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A Greyhound as a pet?
Why choose a greyhound?
After losing Brutus whilst living in France, I was adamant that I didn't want another dog. Getting up early to walk it, not being able to just 'go out' without worrying what time we needed to get home, and finding holiday destinations where we could take our pet with us.
We had been living in our new house for about 2 weeks, when my husband said "lets go to the dog rescue sanctuary and just have a look". You cant just go and look at these places, I would look and want to bring them all home with me!
I could feel a decision being made silently between my hubby and daughter. I was being out numbered 2 to 1.
So the following Saturday we went along to our local dog rescue centre and immediately saw two beautiful greyhounds. We were told they were brother and sister, had never been raced (as far as they knew) and were house trained. They had also never been separated and needed to be homed together.
The brother Bart was a large brindle and the sister Maggie (formally Nora) was small and black. We took them for a short walk together, they walked well and seemed very gentle.
After the home visit, and Bart peeing up the living room wall, they were delivered to us for a trial weekend and they settled in really well so we decided to keep them.
Maggie and Bart
Bart was most definately in charge over Maggie. He was bigger, hogged all the toys, wanted all the attention and ate all the food if Maggie didn't get in there and scoff hers all down in ten seconds flat.
They had a big bed between them but Bart would hog it all, so we had to split it. They had use of a two seeter sofa in our sitting room and Maggie never got a look in, poor thing.
Maggie was skittish and nervous the whole time, always running out of the way when Bart was around and taking a back seat. I think we all felt that Maggie was really getting a rough deal but as they had always been together we assumed this was how they worked, but we always tried to ensure that Maggie had as much attention as Bart.
A big problem
Our daughter came home from school on a Wednesday, like every other week, and let herself into the house and on our instruction went to let the dogs into the garden for a wee. Maggie had managed to get onto the little sofa and Bart was on the bed on the floor.
As our daughter bent over to stroke Bart he snapped at her and caught her face, breaking the skin. As my parents live next door she went to them, explained what had happened and my Mum bathed her face and applied cream. She still has the scar to show for it.
On my arrival home from work my daughter told me what had happened, checking that she had done nothing to provoke Bart I discussed the situation with my husband and rang the dog rescue sanctuary.
We knew that with a child we could not take the risk of this happening again so agreed to take the dogs back to the sanctuary so they could be re-homed. We were all upset but we did offer Maggie a home by herself if they were willng to split them.
They told us that they thought Bart was trying to assert his authority with both Maggie and our daughter or perhaps he was protecting Maggie in some way. We didn't know why he had done it and wanted him to understand that we were offering him a good home and that he had been silly to ruin it all.
The sanctuary agreed to let us take Maggie on her own as it seemed a shame for her to end up back at the sanctuary when she had done nothing wrong. They did worry that she may not settle without Bart and we were to keep her for a week and see what happened.
Maggie enjoying the sofa
A new start
When we arrived home, within a few minutes Maggie had climbed onto the little sofa that she would normally have had to give up for Bart and promptly went to sleep!
She seemed visibly settled, enjoying the peace and quiet.
Over the next few weeks we saw Maggie change into a calm, loving dog that loved to sleep a lot, run and occasionally play with her toys.
She loves to go out for her walks and is attentive (most of the time), she loves a cuddle and a fuss and will happily sleep all day on her sofa or in the sunny patch on the carpet.
So.. Is a greyhound for you?
- Very lazy - so only require short walks and will happily have a five minute mad run in the back garden
- Seem happy to be left at home if you work
- Quick at learning new commands - walking to heel, coming when called etc.
- Don't lose much hair on the carpet - coats still need brushing but moult very little
- They don't like stairs so generally won't go up to your bedroom and make themselves comfy on your duvet
- Hilarious - long gangly legs, long nose, funky looking ears and tongue hanging out when shaking
- Will do almost anything for a treat! Not sure whether this is just Maggie or greyhounds in general
- Very loving and gentle, love to be fussed and show great affection to you
- Can be a bit aloof - Takes a while to get used to strangers
- Like to sleep on your sofa! So lay down the rules quickly
- Don't like stairs - so if you live in an apartment, check you have a lift. Our Maggie does not even like 2 or 3 steps
- Need coats in the cold/rain - these can be bought online but make sure you get a proper greyhound coat as they fit to their body shape better that a normal coat
- They can be very sensitive to pain
We have had Maggie for 16 months now, she is almost 6 years old and has very quickly become part of our family.
She gets on with other dogs, although she does get very excited around small ones, I think she thinks they are rabbits and need chasing. She has only come into contact with my in-laws cats and seemed a bit bemused by them, but would have chased them given half a chance!
She has been around older children but will happily ignore any new human that comes to the house and will come for a sniff only when she is good and ready!
On days that my husband and I both work, fortunately only one really long day, Maggie will happily sleep for 9 hours and is always so happy to see us when we return home.
So would I recommend a Greyhound? Absolutely yes!!
BUT.... If you decide to add a geyhound to your family then please, please buy one from a resuce centre as there are lots of lovely dogs that only need a new start and will provide you and your family will a lot of entertainment and enjoyment.
Good news! - Bart was re-homed very quickly with new owners, he went to a couple with no children and is very happy now. He also did not seem to take any harm from being separated from his sibling.