Happier end to racing life

IT'S a sad fact that many greyhounds which have finished their racing career are simply not wanted any more.

Once they are too old to race they are often put to sleep or simply abandoned.

Animal charities have cited shocking cases such as a greyhound hurled out of a car window on the M74 motorway; others having their ears cut off before being dumped to disguise their identification numbers, and yet more simply abandoned because the owners do not wish to pay vets' fees after their racing days are over.

Another sad fact is that dog lovers rarely adopt greyhounds because they are believed to be too demanding.But, in fact, the breed makes an ideal pet.

Now one of the UK's largest greyhound rescue charities has expanded into Lancashire, with its base in Fylde.

And organisers of Greyhound Rescue West of England, which saves dogs that have been abused and abandoned, wish to find new homes for the friendly dogs in its care.

The charity receives no financial support from the greyhound racing industry and is reliant on the support of the public for donations to pay for the cost of caring for the dogs.

Now it has a new home at Afterglow boarding kennels, on Whitehill Road, Peel, near Blackpool, where kennel owner Mrs Peta Rain gives the dogs the TLC they so richly deserve until they can be re-homed.

Each dog will be vaccinated, neutered, microchipped and wormed prior to being rehomed. New owners also receive a month's free insurance; follow-up visits and access to trained behaviourists at any time.A FYLDE kennel has been chosen as the best place in the North West to house abandoned greyhounds.

Afterglow, at Peel, was picked by the Greyhound Rescue after charity officials vetted scores of premises across the region in search for a new rehoming centre.

Owner of Afterglow Mrs Peta Rain said: "We started doing this two weeks ago and have got four greyhounds here at the moment. They are being assessed here to make sure they are all right with other dogs and kids.

"They are quite nervous to start off with but within 24 hours you can see a difference with the look on their faces and in their eyes."

Mrs Rain is delighted Afterglow has been chosen for the project out of many kennels.

"We've been chosen out of quite a lot of kennels in the whole of the North West," she said.

"I'm really chuffed about it."

She took over as owner of Afterglow in 2005, after having worked there for two years prior to this and prides herself on ensuring the dogs' every comfortand need is catered for, with comfortable beds and spacious indoor and outdoor areas. There is no scrimping or cutting corners – even top quality disinfectant, at 200 a time, is purchased.

"It's important to use the correct stuff and know we can be satisfied in our own minds that we are doing it right," she said.

Anyone interested in rehoming can ring Greyhound Rescue representative Lucille, on (01253) 782597.COULD you give a home to a greyhound?

All dogs in the care of Greyhound Rescue West of England receive a complete health check and come with four weeks' free pet insurance.

They are also fully vaccinated, neutered, microchipped and treated for worms and fleas. They even have their teeth cleaned.

Greyhounds are gentle, affectionate and non-aggressive – they love to snooze on a comfy bed or sofa.

They adapt very quickly to home life, house train easily and walk quietly on the lead.

They are built for speed, not stamina and are known as the "40mph couch potato" – so two 20 to 30-minute walks a day is usually enough.

They are very clean even after muddy walks, their coats shed little and they do not have a strong doggy odour

A spokeswoman for Greyhound Rescue said: "We take in greyhounds of all ages, from puppies to geriatrics. Some are scarred by their ordeals and need a period of foster care before they can be permanently rehomed. We are looking for very special people in the area who feel they may be able to help us with this and make the sad ones happy again.

"Could you be a volunteer and help out with anything from fundraising to walking and transporting the dogs?

"We are also looking for loving, permanent homes for our greyhounds. A homechecker will visit to discuss your lifestyle, existing pets, children and any other commitments to make sure we can match the right dog with you. We will keep in touch and you will be rewarded with a lifetime of unconditional love."