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Nonprofit Spotlight: Henry’s Heart Italian Greyhound Rescue

Nov 8, 2018 9:00:00 AM / by Courtney Pellegrini

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Robin Weill has always loved dogs, but her passion for dog rescue ignited when she adopted her first dog. She remembers, “I had never been drawn to little dogs, but when I first started out I lived in an apartment with a size restriction. I read about lots of breeds, and I was drawn to Italian greyhounds because of their beauty and elegance. But the main thing I loved was their sweet disposition. They are emotionally intuitive dogs, and become quite attached to their person.”

She goes on, “I was a young woman at the time I adopted my first dog, and I was just starting to make my way in the world. Adulthood can be a tough transition. My greyhound was my best friend through a lot of rough times. His name was Henry.”

Later on, Robin discovered that there were a lot of Italian greyhounds who were not in good situations. These were dogs who had gotten lost and never found home, or dogs given away by people who had gotten frustrated with housetraining and no longer wanted them.

“The thought of another creature like my Henry not being loved and cared for… that just got to me. That’s when I got involved with dog adoption.”

Robin started helping out local animal rescue organizations with transportation, home visits for adoptions, and visiting shelters. In 2008, she became the head of local south Texas branch of a national Italian greyhound rescue organization.

The national organization did a lot to help dogs find new homes; however, it focused only on purebred Italian greyhounds. Robin and the other volunteers in the south Texas branch saw a need for a more specialized local organization one that helped mixed breeds, and other dogs that didn’t quite fit into the national description. This local organization would also support foster volunteers by helping to provide food, prescriptions, grooming, and transportation for the dogs.

For a while, the local branch operated informally. However, in the fall of 2018, they became a certified 501(c)(3) organization known as Henry’s Heart Italian Greyhound Rescue.

Robin reflects, “We have such a wonderful community of greyhound pet owners who help out with the rescues. Now that we’re a 501(c)(3) organization, we are so excited to have an official group that can work together locally to help take care of more dogs.”

Since the organization has started, several hundred dogs have gotten adopted. Adoptions average 30-40 per year, and the dogs have gone to homes all over the US— mostly in Texas, but also in other states such as Virginia, Colorado, Tennessee, and Minnesota.

“Just last week, we had a volunteer fly out to Virginia with one of our dogs to bring her to her new home!”, Robin shares. “She’s a 12 year old Italian greyhound named Maggie, and sadly her previous owner died in February, so she was in foster care. Luckily, she didn’t linger in foster care for long, like older dogs tend to do. The family that adopted her had a dog pass away recently, and they had another dog that needed company. Originally, they wanted a dog under 8 years old, but when they saw Maggie, they fell in love and changed their minds. Maggie arrived in her new home last week, and is settling in nicely! We’re so happy to see that she has a loving new home.”

Although working in animal rescue can be challenging at times, it can also be extremely rewarding. When asked about lessons she had learned from working with animal rescue for so many years, Robin speaks strongly about the idea of resilience. She expresses, Dogs do not live in the past. They don’t ruminate or feel sorry for themselves. They do sometimes have scars from the past, or fears from bad experiences. But generally, overwhelmingly, they are so resilient in the presence of love and care. They move forward. And we as people can learn from them. We can learn to be present in each moment, and to enjoy the life we have been given.”

For more information on Henry’s Heart, or to donate to the organization, please contact igrescuehouston@gmail.com.

Topics: nonprofit