In 2013, Arizona Greyhound Rescue ("AGR”) did something revolutionary. Through a strategic planning process, AGR decided to be the first organization in southern Arizona to focus on all sighthounds and offer adoption, fostering, and service dog companion programs. With this mission in mind, AGR has made a commitment to service our community by developing a service dog companion program that will allow sighthounds, particularly retired racing greyhounds, to find a new leash on life and help those who need it the most, our disabled and veteran citizens of our community.
To help launch this new program, AGR came up with the name “Heartfelt Hounds”. Heartfelt Hounds is unique in that it places sighthounds as service dogs. Sighthounds, especially greyhounds, are growing in popularity because of their amazing temperaments. They have been handled by multiple humans their entire life, are accustomed to remaining docile in new situations, and they adapt to new sounds and movement. They have a gentle nature and are an easy breed to maintain and care for on a daily basis. Greyhounds are tall enough to be accessible to virtually all people regardless of their form of mobility while keeping all paws on the ground.
Heartfelt Hounds mission is to give individuals with disabilities, especially veterans functional independence, improved quality of life and enable them to live in a safe and healthy environment. Individuals who have received sight hounds through AGR’s Heartfelt Hounds Program have found the confidence to resume a more normal routine. This program also give AGR the ability to place more sighthounds.
Please read about the Heartfelt Hounds we have placed with partners or are currently in training and awaiting a match with their person.
AGR is a founding partner of the Rescue to Service program in collaboration with Handi-Dogs.
Handi-Dogs is dedicated to helping older adults and people with disabilities gain independence and improve their quality of life through specialized training of dogs and to advocate about the important role of service dogs. Handi-Dogs processes all the recipient’s paperwork and developes the specific training regime that include basic and intermediate training, dog/handler team building, assistance training, pre-certification training, and certification as a Handi-Dogs Service Dog.
Staffing for the Heartfelt Hounds program within AGR comes from our wonderful trained fosters that provide temporary homes for each dog until it is matched with an appropriate recipient. At that time, the recipient enters the Heartfelt Hound program and will foster to adopt their dog for the duration of training.