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Rehoming Stories – Alfie

This month, Daniel spoke to Susie and Colin from Dumfries about rehoming their greyhound Alfie, as well as their previous experience rehoming dogs from DCGR.

Alfie with Colin and Susie

Can you share a bit about your greyhound’s personality and temperament?
Susie – He’s a big soft lump! If he was young enough, I’d have said he’d have made a very good therapy dog, because he’s so gentle and wants to be everybody’s pal. He’s not fair jumpy, but he’s 11 next month.
Colin – He never run a race either, because everytime they massaged him and put him in the traps and opened the trap, he’d literally come back round to get more claps! That says him to a tee.
Susie – He still has his puppy moments where he plays with his toys. He’s just a brilliant dog.
Colin – Every greyhound we’ve had, they’ve all had their own wee personalities, they’re all unique.

What has surprised you the most about owning a greyhound?

C – the first one we ever got, he was lying in the middle of the floor, and at that time our kids were quite small and at the crawling stage. Our son crawled over the dog and he never even raised his head. That’s when it dawned on us that they’re far more than just a family pet, they are part of the family. Any other breed could be just as gentle, but to have no reaction at all like that, I’ve never seen that before.
S – They’re so quiet. It’s very rare that he’ll bark, he’ll whine sometimes, but it’s only very rarely that we’ll hear him bark.

Alfie is a classic 40mph couch potato!

How did you prepare your home for your new greyhound?

S – Garden wise, we had a 6 foot fence in the garden anyway, it was already dog proofed. We very rarely have cats coming in, so that wasn’t a worry.
C – The only major thing we’ve done is the stair gate in the kitchen – we did have to get a slightly taller one as one of our previous greyhounds did loup the gate. The gate separates the kitchen from the living room, so it allows the dog to still feel like they’re part of the room when you have guests over, but allows them to have their own space too. If the living room is too busy, he’ll go through there and chill out.
S – There’s nothing else really we’ve changed since we’ve had the greyhounds as we haven’t had to.

What advice would you give to someone considering adopting a retired racing greyhound?

S – Just do it! Honestly, I’ve grew up with different breeds of dogs and we’ve had seven greyhounds now, it’s the only breed we’d have now.
C – I would agree with that. They don’t need as much walking as people think. They’re really quite a lazy dog.
S – They’re great with kids too.

Alfie can be a bit of a princess

Can you share any memorable experiences or stories about Alfie?

C – I remember taking him up Mabie Forest and he just hated walking on the stones, he hates that whole hard on his paws. The legs were coming up past his ears!
S – He was like Bambi when he was first learning to walk! He’s still iffy about anything too hard on his feet, he’s just a bit of a delicate princess really! He’s funny, he’s got a sense of humour and he knows if you’re having a rubbish day – he’ll come up and look at you with his big sad eyes looking like “what’s wrong?” and then just come and snuggle in. That’s why I thought if he was younger he’d made such a good therapy dog.
C – I like playing chill out music and Alfie reacts to that – you see him chilling down and zoning out. They’re very emotional dogs.

How do you incorporate exercise and mental stimulation into your Alfie’s daily routine?
C – He only needs a little bit of walking every day.
S – He’s got a basket full of toys!
C – And he’ll actually rifle through and pick what toy he wants to play with. He’ll throw it about and throw a dafty.
S – We’ve also got a routine where if we’ve been out, we give him a treat when we get back for being good. But we thought we’d start making him work for a treat. So now when Colin comes home, Alfie knows he needs to do respond to some sort of command to get his treat.
Daniel – I think they’ve got a bit of an unfair reputation for not being a dog you can’t train
S – You can definitely train them
C – I remember, the very first one we got, the rehoming person said “they won’t play with a ball or anything” – what’s the first thing that happens? My daughter throws a ball and the dog goes away and fetches it!

How has adopting greyhounds enriched your life?

Alfie has a lot of empathy

C – I think it’s just that they become so much more than just a part of the family. You become so attached to them. And they know you too. The one we’ve recently lost, if I laid on the floor he would come up behind me and lie next to me. They’ve got a lot of empathy
S – They know if you’re having a rubbish day.
C – They’re just fantastic, they really are. As I say, we’ve had all types, we’ve had some with different issues but every one of them has been great. Normally, you have to fall into the dog’s routine, but a greyhound seems to fall into your routine instead.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience with your greyhound or the adoption process from DCGR?

S – When we were first looking for a greyhound to come and join the family, we thought that with us having young kids and living in a flat, is the process going to be easy? But DCGR came round to do a home check and I think it was that week that he brought the dog over and said he had absolutely no issue with you adopting this dog, you’re exactly what we’re looking for.
C – When our previous greyhounds have passed away, the remaining dog tends to go into mourning and you we had to get another friend for them at quite quick notice and I have to admit that DCGR were absolutely brilliant. Because we’ve had so many, you’re never worried about what the dog is going to be like as we’ve had so many different types and they’ve all been great.

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