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Retired greyhound still working in Weymouth

Bruce and Paula Kantor’s therapy greyhound, Java.

Bruce and Paula Kantor’s therapy greyhound, Java.

A SECOND CANINE CAREER: He’s gone from racing at speeds of 45 miles an hour to a far more sedate life, as the pet of Bruce and Paula Kantor of Weymouth. But that doesn’t mean Java, a greyhound who used to race at the Wonderland Greyhound Park in Revere, isn’t still working.

Java, a 6-year-old registered therapy dog, makes regular visits with Bruce Kantor to places such as Eventide, a nursing home in Quincy, and South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, making people happy while moving very little, Kantor said.

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“Java has such a great disposition,” he said. “He’ll just stand there, and people in walkers, wheelchairs, come up to him, or we visit people in bed and it doesn’t bother him at all. He just stands there and they pat him.”

Which is helpful for people who may be a little down, Kantor said, in that “it takes their mind off things for a while. He lets people feel good for a few minutes.”

Java also goes with Kantor when he coaches a local girls’ soccer team, adding, “he’s our team mascot, and the girls just love him.”

The Kantors adopted Java in January 2010 from the nonprofit Hopkinton-based Greyhound Friends. The couple had another greyhound, Arrow, who lived to be 13, Bruce Kantor said.

Kantor, a semi-retired social worker, said he’s had dogs all his life, but never a greyhound until Arrow.

“They’re the easiest breed to own; their maintenance level is the lowest of any breed I’ve had,” he said. “People don’t think that. They’re so docile, not at all high-strung. I call Java ‘Mellow Fellow.’ ”

Java gets his runs in when he can, Kantor said, meeting up with area greyhound walking clubs, and the dogs let loose at places like World’s End in Hingham. But not for very long.

“If I let him loose, you can see him run 45 miles per hour for 15 seconds, and then he’s done,” Kantor said. “When I take him to school to be with the girls for an hour or so, he’s done for the night.”

He praises groups such as Greyhound Friends for matching retired dogs with new owners. Though greyhound racing is banned in Massachusetts, it continues in other states, so finding homes for the dogs is important, he said.

“The reality is a dog could be finished if he’s not earning money racing,” he said. “And they’re either then adopted or put down.’’ Of the latter, he said: “Adoption groups work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen often.”

When the Kantors got Java, he went through a basic specialty greyhound obedience class, and another to gain his “Good Citizenship Certificate,” Kantor said. Java also trained with Scituate-based Dog B.O.N.E.S. to get registered as an official therapy dog.

“Greyhounds are the best pets to have,” he said. “They’re just wonderful, so laid back.”

For information on adopting a greyhound, visit www.greyhound.org.

COUPLES IN RUNNING FOR FREE WEDDING: Three local couples are finalists in the third annual “A Military Wedding to Remember” giveaway by Fox25 Morning News and The Westin Copley Place in Boston. Named as finalists were Erica Oliari of Bridgewater and Sergeant Gregory Potter of South Carolina, a member of the Massachusetts National Guard 1-182nd Infantry Regiment, who has served in Afghanistan; Kari Phillips of Marshfield and Bryan Rojas of West Roxbury, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Afghanistan and is now a Reservist; and Ashleigh Chaves and Army 2d Lieutenant Matthew Smith, both of Taunton.

The all-expenses-paid wedding will be held Nov. 10 at The Westin Copley, over Veterans Day weekend. Voting for the winning couple is open to the public through Monday by visiting www.militaryweddingtoremember.
com.
The winners will be announced Wednesday on Fox25 Morning News.

STONEHILL ESTABLISHING GORMAN PAVILION: A $2 million grant from the Yawkey Foundation to support the Sally Blair Ames Sports Complex expansion project at Stonehill College will be used to create the Lou Gorman Pavilion. Gorman was a member of the Stonehill Class of 1953, and was the Red Sox general manager from 1984 to 1993, and served as the organization’s executive consultant for public affairs before his death in April 2011.

The exhibition space in the expanded sports complex in Easton will house Gorman’s sports memorabilia and highlight his baseball career, said Francis X. Dillon, vice president for advancement at Stonehill.

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Kenneth R. Johnston of Stoughton was named chief administrative officer at GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc. in Norwood. He is a principal of the company and had been senior vice president responsible for risk management, contracts, and real estate. Before joining the firm, Johnston was co-owner of Allstate Polyethylene Corp. He is also an avid cyclist, and has completed the Pan Mass Challenge for 24 straight years, raising more than $150,000 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Brian Balukonis, in client services at GZA, was appointed a member of the national board for the Society of American Military Engineers. Balukonis is a certified professional geologist who has worked on large infrastructure projects in his career, most recently on a subway extension tunnel in New York City.

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at pkandarian@aol.com.
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