A West Palm Beach adoption volunteer who has been described as “unendingly devoted to greyhounds” has been named 2013 Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year (GAPY) by the American Greyhound Council (AGC).
Monica Smith is a founding member of Greyhound Support Transport (GST), a not-for-profit organization that specializes in moving greyhounds from Florida tracks to adoption groups in non-racing states in the U.S. and Canada for placement in permanent homes. The group transports an average of 36 greyhounds every six weeks at a cost of nearly $5,800 per haul.
Those who nominated Smith said she is “selfless” and works “endless hours talking with owners to find available dogs and arranging transport, including providing food and arranging stop-over points.” Through a special program called Project Home, Smith also takes in injured greyhounds and arranges veterinary care and rehabilitation for them. When the dogs are healthy again, they are moved into foster homes while awaiting their forever placements.
AGC spokesperson Gary Guccione said Monica exemplifies the special qualities that all GAPY winners seem to share.
“Monica has earned our sincere respect and appreciation for her extraordinary work,” Guccione said. “And she gets the job done with an all-volunteer organization that devotes 100 percent of its revenue to providing direct services to greyhounds. Her organization may be small but that is a huge accomplishment.”
Guccione said transporting greyhounds is an important contribution to the adoption cause. In Florida, where many tracks are located, the supply of retired racers sometimes overwhelms local adoption groups. As a result, some greyhounds have to wait months to be placed in adoptive homes. Moving retired racers into non-racing areas opens up new opportunities for adoption and relieves some of the pressure on the Florida adoption network, he said.
According to Smith, that’s the point. “We are dedicated to doing everything possible to reduce this wait time and allow these dogs to have a good life as a pet as soon as possible after their racing career ends,” she said.
The GAPY Award will be presented on Monday, February 9 at the spring conference of the AGC and the American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA). In addition to an expense-paid trip to the event, Smith will receive a $500 donation for her favorite adoption group.