Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Retired Greyhound Racer – Now A Service Dog Donated to Veteran

Hero I - Fleeter Neal
West Palm Beach, FL – Service Dogs 4 Service Men will formally present the first of their retired racing greyhound service dogs to a deserving veteran at a ceremony sponsored by the Palm Beach Kennel Club on Friday, May 25, pre-gathering at 10:30 am. This is the first of what will be many donations of these magnificent animals trained by this group of dedicated individuals.
HERO II (Racing name Atascocita Minko) will be presented to Barry Offenberger, retired US Army, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. Barry suffers from Hodgkins Lyphoma and PTSD and will use HERO II to maintain his independence. HERO I (Fleeter Neal) will also be at the ceremony – he is the PR and “ambassadog” for the organization.
This exciting relationship between Service Dogs 4 Service Men and the retired racers began a year ago when President Sara Donedi-Blood approached Barbara Masi, President of the FL SE Coast Chapter of Greyhound Pets of America, with the idea of training select dogs for this mission. Although the retired athletes are frequently referred to as “couch potatoes” after racing, Masi agreed that some dogs are eager to begin a second career and this would be an ideal way for them to be utilized.

Daniel De La Rosa is the trainer for these dogs. De La Rosa is a Karen Pryor certified trainer and the owner of Petropolis Park in Hollywood Florida. His soothing voice and calm demeanor with the greyhounds was one of the reasons Masi became enthusiastic about the program. “Daniel’s dedication to the training of these dogs has been exemplary and the dogs respond so well to his training tactics.” said Masi.

“We are extremely proud and excited to participate with the Service Dogs 4 Servicemen organization. Two very important things to us are greyhounds and veterans, and to put the two together is an incredible thing!” said Theresa Hume, Director of Publicity. We’ve always known that greyhounds are a special and gentle breed and we are so glad that SD4SM is able to integrate them into this wonderful program,” she added.
Please contact Barbara Masi (BarbaraMasi@comcast.net or 561-737-1941) or Theresa Hume (THume@pbkennelclub.com or 561-683-2222 Extension 120) for additional information or to RSVP

1 comment:

  1. I'm all for greyhounds and greyhound service dogs. I have tracked Hero II's "training," however, and he is nowhere near service dog material at this point. Recent posts and videos about Hero II show the following:

    - No formal retrieve
    - No "give" on command
    - No solid recall
    - A heel that requires you to walk into him repeatedly in order to turn left
    - The refusal to potty away from home (reputable service dog programs wash out dogs with this issue, with good reason!)
    - Most concerningly, Hero II shows the beginnings of a serious resource guarding issue. This means he could easily become aggressive if asked to give up an object.

    And these are only the things I and others have been able to see! I feel nothing but pity for both Hero II and the veteran who will receive him.

    Many of us in the service dog industry are sickened at SD4SM's blatant agenda, that is, to take advantage of the greyhound's naturally calm and tolerant temperament to pass off retired racers as full service dogs for veterans in order to get media attention. Their actions put both the dogs and the disabled veterans who receive them at risk. How low can you go?

    Please don't support this program. There are other reputable programs who actually do train retired racers as service dogs. This is not one of them. Thank you.