Our Volunteer Spotlight!
Ian Schavey currently lives with his family in Phillips Wisconsin where they have resided for the past two years, and before that they were residents of Hobart Indiana. Although Ian is only 14 years old, he has more greyhound experience than many people within American Greyhound.
Ian’s family consists of his Mom Sally, his Dad James and his Sister Crystal. The Schavey’s have been long-time members of American Greyhound going back to 2006 when they adopted their first dog from AG named “Vixen.” It all started when Mom and Dad had been thinking about adopting a greyhound for several years, and they always liked to stop and talk with the various greyhound adoption groups they encountered when out in public or at various events. During one of these outings at the Hobart fair, they happened upon the American Greyhound booth where they stopped in to chat with the group about the dogs they saw. And, during that chat while Mom and Dad were talking, little two-year-old Ian ended up falling asleep on the floor, in the middle of a group of greyhounds, including one with a broken leg. This pretty much cemented the Schavey’s decision to adopt a greyhound!
However, it was a tough a decision on which one to adopt, and they finally narrowed it down between two dogs; “Vixen” and “Pabst.” While they liked both dogs, Pabst was a much bigger and more energetic dog, that Sister Crystal would have a hard time walking. On the other hand, Vixen was more of a gentle dog and seemed like a better fit for the family. So… Vixen it was! Since then, the Schavey’s have adopted six other dogs, currently having Horn, Comet, Wrigley and PangPang, while their Vixen and Ranger have since passed on.
Fostering dogs for American Greyhound has been a big part of the Schavey’s life, which Ian describes as “both a challenge, but also a great reward.” They have also taken in and cared for many foster dogs; both straight from the racetracks, and those from the TGIE Prison Program.
Below, Ian describes some of his more memorable fostering experiences:
“I love all the fosters but have a couple favorites. Serena was a great dog who had won twenty-seven races, came in second place twenty-five times, and had three puppies. She liked to roach a lot and enjoy retirement, and loved to play and cuddle. She was such a sweet girl, and even dad teared up when she got adopted.
Coal was another favorite. He had an injured leg and had to have surgery to fix his leg. Coal went through a lot, and had a long recovery. I helped take care of him by changing bandages, helped with his physical therapy, and of course a lot of love. He would lay under the table when I was supposed to be doing my homework, but would sneak under there to pet him instead. He always wanted to be by us, following us everywhere.”
Ian always liked to go to meet and greets where you will find him sitting on the floor with all the dogs. Another one of his all-time favorite events is going to the American Greyhound Picnic in the fall. He helps with the set-up of the event and stays with the dogs in the yard most of the day, running and playing with them which he says is so much fun!
Ian was only nine years old when he decided that he wanted to donate all his birthday and Christmas gift cards to the American Greyhound Winning Heats Charity Auction. When asked what he wanted for Christmas or his birthday, he would only ask for gift cards so he would have them for his donation, reasoning that “the dogs needed them more than I did.” And, five years later, he is still donating his gift cards to the auction. When he was eleven, he was asked to attend his very first Winning Hearts Charity Auction, where during the event he was called up on stage and recognized for his wonderful and selfless acts of kindness towards the greyhounds. Although he insists “it wasn’t necessary as I do it for the love of the greyhounds.”
When Ian isn’t busy helping with the greyhounds or going to school, he can usually be found playing games on his Xbox, doing outdoor activities and building things. When Ian gets older he has the goal of becoming an Engineer (and maybe the future President of American Greyhound?).
American Greyhound would like to thank Ian for all that he had done, and continues to do for the organization. Ian is a shining example of a young person with a huge heart and a wonderful dedication to helping animals in need. Thank You Ian!