February 2017
A monthly newsletter to keep you informed.

Rescue Results for January
In January we had 13 adoptions, and 10 new arrivals from Arkansas breeding farm. We got a mix of breeding females, a few retired racers and some "farm dogs" that were tattooed but not ever registered to race!
Community Events
Love is in the air this month, and American Greyhound wants to share the love and tell you about some of the fun activities happening at some of our sponsors or other charities in the area this month!   Be sure to swing by one on your way to or from a Petco event!  Extra points if you wear an AG t-shirt!
Dog Friendly
Pictures with Cupid
Healthi Paws South 
February 12
11 AM - 3 PM CST
Pictures with Cupid
Healthi Paws North
February 14
3 PM- 6 PM CST
Beginning Glassblowing
Hot Shop Valpo
February 18
Call to schedule your spot
Beginning Glassblowing
Hot Shop Valpo
February 19
Call to schedule your spot
Valpo Kiwanis Pancake Day
Valpo High School
March 11
6:30 AM-12:30 PM CST
$6 pre-sale/$8 at the door. First responders and toddlers free.

The Power of Music
As many of you know, my house is often times like a shelter or a kennel and some of my fosters have had anxieties or fears and many times I have left the radio on for them.  Our vet had suggested country music as it has a more even and calming effect than say pop music.  So when I saw this article on the ASPCA email today, I found it very interesting and thought maybe many of you could incorporate the information for your person dogs in your own homes.  So here it is. -Barb Coggins

Turning the Page on Music in Shelters
Thursday, January 26 2017 |  Dr. Emily Weiss

Words or music? Dr. Emily Weiss shares an exciting new study on the impact of sound on dogs that may find you hitting the books at your shelter.
One of the things I love most about research is there is always more to discover. Over the past 15-20 years there has been a  fair amount of research regarding the impact of music in nonhuman animals. It is now known that different types of music can increase a wide variety of behaviors-from copulatory behavior (you know what I mean-birds do it,  bees do it...) associated with jazz to aggressive behavior associated with heavy metal (yes, we understand that one, don't we?).

The scientific field has identified classical music to be beneficial for a wide range of animals, from elephants and gorillas to mice and...yup, you guessed it, dogs. Sheltering organizations around the country have embraced the concept and have implemented music into enrichment programs, with varied levels of impact and success.

Of course, not all classical music is the same, and some of the variance in behavior is due to the difference in cadence, beat and tempo of, for example, battle marches vs. soft violin sonatas. The impact of sound 24 hours a day vs. some hours of silence can also be powerful. (Important note: Music should be turned off during the overnight at a minimum). More recent research has uncovered some potential impact of species-specific music, which they call psychoacoustically designed dog music. Further study is needed here to determine if habituation (getting used to the sound) mutes impact  over time.

All of the research up until this point examined the difference in behavior between no music vs. music, or one type of music vs. another. Recently a study was published in which the researchers examined the difference between music and audiobooks. Oh! Clever!

They examined dogs' behavior with regular kennel sounds (control condition), classical music, pop music, the psychoacoustically designed dog music and audiobooks. And what they found was pretty cool: Dogs spent more time resting and less time in vigilant behaviors when listening to audiobooks vs. any other condition! The differences in behavior were impressive and meaningful. Interestingly, pop music resulted in the highest rate of barking of all the conditions (a reminder to all that music played in the kennels should be music for the dogs-not for the staff...)

In each of the treatments the sound was played for just two hours-and not every day to avoid saturation. This is important for those using sound as enrichment. If we want to see impact, do not play sound all day long, but instead at strategic times of the day. Try to see if you can decrease barking at feeding or cleaning time, or maybe during the first couple hours of adoptions. The  book used in the experiment was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe performed by Michael York-and just as there was much to learn about the different impact of various music on behavior, so will likely be true for audiobooks. There may be differences in male voices vs. female voices, for example. But for now, it is good to know that reading may rule the calming roost for the canines in our care!
A Special Request for a Special Home
American Greyhound is looking for volunteers willing to open their heart and home to special needs greyhounds that need our help. These foster homes would only be called upon when a hound needs AG that has a medical condition that would require specialized care. These dogs may (or may not) stay in foster care longer than the average hound and may need to visit the vet more frequently than a typical foster. If you think this sounds like an opportunity that calls to your heart, please contact Nicole Graves with any questions at foster@americangreyhound.org or by phone at (219) 395-4432.
If a special needs hound doesn't sound like the right fit for you, but you'd like to be there for a greyhound that needs you, head over to https://agrey.org/2lqBtTX and fill out the fostering application. We are looking to bring hounds up north in early March and also welcome a new group of TGIE parolees in late April.  With so many fostering opportunities ahead, we would love to have you aboard! 

Heart Your Hound

Show us how much you love your hound! Enter the "Heart Your Hound" photo contest for February,! Winners will get bragging rights and hounds featured on American Greyhound's social media sites - Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. #heartyourhound

Enter here:   https://agrey.org/HeartYourHound
2017 Winning Hearts Not Races Auction

You're invited to American Greyhound's 7th annual Winning Hearts, Not Races benefit auction on  April 1, 2017  at the Avalon Manor in Merrillville, IN.  This greyt evening begins with a silent auction, followed by dinner and live auction.

So many greyhounds are counting on you!  Online ticket sales are now open (http://agreyhound.corecommerce.com/winning-hearts-not-races).  

We are also in need of silent and live auction items - gift cards, gift baskets, sports tickets or memorabilia, vacation stays, etc.  To donate or volunteer, please contact Nicole Roth at  nicole.roth@yahoo.com  or  708-828-6810 .
Why Evan Volunteers 
We adopted our first greyhound, Lexi, or Lexus as we liked to call her, from Great Lakes Greyhound in 2010. At that time, my family and I were unaware of the unspoken rule, "you can't just have one greyhound." A couple years later, we adopted Sage from American Greyhound in 2012, and shortly after that we became involved with this incredible organization. In my time with American Greyhound, I have had the privilege of helping my family foster 22 greyhounds and watch them live happy and amazing lives. We now have 3 of our own, Sage, Maddie, and Ishmael, and we still regularly foster. I have been on two hauls down to Alabama, three auctions, and I now have my first Polar Plunge under my belt.

I wanted a new tattoo for the longest time, and couldn't think of what I wanted. Shortly after jumping into Lake Michigan in 20-degree weather, I realized what I wanted. Tattoos are permanent, and for me, are supposed to mean something special. My newest tattoo, done by Lex and Umbrella Ink Tattoo in Valparaiso, features our sweet Lexi.
 At first, I was unsure of wanting Lexi as the star of this tattoo, but that quickly went away. Lexi was my first greyhound, and helped me through many rough moments in high school. She was my best friend. She was there when we lost our Schnauzer, Ernie, after 10 years with him. We lost Lexi in May of 2015. I will always love and remember her, and I now have her with me every step of the way. I have Lexi wearing a Spirit Hood, with enough room for 3-4 snowflakes in the arm of the hood. Each snowflake is going to represent each Polar Plunge I do for American Greyhound. Jeff said that I'm going to need more room for snowflakes than that, and I agree! Underneath Lexi is the American Greyhound flag logo. I got the logo, because of the love I have for this organization.

 American Greyhound has taught me many things in my five years, and is one of the biggest parts of my life. Not only did I fall in love with greyhounds, but I fell in love with the people. American Greyhound has some of the most incredible people I have had the pleasure of knowing! Time and time again, you all have shown me that there are things bigger and greater than all of us; one of those being greyhound rescue. My life was forever changed by greyhounds and American Greyhound. I've said it before, and I will say it again; the greyhounds bring out the best in all of us. I think this is why greyhound people are so amazing, because of these wonderful, loving animals pushing us to love and help others daily.

-Evan Croft
TGIE:  A Work in Progress
Seven years ago, we came across a program that put retired racing greyhounds into a prison where they would be trained by incarcerated handlers for ten weeks before releasing them to rescue groups to place in adoptive homes.  It was a very compelling idea, and one that had been around for several years.  I really liked the idea of freeing up our regular foster homes for other dogs, allowing us to make an ever bigger impact on greyhounds in need of help.  The program was called SCAL, or Second Chance At life, and the program operating out of the prison in Coldwater, MI was just one of many located in different parts of the country.  The first time we participated, they offered us two slots and the dogs were adopted just moments after their release.  After a couple more sessions we worked our way up to nine dogs, where we remain today.  Also, after a couple sessions, we found that the interest in these dogs was so high that by the time they were released from the program, most of them had homes waiting for them on the outside.  The system was working just about to perfection, the nine dogs were "fostered" in the program for the 10 week session and finding a home upon release, allowing us to fill the other foster homes with dogs straight off the track, which allowed us to help more and more dogs.

But, then the bottom fell out.  The facility hosting the program was closing and the National leadership at SCAL was not interested in starting a program at the remaining Coldwater facility.  Our dogs were released prior to completing the 10-week session, and, if we wanted more SCAL dogs, we needed to get them from the Florida based prisons where the program still operated.  And, if we did choose to take some of these dogs, we didn't know which dogs would be coming until no more than a few days prior to graduation, often finding out which dogs were ours when we met their hauler for pick-up.  Without knowing which dogs were coming we could not properly market them and hence, we'd end up having none spoken for on graduation day.  Needless to say, we weren't happy with how the program was working.

And then, we were contacted by Gaye Ann Weaver, the lady who had run the program for SCAL.  She was looking at re-starting the program at Coldwater again, but this time under her control with no national oversight, and would we be interested in again taking part.  Needless to say, we were all in.  The new program had a new name, TGIE or The Greyhound Inmate Experience.   And, since that day, TGIE has graduated over 600 greyhounds from the program, with American Greyhound taking almost 300 of them (the program includes American Greyhound with 9 dogs each session, Greyhounds of Eastern Michigan aka GEM with 6 dogs each session, and Allies for Greyhounds with 5 dogs each session).

But, with all the success we have enjoyed along with TGIE's success, we have never really gotten back to where we were before with the majority of the graduates headed for their new home almost directly upon graduation.  Oh, we've had good sessions where we'd have 3-4 dogs placed after graduation, just not 7-8 like we had done before.  That is, until this past week's graduating class, when 8 out of the 9 dogs coming out of prison were already slated for a new home.  Finally, we are again able to enjoy the benefits of the program which had drawn us to them in the first place. 

One more benefit of the TGIE program is something most American Greyhound supporters, adopters, and volunteers never get to see, but have been tremendously supportive of over the years, and that is the difference we are making in the lives of the inmate handlers of the program.  TGIE is not only giving them a job inside the prison, it is teaching them life skills that are making them better human beings.  These men learn responsibility and teamwork, as it takes the entire group of handlers to make the program operate as it should.  But, more importantly, it teaches them to support each other in both good times and the rough ones,  and it teaches them empathy, for the dogs who come into their care, for the men they work with daily to train these dogs, and for those of us who support the program from outside the wire.  Thank you for being so supportive of this program over the years and for your continued support in the years to come.

And, with the graduation of these dogs who are now headed to their new homes, we placed a fresh group of nine dogs into the program, who will be looking to enter their forever home come April 20th.  If you've ever thought of giving a home to one of these well trained wonders, get in touch with our adoption coordinators at adopt@americangreyhound.org.   But, don't delay, because with the demand we saw for this recently graduated class, they won't be around for long!

How about a little Watermelon Ripple or some Tiger Stripes to change things up?
Any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at hrtangeleh1@gmail.com
Do You Have a Story or Photo?
Do you have a story to share about your own experiences with greyhounds?  Do you have something you want to see in an upcoming newsletter?  Do you have a picture to share?  Please feel free to contact me at newsletter@americangreyhound.com

I'd be happy to include pictures of your dog and share your adoption story.  American Greyhound is YOUR group and I'd love to feature your story.

-Corrie G.
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