General

Greyhounds as pets

JAMES DESSENT

Ever wondered what life as a greyhound might be like?

If your answer is ‘no’, don’t feel bad because most of us haven’t either.

A typical day in the life of a racing greyhound is as follows:

Wake up in your concrete run, walk five metres to the end of the run and then walk back. Soon you’re taken to the track for hours of rigorous training, after which you are returned to your concrete run. Then it’s time for dinner, after which you’re given time to play with your friends before you return to your run for bedtime. And that’s pretty much it. Same again tomorrow.

Greyhounds are bred to race and their competitive nature means that they are well suited to the pressures of life as a racing dog.

But what about life after racing?

Typically, greyhounds have been of no use to their trainers once their racing life has expired which sees them being sent to the pound, or worse, being put down.

However, for the past 10 years an organisation called Greyhounds As Pets has been working with Greyhounds WA to help find homes for former racing dogs.

Ex racing dog, Emma.

The team at Greyhounds As Pets has been matching dogs with suitable families in an attempt to improve the quality of life of an ex racing greyhound.

Greyhounds As Pets Coordinator Tara Herbot believes the general perception of greyhounds is skewed.

“Most people think greyhounds are high-maintenance, hyperactive dogs with temperament issues that give them that competitive edge,” Ms Herbot says.

“The truth is most of the dogs we adopt out have been racing for three, four, five years and so lazing around all day suits them quite nicely.”

But it’s not only ex racing dogs that Greyhounds As Pets find homes for.

“A lot of greyhounds don’t make it to the track for a variety of different reasons and so we like to try and find these dogs a suitable home too,” Ms Herbot says.

Greyhounds As Pets assistant Dana Shaw says the program is designed so the dog has as easy a transition into life as a “normal” domesticated dog as possible.

“Once the dogs are finished racing, we like to get them into a training program so they can learn the domesticated skills of a house dog before they are adopted out,” says Ms Shaw.

All greyhounds in the program are sterilised, wormed, vaccinated and microchipped and part of the $300 adoption fee that includes a month’s worth of training.

Kathy Dristle adopted a greyhound through the program last year and says it has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience.

“ We had our reservations at the start, just because like most people we knew so little about them,” says Mrs Dristle.

“We have two kids under the age of 10 and our beautiful greyhound is gentle and affectionate towards them, as well as the family cat.”

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