Greyhounds seek life in slow lane
Hundreds of Kiwi families can vouch for the truth of the Greyhounds As Pets motto – ‘‘the fastest friend you’ll ever make’’.
The gentle, affectionate and intelligent dogs have been converting sceptics into fans in growing numbers since Greyhounds As Pets was launched five years ago.
An independent charitable trust, GAP was set up to find homes for retired racing greyhounds.
Without the group many more dogs would join the list of exracers destroyed each year in this country.
‘‘We work on between 600 to 800 dogs coming out of racing each year. Last year we rehomed 170 of them,’’ said GAP programme director Jacqui Eyley.
‘‘Some dogs are kept for breeding or pets by their trainers but we still need to increase the number of adoptions to cater for more of the rest.’’
The Silverstream resident has been involved in the group since the beginning.
‘‘I wrote the business plan in 2005 and was then offered the job of putting it all into practice,’’ she said.
So far, 35 hounds have found a haven with local families and Ms Eyley is hoping that number will grow.
‘‘They make the best pets. We get lots of feedback from people saying how adopting a greyhound is the best thing they’ve ever done.’’
The cost of adopting a dog is $ 380 and includes vet checks, neutering, microchipping, vaccinations, support and a subscription to the group’s newsletter, Fast Friends.
All dogs are carefully assessed and then matched with new owners.
‘‘ We act a bit like a dating agency.’’
Prospective owners ideally need a property with secure fencing but Ms Eyley said some greyhounds have been adopted by people without a garden.
‘‘The only other requirement is that the dogs sleep indoors. They have thin coats and love to be with people so they’re very definitely indoor pets.’’
Like all dogs, they need a walk each day.
‘‘Nothing too strenuous but like us they need to stretch their legs and socialise.’’
GAP strives to educate the public and correct misconceptions
Greyhounds As Pets programme director Jacqui Eyley with her retired racers, Lucky, left, who celebrates his 13th birthday this week, and 10-year-old Lucy. that people have about the breed. These include that they need loads of exercise and that they are highly strung.
‘‘ This is far from the truth. They’re very gentle and easygoing, so much so that they’re known as couch potatoes – they like nothing better than lolling upside down on the couch for most of the day.’’
Greyhounds are also recommended for pet therapy and work with the elderly because of their amiable natures. As for exercise, they do enjoy a good sprint, but only a short one.
‘‘After all, greyhound races only last 30 seconds,’’ Ms Eyley said.
People who can’t adopt can still help the cause by providing foster care, preparing dogs for family life.
‘‘We also need donations and bequests to help with running costs, kennelling and vet fees to boost the contribution made by the racing industry,’’ Ms Eyley said.
People keen to find out more can check out the website at greyhoundsaspets.org.nz.
Ultimate irony: They may be bred to chase fluffy animals but Brodie has decided rabbits like Ricky make much better friends.