How do I determine which is a good rescue and am I asking too much?(9 Posts)
So, we're pretty much decided we'd like an adult rescue whippet/ lurcher/ maybe greyhound after our main holiday in the summer.
Having made a mistake and had to rehome a terrier we had from a pup I'm terrified of getting it wrong again and so I may be overthinking/ researching.
I have read on Facebook about poor rescues that were not interested when the adopter had problems and have now read that there are some greyhound rescues many people wouldn't touch as they're supported by the racing industry - they tend to be complained about in the "mentioning no names" way though.
Ideally what we'd like is:
Non aggressive - this is paramount, the number one priority
Friendly, playful, not too much shedding
Happy to walk for an hour off lead in the countryside everyday - is this asking too much?
Able to live with our elderly cat who will hate it.
You've got a number of issues going on there. The RGT is the largest single breed rehoming charity in the country, and has branches all over the UK. The charity is supported by a levy from the greyhound racing industry which means that hardline anti-racers won't touch it. That however has nothing to do with the running of the individual branches. Personally, I take a more practical view - they are in the business of rehoming greyhounds and some branches are absolutely brilliant (Perry Barr RGT leaps out as a good example) whereas others I wouldn't touch with a bargepole. If you want a good example of a greyhound charity that isn't funded by the racing industry, then there are some very good ones around. Celia Cross is excellent, there's Northern Greyhound Rescue, Greyhound Rescue West of England (their Chief Exec recently became Chief Exec of the RGT). However, even the most anti-racing charity needs to get their dogs from somewhere, and so therefore tehy need to build relationships with racing owners. I also think that if you simply take ex-racers and rehome them without education/campaigning, then you are simply providing a handy disposal service and not actually doing anything to improve the welfare of dogs more strategically.
You can also (sadly) find large numbers of greyhounds and lurchers in the care of all-breed rescues such as Dogs Trust though you would be less likely to get specialist knowledge of the breeds and their behaviour which I think means a specialist rescue is a much better bet, for quality of aftercare and assessment.
For lurchers, I can wholeheartedly and thoroughly recommend Evesham Greyhound and Lurcher Rescue. One of their supporters won the Friends for Life competition on Crufts tonight. They cover the UK, all their dogs are fostered before adoption so they really know their dogs and if you look on their website, they have a handy searchable checklist showing which dogs are cat/child friendly etc. They specialise in lurchers and their knowledge and support on these is second to none. We have a lurcher from them, and I regularly homecheck/transport for them, though I also do this for a range of other sighthound charities too. Our three greyhounds are from different charities, and because of my business, I have a lot to do with different sighthound rescues, so if you wish to let me know whereabouts in the UK you are, I am happy to give further pointers.
What Scuttlebutter said re racing links. Our ex-racer came from a Retired Greyhound Trust centre, and some (but not all) of their dogs come straight off the track. Greyhounds are fabulous pets but they have particular quirks and issues, especially if they've just retired from racing, so a specialist rescue is better, I think.
Re what you're looking for: greyhounds are usually a nice relaxed breed, although ex racers straight from the track are likely to need a little house training (they get it quickly though) and may be freaked out by vacuum cleaners, televisions etc; they will only have socialised with other greyhounds so may not appreciate that smaller dogs are dogs and not prey, although my boy is fine on that front. So it's reasonable to try to find a friendly, playful ex-greyhound. They're relaxed and intelligent but they don't have a great work ethic so don't expect amazing tricks from them. My boy really doesn't shed compared to other dogs we've had, though, which is nice.
30-40% of greyhounds can live with cats with the right introduction and care, just make sure yours has been cat-tested or has a solid verifiable history of living with a cat (and bear in mind that they may be used to living with one cat but may still chase cats they don't know).
The lead thing - it's doable but you really need to work on recall, especially with ex racers who have been specifically trained to focus on chasing small furry things. I don't let my boy off in open land as the couple of times I have he's spotted something and gone after it at 40km/h. He has great recall at home but it goes out of the window when we're outside and he's distracted. It's early days for us so we're still working on it but it's important to bear in mind just how fast they can move and how far they can get in half a minute. For example, there is sometimes shooting a few fields away from the back of our house and with most dogs I'd be happy to let them pootle around near me but I wouldn't chance it with this dog as he could be over there in 10 seconds. So you might want to go for a whippet or a lurcher rather than an ex racing greyhound depending on what usually happens in the countryside you're walking through?
We've adopted 4 hounds from our local greyhound rescue, yes they're supported by our local dog track, but they care deeply about the dogs and are rigorous in their home visits.
I'm guessing that the elderly cat might be an issue, although she might be much too boring to chase! I've been following Hounds First houndsfirst.co.uk/ ever since they helped a MN poster rescue a pregnant stray lurcher that turned up on her doorstep. They are another rescue that foster before homing and they seem to offer lots of post adoption support.
My lurchers are from EGLR (one is a failed hare courser given in at 6 months when they realised he was more likely to be chased by a hare, the other was born with them). Both of them meet all your requirements, including cats as we have 3.
EGLR really are great, and their foster carers (none of their dogs are in kennels, all in actual homes) really try to get to know the dogs in all sorts of situations. My dogs go to home boarding with the lady who fostered ddog2 and lurves her deeply.
Great answers thank you all, I'm not vehemently anti-racing I just want to be sure we get a great dog for us from somewhere that cares where they go.
I'll contact EGLR soon, am. already following them on Facebook (& many others, it gets a bit addictive!)
I'm based in South Yorkshire.
I'm in south Yorks as well, contact Wortley Greyhound rescue, they are amazing, and will work hard to find a hound that will fit in well with you and your lifestyle.
That's the website. - good luck with your search.
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