In 1997, Elaine and Joe Skidel adopted Lily. She was a tiny, special needs greyhound that stole their hearts and started the organization that is now Nittany Greyhounds.
Nittany grew, with a small kennel added at Elaine & Joe's house. Adoptions were brisk throughout central Pennsylvania, events were numerous, and our volunteers were generous with both their time and financial support. More than 1,000 greyhounds were adopted and found forever homes during that time.
Several years later, Elaine and Joe sold their home, and the kennel with it, but the board was determined to have a kennel again some day, and so we began raising money for a new kennel. It took six determined years to raise enough support for a down-payment and we began looking for property upon which to raise a building. Elaine moved to Arizona to be near her family, Joe moved to Washington D.C. with his job, and Toni Duchi took over as new President of Nittany Greyhounds.
Jo Hoy, who was a great volunteer and benefactor at that time, began working with Toni and Tom Cali, Realtor Extraordinaire, to find us just the right place. We looked at several properties, and finally found our present home. We began negotiating with the seller, who was also a dog lover and breed rescue advocate. She worked with us to get the price within reach, Jo and Tom worked with us for the rest of the down payment and fees, Denning Mason worked with us legally, and Jay Hummer worked with us at Nittany Bank (it was a great team), and so in 2008, we were able to purchase Rooo Valley, 20 acres of heaven with a kennel in place, a home, and a barn, within 5 miles of State College.
Rooo Valley has given us enough space for 15-20 hounds, and for the last 4 years, we have found homes for hundreds of greyhounds, we have hosted events here, moved our annual picnic to the kennel, and have become a big part of the local community. Rooo Valley is our home. In 2010, Toni stepped down as president, but remains both on the board and as a member of the kennel team, and Ellen Aschenbrenner, our vice president, took over leadership of the board of directors.
Nittany continues with its mission of adopting retired racing greyhounds to loving homes. We are committed to our local community, to our events, to our adopters, and to our supporters and donors, and we thank everyone who has ever been involved for caring so much and helping us to continue helping these wonderful animals.
Elaine explains how Nittany Greyhounds got its start: