• Debbie Safran

Membership Has Its Privileges

A few years ago, I met my hero. Dr. Guillermo Couto, who—at that point—was part of The Ohio State University Greyhound Health and Wellness Program. It felt odd idolizing someone from OSU.

In my family, we’re all die-hard Michiganders (Go Blue!). But there I was.


Dr. Couto is the kind of vet everyone wants. Knowledgeable—a renowned expert in his field—and the best bedside manner you could hope for. Shortly after we learned that Ellie had osteosarcoma, everyone in the Greyhound community gave us the same advice: Talk with Dr. Couto. I didn’t think it would go very far, given the distance (we in Burlington, VT and he in Columbus, OH). But it wouldn’t hurt to ask…


He offered to look at Ellie’s x-rays, to walk through treatment options, and to make sure we felt comfortable with the decisions we—and our local veterinary team—were about to make. He responded to my phone calls and emails with the promptness I craved but did not expect. He was patient, he was kind…and he had a few tricks up his sleeve to make Ellie’s treatment a tad more affordable.


A few years later, we contacted him again, this time for Dingo. And the level of service was just as amazing. So, yeah, when I heard he would be a guest lecturer at a greyhound event in New Hampshire, we made the 3-hour drive down. It was worth it.


In 2014, he left OSU to start something else: The Greyhound Health Initiative. We became members earlier this year, and I’m so glad we did. Because—guess what—we’re facing canine cancer yet again. They aren’t kidding when they say osteosarcoma is the #1 cause of death for retired racing greyhounds…



Of course, GHI isn’t just about canine cancer. They operate a blood bank (fun fact: Greyhounds are universal donors!) and conduct research studies on a myriad of diseases that seem to affect Sighthounds more often (or differently…or both!). Learn more about them here. And if you have Sighthounds, remember: Membership really does have its privileges…

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