News from American Greyhound recapping December and looking forward to January.

December by the Numbers
In December we closed the year with 6 adoptions and 1 new arrival.

This makes our 2017 totals 198 adoptions, 180 AG arrivals, and 15 hauled for other groups.
Polar Bear Wrap Up

Since 2007, American Greyhound volunteers have been braving the icy cold waters of Lake Michigan in order to raise funds and awareness for greyhound adoption.  And, our 11th year was definitely one for the record books.   
As our volunteers drove to the beach, there were many sites to be seen-including pancake ice, mini-fog "tornadoes" or steam devils and sea smoke rising up from the lake, along with a wall of lake effect snow could be seen pummeling LaPorte County and other points along Indiana.   No one was sure what we would encounter when we got to North Avenue Beach, but one thing was sure: no one was going into that water. 
When we pulled into the parking lot, our decision to post-pone the plunge for safety reasons was confirmed.  In order to take part in this year's plunge, you would have needed to be part mountain goat to climb over the shelf ice that had built up so badly in the last few days AND part greyhound to do it before you froze in place as the official air temperature, was a balmy -9 without the windchill!  
American Greyhound would like to especially thank our top fundraisers.  2018's top Polar Bear was Dr. Larry McAfee who raised $2,815.  Our top Penguin was Roxie Sanders who raised $3,112.  Roxie is only our second person in Polar Bear history to break the $3,000 mark!  Way to go Roxie!   Our top Walrus was Celeste Policastro!  Another huge thank you goes to the Old Town Ale House for opening your doors so early to host our fabulous After Splash Bash!  Your chili really hit the spot this year.   All of these folks do an incredible job of raising funds, and awareness of greyhound adoption. 
Whether you tried to jump in, donated online or in person, you helped give a greyhound a brighter new year to look forward to on their journey to their forever homes. 
Best Wishes for a Warm and Wonderful 2018!
P.S.  We will keep you posted on our makeup date for the plunge!  
Meet Our Board of Directors

In the past couple of years, American Greyhound has grown a great deal, in both the numbers of dogs who find forever homes and with the numbers of people who take part by volunteering with us in one or more ways.  And, a lot of what has driven those numbers of new dogs and new people has been the geographical growth we have enjoyed.

A decade ago, American Greyhound operated primarily in Northwest Indiana, with a very small minority of dogs finding homes outside that region.  Today we operate all across Northern Indiana to Fort Wayne and Warsaw, and South Indianapolis and beyond.   We've established ourselves over a great deal of the state of Illinois, With very active groups of volunteers in the Champaign-Urbana area and in the South Suburbs of Chicago.  And each year, almost without fail, we place dogs in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Missouri. 

Well, with all this growth a lack of familiarity begins to develop within our organization.  Where at one time it would not be unusual for most volunteers and board members to see each other in person almost every week, today there are many volunteers who have never met any of the Board of Directors or any volunteers other than those who lived in their geographic region. 
Well, we believe that this is something that needs to change.   And, for starters we thought that we'd kick the New Year off by introducing our Board of Directors and give you a little information about them.  So, in alphabetical order, here is our Board of Directors:
Julie Certa

Julie lives in Calumet City, IL with her husband Bob, and joined the board in 2014.  Julie assembles adoption packets and maintains our veterinary records.
Barbara Coggins

Barb lives in Valparaiso, IN with her husband Jeff and joined the board in 2005.  Barb served as Treasurer from 2005 until 2017 and has participated in every polar Bear plunge.
Jeff Coggins

Jeff lives in Valparaiso, IN with his wife Barb and joined the board in 2005.  Jeff has served as President of the organization since 2009.
Chris Dill

Chris lives in LaPorte, IN with his wife Sheri and joined the board in 2016.  Chris and his wife operate the American Greyhound web store.
Sarah Gasienica

Sarah lives in Valparaiso, IN and joined the board in 2012.  Sarah has served as Vice President of the organization since 2012 as well as the Chairing the Polar Bear plunge.
Nicole Graves

Nicole lives in Barnhart, MO with her husband David and two children, and joined the board in 2012.  Nicole has served as Foster Coordinator since 2012.

Sharon Larson

Sharon lives in Tinley Park, IL with her husband Robert and joined the board in 2016.  Sharon serves as an Adoption coordinator for the Northern Illinois area.
Karen Marshall

Karen lives in Hobart, IN and joined the board in 2005.  Karen serves as Secretary for the organization.
Annette Martin

Annette lives in Hobart, IN and joined the board in 2016.  Annette serves as the Treasurer for the organization.
Melissa Pearman

Melissa lives in Valparaiso, IN with her husband Eric and two children and joined the board in 2011.  Melissa serves as our Events Coordinator.
Nicole Roth

Nicole lives in Chicago, IL with her husband Jeff and joined the board in 2012.  Nicole serves as our Auction Chairperson.

It's Auction Time at American Greyhound

The holidays are over and life gets a little slower for a bit.  Life may get slower for some people maybe, but now for our auction committee.  Now is the time for us to start ramping up and getting ready for the biggest night of American Greyhound's year....Winning Hearts, Not races benefit auction!

We still need people to help us fill the committee and make 2018's version of the auction the biggest and best ever.  We'll have a building coming out of the ground very shortly and the stakes will be going up for American Greyhound.  So, your efforts to make this event a success are tremendously important to us.

We'd like to kick off the season with a conference call in the next week or so and to get your name on the list of committee members and part of the call, contact Co-chair Christina Robbins at (219)730-1356 or email her at membership

Seeing your hard work come to fruition in a very successful auction will be a very rewarding experience.  Around 9:30 PM on April 28th, as the dust settles over the close of our 8th annual auction, you'll have a smile on your face that will require surgery to remove.
Don't miss out, call!
Change of Address

American Greyhound maintains a database with the names, addresses and contact information on all of the people who have adopted hounds from us.  This information and its accuracy is very important for a number of reasons.

First, for the safety of your dog.  We hope it never happens to you, but our greyhounds do occasionally get loose.  And when they do, we aren't always the ones who are able to catch them.  We receive numerous calls each year from folks who have captured one of our adopted dogs and accuracy of your contact information is vitally important for us to identify the dog and its owner.  Of course, its very important to keep the collar on your dog with the ID tag he came with.  But, even if a dog gets his collar off, we have the capability to ID a dog using ear tattoos, location where found and a number of other factors from our database.   

Also, we typically send out at least two mailings per year, a Calendar at the end of the year and an invitation to our Winning Hearts, Not races Benefit auction in the Spring. But to assure delivery, its very important that we have correct, up-to-date information.

So, if you have moved, had a change of phone number or email address,  or just want to be sure we have the correct info for you and your dog(s), please send an email to David Graves at, and he'll get things squared up for you.

It may seem minor now, but your pup gets loose and is running at full throttle, you'll be glad you helped us update that database. 
Around Town with Your Hound

Happy New Year!  The schmoopies and I had a wonderful holiday season and hope that you did as well.  The schmoopies made a New Year's resolution to nap more, but I decided we are going to be visiting even more events in 2018.  We hope to see you at one of American Greyhound's fellow Greater Valparaiso Chamber Members or other supporters' events this month or coming up!  
Simko Signs Board Game Night
Ironwood Brewing Co., 6 Roosevelt Road, Valparaiso, IN
Dates: January 10, 2018 at 4:00 PM-Close 
Cost: Free. 
Hound Friendly: No
Long Johns on Winter Warmer Bash 2018
Burn 'Em  Brewing, 718 Freyer Road, Michigan City, IN
Dates: January 13, 2018 at 11:30 AM -  6:00 PM 
Cost: $10 presale; $15 at the door.  Visit to purchase tickets 
Hound Friendly: No
Bomber Girls LRC Valentine's Day Cookie Drive for Our Troops
Bring Valentines day cards, and homemade treats in gallon ziplocs by the dozens (including treats for military dogs) to VFW Post 2511, 1290 Wagner Road, Porter,  IN 46304.    
Dates: January 20, 2018 at 12:00 -4:00 PM. 
Cost: Free. 
Hound Friendly: No
Emil's Brrrew Fest
Frankfort Spirits 23320 S. LaGrange Road, Frankfort, IL 60423
Dates: January 27, 2018 1:00-5:00 PM   
Cost: Visit to purchase tickets. 
Hound Friendly: No
Start the New Year Bright Health Food For Healthy Mind
Fluid Coffeebar, 159 Lincolnway, Valparaiso, IN
Dates: January 25 6:00 PM
Cost: Free 
Hound Friendly: Not this time but Fluid is regularly a hound friendly place to be!
Great Lakes Pet Expo
Wisconsin Exposition Center At State Fair Park 8200 W. Greenfield Ave, West Allis, WI 53214
Dates: February 3, 2018  10:00 AM-5:00 PM CST 
Cost: Visit to purchase tickets. 
Hound Friendly: Yes
Start the New Year Bright Health Food For Healthy Mind
Fluid Coffeebar, 159 Lincolnway, Valparaiso, IN
Dates: February 9, 2018 6:00 PM
Cost: Free 
Hound Friendly: Not this time but Fluid is regularly a hound friendly place to be!
 American Greyhound's Winning Hearts Not Races Annual Auction
Avalon Manor, Merrillville, IN
Dates: April 28, 2018
Cost:  TBD
Hound Friendly: No
If there is a fun community activity in your area that's greyhound friendly or showcases one of American Greyhound's fantastic supporters, I would love to tell everyone about it! Email, text, or call me about it and I would love to feature it in my monthly column-Around Town with Your Hounds!  By the way, the event doesn't just have to be in the Valparaiso area either-the schmoopies and I LOVE a good road trip-especially if there's good coffee or a travel buddy involved!
  Sarah Gasienica
Vice President
Valpo Chamber of Commerce Representative
(219) 263-8742
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