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Zoom and Tessa

Meet Lantern Hill’s most unexpected retirees

Created date

February 19th, 2018
Zoom (left) and Tessa live at Lantern Hill with their adopted parents Beth and Joel Gardner.

Zoom (left) and Tessa live at Lantern Hill with their adopted parents Beth and Joel Gardner. 


Tucked away on a hillside off Mountain Avenue, across from Bells Lab, sits Lantern Hill, a buzzing community of people enjoying their retirement from careers as doctors, engineers, teachers, scientists, artists—many of whom are quite renowned in their field. 

But perhaps the retirees with the most interesting careers at Lantern Hill aren’t in fact people at all. They’re retired greyhound racing dogs Zoom and Tessa Gardner. 

Second home

Zoom, a black-and-white male, and Tessa, a blond female, both 12 years old, live at Lantern Hill with Beth and Joel Gardner, who moved from Virginia to be closer to their daughter. They have owned several retired greyhounds over the years.  

“It’s a very large group across the country that adopts them out,” says Beth. According to the American Greyhound Council, the adoption rate was over 90% as of August 2016. 

Greyhound racing is an organized, competitive sport popular all over the world. In countries such as Australia, Ireland, Macau, Mexico, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S., greyhound racing is part of the gambling industry, similar to horse racing. In other countries, it’s an amateur sport. 

A greyhound adoption movement has arisen to find homes for retired greyhounds as pets. This is how Beth and Joel Gardner became the new owners of Zoom, Tessa, and their previous pets.  

Second career 

Beth says Zoom and Tessa love their new home at Lantern Hill—especially Zoom, who has found a second career as a therapy dog. 

His calm, friendly demeanor makes him a perfect candidate. “[Therapy dogs] have to be a kind of quiet dog,” Beth says.

She got certified to work with therapy dogs about six years ago by taking a training class. Zoom is her fourth therapy dog.

“It’s amazing work. Things happen that take your breath away,” she says, remembering a time when a woman they were visiting said her first word, “dog,” since suffering a stroke.

Beth and Zoom visit Lantern Hill’s on-site continuing care neighborhood, which offers assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing.

“He goes in and says hello to everyone. He puts his head on their chair or bed or lap and loves up on them,” Beth explains. “Everybody loves him.”

While Zoom’s enjoying his second career, Tessa is quite content at home, especially when Zoom’s there. 

“These dogs have never been without another dog. They get very sad and lonesome if they don’t have a friend,” Beth says. 

As for herself and Joel, they’re quite content with their life at Lantern Hill too. They live in a beautiful Wentworth-style apartment home with their dogs, they have new friends, and they have a beautiful community to enjoy life.

Fast facts

Clocking in at 43 mph, the greyhound ties with the onager and coyote for the thirteenth-fastest land animal.

43 mph: Greyhound, onager, coyote

43.5 mph: Ostrich

44 mph: Red kangaroo

45 mph: Cape hunting dog (aka ornate wolf or painted dog), elk, jackrabbit

50 mph: Lion, black buck antelope, wildebeest

55 mph: Quarterhorse

62 mph: Sprinbok

62 mph-plus: Pronghorn antelope

70 mph: Cheetah