There was a timeline in my head. I saw my daughter going off to college and the collapse of Greyhound racing in the United States as events converging at some point in the future. Not soon...but inevitable. And I had a plan. When that day came, I would "retire" to Spain and focus on helping the sighthounds there. It would keep me close to the dogs I love and prevent me from becoming "that mom" stalking their college coed on campus. It was a good plan.
When Florida voted to end racing in November of 2018, everything changed. While many Greyhound adoption groups began gearing up for a flood of adoptable dogs, your intrepid SHUG team started thinking about what would come after. I've written as far back as 2014 about the reduction in Greyhound breeding over the past decade. Yes, Greyhounds will still exist...but in much smaller numbers. There will be very few Greyhounds available for adoption and many, many more Greyhound adopters.
Going forward racing Greyhounds will no longer need the dynamic network that thousands of volunteers have spent decades building to support them. But there are dogs that do. There are tens of thousands of sighthounds who need help every year, all over the world--and most of them are in Spain.
So today, that is where I am.
When I first saw this property in the south of Spain, I referred to it as "the ugly house" in my notes. Obviously it needs just a little bit of work. Every day we discover more things that need to be fixed...broken windows, leaky roof. Did I mention there's no hot water in the bathroom? But that's okay. This house is ours and we love it.
For now, China and the Middle East are closed to US rescues due to the ban by the CDC and most Greyhound groups have waiting lists of 50 or more homes waiting for dogs. So we will focus on Spain. There are so many wonderful dogs here who desperately deserve homes. We will also work with our partners in places like Korea, which is still open to the US, to bring those dogs to their forever homes as well. And we are still here to help sighthounds in the US who need to be rehomed for one reason or another or who have special needs. Retired racers--especially seniors or dogs with injuries--and unregistered Greyhounds, Italian Greyhounds, Lurchers, and other Sighthounds in the US will always be our first priority. But for now, the vast majority of the dogs who need our help are in Spain. So that's where I will be.
If you need us, you can still reach us here, on social media, via email or phone. SHUG will still operate in fundamentally the same way it always has.
As we begin to work on turning the Ugly House into something new, we will be documenting our journey online. For those of you who have been following us on Facebook, we will continue to post there. Like many other non-profits, we have found that Facebook is hiding our content from our followers more and more. We hope you will consider following us on Patreon.
Since we started our Patreon account, our followers there have gotten to see our first litter of galgo puppies grow up and head off to their new homes. Our Patreon page will also offer more behind-the-scenes info on upcoming transports and dogs who are on the way.
In September you can join us at the 22nd annual Greyhounds in Gettysburg event to hear more about The Ugly House, the dogs in Spain, and our partners on the ground here who are making a difference.
The last two years have been all about change. We see many people who are still trying desperately to force the future into the mold of the past--trying to get back to where we were. For better or worse, that's not a thing. The world has changed and so have our plans. We hope that you will go along with us on this new adventure. The only thing we can guarantee is that there will definitely be dogs.