The Greyhounds are Coming

Among the Cayuga Wine Trail’s scheduled events this summer is a wine tasting specifically designed for greyhound owners and their pets. The Grapehound Wine Tour drew 227 attendees and their greyhounds from all over the country in 2006, when it was first introduced. In 2007 that number doubled, putting the Cayuga Wine Trail on the map as a major national greyhound gathering place, joining Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Dewey Beach, Delaware and Raynham, Massachusetts

No, the hounds don’t taste wine at the 16 participating wineries, although last year’s event included a doggy ice cream social and a walk to Taughannock Falls. They bring their owners from as far away as Florida, California and Chicago, and the people love to get together almost as much their dogs do.

Hundreds of greyhounds are released each year from racing kennels because they aren’t winning races, and unless they are adopted by loving owners, the future of these gentle, elegant dogs is bleak. The Grapehound Wine Tour helps New York state adoption and rescue groups get the word out about greyhounds and what great pets they make. In addition, the Cayuga Wine Trail contributes a portion of every event ticket sold to local New York adoption groups to support and promote greyhound adoption.

Out of the hundreds of visitors who get to mingle with greyhounds up close, some may decide to adopt then and there. That’s what happened to Cleveland residents Debbie and Mike Szalkowski.

Last July, they happened to be in Corning on business. The couple decided to sample the local wine, and when they arrived at the wineries, greyhounds were everywhere. Coincidentally, they had just lost their aging Dalmatian, Lanigan. Debbie and Mike were so impressed with the gentle demeanor of the dogs that they went home and contacted a Cleveland-area adoption group. Within the month, they had adopted Gracie. The family plans to return this year to the Grapehound Wine Tour.

From the time of ancient Egypt, through Elizabethan England and to the present day, Greyhounds have been welcomed into our homes. They’re very low-key dogs and like most hounds, don’t mind snoozing away a major portion of the day. They earn their nickname, “40 miles-per-hour couch potatoes.” While they love to run hard for five minutes in a fenced area, they’d rather be resting on a soft pillow for the better part of the day. Most rarely bark, and their gentleness, faithfulness and elegance make them an ideal pet.

The Grapehound Wine Tour is a great occasion to come out and meet these beautiful dogs. Greyhound owners are always willing (and sometimes compelled) to tell you what makes these dogs such wonderful pets.

by Larry Bowersox

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