AUGUSTA — Some of the fastest mammals on Earth can also be the laziest.

“They sleep 22 hours a day,” Elizabeth Tulip said, as she patted the head of a docile greyhound named Gwen. “They’re 45 mile-per-hour couch potatoes.”

Four years old and with a reddish-blond coat, Gwen is one of 11 greyhounds that recently were brought to the Maine Greyhound Placement Service, a nonprofit organization in Augusta that takes in the speedy pooches and gets them ready for adoption by people around the state.

While racing on the tracks of eastern Florida, Gwen won more than 20 of her 196 races, according to Tulip, who looked up her records on a national database. But like many of the dogs that are brought to the Maine organization, those days are behind Gwen.

“They’re ready to retire,” said Tulip, who lives in Belgrade and runs the organization’s kennel on a voluntary basis.

Started more than 25 years ago and run by volunteers, Maine Greyhound Placement Service is not so much a rescue organization as a way station for hounds that have been treated humanely, but no longer can race and are suitable for adoption. The efforts of the Maine Greyhound Placement Service recently got a nod from the American Greyhound Council, which named it Greyhound Adoption Program of the Year 2016 in the eastern United States.


The distinction came with a $1,000 grant, which will be put back into its services, Tulip said.

It’s the first time the award has gone to the Maine Greyhound Placement Service, which places 100 percent of its dogs through adoption, according to Tulip.

The agency receives a shipment of the retired dogs every month. Some have raced; others never made it to the track. The hounds stay in cages and are let outside to stretch their legs multiple times a day. They receive medical tests and treatment at a veterinary clinic attached to the placement center. The clinic also treats other animals and uses the proceeds to support the placement service.

Early this week, the 11 new arrivals were all either sleeping or acting calmly when a couple of visitors arrived at the kennel. Tulip said they were probably still tired from their journey to Maine over the weekend.

But some of the 27 other hounds already staying there barked and whipped their tails back and forth in excitement about the guests.

Scott Bruns and Mary Towle started the organization after adopting their own greyhounds and beginning to volunteer at a shelter. They established their own kennel in Bridgton, then relocated it in Augusta in 2003. The current space can house more than 50 dogs.


Tulip said the award was a feather in the cap for both the founders of the organization and its 20 volunteers. More volunteers always are needed, Tulip added, and adoptions can be arranged by contacting the center.

With their racing days behind them, the dogs generally adapt well to the indoor comforts of a furnished home, Tulip said. But because they have been trained to sprint after quickly moving objects, they must always be kept on leashes when going outside. Owners also are advised to dress their greyhounds in coats when leaving home in winter.

The Maine organization even produces its own fleece coats and other protective clothing for greyhounds, which Tulip said exemplifies the vision of its founders.

“Scott is very forward thinking,” Tulip said of his decision to produce dog clothing. “He said, ‘I know I can do it a lot better.'”

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

Twitter: @ceichacker


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