Racers retire to couch and cuddles

Greyhounds are best known as racing dogs, but away from the track and in a domestic setting, they are, by nature, couch potatoes.

This is how Walnut Grove resident Michelle Buchan describes the lean, athletic canines, which are the fastest breed of dog on the planet, with the ability to hit 45 mph in six strides.

Buchan should know – she has owned her greyhound Karma for eight of the dog’s 10 years. Karma used to race in Arizona before retiring.

On Saturday afternoon, Jan. 11, Buchan and fellow members of Greyhound Pets, Inc. (GPI) brought their greyhounds to Tisol Pet Nutrition and Supply Store on the Langley Bypass.

Started in 1985 in the Seattle area, GPI places retired greyhounds to homes while educating the public about having greyhound ownership.

The organization has found homes in Washington, Northern Idaho, and B.C. for more than 5,000 retired racing greyhounds from tracks and farms across the U.S.

It is mandatory that greyhounds retire from racing at five years old but some retire earlier. Upon retirement they go into different adoption groups in the U.S. and Canada.

“They retire and become couch potatoes,” Buchan said.

Buchan said dogs are treated well at the track and when they aren’t running, are furthest thing from hyperactive, a common misconception about the breed.

“They truly lay around,” Buchan said. “They are low energy, low maintenance. They don’t shed a lot, don’t smell.…”

There are 47 dogs up for adoption through GPI, and are housed at the GPI kennel in Woodinville, Wash.

For anyone thinking about adopting, Buchan had this to say:

“If they are looking for a dog that needs a daily walk, is very low maintenance, low energy, they are a companion dog, they are not a dog that you can leave home alone for nine hours a day while you go to work, they like to be around people. They make great apartment dogs. If you don’t live in an apartment, you need a house with a fenced yard – townhouses with common areas don’t qualify.”

Greyhounds, which usually range in size from 55 to 75 pounds and 23 to 29 inches tall, are on-leash dogs, and not a dog you can go hiking with, she added.

Anyone inquiring about adopting a greyhound can email GPI regional vice president Steve Waines at adopt-a-grey@shaw.ca, or visitgreyhoundpetsinc.org.

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