Every year hundreds of greyhounds come to the end of their racing lives and are in need of a loving new home. ROSIE SWARBRICK speaks with volunteers who work to ensure they find the perfect owner.
SHE is the guardian angel of greyhounds, I dread to think what they would do without her.” Sarah Horner is lead volunteer at the Lancashire and Belle Vue branch of the Retired Greyhound Trust.
Every year, hundreds of dogs which may be too old to race or have suffered an injury, rely on the charity to find a new family home when their racing life comes to an end.
While it may sound like the ideal role for dog lovers, working with greyhounds also requires a lot of commitment.
Sarah, a 41-year-old nurse, gives her spare time, evenings and weekends to run the branch, which has volunteers all over Lancashire.
Sarah struggled last year with a hip injury, but the branch still managed to find loving homes for 80 dogs.
The Lancashire branch has re-homed 250 greyhounds over the past three years and nationally the trust rehomed 4,000.
The volunteers are fighting misconceptions that greyhounds are hard to manage or need huge amounts of exercise, but they have seen a rise in interest.
The breed is typically intelligent, gentle, affectionate and even-tempered, making them a good family pet.
She said: “Many people think a greyhound will run them ragged, but they are such lazy dogs!
“They have a short burst of pace rather than high endurance levels and so they only need two short walks a day.
“They are couch potatoes who just love to relax, and they are the perfect pet.
“More people want to adopt and we have had a lot of people from Preston taking in our greyhounds.”
Sarah was recently awarded a top national honour because of her commitment to the charity – the George Ford Award for services to Retired Greyhounds.
She set up the Ormskirk kennels in 2010 and Sue Bodill, 52, has been volunteering with her ever since.
Sue, of Merlecrest Road, Tarleton, said: “We are all so happy for her, she gives up a lot of her spare time to help the dogs and it is nice for the trust’s work to be recognised.
“Sarah has worked really hard to build up a relationship with the trainers at Belle Vue and we work with the dog track. She is the guardian angel of greyhounds, I dread to think what they would do without her
The Ormskirk-based kennels still have many dogs that need a family and Horner has called on Lancastrians to give greyhounds a chance.
She said: “There are many single breed trusts out there. But greyhounds need our help. Many dogs race at Belle Vue every year and most retire early, some because they lose the will to race, some are too tired, lose their pace and some just don’t want to run.
“Most greyhounds retire from the track aged three or four and have so much time left. That is when we step in.”
If you would like to adopt a greyhound or volunteer call call 07970 312183 or visit www.lancashirergt.com