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Boonsboro couple honored for greyhound rescue efforts

August 24, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

BOONSBORO -- Hettie Ballweber couldn't have been happier when she learned that Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue Inc. was named Shelter of the Week by SPCA International.

The announcement means that Fast Friends will receive a $1,000 award for placing retired racing greyhounds into responsible and loving homes.

"It was our program called Craiger's List that actually got us the award," Ballweber said by telephone last week. She and her husband, Bill, co-founded Fast Friends and Craiger's List.

Fast Friends "is an organization that thinks outside the box" and is willing to work with anyone who shares a desire to give greyhounds the kind of life they deserve, according to the SPCA Web site.

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The Ballwebers have lived near Boonsboro for more than 12 years. One recent year, the couple found homes for 79 greyhounds, all from racetracks.

Together, they have run Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue for 4 1/2 of those years. Craiger's List came about in April of 2008.

"The program is named for a young greyhound named Craiger in our care who died of lymphoma," Hettie Ballweber said.

New homes are found for dogs that are selected for the list and, when adopted, the adoption fee is sent directly to the Morris Animal Foundation for its work in cancer research.

Since it began, Craiger's List has found homes for 22 greyhounds and has donated $3,100, she said.

Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue Inc. stands out because it focuses on placing overlooked dogs -- the ones who often sit in kennels because they are not attractive, not the right color, have medical needs or behavioral issues and/or are older dogs.

The Ballwebers have several greyhounds of their own and are fostering others.

"We will be plowing that prize money back into the Craiger's List program," she said.

For more information on Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue, visit the Web site at www.greytdogs.org. To reach the Ballwebers, call 301-416-2028.

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