Skip to main content

"I have moved over 2,700 greyhounds to adoption by working with 15+ farmers in Abilene and countless adoption groups."

In 1993, I was a young college student looking for a summer job. My sister's boyfriend (now husband) worked at the Woodlands as a security guard, and he knew I loved animals and said why don't I put my info up in the guard shack? So I did. Ironically, that did not lead to a job at the track, but an assistant job with Robert Gillette who owned greys and had his own veterinary practice. I took over care of his 12 greyhound farm and worked at his clinic also. Since I still didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life, this was a very formative time for me. But the greyhounds spoke to me. When he didn't feel like he had enough work for me, he hooked me up with Harvey Brown a trainer at the Woodlands, where I started as a helper and worked my way up to trainer.

I spent 15 years of my life training greyhounds and it was my favorite time of my whole life, and it solidified in me really quickly that I wanted to follow my dream and become a veterinarian. I was accepted into the KSU College of Veterinary Medicine class of 1999. And yes, I still worked at the track on breaks back home. When I graduated, I worked full time veterinary for a few years, then dropped to part time veterinary and part time greyhound assistant trainer. When the Woodlands closed in 2008, I cried, that big huge ugly cry, I felt like my life was over. I had Flying Robin in the last race ever run at the Woodlands, it was a Grade A (which she had no business being in, as she was only competitive as a C dog), but she came off smiling, helicopter tail wagging, so happy for her last place effort. The track had made a video of memories they played after that last race, celebrating the memories, and tears just streamed down my face unabashedly while I sat there hugging Robin.

After the Woodlands closed, I wanted to stay in the greyhound industry somehow, so I started a greyhound cancer study (which I am still doing, and will do for the remainder of my life). When Greyhound Support of Kansas City stopped placing the adoptables out of Abilene, I took over. I have owned a couple of racers of my own (though I was a much better trainer than I am an owner), and my husband and I chose not to have children, so we have 13 greyhound kids of our own at this time.

I knew nothing about greyhounds or greyhound racing when I started working with them. I learned very quickly that this breed is who they are because of everything they go through to be a racer. They stay with their littermates until they are a year of age, so they are way better socialized with other dogs than any other breed. They tend to go into the kennels at around a year of age, where they are taught to be lead broke and to be handled in all the ways they will need to be handled as a racer. And then they go through the various stages of training: from the jackalure to whirlygigging, to walking, to sprinting, to handslipping and boxing, each is a step toward becoming a racer, and even the ones that fail, are very well trained to become a pet.

I have now personally owned 46 greyhound pets that I have welcomed into my home. I couldn't tell you how many I have fostered personally. I have moved over 2,700 greyhounds to adoption by working with 15+ farmers in Abilene and countless adoption groups. I have taken in any sick greyhound off of my adoption list because I believe that every dog should know a home, whether it be for one day, one week or one month. Greyhounds are my everything and everything I do is for the greyhounds, and it always will be. And without greyhound racing, we have no greyhounds, at least, not the dogs we love.

Shelley Lake, DVM
Paola, KS


Popular posts from this blog

"Canada's Greyhound Air Service"

  CANADA’S GREYHOUND AIR SERVICE ...AND FOR THE LOVE OF GREYHOUNDS In 1996 an Airbus service of seven Boeing 727s out of British Columbia was born, called Canada’s GREYHOUND AIR (see photo) with a connection to Greyhound Bus Lines. Unfortunately the air service collapsed 14 months later as Laidlaw Inc. bought out Greyhound Bus Lines with no interest in keeping the air service alive. But let me tell you ... it was the best experience I've ever had on a plane. The mascot for the air service was a retired racing greyhound. The promotional advertisement was this greyhound lifting his leg on the 727's tire (see photo, may have to enlarge). The flight attendants handed out t-shirts with the mascot's photo on the front, greyhound drink containers, greyhound key fobs, a table-size standing mascot with greyhound puppy (see photo), a life-size standing greyhound AND sterling silver greyhound tie tacs and cuff links. In addition to that, a few of the flight attendants were qu
NO on 13 groups: 4 Greyhound Racers ACT Greyhounds Adopt A Greyhound Atlanta Adoptable Greythounds of Florida After the Track Greyhound Adoption Alabama Greyhound Adoption Center Allies for Greyhounds Arizona Adopt A Greyhound Awesome Greyhound Adoptions Bay Area Greyhound Adoptions Bluegrass Greyhound Adoption Box to the Wire Greyhound Adoption California Greyhound Adoption Promotion Camp Greyhound Connecticut Greyhound Adoption (GPA) Crazy for Greyhounds Adoption Erie Shore Greyhound Adoption of Ohio Everything Grey Greyhound Haven Everything Greyt Fast Friends Greyhound Adoption Sarasota FastK9’s Greyhound Adoption Fly Girls United Forever Home Greyhound Adoptions Gemini’s Pampered Greyhounds Gillian’s Greyhound Adoption God’s Greyts Greyhound Group Going Home Greyhounds Gold Coast Greyhound Adoptions GPA Charleston GPA Greater Northwest GPA Louisville GPA Massachusetts Adoption Center GPA National GPA Ohio GPA Tampa Bay GPA Wisconsin Greyed