Each year, the ASPCA awards financial support to U.S.-based nonprofit animal welfare organizations through grants, sponsorships, technical assistance and training. The ASPCA Grantee Highlight Series is a collection of stories that celebrates and showcases the impact that these organizations are having on the lives of animals across the country.
The Greyhound Adoption Center (GAC) in El Cajon, California has been rescuing and rehabilitating retired racing hounds for nearly 30 years. With a staff consisting almost entirely of devoted volunteers who work tirelessly to find loving and permanent homes for these hounds, GAC has long relied heavily on their personal modes of transportation to conduct emergency rescues and bring the hounds to adoption awareness events in various cities throughout the state of California.
In June of last year, the ASPCA awarded an animal relocation grant to GAC, giving them the opportunity to purchase a large van that has provided the staff of GAC with a level of flexibility that is helping to change the way that they work.
“The new van enables GAC to respond to more emergency rescue situations in an efficient way. And we are now expanding our adoption program to areas that we could not otherwise serve,” says Darren Rigg, Founder and President of the Greyhound Adoption Center, which, since its founding, has rescued and found homes for over 6,000 rescued Greyhounds across the country.
One of GAC’s major rescues this year involved transporting dogs from Arizona in 100-degree temperatures. In addition to the safety and relief that a functioning air conditioner brought to the hounds, the new van was spacious enough to accommodate the individual crates of each dog. Separating the animals who didn’t know each other provided a safe and stress-free ride for both the hounds and the rescue crew.
In addition to facilitating safe and efficient rescues, the wrapped van gives a visual nod to the ASPCA support and serves as a mobile billboard designed to encourage community discussion and increase awareness around Greyhounds and Greyhound adoption. “Since the van is fully equipped for a show and tell, we don’t spend extra time setting up a booth with tables, chairs, awnings, etc. And when we are ready to pack up, it takes about 15 minutes to get the dogs back in the van and our supplies packed away,” says Rigg.
The van and the staff of GAC were featured on a local morning news show earlier this summer.
“The ASPCA support portrayed on the van wrap is a feather in our cap. By prominently displaying the ASPCA logo on our new rescue van, we have more credibility in the public’s eyes. The prestige of being associated with such a highly regarded organization like the ASPCA is an honor for GAC, and definitely accounts for more retired racing Greyhounds finding their forever homes,” says Rigg.
To learn more about the great work of the Greyhound Adoption Center, visit their website at www.houndsavers.org.