Since the plight of many greyhounds in the racing industry was exposed in the news recently, more Australians are choosing to adopt these beautiful docile animals as pets.
Animals Australia says: “Each year around 20,000 dogs are bred for greyhound racing. Sadly, when the industry no longer wants them, the vast majority of these dogs won't be rehomed and face a grim fate. An estimated 18,000 healthy dogs are killed in the greyhound industry each year — 8,000 pups and young dogs never even make it to the track, and another 10,000 dogs who are 'retired' from racing — simply because they are too slow to win.”
Have you thought about adopting or fostering a greyhound? You could help to save a life.
Greyhounds make wonderful family pets. They're naturally gentle and loving dogs, who generally don't require lots of space or a huge amount of exercise.
Vetwest veterinarian, Dr Meridith Howard says "Greyhounds are a generally healthy breed. They are easy to groom and have a low potential for weight gain. They have a sweet, mild nature and tend to get on well with people and other dogs."
Alex Cearns of Houndstooth Studio adopted a rescue kelpie-cross-greyhound puppy named Pip around four years ago. She was such a loving dog, Alex and her partner didn't hesitate when they were offered an opportunity to also adopt a young female greyhound, later named Pixel. The dogs became instant friends and inseparable sisters. Alex says both dogs have very gentle and loving natures typical of greyhounds. As one of Australia's most awarded and widely published pet and wildlife portrait photographers, Alex answers a question often asked by potential greyhound parents. Will my greyhound get along with my other pets?
“Many greyhounds can cohabit with other pets very well. Prior to a greyhound being adopted, each one is temperament tested by their relevant rescue organisation and is placed into the most suitable homes based on their test results. Those who like cats can live with cats, and those better suited to dogs for company go to dog only homes. Those who prefer to be an ‘only dog’ aren’t placed with other dogs – just like all other rescue dogs who undergo temperament testing.”
Pip and Pixel each settled into their new home when they arrived, and resident feline Macey Cat gracefully allowed them to stay. They are even stars of their own Facebook page Black Beetle.
So how does Alex sum up her feelings about greyhounds?
“Greyhounds are lovely dogs who make fantastic pets. They are couch potatoes and love nothing more than lying on the bed or couch. Greyhounds can be addictive – it’s hard to stop at adopting just one!”
If you think you’d like to adopt a greyhound but you’re unable to make the long term commitment, you may wish to consider fostering.
Foster carers can help dogs become familiar with living in a home environment and ensure they go to a perfect forever home when adopted.
Greyhound rescue groups are always on the lookout for committed, reliable foster carers who can help dogs learn the joy of being a pet.
Life expectancy: 10-12 years
Temperament: Gentle, even-tempered, calm and devoted. Greyhounds do not bark much.
Exercise: Greyhounds can live comfortably in an apartment or small yard provided they are given a walk each morning and afternoon. Greyhounds sleep on average up to 20 hours per day. Most are content with daily walks, a healthy meal and lots of love.
Grooming: Grooming needs are minimal and take just a few minutes a day.
Greyhounds have very little ‘doggy odour’ and do not need frequent baths. A rubber brush, grooming mitt or a soft brush will do fine.
Muzzles: Western Australia still upholds a law that require greyhounds to wear a muzzle in public areas. While there is some prospect of change to the WA Dog Act, greyhound adoption groups say the law is outdated and contributes to hundreds of dogs missing out on being re-homed each year.
Right now there are many greyhounds in WA waiting patiently for loving homes. Contact a greyhound rescue group, or visit your local shelter.
To learn more about the impact of racing on greyhounds, visit: https://www.animalsaustralia.org/issues/greyhound-racing.php