog pounds in the South, where far fewer animals are spayed or neutered, often turn into "kill shelters" when they get too full.
But that's not the case at Greyhound Friends, Inc., which keeps no more than 30 dogs at a time. One dog there now is Duke, a 2-year-old shepherd mix who was lucky enough to get an extra walk in the yard Friday.
"He’s got a big head but he’s got a big heart, too," said Jon Servello as he held Duke's leash. Servello has worked at Greyhound Friends less than a year ago and already owns one dog.
Coleman said the shelter has taken in and sent out between 250 and 300 mixed breeds since it began accepting other breeds 18 months ago. They still focus primarily on greyhounds, moving about 300 through their facility every year, she said.
Coleman said staff work carefully to match dogs, which each cost $250, with appropirate owners.
"It’s like a constellation. You’re putting another member into the constellation," she said.