Monday, June 11, 2007


I just want to take a moment to say so long to a real good human being - Bill Oliver. Bill died a several days ago of liver cancer. I would doubt that hardly any of you have ever heard of Bill. Those in this part of the country familiar with the "world of greyhounds" know him well. Bill, and his wife Cher (who I first met when I was in high school), have been the backbone of KCREGAP (a group concerned with greyhound rescue, adoption and with the welfare of this unique dog breed). For years, they have been out there saving these animals from what is often a terrible fate. Bill is probably personally responsible for thousands of these rescues. Bill also took on the Greyhound racing industry which annually kills thousands of these special dogs when they are no longer of use at the tracks.

Over the weekend hundreds of Bill friends, humans and dogs, gathered outside on a beautiful day to celebrate his life.

An article in the Kansas City Star read:

"...During his years helping greyhounds, Oliver helped more than 3,000 dogs find homes, and he earned a reputation as a passionate dog lover even among those he counted as adversaries. In the early years, his wife said, he often spent his own money on vet bills and dog food.

...He raised money. He attended parades and meetings. He scavenged the countryside looking for stray dogs, often driving two hours to Abilene, Kan., the capital of the greyhound industry. He visited kennels, worked with trainers and even approached strangers’ homes when he thought there was a dog to be saved.

“He truly believed what happened to these dogs was just so unacceptable,” Cher said. “Every time he’d see the neglect and abuse and sheer numbers being destroyed, it’d fuel that passion. He couldn’t ignore this.”

...“It was simply a love of the dogs for Bill,” said Ed Roberts, a friend and former member of REGAP. “No one’s ever had more passion for these dogs than Bill. They’re a unique breed, and they seem to attract a very special person. Bill was one of those people.”

Oliver had an old Honda he used for years to pick up greyhounds. It had chew marks everywhere, but Oliver refused to fix them. Even talking about that car — about the dogs he’d saved with it — brought tears to his eyes.

Even when Oliver was diagnosed with cancer four years ago, he made saving dogs his first battle. Fighting cancer was his second.

“Bill and I called them old souls,” Cher said. “We were both so truly amazed when we got to know the breed and how poorly they’re treated. It touched him, moved him to do something.”

On Saturday, friends and family gathered to celebrate his life. Dogs, of course, were welcome."

Finally, I want to add that there is a memorial fund (go to ) which I wholeheartedly endorse.

The following is taken from the Memorial Fund web site.

Early Sunday morning, the 27th of May, Bill Oliver, co-president of Kansas City REGAP, died. While we mourn his loss, we must also celebrate that he helped save untold greyhound lives, through adoption, and through his and Cher´s work to end greyhound racing. I´m sure that when he drew his last breath, each of the greyhounds he touched, those living and those whom he now joins, felt his generous spirit move among them. The multitudes of saved greyhounds stand as a permanent memorial to Bill and Cher, and to their infinite love of this wonderful breed.

As you may know, Bill suffered quietly but long with his illness, and it ravaged them financially, placing Cher in the unfortunate position of desperately needing our help. Under Cher´s direction over the last sixteen years, Kansas City REGAP has grown into one of the nation´s finest and most effective animal rights organizations, boasting one of the Midwest's largest groups of dedicated volunteers.

A gifted artist, Cher could have worked in the private sector for any number of companies, but instead chose to devote herself entirely to placing greyhounds in loving homes. She took no salary for this, only the satisfaction of knowing the dogs she and Bill loved so much would live out their lives in peace and safety and love. Now it is time to return a measure of that same peace and safety and love to her.

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