Greyhound Adoptions of Florida has directly or indirectly enabled some 5,000 former racing greyhounds to find homes where they are cherished as family members, not money-making commodities. For well over two decades we were Florida's premier greyhound rehoming organization. We were not, are not, nor will we ever be affiliated with the greyhound racing industry.

Our goal now is to educate people on the importance of companion animals in our society and work to stop animal abuse and neglect. Most especially in these gentle, graceful, magnificent dogs we know so well and love.

 

 

 

From our Co-Founder and President, Marilyn Varnberg:
Regarding Freedom's Garden

On February 1, 1992 a litter of greyhound puppies was born.  At about three months of age they were tattooed and eventually named so they could go to the track.  One of those puppies was named Sports Director.  I met him when he was three years old...and done with racing.  We met down at Church Street Station in Orlando at what I was to learn was called a Meet 'n Greet.  I walked over to this group of humans and hounds...astounded...I had never seen a greyhound before...and I knelt down to see this group of strange looking dogs and from behind the pack, a small brindle male came forward and put his head on my shoulder.

That's where my love affair with greyhounds began.  It was Sport ... he knew and I knew that it was the start of a relationship that would not only change his life but mine ... in a direction I could never have planned.

Fast forward many, many years.  We lived in various locations...we learned about these dogs, their breeding, their training, their days/years at the track...and we learned that there was a huge need to HELP these dogs.  GAF was formed without a political opinion, just a desire to do something good for an amazing breed of dogs.

And somewhere along the way...political opinions formed and grew,  The love we all had for this breed was amazing, overwhelming, and as we adopted out dogs and loved those we kept, we learned that when you love, you also will lose that creature you adore, because they just don't live as long as we do.  And so many of them never get to live in a home, have a special toy, a bed, a human to cuddle with.  WE needed a place to remember all of them...those who we touched and loved and those we never had that chance.

So, thanks to Bob Varnberg and Kelly Faircloth, the Memorial Garden at Grey Haven was born.  It was Freedom's Garden...a little black girl who escaped from a breeding farm and refused to be caught.  Sadly we found her one Fourth of July morning, hit by a car at the end of our road.  Bob picked her up and brought her "home" and with the help of a kind greyhound breeder, brought her home to Grey Haven and gave her a place to rest...and so began Freedom's Garden.

For almost 12 years, we all came together and celebrated the love we had for so many...we celebrated our memories and we laughed and cried together.  Those were such special memories...and there was our special stone (thank you Diane Jackson) that remembered Sport...the one who started it all.

But like all of life it changes...not always the way we want it to but the way the world has always done.  So many have left us...so many are now just memories that bring back those tears and laughter.  I've gotten older...so has Russ.  It was time to end that part of GAF and move the beloved garden to our place on the side of a mountain.  The memorial garden and all of it's pavers and statues and memories will live on in a place we love.  Bob will be here, Sport will be here, and all of your memories and ours will live on.

Come visit us!  Help us clear the underbrush, put in mulch, make a path, use the pavers, place the statues, shed some tears and tell your stories. And remember my Sport, the kind, gentle brindle boy who started this story.

We are going to try to get some sort of press coverage here in Murphy to get some volunteer help and also raise some awareness.  I will pass on pictures and text of anything that comes our way ... maybe a little poke from a tiny town in the mountains may just remind a few uncaring people that WE CARE ... and will fight to the bitter end and never have to add ashes to the garden from a dog that never had a chance.


 

 

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Co-Founder and President, Marilyn Varnberg

 

Greyhound Adoptions
of Florida, Inc.
P.O. Box 955
Sparr, FL 32192-0955
(352) 812-0200
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