Hounds in need of a home

An adopted greyhound Tommy with Amazing Greys founder Martina at the recent Dog Lovers Show in Melbourne. 367602_03

by Cam Lucadou-Wells

It was a boomtime for pets during Covid lockdowns, but now they have fallen out of fashion.

The shortage of new pet owners has now reached a “crisis point”, according to Olinda-based rescue group Amazing Greys.

The charity is struggling to find foster homes or permanent homes for about 100 ex-racing and rescue greyhounds a year.

With workers returning to the office or travelling abroad since lockdowns, a growing number of pets are being returned or abandoned.

“It was a bit fashionable to have greyhounds for a while,” Amazing Greys founder Martina says.

“But the adoption queries have significantly slowed down now. They have reached a saturation point.

“It’s reached a crisis that is affecting a lot of other breeds. There’s a high abandonment rate for cats and dogs.”

Like many charities, Amazing Greys is also struggling with dwindling donations and volunteer burnout.

Since 2011, its volunteers have rehabilitated greyhounds that have been surrendered by trainers and breeders.

It all started after Martina was first besotted by her friend’s mother’s greyhound – “the most beautiful dog I’d ever seen”.

This led her to adopting her first as a pet.

“I could either adopt from the greyhound adoption industry or another organisation funded by the greyhound industry.

“I wanted something independent and not affiliated with racing.”

And so she started Amazing Greys.

“We’ve got great relationships with breeders and trainers but no funding from the racing industry. We rely on donations and volunteers to do the work.”

In the past decade, the common view on greyhounds had changed from an “aggressive” breed to a “gentle”, “chilled out” pet, Martina says.

“They’re bred for speed, so they tend to expend all of their energy quickly and in one go.

“They like to have a comfortable life on the couch.”

Martina reckons that most surrendered greyhounds are slightly under a healthy weight.

And that greyhound welfare in the racing industry has not much improved despite some initiatives.

“The dog should have enrichment and not just seen as a racer.

“There should be thought about what happens when they get off the track.”

With so many dogs needing homes, Martina says there should also be breeding caps.

She says there has been a boom in greyhound breeding due to racing being allowed to continue during Covid as an “essential industry”.

At Amazing Greys, the canines are cared for in a foster home until a permanent home has been found.

During that phase, they are de-sexed, vaccinated, given dental cleaning and if necessary, treatment for broken bones or muscular injuries.

Their temperaments and needs are assessed to help match them to their adopted families – such as those that are good with children, other greyhounds or cats.

Martina says half of the foster families end up adopting the dogs permanently.

For adoption families, there’s a three-week trial period.

To enquire about volunteering or adopting, email hello@amazinggreys.com.au