Tag Archives: greyhounds

How many hounds needing a home?

Izzy of The Balanced Dog

All of the dogs I have had in my life have been adopted.

Our first family dog came from a no-kill shelter; our second from a supermarket notice board.  A local re-homing group, Dogwatch, facilitated my first adoption as an owner; my second dog, Daisy, came in a private adoption through word-of-mouth, and in 2014 Izzy, a greyhound adopted through the national adoption group Greyhounds as Pets, arrived on the scene.

Worldwide, there are more dogs that need homes than there are adoptive homes to care for them and this situation is no different for the greyhounds of New Zealand’s racing industry.

As of 2018, New Zealand is one of only eight territories in the world with a commercial greyhound racing industry.  The others in alphabetical order are Australia, Ireland, Macau, Mexico, United Kingdom, the United States (five states only), and Vietnam.

But many New Zealanders are unaware of the findings of  The Hansen Report, which was publicly released in the busy pre-Christmas period of December 2017.  Formally titled A Report to the NZ Racing Board on Welfare Issues Affecting Greyhound Racing New Zealand, the report was written by the Hon Rodney Hansen, QC.

I won’t go into all of the findings in this blog post (the report is 93 pages).  But the statistical analysis of the racing industry’s own data show that despite the efforts of all of the re-homing groups in the country combined, re-homing can’t deal with the influx of greyhounds leaving the industry.  The report deems this a ‘current structural imbalance’ and recommends that ‘re-homing alone cannot solve the problems created by excessive numbers of greyhounds entering the industry each year.’

The bottom line?  There’s still a lot to be done to look after the welfare of the greyhounds in the NZ racing industry.  In the four-year period between 2013/14 and 2016/17, the whereabouts of 1,271 dogs could not even be determined and another 1,447 hounds were officially euthanised.

Upon the report’s release, Racing Minister Winston Peters described the findings as both disturbing and disappointing.  While the racing industry has said it intends to act on all findings, those actions will take time.

And that is why I volunteer with Greyhounds as Pets and also offer my fundraising support.  Because there are so many hounds in need of an adoptive home.

As with children, dogs don’t ask to be born.  But it is our responsibility as a society to care for them once they are brought into the world.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Advertisements

Don’t call them lazy

Izzy and I do a fair amount of volunteering for our local re-homing group, Greyhounds as Pets.  In describing the greyhound, I often hear the term lazy used as in “they are very lazy dogs and like to sleep most of the day.”

The Oxford dictionary defines lazy as “unwilling to work or use energy.”   I don’t find Izzy unwilling to expend energy; she’ll happily join me for walks twice a day (except when it is raining heavily and then she needs some encouragement).    Often she will instigate play time herself – typically in the evening after dinner – when she zooms around the house with one or more of her toys.  Yes, she plays for about 5-10 minutes, but she does play.

And in my mobile service, she often accompanies me in the car to meet and greet clients.  (Yes, she also sleeps in the car but the point is – she is always happy to go in the car and usually bounces into the garage before I have time to clip on her car harness.)

The synonyms for lazy include slothful, inactive,  idle and slow-moving.    These terms remind me of the stereotypical fat person whose preferred activity is sitting on their sofa eating junk food and drinking.

Like Homer Simpson.

And greyhounds are definitely not slow-moving when they decide it’s time for a zoomie.

Izzy is certainly not fat, either.  She’s a svelte girl who has maintained her ideal weight for the 3 1/2 years that she has been in my life.  Most of her greyhound friends are equally as fit.

So I think we do a disservice to the breed by calling them lazy because lazy has many negative connotations. No one enjoys working with someone who is lazy and doesn’t carry their weight, for example.

Instead, I propose:

“Greyhounds are discerning in what activities they choose to undertake.”  (A sign of quality and taste!)

and

“Greyhounds are energy-conserving.” (A dog that is kind to the earth and sustainable!)

Greyhounds – don’t call them lazy.

 

I'm not lazy

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

The Dogs of Avalon – book review

Inspired by her adopted lurcher, Lily, author Laura Schenone started to research the background story of Irish sighthounds that were being imported into the United States for adoption.

Her research reveals the story of Marion Fitzgibbon, who witnessed firsthand the appalling animal welfare problems in her native Ireland and started to take action.  Marion’s story starts small, as most animal welfare initiatives do.  But her dream and her passion builds as she finds friends who are willing to work alongside her and to help find shelter and fostering options for rescued animals.

The dogs of avalon

She eventually becomes the head of the Irish Society for the Protection of Cruelty Animals and she is experienced enough and with enough authority to tackle the greyhound racing industry.  This includes conducting an undercover investigation into facilities in Spain, where many of the Irish greyhounds were sold to live in appalling conditions.

In Ireland, very few people were willing to adopt the greyhounds that their country’s highly subsidized racing industry supported – and so many were sent to the United States which is how the author’s Lily came to reside in New Jersey.

And for a time the book focuses on the USA greyhound racing industry and the groundswell of support to help shut tracks down.  I actually found this part of the book to be its weakest – diverting from the Irish story.    The cause to shut down the Wonderland track in Massachusetts is covered, for example; but not particularly clearly in my opinion.  (I grew up in Massachusetts and Wonderland is a stop on the Blue Line of Boston’s subway system.)

Like all true stories of animal welfare organizations, there are many cases that are not easy to read.  But that is the reality that we must face when acknowledging how people and industries view the rights (or lack thereof) of animals and the history of how man has treated animals.

As a greyhound owner myself, I could never have passed by this book.  It’s a solid read for greyhound lovers, all dog owners, and anyone interested in animal welfare.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

A date in the red zone

Izzy has a boyfriend named Bergie who lives across town from us.  Bergie is approximately one year younger than Izzy, but from the day they first met on an organized Greyhounds as Pets walk, it was clear that these two really enjoyed each other’s company.

We make an effort for them to have dates on a regular basis; one of their favourite places is the red zone – this is an area in eastern Christchurch where homes were demolished after the 2011 earthquake; the residents were bought out by the government so they could relocate elsewhere because the land is unsuitable for building.  There are a few locations in the red zone that are fully fenced, allowing greyhounds the opportunities to do zoomies in a safe environment.

Bergie the greyhound

Bergie

This area of the red zone is very sandy (which is why it isn’t suitable for re-building).  It is, however, very good for digging holes.  Bergie likes to dig holes for Izzy and she likes to watch…

Digging a hole for his love

Bergie digs a hole for Izzy

And greyhounds generally like to do zoomies (short bursts of running).  Here is Izzy chasing Bergie:

Izzy is now asleep in her bed after having a great day with Bergie.  (I think their next date will be at the beach – Izzy loves the beach!)

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Play date

A change of scene, play, and social time with other dogs are all important to the emotional health of our dogs.

Izzy, for example, has a boyfriend who lives on the other side of the city.  His name is Bergie and they have a special relationship.  I can’t even remember when it started; they just met at greyhound walks and bonded to each other.

So, it’s important to his owners and to me that we make the time for them to see each other.  This week, they finally managed to have a play date after being severely rained out of one date and then missing another chance to see each other when, again, the rain and cold interfered with the monthly farmers market display for Greyhounds as Pets.

On this date, Bergie decided to impress Izzy with his hole digging skills…she took a front row seat!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

The Great Global Greyhound Walk

The Great Global Greyhound Walk has become an annual event since 2014 to raise the profile of adoptable greyhounds.  (The event was started in 2010 as the Great British Greyhound Walk but interest soon went global.)

Groups from around the globe organize walks with their hounds to show them off to the public and to raise funds for greyhound adoption.

This year, the date is this Sunday – 11th June.  gggw-logo  If you follow the Walk’s website, there’s a searchable database to find the walk closest to you.

Check out the map while you are there – this event is truly global.

As Izzy is a greyhound and we volunteer for Greyhounds as Pets, you can guarantee that we will participate in our local walk in central Christchurch.

Interested in knowing more about bringing a greyhound into your life?  Why not come out on Sunday and meet lots of hounds and their owners.  Owners love to talk about their dogs and their enthusiasm is infectious.  Bring your spare change and make a donation, too, so more hounds can find a forever home.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Job share: Boots and Rush

When this story came through my Facebook feed, I had to share it.

Yet another ‘working dogs/therapy dogs’ success story – this time in Western Australia at the Woodvale Secondary College using two special greyhounds.

Boots came first for three days of dog therapy support, and then Rush joined to fill in for the remaining two days.

Enjoy this video, which shows therapy dog work and benefits:

And the spin-off benefit from using the dogs at the school is the profile raised for greyhound adoption.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand