Greyhounds make excellent pets

ELLE HUNT
Last updated 05:00 28/02/2013
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MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ

Sharon Brooksmith with Lea (black dog) and Jacqui Eyley with Sasha (grey dog) on Lambton Quay.

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Expect to be hounded for your loose change tomorrow: Greyhounds As Pets is holding its annual street appeal.

The independent charitable trust was established by Greyhound Racing New Zealand in 2006 to help find homes for retired racing greyhounds as pets. Since then, more than 200 dogs have found new homes in the Wellington region.

Programme director Jacqui Eyley says GAP is handed dogs ranging from 15 months old to more than 10 years, for a variety of reasons.

"Sometimes when they're trialled at 18 months, and they're just no good – they're too slow, or they don't want to chase.

"At the other end of the spectrum, we get dogs that have been really good racers, but they're just getting old and slow."

GAP then matches dogs to potential owners out of its two kennels, in Manawatu and Canterbury. "We act a bit like a dating agency."

Greyhounds make great pets because they are so low maintenance, Mrs Eyley says.

"People think they need lots of exercise, but a greyhound race lasts 30 seconds – this is the ultimate couch potato.

"They're just so much easier than other dogs. One older lady said having a greyhound is like having another adult in the house, whereas other dogs are like kids."

Sharon Brooksmith, of Wadestown, agreed, likening her greyhound Lea – who came to GAP because she had no interest in chasing a lure – to a "very, very, very large cat".

Though it continues to receive funding from Greyhound Racing New Zealand, GAP makes a loss of about $200 for each dog it re-homes.

"The more dogs we re-home, the more money we need."

As necessary as the street appeal is to boost revenue, it's also a chance for the dogs to make a good impression on the public.

"It's another chance for people to meet a greyhound – they're going to be falling over them at the train station."

THE DETAILS

GAP is holding its appeal tomorrow.

Volunteers will be collecting outside the railway station from 7am till 9am and 4.30pm till 6pm; Thorndon New World from 8am till 6pm; and New World Metro and Countdown Newtown from 11.30am till 2pm.

To donate online go to givealittle.co.nz/org/gap

For information on adopting a greyhound through GAP, go to greyhoundsaspets.org.nz

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- The Dominion Post

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