Channel Magazine: What made you want to adopt a retired racing greyhound?
Mary-Anne Smith: I spent a week visiting a friend who had two retired racing greyhounds and instantly fell in love with these elegant and very affectionate dogs, totally different to any other breed I'd previously owned. I started stalking all the lovely photos of the dogs on the GAP website, joined their FB group and attended a couple of their monthly dog walks where I had the opportunity to meet and walk many of their foster dogs. It didn't take long until I met my perfect match - Dolly (Jetsun Swan).
CM: What does an average day look like for Dolly?
M-AS: Dolly, like most greyhounds, loves her daily dose of 18 hours sleep. You can set your watch to a greyhound's body clock; bang on 6:30am, a little wet nose nudges me to open the door for her and we take her to a nearby park for a walk before work. Greyhounds don't need a massive exercise regime. That was my biggest misconception! A quick 15-20 minute walk in the morning and a good relaxing sniff after work to wind down is Dolly's daily routine. On the weekend Dolly loves an outing, especially if it includes a 'puppachino'.
CM: You were ‘matched’ with Dolly as part of the GAP adoption process. What makes her your perfect match?
M-AS: The great thing about adopting a greyhound is that GAP and the foster parents spend time assessing their personalities and temperament in order to match them with your lifestyle requirements. I asked for an active greyhound and was matched with Dolly who is a little busier than the majority of speedy noodles (often known as the world's fastest couch potatoes). It's been perfect for us as Dolly is great with children, enjoys car trips, weekend outings, and sharing a tent!
CM: If someone was looking to find their own companion animal, what would you tell them about greyhound adoption?
M-AS: Greyhounds are surprisingly low maintenance; quiet, calm dogs that bond very quickly as they're used to being handled by a variety of people. They are very easy to teach commands to and house train. The best part is that they are well past the puppy stage as many dogs retire from racing between 3-5 years old. Their lifespan is approximately 12-14 years, so you have many happy years together to look forward to. They also don't shed fur like other dogs and when it rains, they don't have the musty 'wet dog' smell.
CM: Can you describe Dolly’s personality to us in a couple of words?
M-AS: Dolly is so much more than 'just a dog'. She's eager to please, super affectionate, the Queen of the Bays, a café diva and an amazing GAP ambassador.
CM: What are Dolly’s favourite things?
M-AS: Cuddles from people, squeaky toys, her giant 2m plush caterpillar, crunching on frozen turkey necks, and leisurely bush-walk sniffaris with her greyhound friends.
CM: Can you tell us about Dolly’s transition from racing dog to pet?
M-AS: The dedicated and super supportive GAP team have taught me so much which has helped to make a successful transition from racing to pet life for us. The experienced and professional GAP team are always available whenever I've been unsure about dealing with any kind of issue – from providing valuable tips on how to deal with separation anxiety after being home 24/7 during lockdowns, to tips on how to prepare for the big bangs of Guy Fawkes.
CM: What are your favourite things about being a greyhound owner?
M-AS: Being a part of the GAP family for the past two years has been an incredible experience. Dolly has introduced me to the most amazing greyhound community throughout the North Shore and the rest of the country, friends who have quickly become 'family'. Dolly is my first greyhound and she's been my greatest teacher in trust, patience, perseverance, and unconditional love. I can't remember what life was like without her in it. We never stop learning, loving and sharing so much with each other every day.
If you are thinking about fostering or adopting a greyhound, do get in touch with GAP - what a bunch of fabulous people! To apply to adopt a greyhound, or chat to someone about adoption or fostering go to www.greyhoundsaspets.org.nz or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also attend one of their 'Pat and Chat' events - www.greyhoundsaspets.org.nz/events