Italian Greyhound lovers cluster to rescue, adopt castaways

From left, Gail Redmound, Kansas City, Mo., holds Primo, her Italian Greyhound, and Patty Buck of Topeka holds Amber. A get-acquainted party for dogs and their owners took place Saturday.

Italian Greyhound

At a Saturday afternoon play date in southeast Lawrence, Gail Redmond cheered as her Italian Greyhound, Simon, dunked his head into a tub full of water and bobbed for hot dogs.

“Simon, are you done? Are you going to get some more?” she yelled at the dog she had been fostering for the past several months.

Redmond was among the group of adults gathered around the tubs, cheering their dogs on, taking pictures and videotaping the flurry of furry activity perfect for the playful breed.

“It’s kind of like having a little kid around, except not quite as much responsibility,” said Sarah Niileksela, who hosted the event with her husband, Chris.

The play date was an opportunity for owners and foster owners to bring their toy-sized dogs together.

“They really seem to like their own kind, and they are a really quirky breed. So we like to get together and talk about what it is like to own them,” Niileksela said.

The owners are part of Missouri Italian Greyhound Rescue, an organization that helps find homes for dogs that come from shelters, puppy mills or abusive homes.

The organization has 20 dogs ready for adoption.

Many at Saturday’s play date were fostering dogs or already adopted them.

Melissa Bennett, who was holding a frail, shy, gray Italian Greyhound named Martini, had done both.

Martini came from a Kansas puppy mill a few years ago. After seeing an ad for a dog that was free to a good home, Bennett recently agreed to foster another Italian Greyhound named Brutus.

“They are so darn cute,” Bennett said. “They are so full of personality.”

Redmond also has adopted and fostered dogs. Simon was among the causalities of a bad economy. His former owner lost his job and had to move out of his home.

Redmond already had two Italian Greyhounds, one of them adopted. But that didn’t stop her from opening her home up again.

“We’ve got the house and we’ve got the love,” she said.