Monday, 23 November 2009

A-Z Monday~Greyhounds

G is for Greyhounds
How can I not write about Greyhounds when three share our home?

Known for being fast, they can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, they are generally bred for racing. They are working dogs. They earn money for their owners, if they're good. If not then ... it is too dreadful to say what happens to some of them. Even for those that are succesful in their career, their life doesn't always fare much better.

We have 3 Greyhounds all of whom raced. Rufus won thousands of pounds for his owner yet he was kept in a dark shed on an allotment. He suffered an injury which brought his racing career to an end. He was taken to the rehoming kennels where they had to clean up his teeth. They were so matted with grass and gunge. One of the first things that we did when we adopted him was to take him to the vets to have his teeth cleaned and he had one out. This procedure was repeated when we were in Sweden. He most probably will loose more of his teeth, despite regular brushing. His brother arrived at the kennels a while ago. It seems he was also good at winning races. All his teeth have been extracted. He also has poor vision. He has what is called Panus. A condition that can be brought on by living in the dark. Yet what beautiful, friendly, trusting dogs they both are.

Mike and I feel very passionate about Greyhounds. The fact that they work hard for their owners yet often their welfare is disregarded.

Greyhounds were in the UK news a few years back. It was discovered that a large number of Greyhounds at the end of their career, or if they had an injury through racing, or because they were not up to scratch, were being taken to a farmer and being shot. This was happening in the North East of England. An area where Greyhound racing has a strong tradition. The owners of the kennels where we got our 3 were devasted to find that 4 greyhounds they said they would take in a few days, were taken to this farmer and shot because the owner couldn't wait that long. Lots of people in the UK were appalled at this treatment of otherwise healthy dogs. 10,000 greyhounds retire each year from racing either at the end of their career or through injury so the kennels are always full.

And yet it wasn't always so.

Once upon a time only people of nobility could keep greyhounds. And to kill a greyhound was punishable by death. Both Queen Victoria and King Henry VIII kept greyhounds.

Although bred for racing, greyhounds do not need a lot of exercise. They are sprinters, so run fast over a short distance. But they love their home comforts, and spend most of the day dozing. They are popularly known as 45 mile an hour couch potatoes.

Most greyhounds don't sit.

This is an unusual picture. Rufus occaisionally sits, but only for a short time, and never on a chair or a sofa! I don't think I have ever seen Jewel sit.

They make beautiful pets as they are friendly and faithful. But also their coat is short and odourless so they can be suitable for people who have an allergy to dogs.

They are also good travellers. They have probably spent a lot of time in a vehicle over the years being ferried to the racetrack. They generally retire from racing at about 4 years of age, unless they are injured.

I haven't shown any of our 3 running, something that they love to do, because those photos are on the other computer and are inaccessible at present. But you can see some from when we were in Sweden here. We don't let them off here as we don't have a safe enclosure to do so.
They make lovely pets. They are generally adaptable, loyal and intelligent. Even though all they have known are racetracks and kennels, they fit into home life very well. They may not have seen a hoover or stairs before, but they quickly learn, and are responsive to what you ask of them only too willing to please.

For more information about greyhounds, take a look here, here and
For more A-Z fun take a look here.


Kath said...

What a lovely post, I did enjoy reading it. I am well aware that greyhounds are seen as disposable by the racing industry and I remember the case you mention. The chap was fined, apparently there were hundreds of bodies buried on his land. Lurchers are also sprinters who spend the rest of their day asleep. When we volunteered for the rescue, people would overlook them as pets, because they mistakenly believed they needed "A lot of exercise". Due to the "hunting with dogs act", thousands of lurchers have been abandoned and destroyed. Interesting to read that about their teeth, the racing hounds are fed a very sloppy diet, which causes tartare and gum disease as you discovered. I am so happy seeing your beautiful dogs safe and in a loving home, where they give you so much love in return XX

Protege said...

I agree with Kath, an incredible post. I read it holding my breath, it was so fascinating (even if some of it was sad)! Lovely tribute to beautiful dogs; lovely pictures as well.
I love greyhounds and wolfhounds as well, the are magnificent creatures.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynne, What beautiful pets you have. I was fascinated by the info in your post. Only rarely do I see greyhounds in our area. Fascinating to read how fast they are and to see yours enjoying the comfort of home warms my heart. I would say they are lucky to have you and Mike and visa versa. Thank you for your kind comments on my post earlier. You were one of the first bloggers I corresponded with and I'm so grateful we have remained in touch. I value your "visits" and your friendship.

Daisy said...

Lynne, greyhounds are such beautiful animals and wonderful pets. It is so sad that they are treated so poorly. I'm glad you have given yours such a good home where they can be loved. Wonderful choice for the letter "G." :)

MarmaladeRose said...

They are all beautiful. I like to see a dog 'lolling'. They are definately 'lollers'! They always look soooo graceful.

Kath said...

Now I want to know, what is a ripple blanket? photo please! :D

Sarah said...

Most interesting and touching-I do love to read about your greyhounds! Which one is that smiling at the end-is it Rufus? I love that picture of them on their fur rugs-they look like regal greyhounds. It is terrible that such beautiful animals are treated so badly. It is a good job there are so many like yourself and Mike who want to rehome them.
I look forward to seeing the shots of the trees!

bad penny said...

lots of long legs !

I have golden retrievers - hairy smelly & slobbery maybe I should have had sleek greyhounds !

Yours look lovely said...

Loved this post. The dogs are certainly very beautiful. I'll keep greyhounds rescue in mind when we next come to pick a dog. We have a Scottie just now!

Rosie said...

Your dogs are really beautiful, so elegant!
I lived in North Rhine Westaphalia, in Detmold, Munster and Soest,all wonderful towns. My ex was in the army so from 1978 to 1988 I lived in Germany and 2 years in HK. But Germany is something very special to me and to live there again would be a dream come true!
Rosie x

Margaret said...

The members of your furry family are gorgeous. You are so blessed to have such loving animals. And likewise, they are so blessed to be rescued by you.

Diane said...

We used to do volunteer Dog Walking for the RSPCA and always fell in love with the Greyhounds - such placid and elegant creatures with the most appealing eyes. I can see why you are smitten.

bad penny said...

thanks for popping to my blog. Yes I'm new to hen keeping. I have four naughty girls who keep wondering into neighbours' gardens.

I don't want to pen them in but may have to ! Lots of hen keeping Bloggers giving me lots of helpful advice !

Your dogs are beautiful

Floss said...

What a marvelous post - I learned so much! I am really quite envious on the 'short, odourless coat' side of things, as our son has a Cocker Spaniel, which is quite a different story! But how sad their stories are... You are doing a great thing.

Do they instinctively chase other animals? I remember hearing that friend's cat had been killed by greyhounds which were exercised in the fields near their home, but maybe this is not a fair assessment of their character. I would like to hear another side to the story!