Craig Cerreta, a real estate agent in SKY Sotheby's International Realty's new Lakewood Ranch office, finds great satisfaction helping clients find just the right home. After hours, his attention turns to helping find suitable new homes for retired greyhounds.
Cerreta, who's president of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance, and his wife, Ady, have been active in the greyhound rescue movement for a dozen years, ever since they decided to get a dog and found out that Ady was allergic to dander. (Greyhounds and poodles have the least dander among dog breeds, "and we're just not poodle people," Cerreta says.) Over the years, they've had eight greyhounds of their own; they currently have four, all from the same litter.
When the Cerretas moved here three years ago from Atlanta, where Craig had owned an online e-learning company, they immediately joined the Sarasota-Manatee Racing Dog Rescue Project. It's one of two local greyhound adoption groups (the other is based at the Sarasota Kennel Club). They staff booths in front of PetSmarts and at area bookstores and malls, and help screen prospective adopters. Cerreta is the group's official media spokesman. "Our biggest job is to educate the public, because every breed of dog has a particular set of characteristics and no breed is right for all people," he says.
"People expect greyhounds to be aloof and very hyper, and it's just the opposite," explains Cerreta. "They're very affectionate, very loyal, and they attach to their owners deeply. They're some of the calmest dogs and want to be with you all the time."
Cerreta admits that his own dogs are "spoiled rotten. They have beds all over the house and by the pool," he says. "And when I'm watching TV, I'd better be laying down petting the dog."
In 2006, the club adopted off over 100 greyhounds. Cerreta urges those interested in greyhound adoption to visit the Rescue Project's Web site, www.rdrp-greyhound.org.