During the windstorms last month, the fences of John Reinert’s neighbors blew over, allowing numerous dogs in the area to escape their confines. But it was no surprise to Reinert when many of the lost pets turned up on his doorstep.
"It seems like, between me and my partner, there’s a sign over our house that says ‘we welcome all pets,’" Reinert says.
But a more accurate sign might say simply "suckers." Because when it comes to taking in pets in need, that’s exactly what Reinert and his partner Michael do.
Together since 2000, the couple has routinely taken in all manner of needy, four-legged foundlings. But it’s just in the last two months that they ramped up their support, adopting or fostering four greyhounds since New Year’s. And it’s a decision they don’t regret in the least.
"We had been talking about getting a greyhound when I came home from Iraq this summer," say Reinert, an electrical engineer who works on rebuilding embassies in the war-torn country. But when they heard about the need for greyhound adoption over Christmas, they decided to start early.
The need was driven in part by the closure of a dog track in San Antonio in December. That left many racers without homes. The Reinerts adopted their first greyhound, Logan, sight-unseen they were simply moved by his story. Their outreach quickly progressed into an addiction.
"After we adopted Logan, we got into fostering," Reinert says. "We got Damsel a week after Logan. While we were picking her up, we saw a brindle named Whiskey. On Wednesday we delivered Damsel to her forever home and on Thursday we fostered Snoopy. A few weeks later, they asked if we could bring Snoopy down to the Dallas Boat Show and we adopted Whiskey while we were there."
All those are in addition to the five shelties, a Brittany spaniel and Australian Shepherd they have adopted over the years as well as a 10-year-old human son, Jeremy.
Although they have adopted many abused and abandoned dogs over the years, this is the first time the Reinerts have concentrated on supporting one rescue group, the Greyhound Adoption League of Texas, or GALT.
"We were impressed by the thoroughness of the background check they called our friends, our neighbors, our vet," making sure the dogs would be well-cared-for, Reinert says. "And GALT doesn’t care if you’re gay or straight, they just want people to look after these guys."
Many need attention. One of their adoptees was supposed to weight 70 lbs.; when they took over his care, he weighed an emaciated 52.
"These guys are so much fun, but Snoopy and Whiskey are so, so skinny 15-18 lbs. underweight. You don’t want to be able to see their ribs," Reinert says.
Those issues aside, he insists they are the easiest dogs in the world to care for.
"I was afraid they would require so much attention and be so high maintenance," he says. "But they are 45-mile-an-hour couch potatoes. They love riding in the car. And they are good in apartments because they don’t require much room and don’t need to walk more than a few time a week. They are not barkers only when one of the others steps on their feet."
Reinert’s now a man with a mission to get the word out about GALT’s outreach and help others discover the joys of greyhound parenthood.
"These dogs are great for single guys, couples, families. Foster helps a whole lot more than adoption, even," he says. Because many have not been domesticated, everything in a common household is new to them. "They have never seen a ceiling fan, a mirror, a sliding-glass door," Reinert says. "One saw the flame in the fireplace and walked right up to it."
On Saturday, GALT is holding the seventh annual Greyt Athletes Dinner and Auction at the Park City Club to raise money for the many expenses associated with dog rescue.
"Damsel’s broken leg cost about $19,000 and GALT paid for that," Reinert says. And although he won’t be able to make it to the dinner Reinert’s already back in Iraq he’ll still be able to check up on his canine children.
"In my position, I can check out the Web cam and see how they’re doing," he says.
Park City Club, 5956 Sherry Lane, Suite 1700. Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. $125. 972-503-4258.