History of Greyhound Pets of America Charleston


Kirstin suggested I write this up…so it’s her “fault”…

Back in 2001, I adopted ML Night Flyer from GPA SC.  He was a great boy – very cool dog…and I came to realize he was a very SOCIAL dog.  So, because I wanted to get him involved in some social events, I asked (or was asked by) GPA SC if I could get to know other greyhounds in the area.  I had my friend Jennifer who had adopted Levi just before I got Flyer…but I wanted more.

So GPA SC obliged and gave me a list of people and their email addresses.  I’m not 100% sure if I planned a meet & greet first, or just started the walks downtown but I emailed a bunch of owners and asked if they wanted to get together and walk our dogs.  So, every couple of weeks we would meet at Brittlebank Park…I admit that I was TOTALLY poor and couldn’t afford to park anywhere else so that’s the only park I knew of which provided free parking and a little bit of hanging out space.  We used to call them dog walks, but a lot of times they were just dog-stand-arounds and lounging on blankets…

In those days, I remember Jennifer Kerrigone, Ed Barthold (well, where would the state of greyhound adoption in the low country be without Ed & Tracy?), Dell & Susan Golanski, Greg & Patty McNeese, Marian Auble Wilder, David Wyatt, Rochelle & Mark Bailey, Gwen & Kurt Hallquist….and as time went along, Harry & Diana Freeman, Sylvia Pappas, John Parler, Aileen Sweat…

It seems that we had a couple of meet & greets – one notable at SuperPetz West Ashley – and the annual meet & greet at Earthfare in November where I got to meet Margaret & Devin Grant too.  I can see a couple of other people in my head but currently can’t think of their names…

Moving along in time, Greyhound Crossroads had their annual outing in late September in Myrtle Beach called Beach Bound Hounds.  The Columbia (GPA SC) group attended “religiously” and so I decided to go one year with Flyer.  We enjoyed the crazy fun activities, got to meet Dennis & Claire…and then the second year we went, at dinner the first night, Dennis asked me (and Sylvia Pappas) to consider starting our own chapter (subchapter at the time) of Greyhound Pets of America in the Charleston area.  With Harry & Diana agreeing to help too we all held our noses and jumped into the pool…the pool we now call GPA Charleston.

When we arrived back home after BBH 03, we “called a meeting” of any interested hound owners one Sunday afternoon at White Point Gardens and explained what we were looking to do.  Yes…we were truly DOING IT!  With John Parler on board as Treasurer, we were ready to fill out all the paperwork.  Mary Aquino as President, Sylvia Pappas as Vice President, Diana Freeman as Secretary, John Parler as Treasurer, Aileen Sweat as Foster Home Coordinator.

We signed all the papers by November 30, 2003 and took our first dog (who’s name is now Santa, but was originally KW Hustler) on December 3, 2003…thus Greyhound Pets of America Charleston was “born”.

The original group of “officers” headed to Florida at the end of January 2004 to see the Kennel at the Melbourne track and to “gel”.  Believe it or not, it caused a rift and Gwen Hallquist replaced Aileen Sweat as foster home coordinator soon after we returned.

Really, that’s the “start” of it all.  We continue to thrive because of volunteerism…the spirit of helping these wonderful dogs.

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About maryaquino

Food, rock and roll and greyhound lover
This entry was posted in Animal Rescue, Greyhounds and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to History of Greyhound Pets of America Charleston

  1. Cricket says:

    Oh my, that isn’t the same Santa that’s on the Available Greyhounds list, is it? If so, how sad that they would return him after having him for so long.

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    • maryaquino says:

      He was adopted for about 18 months, then returned when his original owner was transferred to Hawaii. He’d been in his second home for about 4 years…it is sad, but not unusual….which is also sad.

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      • Cricket says:

        Poor guy. It bothers me that people see dogs as “disposable” and not a lifetime commitment. It especially breaks my heart for the senior dogs, since I know they have a much harder time getting adopted. 😦

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  2. Mary says:

    Agreed. Senior dogs give so much love! They know how cuz they’ve been doing it for years. (I have a sleepy senior dog in my living room)

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