Natalie Buchanan-Rutherford is surrounded by a sea of swirling lanky dogs. “It’s life-giving!” she says. Buchanan-Rutherford, a United Church minister in Upper Stewiacke, N.S., has nine former racing greyhounds.
Greyhound owners describe being captivated by their dogs’ gentle, loving natures. Even though they are fast runners, they don’t need a lot of exercise, and can spend 18 to 20 hours a day sleeping.
Canada is home to more than a dozen greyhound-adoption groups that help place retired racing dogs from the United States.
Adopting a greyhound isn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision. Terry Baynham, president of Greyhound Lovers of Hamilton-Wentworth, in southern Ontario, says his group sends two members-plus a greyhound-to visit all potential homes. The nonprofit group charges a $380 adoption fee, which includes transportation, neutering/spaying and any necessary vet care.
Because they can hit top speed in just a few strides, greyhounds should never be off leash unless they are in a fully fenced area. And since they’ve been raised in kennels, it can take them time to adjust to home life. “My first greyhound took a year and a half to learn how to walk up and down stairs,” says Buchanan-Rutherford.
For a list of Canadian adoption groups, visit Greyhound Rescue & Adoption Organizations.
Greyhound Fun Facts
- A greyhound’s head is narrower than its neck, so it needs to wear a special collar.
- Greyhounds have fine hair and very little body fat, so they need a jacket if it’s chilly.
- A greyhound’s top speed is over 70 kilometres an hour.
- Most retired racers are between two and five years old.
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