Joan was an adoption pioneer who worked tirelessly for the Greyhounds most of her adult life. Below is an abridged version of an article about her, published in the Fall 2000 issue of the GPA Communique. She passed away from cancer but got to read it before she died and was pleased.
Spotlight on Joan Dillon
Who is Joan Dillon? You might ask this question if you are new to the Greyhound adoption movement. Joan’s never-ending efforts began in the early 1980’s when Joan and a group of folks from Massachusetts began the New England Retired Greyhounds as Pets (REGAP) adoption program.
At that time, next thing to nothing was known about the ex-racing Greyhound as a pet. There was very little, if any, literature designed to educate the public; most veterinarians had little or no experience with the ex-racers and of course, there was no Internet. Joan was one of the pioneers who spear headed the efforts for public awareness.
In early 1987, Joan and the New England REGAP folks invited some adoption groups across the country to join in the formation of a national Greyhound placement organization and on April 4, 1987 Greyhound Pets of America was formed. The first GPA National meeting was held in Abilene, Kansas on October 18, 1987 and of course Joan was there to represent GPA/Massachusetts. While a member of GPA, Joan was the only member who attended every GPA national meeting.
By mid 1988, Joan had started a new GPA chapter known as Belmont Lakes Region (later renamed as GPA/Central New Hampshire.) It was common for Joan to travel more than 200 miles round trip every weekend while starting and nurturing the GPA/Central New Hampshire chapter. Joan was also the force behind working with the Belmont Lakes Region Greyhound Park for Greyhound adoptions.
In late 1990 she became the GPA 800# operator for New England and the eastern portion of Canada. The national GPA’s newsletter, (GPA Communique) began in January 1992 and Joan contributed many articles to it. She is well known for her writing abilities and was nominated for an award from the Dog Writers Association of America for a fundraising cookbook produced by GPA/Central New Hampshire.
In 1994, Joan became the GPA National Corresponding Secretary and doubled her duties by taking on the responsibilities of the Executive Secretary who had, unfortunately, become very ill.
In 1996, Joan resigned from GPA and became a member of The Greyhound Project. – by Carol Osborne, GPA/AZ
On September 26, 2000, the adoption pioneer died at age 58. From 1996-2000 Joan Dillon worked tirelessly for The Greyhound Project. She wrote more than 1,000 trivia, historical, travel, and fiction articles for CG Magazine and other publications until she no longer could get to her computer. Her last article appeared in CG Magazine’s Fall 2000 issue. In addition to writing regularly for CG, Joan was also its copy editor, proofreader, as well as the subscription and advertising manager until her illness forced her to stop those aspects in 1999. She was a good friend to all her knew her and most of all, a friend to the Greyhounds. – by Marcia Herman