A ‘greyt’ day to be a hound; STGnews Photo Gallery

KANAB Spectators joined in with around 230 greyhound owners and their dogs on Saturday for a greyhound parade and canine carnival, part of the festivities at Kanab’s annual Greyhound Gathering.

“The people of Kanab came out to celebrate greyhounds with us,” said Claudia Presto, founder of the Greyhound Gang, the sponsoring organization for the Greyhound Gathering. Presto served as master of ceremonies for the greyhound parade and other festivities throughout the day.

A greyhound dressed as the cartoon character "Maxine" waits in line for the costume parade, Center Street, Kanab, Utah, May 10, 2014 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News
A greyhound dressed as the cartoon character “Maxine” waits in line for the costume parade, Center Street, Kanab, Utah, May 10, 2014 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News

Just before 10 a.m., Center Street in downtown Kanab was closed to traffic to make way for hundreds of hounds – most of which were dressed in costumes for the parade.

Before the parade began, Kort Stirland, local pharmacist and conductor of the Kanab-based Symphony of the Canyons, donned an Elvis Presley costume and warmed up the crowd with his rendition of “Hound Dog.” Then it was the greyhounds’ turn to take the makeshift stage, which was a large flatbed trailer converted for the occasion with a ramp for the dogs and owners to climb.

One at a time, greyhound owners and their pets ascended the ramp to display their costumes to the crowd while Presto introduced them.

Many owners wore costumes to match their pets. There was a group of Star Wars greyhounds, complete with Darth Vader, Princess Leia and two greyhounds dressed as Imperial Walkers. Gusto said their owner, who was dressed as a storm trooper, regularly takes her costumed Star Wars hounds to Comic-Con events.

Among the many other participating owners and pets, a man from Las Vegas paraded his female greyhound, dressed as a Vegas showgirl, onto the stage. A $1 bill was visible as it fluttered from the waistband of the dog’s red-sequined miniskirt, and the owner said he was accepting donations to benefit the greyhound organization; donors could tuck their money into the dog’s waistband, he said.

Janis Mock-Jones, of Sedona, Arizona, had her four greyhounds – Ebony Ann, Parker, Maggie Mae and Sidney – accoutered with oxen horns and hitched to a dog-sized pioneer wagon, while greyhound Tanner brought up the rear dressed as a saddle horse. Mock-Jones and her husband have been attending the yearly Greyhound Gathering since 2009.

“Once we got greyhounds, we said, ‘Let’s go to Kanab,’” she said.

Among the many other parading pups was a greyhound dressed as Minnie Mouse, a group of Rastafarian greyhounds, a greyhound dressed as a lion and another dressed as a saber-toothed tiger, a group of greyhounds in Crayola crayon costumes, and even a greyhound dog dressed as a Greyhound bus, complete with canine passengers peeking out through the windows. Captain America and Wonder Woman also made an appearance – in dog form, of course.

“It’s good to know Captain America is in town, should we need him,” Presto said, getting a laugh from the crowd.

A greyhound and its owner wear matching polka dots, Center Street, Kanab, Utah, May 10, 2014 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News
A greyhound and its owner wear matching polka dots, Center Street, Kanab, Utah, May 10, 2014 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News

Presto announced that some in attendance had been to every Greyhound Gathering since the inaugural event took place 12 years ago. For others, like Chuck DeGraffenreid, from Orange County, California, this year’s event was a first.

“It’s wonderful!” DeGraffenreid, who brought three greyhounds to the event, said. “It will not be the last.”

The costume parade concluded with a group “roo” led by Presto. The humans in the crowd began howling like greyhounds – and soon many of the canines joined in.

While fun was the focus of the day, there were also serious thoughts on the minds of crowd members. Many of the greyhounds in attendance were rescued dogs – some abused or abandoned after their careers as racing dogs came to an end.

“It’s sad,” Kanab resident Dianne Hope said. Seeing all the rescued greyhounds made her want to adopt one herself, she said.

“I would do it,” Hope said. “I mean, the poor little things. I would adopt one.”

After the parade, the annual Canine Carnival took place in the schoolyard at Kanab Elementary. There were various doggy booths, including “Dunkin’ for Dogs,” where the hounds could dive for treats in wading pools filled with water; the “Paw-casso” booth, where dogs could create their own paintings; “Paw-ticures,” where the animals could get their claws clipped or painted; and even a doggy fortuneteller named “Professor Greytsight,” who peered into the dogs’ futures and gave their owners insight and pieces of advice. Many dogs and owners, tired from the day’s events, simply rested on blankets and under canopies on the school grounds.

“A great – g-r-e-y-t – time was had by all,” Presto said.

A greyhound and its owner crash out for a nap, Kanab Elementary School, Kanab, Utah, May 10, 2014 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News
A greyhound and its owner crash out for a nap, Kanab Elementary School, Kanab, Utah, May 10, 2014 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News

The Greyhound Gathering concludes on Sunday. The “Blur of Fur” event, which the public is invited to attend, will be held at Kanab Elementary School, 41 W. 100 North, from 9-11 a.m. Participating greyhounds will revisit their racing days by getting off the leash and taking a run through the grass. Their times will be clocked by a radar gun, courtesy of the Kanab Police Department, and prizes will be awarded. Other concluding events on Sunday are for registered participants only.

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  • JoAnne Rando-Moon May 11, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Thanks for your wonderful photos and coverage for a wonderful event!!!!! It was a Greyt Day!

  • Michelle May 11, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    First of all a good piece, for the most part. Greyhounds are not rescues. Rescue by definition says that you are in danger of some sort. Greyhound’s, unless they come out of Mexico, are not in ANY danger, check facts please. They are retired racers, they are are not neglected or abused at any of the US tracts. I have worked in greyhound adoption for many years, which includes working with breeders and kennel owners. If some of your info came from Grey2K, bad source… Again please fact check.. Other wise a good article.

    • Rufus Lelévrier May 12, 2014 at 11:43 am

      I wonder what Michelle thinks would happen to the thousands of greyhounds who are declared surplus to the racing industry every year, if it were not for the many volunteer-run adoption groups around North America? Here’s a hint, Michelle: Before the advent of greyhound adoption groups in the 1980’s, tens of thousands of surplus racing greyhounds were put to death every year, and not always in a humane manner. Maybe you don’t think that saving a dog from death is “rescuing” it, but that’s because you have drunk the racing industry’s koolaid.

  • Richard fredrickson May 11, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful support. I attended with my rescued greyhounds and most of us are anti racing. Your facts are correct and need further media support. Please do not heed the misguided comments noted above. These pets are abused and thrown aside when they no longer can win. Using pets for monetary gain is wrong. Shame on you michelle!!

    • Ed May 12, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      And oddly, Michelle lives in a state that does not have Greyhound racing (Oregon), nor is it bordered by a state that does. I hardly think she’s had any experience with dog intake at an adoption/rescue agency where you actually get to see the condition of the hounds when they come off the track, or are released by the owner/breeder/trainer. It can be heartbreaking at times when you see the untended broken bones, or the extreme malnutrition, and then have that same animal look at you and wag it’s tail, because it still wants to trust a human.

  • Janice Z May 13, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    After attending many Greyhound Gatherings over the years, this by far has been the most fun loving and heartwarming event ever. Bringing together so many people with their greyhound companions that they have rescued. Yes; I say rescued! These dogs have come from a life of extreme inhumane treatment. How many of you would want your beloved dog living in a cage 20-22 hours a day, with virtually no human contact, only to be let out three or four times to go potty? Only to really exercise maybe two times a week for a race? People that think there is nothing wrong with greyhound racing really need to do their homework. There are so many other forms of gambling that there is no need to bet on the lives of dogs. It’s all about the money and the dogs are the real losers. I’ve been involved with the rescue and adoption of greyhounds since 1997, and I can relate many horror stories that I’ve personally witnessed. I suffer nightmares over the torture and unnecessary killing of these dogs. The thousands of stories that have come out in the media of the inhumane treatment and killing of the dogs since greyhound racing began in the 1920’s are anything but isolated incidents that members of the greyhound industry try to spin.
    Thank you for your excellent coverage of this wonderful event and I’m hoping we can look forward to Greyhound Gathering 2015!

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