Growing up my family had always had a black cat named Bob. We adopted two little kittens ready for our new life in a seaside town when I was two and loved them dearly. Bob was the alpha male and unfortunately drove the more timid of the two out of the home, swiping all the attention for himself.
Dad had always disliked dogs, labeling them as smelly, noisy, hair shedding fiends, something I had always tried to dissuade him from. He had mentioned that he liked the look of greyhounds but was always very cautious of dogs due to a fear of being bitten or jumped up at.
After a lot of research, persuasion, and pleading, dad agreed to go and visit a retired greyhound rescue near Durham.
On our first visit to the greyhound shelter, we decided on a slightly smaller than average male greyhound suitably named Jet due to his black colouring. We decided to rename him Steve, which we think suits him and of course amuses a lot of people.
On arrival, Steve was quite timid, slightly anxious, and subsequently patrolling around the house. Steve had never in his life been a pet. He had always been confined to a cold outdoor kennel which appeared to share more characteristics with a prison cell than I'd like to allow myself to acknowledge.
As Steve had never been in a home with free reign, he seemed a bit lost at first. He had a few accidents in several rooms of the house which is normal when adapting to change. And now? He's the happiest and most loving version of himself. He even has his own Instagram @stevethegreyhound where he documents his adventures.
Behaviour and Barking
With no experience as dog owners, I was slightly concerned that we'd train bad habits into our greyhound by mistake. Or even worse, not be able to control our own animal.
This was not the case. Recall can take a lot of training especially if the greyhound has never been a pet, however, we took a more casual approach and without any intense, religiously followed training, Steve recognizes his name and will come running when called.
Greyhounds are very mild mannered and Steve has never shown any sign of aggression to any human. His patience is quite remarkable, especially as he's often receiving a lot of fuss from both family and strangers.
Steve will rarely have accidents in the house, and when he does, it's usually because we've been absent-minded and not let him in the garden when we should've. He will even stand by our back door to tell us when he needs to go.
Barking was another annoyance my father thought he would have to face. Although Steve will bark rarely, he is not a "yappy" dog. For instance the usual 'bark-worthy' things in the world of dogs i.e. the postman, the door, other dogs, and children etc, are something greyhounds, or at least our greyhound, have little interest in wasting their time, and barks on.
One of my dad's main concerns was that putrid smell some dogs carry with them. Greyhounds, luckily, are very hygienic and have little to no smell whatsoever. This can be attributed to their lack of undercoats and a thin layer of fur. Their skin also produces less oil, which creates that "doggy smell." Which brings me to their next benefit... Malting (or lack thereof)...
Now I'm not saying you'll never find a dog hair in your house—that would be a blatant lie. However, having had a fluffy black cat for 16 years, it surprised us to discover that greyhounds malt far less hair than both cats and other breeds of dog. Even my mother's short-haired Jack Russell malts more than Steve, and she's is about one-sixth of the size of him.
With a sister who has allergies to animal hair from guinea pigs and rabbits, it was a great discovery when we realized greyhounds did not set off her allergies so she could enjoy Steve's company too.
- Their kind and gentle nature mean they're perfect companions for families.
- They love adventures and walking but they don't mind staying in as they're known to be low maintenance with the "couch potato" nickname.
- You'll be giving a second chance to a beautiful animal who has usually had a rough start to life as neglected racers.
- They're great for new dog owners and very rewarding to own.
- Their ears are the softest damn things.
- You'll be saving a life and gaining a best friend.
So please, think about adopting a greyhound and enjoying life with a new buddy.