The Joys of Owning a Retired Greyhound - Part Two
I previously covered misconceptions people have about retired greyhounds and the ways in which they make great pets. I now want to share my experience of rehoming a retired greyhound.
If you are open to the idea of rehoming a Greyhound, the first place I recommend you go is your local Retired Greyhound Trust branch. They will be able to give you a lot more information on rehoming and owning a greyhound, and give you the chance to meet some in person so you can see whether a greyhound is for you.
The great news is that if you decide a greyhound is the right dog for you, they will know of all the local greyhounds available for rehoming – remember, don’t forget the black dogs as they often find it harder to find their forever home!
I went down a slightly different route with Blackie as we have a fantastic relationship with his ex-trainer and my Stepdad actually had a share in him. I had known Blackie as a race dog for months when we visited the farm, and knew he was coming from a good quality, caring racing kennels. He was retired from racing as he had an old hip injury that his trainer was worried was deteriorating – he decided it was best to retire him rather than race him and risk his health. Many trainers really do put the dog’s welfare first and it’s great to see that so many now keep their dogs until they have found loving forever homes.
When I took Blackie on, I had fantastic support from his ex-trainer who gave me everything I would need for him and told me all I needed to know. When rehoming through the Retired Greyhound Trust, they provide you with support, a collar and lead plus a muzzle, so I imagine it’s a very similar, positive experience.
I’ll never forget getting Blackie home for the first time – he was scared to go into the house and just froze at the door. This fear didn’t last long and very soon he was exploring every room and coming up to me for cuddles. The house quickly became his ‘safe place’, although even now he does like to follow me about and see what I’m up to – especially if I go in to the kitchen.
It took a couple of weeks for him to be confident on walks as everything was new and scary – he was used to the race track and walks on his farm rather than street walks and meeting other dogs! Most greyhounds have only seen other greyhounds, and so meeting other breeds for the first time can be scary for a newly retired greyhound, they may as well be a different species!
If there is one thing Blackie loves more than sleeping, it is his car. He LOVES his car and at the stables, he often will have a two-minute run around and then returns to his car for as long as it takes us to finish up. If we’re lucky, he may pop out to see what we’re doing before returning to his beloved car. We can be on a lovely walk in the countryside and he’ll be having a great time, but the moment he sees his one true love, he picks up the pace and can’t wait to get back to the car. I don’t think this is normal for the breed, but I do think the fact he can snooze in his car is a big bonus.
Retired greyhounds are crate trained, but most have never been in a house before. Luckily, they are naturally very clean animals and prefer to do their business away from their home. Blackie has had only a couple of accidents, but overall, he adapted quickly and came pretty much housetrained.
Everybody fell for Thunder Blackie very quickly, his gentle and affectionate nature is too much to resist. He has bloomed like a flower and loves being a pet. My heart melts every day watching him enjoy life to the maximum, be that playing with his toys, napping, or smiling his way around our walks.
Blackie has even built a little relationship with the cat now, although the cat certainly wears the boots...