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Ex-racing dogs’ new lives get off to a flying start!

Five ex-racing greyhounds from Wales have arrived safely in America to start a new life, thanks to an exciting new collaboration between Wales and Ireland rescue charities.

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The Irish greyhounds, previously owned by a Wales-based trainer, are on their way to new homes in north-western USA under a partnership between Greyhound Rescue Wales (GRW) and Flying Irish Greyhounds (FIG). The dogs, who had to be healthy enough travel and not overly anxious, have been cared for during the last six weeks by a team of specially recruited short-term foster carers across Wales, who have ensured the dogs were neutered and given the necessary vaccinations and have introduced them to life as a family pet.

GRW founder Alain Thomas said: “The dogs are Irish bred greyhounds that belonged to a south Wales-based trainer and raced on registered tracks in England before retiring. The trainer is well known to GRW as a reliable and genuine person who cares for his dogs; the person who delivered the dogs was visibly upset at parting with them and could tell us about their personalities.

rescue-greyhounds“The dogs were not able to stay at our Hillcrest sanctuary near Ammanford due to space, so we made a special appeal for short-term foster homes and six people came forward. The foster carers have done a brilliant job preparing the dogs for their new lives, supported by GRW’s behaviour consultant Kerry Sands and Hillcrest manager Sandra Wynne, and ‘buddied’ by volunteers Deb Fawkes-Williams and Nicola Danielle Jones.

“We are delighted to have been able to help FIG and now hope this partnership could lead to new homes for between 15 and 30 Irish-bred and Wales-based greyhounds each year.”

FIG is a registered Irish charity that rehomes ex-racing greyhounds to the UK and the USA. Since 2014 it has flown between 15 and 30 greyhounds each year to Greyhound Pets, Inc. in Washington State for rehoming as family pets. The dogs fly in large airline crates in a sound-proofed, temperature-controlled section of the hold, with plenty of water given just before take-off, whilst a volunteer travels on the same flight to ensure they disembark immediately on landing.

FIG founder Patricia Roy said: “Greyhounds are still not regarded as pets in Ireland, despite efforts to raise awareness. For this reason FIG – and all Irish greyhound rescues – rehomes greyhounds outside of Ireland, but this is not the solution. Public education is needed to encourage greyhound adoptions within Ireland, and we hope that our efforts to provide more adoptive homes will help to raise awareness.

“We chose to work with GRW for their experience, professionalism, dedication to greyhound welfare and their capacity for teamwork. Alain was very helpful and supportive when FIG was launched and introduced us to Wales-based HOPE Rescue, which transported the greyhounds from Wales to London Gatwick.”

For more information about GRW’s and FIG’s work and the benefits of adopting a greyhound, go to www.grehoundrescuewales.co.uk and www.flyingirishgreyhounds.org.

Picture credit: Jonathan Baker Photography