Before this week I really knew nothing about greyhound racing. I have no personal experience of it at all. I have never met anyone in the industry, have never been ‘to the dogs’ or even watched greyhound racing on the telly. I only know what I have read and, sadly, that has mostly been horrific accounts of corruption and cruelty, the doping and mass killing of dogs, or live baiting. But as awful as these reports were I think I also honestly believed that the accusations had to have been grossly exaggerated or sensationalised—otherwise how was it that these dreadful things were allowed to go on?
Then last week the Government decided to shut down greyhound racing in NSW following the report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry—(‘The Special Commission of Inquiry found overwhelming evidence of systemic animal cruelty, including mass greyhound killings and live baiting. The inquiry’s report concluded that the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry has fundamental animal welfare issues, integrity and governance failings that can not be remedied.’)
Wow. I admit that the announcement pulled me up short because, in my mind, that meant that there was much more truth to those horrifying reports than I had ever wanted to believe. It made me feel sick to my stomach. While I obviously have strong opinions of my own on the issue I am not going to debate the rights, wrongs, political or financial ramifications of the Government’s decision here. (Since I began writing this post the appeals against the decision have already started (sigh) so the debate will rage on with or without my input anyway.) Besides, I would much rather just talk about the dogs.
I have personally only known one greyhound—’Gandalf’ (Gandalf the Grey 🙂 )—and that was years ago. Gandalf, his mum, and his best mate (a tiny little white ‘potscrubber’ of a dog whose name now completely eludes me) would meet up with a group of us every Sunday morning to walk all our dogs along a local beach.
While most of the dogs would immediately ‘go silly’ as soon as they got on the beach, running in circles, barking and chasing each other in and out of the water, Gandalf would initially ignore everyone else, putting all his focus on the straight flat beach laid out in front of him. He would then take off at full speed (followed at ever-increasing-distance by his little friend, tiny legs going ten-to-the-dozen trying to keep up with him). When Gandalf reached the end of the beach he would wheel around, with barely a pause, and race back towards us (his pal doing a somersaulting full stop followed by a mad u-turn in an effort to stay with him). He was beautiful to watch. (Gandalf, I mean. His little mate, not so much—he was just hilarious.)
As Gandalf was my only reference point when it came to greyhounds, and not knowing much about the breed otherwise, I did a quick ‘google’ and found nary a bad word said against them. They were mostly described as affectionate, cheerful, friendly, gentle, independent, intelligent, loving, quiet, responsive, and sweet—which is probably just as well as the RSPCA is now bracing itself for an influx of no-longer-racing greyhounds in need of furever homes (see article).
But before you all go madly rushing out to adopt or foster a needy greyhound (I am so tempted but, although my own three girls might eventually forgive me for bringing yet another dog into the house (I can just see Mabel rolling her eyes already) I don’t think my landlord would be as accommodating) please do read up on whether a rescue greyhound would actually be a good fit for you and your family.
Here are a few quick reasons why you should consider adopting a greyhound—
They love to lounge around in their favorite comfy spot (they’re professional ‘couch potatoes’). They will be happy to lay around all day while you are at work
(some will sleep 16-18 hours).
They are very affectionate and love cuddles.
Their coats are easy to maintain but because of their lack of body fat
they are inside-dogs only and need to have a warm place to sleep.
(And you also get to dress them up in snazzy pajamas for a real reason
—rather than you might just think it’s cute!)
Their polite and gentle nature makes them excellent buddies for travel
and meeting new people and pets.
They are a robust, healthy, long-lived dog, with a life expectancy of 10-13 years.
You’d be saving a life (and making Mahatma proud)
And two very important reasons why you should consider NOT adopting a greyhound—
Dogs need affection, time, company and security. If you are unable or unwilling to provide these basic needs, don’t adopt a dog . . . any dog . . .
If you can’t be as certain as humanly possible that any dog you adopt
will be part of your life, for all of its life,
just don’t do it . . .