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Where to adopt a greyhound from?

(21 Posts)
MissBetsyTrotwood Sat 15-Oct-11 17:53:15

After much debate we have decided to adopt a greyhound (or at least see if we're suitable to be adopted by one.)

Nearly all of the centres around us (East London) are run by the Retired Greyhound Trust. DH's colleague's DSis works for another greyhound rehoming organisation in the North West and says the RGT can be a little laid back in their adoption policies. She's not given any actual evidence to back this up though.

Anyone with any experience out there? What should you look for in an adoption organisation?

We're excited to have made our decision but we're not in a hurry and want to wait for the right dog. We don't mind how cute he/she is, just how we all fit together.

DogsBeastFiend Sat 15-Oct-11 18:21:15

You should look for a rescue which, as a minimum:

Homechecks... ALWAYS. No excuses, no exceptions, it's for YOUR benefit as well as the dog's, to ensure as good a match as possible and to iron out any problems before the dog moves in. Rather you're asked to fix that gap in the fence and your application is put on hold until rescue comes back to satisfy itself that the repair's been done than have to tell your DC that you've found your escaped dog dead on the side of the road.

Neuters. ALWAYS - only excuse for not being when medical reasons make it too much of a risk to the dog's life.

Vaccinates and microchips.

Assesses the dog and doesn't just move him from one home into yours.

Contracts in writing to take the dog back at ANY time in his life. Trust me, rescue places are hard to secure, even for those of us who have the contacts and who place dogs in rescue, it's far, far harder for the average owner. Heaven forbid that you had to lose your dog in 10 years time and had nowhere but the pound or the vet to take him.

Guarantees lifelong support and advice.

I'd have a word with Hersham Hounds if I were you. smile Good luck. smile

MissBetsyTrotwood Sat 15-Oct-11 21:15:28

One of the reasons we wanted a rescue/retired dog was for your last point; DH has owned dogs before but this is my first ever and I'll have heaps of questions.

I've spoken to a few places and we've had rather contradictory advice about cats, for example. We don't own a cat (we do have guinea pigs but they're always in a run with a lid) but our neighbours do and they use our garden a lot. One rescue said they'd only give us a cat trainable dog, whereas the other's attitude was that as the cats weren't ours it would be impossible to train a dog to ignore them anyway.

There are points in the garden we need to sort out before a visit - a day's work for me and DH.

I'll check out your link - and thank you so much for such detailed advice!

BehindLockNumberNine Sat 15-Oct-11 22:29:46

Please please please, if you can, go to The Celia Cross Greyhound Trust, in West Clandon near Guildford, in Surrey.

We have adopted our lovely lurcher from them, the manager, Jane, is wonderful, the staff are great, they love to hear from you once you bring the dog home and hear how he/she settles in, and they are always on the other end of the phone if you need help / advice.

Today we went back there to buy lovely lurcher a wintercoat and to say 'hi' and to cuddle the dogs.

Fabulous, small, independent rescue, I cannot praise them highly enough.

Linky coming up:

look here

MissBetsyTrotwood Sat 15-Oct-11 22:40:08

Oh. Just looked at that link Behind .

I love them all! I was going to bed and now I'm going to have to stay up and look at greyhounds. Gah!

chickchickchicken Sat 15-Oct-11 22:49:24

i tried to resist for a second or two clicking on the link but gave in

poor Joe, he looks so sad. hope he finds a home soon. only 3yrs old and looks like he has the world on his shoulders

BehindLockNumberNine Sat 15-Oct-11 22:49:41

They are lovely, aren't they....

Ds sometimes helps out there (he went again today) and has helped bottle feed the puppies when they were tiny.

Atm he is badgering us for Alice and POD (PrinceOfDarkness) but I am happy with one longtail atm. (although they are addictive and am sure we will add to the family at some point...)

Celia Cross also have a fb page, if you are on fb, look here: linky

chickchickchicken Sat 15-Oct-11 22:51:10

oops i was referring to behindlocknumbernine's link the celia cross rescue

just noticed DBF posted a link as well <resisting clicking so far>

chickchickchicken Sat 15-Oct-11 22:53:16

smile i have 3 dogs and only ever planned having one! they arent even greyhounds which by all accounts are the most addictive dogs ever

will check out facebook link, thanks

chickchickchicken Sat 15-Oct-11 22:54:28

OP - have you fallen in love yet?

SpringHeeledJack Sat 15-Oct-11 22:55:33

we tried to rehome a greyhound through RGT, and found them to be too very thorough grin

they wouldn't pass our fences (need to be 6ft plus, iirc) and said they'd be very reluctant to let us have a dog as we had guinea pigs

we ended up getting staffs because we couldn't sort out the fence thing- do hope to get a greyhound one day, though

chickchickchicken Sat 15-Oct-11 23:00:19

i clicked on DBF's link as well. i officially have no will power

Scuttlebutter Sat 15-Oct-11 23:10:11

All the points raised by DBF would apply to any dog but if you are adopting a sighthound such as a grey then there are extra considerations, especially if you are taking one straight off the track.

We have three greys and I do a lot of voluntary work here in Wales. Some straight talking is needed especially on the subject of cats, guinea pigs and fences.

Your fences need to be able to withstand a grey jumping at speed - so solid, and at least 6ft tall. Any rescue that doesn't pick up on this at homecheck should be avoided like the plague. Gappy hedges, low wire fences, or low brick walls are just not enough.

Greys are bred and trained to chase after small, furry things. They do not distinguish between hares (artificial or real) and guinea pigs, cats or Yorkshire terriers. Please pause and think this through. It is possible to get cat friendly greys but they are much rarer - about 20% of them are potentially cat trainable. If you want your grey to co-exist with your GPs, I'd be thinking about how you can safely keep them seperate. A reputable rescue would be very careful about ensuring you were only matched with a thoroughly cat tested (and small furry friendly) grey and even then you should always exercise caution.

I am also going to be the voice of doom on the subject of cats. How will you feel if your grey chases and kills a cat that gets into your garden? It is impossible for you to totally cat proof your garden and it is also impossible to ensure your garden is cat free before you let the dog out for a wee. Many dogs like to chase cats but greys have the turn of speed to be able to actually catch them, and the wherewithal to be able to kill them. How will this affect your relationships with your neighbours? This is a common reason for greys to be rehomed particularly when people want to maintain good relationships with neighbours.

Sighthounds - we also need to discuss the dreaded "recall". Many greys can and do learn recall but this is not a natural strength and even when they do learn this, sighthound owners should ALWAYS be alert to their grey getting in the "zone" and hurtling off into the middle of next week. Once they start running, it is a breathtaking sight, but you will never catch them (40 mph) and they will be completely oblivious to anything round them such as traffic, cars or any other obstacle. For their own safety you will always need to to do this thinking for them and ensure they are only off lead where it is safe to do so.

Many, many people will tell you at great length about all of the wonderful features of greyhounds ( I often do myself) but rescues do adopters no favours if they are not completely honest and realistic about some of the potential downsides of a greyhound, especially one with a high prey drive.

There will probably now be a tsunami of people posting who have adopted greys who have got perfect recall and have never chased anything, and share their homes with a posse of rabbits and Chihuahuas - but as someone on the inside of rescue I've seen too many distraught owners whose dogs have chased cats, escaped and in the worst case been run over after suddenly taking off. There is also the issue that I heard recently of the RSPCA prosecuting a greyhound owner whose dog killed a cat while out on the lead (cat jumped out of hedge in front of grey). Owner prosecuted under Animal Welfare Act.

So, your rescue should really cover all these points. If they can get you a cat friendly grey, then you should be fine, but even then, I'd still insist on making sure you have a damn good fence. Sorry to be the voice of doom, but it's better you think about all this up front.

DejaWho Sun 16-Oct-11 12:19:53

Even though mine IS deemed a cat-friendly grey (her response in cat-testing was to lick the testing cat - she licks everything though) - there's still no way on this earth I'd trust her in a room with the cat unattended. We also had a good few month wait and ended up getting an older dog than we'd have liked in order to get one that could live with cats. If anything she's worse with small fluffy white dogs (imagine my bloodpressure when someone let 7 bichon frise bowl up to her while she was onlead and muzzled and they were all running wild and free) and she's muzzled and on-lead with walks because of that (and people letting their dogs bother on-lead dogs - don't get me started on that one). Means you have to develop either a thick skin or become rather arsey about the comments that attracts - because there are some pig-ignorant morons out there with gobs the size of a small planet. It's probably the worst thing about owning her to be honest.

Recall and obedience-wise - mine now she's finally settled down is really starting to get the hang of commands (as long as she knows there's payment in sight for it - mercenary lil madam that she is) - she just utterly stunned our training class a few weeks ago as it all clicked into place - and took great joy in showing off to a new greyhound in the class last week (owner was gobsmacked I have a hound that sits willingly - but seems to think that if she sits she's entitled to whatever you've got she wants). Took her a while to get there - the first month we had her I was thinking "fuck I've got a completely untrainable dog what the hell am I going to do."

With the RGT - I had a few problems with the branch we got ours from - just general organisation and a lack of communication really - but they do support you afterwards and it does put on fabulous wallet-hammering collar-shopping things like the Great Greyhound Gathering (not that I came back with about 7 different collars - oh no). I had a branch I know some other people have had problems with though - and they've thought very similar things to me from what they've told me. Didn't find them laid-back in their homechecking - the guy who did ours was very very thorough on things and the life they'd had prior to going in for homing as well - but very helpful, and fussed over resident dog and cat as well.

miacis Sun 16-Oct-11 13:38:35

We've just had the extremely painful experience of having a newly adopted dog taken back from us by the rescue. It will be a long time before we repeat the experience. Couple of learning points:

Make sure the rescue has assessed the dogs themselves rather than relying on passed on information. This is especially important in my view when it comes to things like cats and children. The dog might be cat friendly with their cat but not others. Knowing that assessment has been done will help your confidence in dealing with a new dog.

Check out how bouncy the dog is - older greys/whippets/lurchers are usually really calm but they can be very bouncy in the teenage months. They are big dogs and can scare your own and visiting children if they are bouncy even though they mean no harm at all. (Imagine a 20 kilo plus dog hurtling towards your small person at 30mph) Think about this - visit the dogs - and take your time.

This is not meant to put you off just to point out things to watch for.

BehindLockNumberNine Sun 16-Oct-11 15:58:15

miacis - what happened?

MissBetsyTrotwood Sun 16-Oct-11 20:27:21

This is all good advice and info - thank you so much. And please don't worry about the straight talking/cons of greyhound adoption - I've had a real job finding anyone either in RL or online who will tell me it's a bad idea! Miacis, I'm sorry to hear about your experience. It must have been very hard for all of you.

I wouldn't envisage ever leaving the guinea pigs alone and unenclosed at all with the dog. There would be times when they'd be in an outdoor run in the garden with the dog but our outdoor hutch and run are all double latched and covered now (last piggies were eaten by the fox) so I hope they'd be separate enough. There's a 'panic room' in both runs too so if the dog showed interest they could run in there to be alone!

But my biggest concern continues to be the cats that aren't even bloomin' ours. They're totally unfriendly pretty wary and do scarper when we open the back door but it only takes once, doesn't it? But, if the cat training can only happen with one specific cat, maybe greyhounds aren't for us.

Interesting to hear more about the RGT - we went out to one centre at the weekend and I see what you mean about communication. They knew our situation before we arrived having talked to us that morning but when we got there told us that out of the 50 or so dogs there there were no cat trainable ones. It had taken us an hour and a half to get there! But... we had a lovely walk with a super dog. He was far too huge for us and got seriously excited about some pheasants and we adored him. And the people were friendly and obviously lived their work.

My DSs are 3 and 5. The smallest has mobility problems so the shorter walks would be a definite bonus.

Lizzie and Beau are my current heart throbs but I've lost my heart so many times on so many sites I don't think I should look at any more! Deja's sounds a proper character!

Perhaps, given the cat thing, we should rethink the whole thing. We were so sure a greyhound was the right dog but maybe we were wrong... we get on brilliantly with our neighbours despite not liking their cats much and wouldn't want any harm to come to them.

Thanks Doghouse! Sound and honest advice. smile

DejaWho Mon 17-Oct-11 07:18:36

With the cat thing - it doesn't take the local moggies long to suss out that the garden's now a no-go zone. What we were advised to do was not to let the dog out in the garden un-muzzled in the first few weeks (even for a pee or poo) until the cats got the hint and stayed well-clear. They're not daft, and apart from one local cat who thinks he's Rambo (but still doesn't ever risk coming down from the fence) - they don't come into our garden now at all!

MissBetsyTrotwood Mon 17-Oct-11 08:15:31

grin at Rambo cat!

chickchickchicken Mon 17-Oct-11 08:32:16

i have 3 dogs. the youngest one cannot be trusted with cats. there are lots of local cats and they have just learnt not to come in the garden. there is one bossy one who taunts dog by sitting on our back wall in the knowledge that he cant reach her (there is a chicken run between main garden and back wall and cat has worked out that dog cannot do long jump and high jump combined in order to reach it). a huge positive is that we never have cat poo in the garden

have you read the thread 'what does a home check involve'? there are two lovely dogs referred to on there - iirc amelia and abraham. they are mature calm dogs. would a dog like that suit?

i have some mobility problems too. it can work out having a dog. good luck smile

MissBetsyTrotwood Mon 17-Oct-11 12:22:51

Aww, thanks chick. I'll have a look. A calm temperament is definitely what we need. We get lots of advice about DS2's disabilities, (some of it contradictory!) but the main bit is exercise exercise exercise!

It's the trust thing that's the issue, isn't it. Rather like young children - I don't think they'll stick their fingers in the electrical sockets, but I put in socket guards anyway because you just never really know. Better to be safe than sorry!

We're visiting another rescue next Monday and are getting the fences done next week. smile

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