Photojournalist Erin Siegal made a wonderful photo-essay about “Fast Friends,” a group that adopts/rescues “retiring” greyhound dogs that have been used in racing in Tijuana, Mexico. In Tijuana, Mexico, the Caliente racetrack is famous. In the city’s heyday, high-end thoroughbreds charged past glamorous crowds of onlookers; photos of the horses still adorn the walls in the casino’s basement administrative offices. Today, however, a different kind of animal bursts from the starting gates each day: American greyhounds. The Caliente’s kennels hold more than 700 galgos, or greyhounds. The majority of dogs race multiple times per week; races are held daily. Every single dog has been imported from the United States. Most hail from Abilene, Kansas, home of the National Greyhound Association. Caliente is what’s known as a “last stop” track: the place where slow, aging, or otherwise unwanted dogs are brought for their final hurrahs. In the United States, greyhound racing is controversial. Over the past five years the industry’s demise has been expedited as more and more states outlaw the practice. Today, dog tracks operate in just seven states. The Tijuana track is located a few miles south of California, where greyhound racing is banned. Despite its location, the Tijuana track is considered part of the American racing circuit. [17 photos total]

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1
Greyhound Dreamboat, also known as U.S.S. Dreamboat, is given a bath by volunteers in Los Angeles. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #
2
Greyhounds compete at the Caliente racetrack in Tijuana. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #
3
Greyhounds walk with their handlers before competing at the Caliente racetrack in Tijuana. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #
4
A girl hugs a greyhound that will be placed in temporary foster care at her home in Los Angeles. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #
5
Greyhounds stand at a fence in a kennel at the Caliente racetrack in Tijuana. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #
6
Greyhounds look on from behind a fence in a kennel at the Caliente racetrack in Tijuana. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #
7
Greyhounds have their feet dipped into containers filled with flea bath in Los Angeles. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #
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Williams introduces her cat Kinko to Robin the greyhound next to Fast Friends founder McRorie to determine Robin's foster placements in Los Angeles. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #
9
A greyhound is towel dried by volunteers in Los Angeles. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #
10
Marcie Hall and Fast Friends founder McRorie sit in the waiting room of a veterinarian with their dogs in Los Angeles. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #
11
Greyhound Dave tries to sit on the lap of a volunteer in Los Angeles. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #
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Two adopted greyhounds relax in their new home in Whittier, California. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #
13
Fast Friends founder Joyce McRorie helps Bowtie Man the greyhound out of the Hound Hauler in Los Angeles. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #
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Tom McRorie (L) and Manuel Perez (R) load greyhounds into a Hound Hauler in Tijuana. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #
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Greyhounds stand together in a kennel at the Caliente racetrack in Tijuana. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #
16
A load of 13 greyhounds arrive onboard a Hound Hauler in La Habra, a suburb of Los Angeles. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #
17
Urns holding the ashes of deceased greyhounds are seen in the living room of Fast Friends founders Joyce and Tom McRorie in Los Angeles. (STRINGER/MEXICO/REUTERS) #

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