Grey­hounds seek life in slow lane

Kapi-Mana News - - FEATURE - By LEE-ANNE ED­WARDS

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.

Best mates:

Ul­ti­mate irony: They may be bred to chase fluffy an­i­mals but Brodie has de­cided rab­bits like Ricky make much bet­ter friends.

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