Greyhound Adoptions of Florida is a 501(c)3
non-profit organization dedicated to finding responsible, loving homes for retired racing greyhounds.
   
Our primary chapter is based in Florida, but we have placed dogs in loving homes in more than a dozen states throughout the U.S.
    
Our goal is to educate people on the importance of companion animals in our society to stop the cycle of animal neglect and abuse.

Your gifts are
tax deductible.

 

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

 

 

About Us,
Grey Haven,
Board of Directors,
&
GAF FAQ's

Greyhound Adoptions of Florida is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding responsible, loving homes for retired racing greyhounds. Our primary chapter is based in Florida, but we have placed dogs in homes in more than a dozen states throughout the U.S.

We were one of the first adoption groups to actively push the “adoptable dog” boundaries. A broken leg on a 2-year old should not bring an automatic death sentence, nor should a 10-year old brood have to live her post-breeding life wasting away in a dirt pen. There’s hope for many of these forgotten greyhounds, and we would say, it’s their right.  We've made their rights part of our mission.

More than half of all U.S. dog tracks are here in Florida. Your tax-deductible contributions are what make it possible for us to fix what the greyhound racing industry breaks. Please know that every penny is used to improve and save lives.

We’d love to welcome you to Grey Haven Farm. Come and see how hope translates to health, how health leads to joy and finally to love between a deserving greyhound and a new adoptive family. It’s a story that never grows old … and we love happy endings!

 

Grey Haven

Grey Haven … three acres of peace and quiet punctuated by the raucous barking of happy greyhounds. It’s a true haven where each dog can learn that there is life after racing … life after breeding. A place to heal and to learn that lots of ear scratches feel wonderful and that a greyhound grin is a good way to make new friends.

 

Our kennel has crates with lots of comfy bedding, a water bucket and a radio that plays country music, or classical depending on the whims of the humans. (The dogs have not professed a preference.) The routine hardly ever varies … out in the morning to play tag, dig a new hole and take care of business while a human straightens and cleans up. They know exactly when breakfast is being made and they line up at the gate, waiting impatiently to be fed. Nap time follows breakfast, then one more “out” while the human finishes sweeping, mopping and doing dishes and laundry.

Dogs are let out to play and relieve themselves five times a day … activities depend on the weather. Cool, clear days are active days; the hotter the weather, the less play time and the quicker they want to be back in the air-conditioned kennel. Rain, most don’t like it, some won’t go out in it and others run and bark and challenge any thunder that dares to intrude on their property.

Cookie time is often … amount depends on how many they can beg from a generous volunteer. And they learn that quickly!

Each greyhound receives total vet care according to their physical needs. Once we know the dog is ready for a home of their own, we begin the search for the right family. We learn a lot about the dogs from working with them every day. We know who’s shy, who loves everyone, who would do better as an only dog or who must have another dog friend to live with. Our goal is and always will be to do the best for every single dog and to meet the needs of every individual greyhound.

Saying goodbye is bitter sweet. Watching each dog evolve never ceases to amaze us … knowing they have a future and will be loved by a family is what it’s all about.

Grey Haven is open for visitors by appointment only. Please, make a point of coming to meet the dogs … take one for a walk, visit the Memorial Garden and sit with us under one of our huge oak trees draped with Spanish moss and talk about what we love most … greyhounds.

 

 

Board of Directors

Greyhound Adoptions of Florida’s Board of Directors oversees our activities and steers our course. The board has been drawn from our active membership with the goal of assembling a diversity of skills and experience, both with greyhounds and with running an organization.

New board members must be proposed by an existing member and approved in a simple majority vote. The GAF board meets formally and in person annually, supplemented by email and telephone conferencing. To reach any of our board members, please use the email addresses provided.

Marilyn Varnberg
President, Co-Founder and Treasurer

Contact me at mvarnberg@embarqmail.com.

After adopting our first greyhound some 20 years ago, Bob Varnberg and I started Greyhound Adoptions of Florida. We knew immediately that we wanted to help these amazing dogs find homes, have a future and give what they had long been denied. Over the years, GAF has grown and become a well-known name in the world of greyhound adoption. Today we have three chapters: One in the Delaware area, one in Charlotte, North Carolina and our home base here in Citra, Florida.


Bob Varnberg & "Angel"

Grey Haven, our headquarters and kennel facility, is three acres of peace and rehabilitation for every greyhound that joins our program. I coordinate pick ups, medical care and adoptions for all of our dogs. Since Bob’s death in 2007, we have continued to grow, expand our areas of adoption and make a name for ourselves while continuing to fight for the best for every greyhound that comes into our program.

 

Russ Anderson
Executive Vice President

Contact me at Scootacius@aol.com.

I am retired from careers in industrial engineering, industrial management, U.S. Army Reserves and owner and CEO of a manufacturing company. I currently devote much of my time to my true passion in life: helping operate Grey Haven, our adoption kennel and maintaining Freedom's Memorial Garden.

While I joined as a GAF board member in 2014, I have been owned by greyhounds for more than 14 years, with Bear as my current 4-legged love as well as all our “kennel kids.”

 

Joyce Carta
Vice President
Greyt News! Editor

Contact me at taigajc@gmail.com.

I have been a member of GAF since February 2000, and joined the board of directors in 2008, following careers in marketing consulting and in the travel industry. I’ve been owned by greyhounds for the past 20 years, having shared my life with seven so far, the current two being Wedjet & Ghazala … yes, my dogs get unusual names.

I am editor of GAF's newsletter "Greyt News!" and the political liaison with Florida legislative activities and with Grey2K USA Worldwide.  DO PLEASE get in touch with me, with cute, entertaining and/or heartwarming stories and pictures for "Greyt News!" ... or ... if you would like more information on what they're up to in Tallahassee.

 

Carol Bellavia
Recording Secretary

Contact me at anglia48@aol.com.

I have just been elected President of The Villages Greyhound Club and have been active there since 2010. I now work full-time, but in a few years look forward to devoting more time to GAF once I retire. I was adopted by my first greyhound in 2003, a beautiful red fawn male, Bocce, who went to the Rainbow Bridge in early 2014.

Bocce and I participated in many Greyhound events during our time in Colorado before coming to Florida in 2009. I met Marilyn Varnberg and was first introduced to GAF in early 2010. I was so impressed with the work she does, that I knew I wanted to be involved and help as much as I could. I joined the board in 2013.

My second greyhound, Kerri Anne, also was adopted from GAF, she came to our family as a sassy senior to keep Bocce "company". Well that was the idea anyway. We lost Kerri Anne in 2011, her spirit lives on … I’m sure she’s now back to bossing Bocce around.

Our newest addition is Zipper; he was a broken leg dog in December 2013 and he healed beautifully and joined our family in June 2014. He keeps me on my toes, we walk about seven miles each day. We walk using the WoofTrax app, another way to raise money for Greyhound Adoptions of Florida!

 

Mary Prather
Member

Contact me at maryshounds@yahoo.com.

I adopted my first greyhound in 2000 from a group in Raleigh, NC. And six months later, I adopted my second greyhound through a common practice known as failed fostering. Early spring of 2001 I was asked to assist in a greyhound underground railroad (GUR) which is a private transport to get a dog from point A to point B, for Greyhound Adoptions of Florida. During that trek, I met Bob Varnberg in Florence, SC. I met Marilyn later that year in Dewey Beach, Delaware after months of weekly phone conversations planning each GUR transport.

For the next five years I was the Florence, SC hub, to either the Wilson, NC or Richmond, VA leg of the monthly GUR’s for GAF. I moved to the Charlotte, NC area late 2005 and became the GAF hotel/stop over for the "new" GUR route.

Seniors and special need pups hold a special place in my heart. Taking on behavioral issues and the needs of an aging dog have been my focus. I have been adopted by 19 1/2 greyhounds (one was a whippet) and currently am in the service of two demanding ladies, Denny and Rita. I have been on the GAF board since 2005 and continue to support the mission of finding a home for every greyhound and finally the end to dog racing.

 

 

GAF FAQ's

We invite you to learn more about Greyhound Adoptions of Florida.
Do you have a question that isn’t answered here? If so,
contact us.

When was Greyhound Adoptions of Florida founded?
We were founded in 1994 in Central Florida and moved to our current location in 2002.

Where is Greyhound Adoptions of Florida located?
We are based in Citra, Florida.  We have branches in Delaware/Pennsylvania and in the Carolinas.

What is Grey Haven?
Grey Haven is our farm, located on a 3 1/2 acre property in Citra, Florida, housing our kennels, our offices and the Freedom Memorial Garden.  Grey Haven is also used as a venue for get togethers, celebrations and play dates for our members and their dogs.

How many greyhounds has Greyhound Adoptions of Florida adopted?
Over the past two decades we have facilitated finding good, loving homes for more than 4,000 greyhounds.  This includes retired racers, puppies, healthy and injured dogs, young and old.

How does Greyhound Adoptions of Florida care for its greyhounds?
Each greyhound receives individualized attention.  We are responsible for providing all medical care, including surgical repairs, spay or neuter, and dental hygiene care.

Where does Greyhound Adoptions of Florida get its greyhounds from?
We take greyhounds from any source, and, importantly, we get to know them all.

How successful are your adoptions?
We are proud of our extremely low rate of return.  We attibute this to "Greyhound Harmony" ... the ability to match the right dog with the right family.  This is why we take the time to get to know you during our initial conversations and your visit to our farm.

Is Greyhound Adoptions of Florida a nonprofit organization?
Yes, we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  All donations to Greyhound Adoptions of Florida are tax deductible to the full extent allowable.  Every penny we take in goes to the care and treatment of our greyhounds and the operation of this farm.  Our adoption fee just barely covers the essential medical/dental expenses to get a healthy greyhound ready for their new family.

Who runs Greyhound Adoptions of Florida?
All work is done by our volunteers.

Is Greyhound Adoptions of Florida pro- or anti-greyhound racing?
Greyhound Adoptions of Florida is against greyhound racing; we believe it is a cruel and unnatural life for a dog and subjects them to injuries, maltreatment and worse.  We look forward to the day when the last race is run and we are happily out of business!  Until that day comes, however, we will continue to do the work that we know needs to be done.

Do greyhounds have any health problems?
For a large breed dog, greyhounds are very healthy animals, but as greyhounds age, they can experience arthritis and periodontal disease. Brushing a greyhound's teeth is something the owner can do daily or a veterinarian can perform a dental scaling under anesthesia.  Chew bones will help.  Like all long-boned dogs, greyhounds can be susceptible to osteosarcoma.  It is important that your veterinarian be familiar with greyhounds as some blood values and medication reactions are unique to this breed.  To learn more about greyhound health, visit Dr. Suzanne Stack's website, which is filled with important information regarding this breed.

I'm interested and think I want to adopt a greyhound ... what's the next step?
Every adoption at Greyhound Adoptions of Florida begins with a conversation.  We've found that adoptions are successful when we can get to know each other.  It enables us to recommend the greyhound that will be the best fit for your family and home.  We'll talk about your lifestyle and what you want and expect from a new family member.  If you are a Florida resident or are able to visit, you'll be invited to our kennel, Grey Haven, to meet some dogs, and to meet us.  Contact us.

 

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