Sarah Tweedale with greyhound Gabbie and Oscar the cat at home in Dunedin this week. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
She might have been a dog on the racetrack, but now everyone
thinks Gabbie is a winner.
The 2-year-old greyhound did not win any races on the track,
but off it has certainly won hearts.
Dunedin couple Sarah and Mark Tweedale got the greyhound in
December through the Greyhounds As Pets (GAP) programme for
retired racing greyhounds.
''I really wanted to rehome an animal and thought greyhounds
fitted the bill for what we wanted,'' Mrs Tweedale said this
''We both work, so we didn't want a puppy and we wanted a dog
that didn't need a lot of exercise. She's really a couch
potato. They're one of the best family dogs. They're
fantastic with children and with older people, but she's a
bit anxious of other dogs. She's very shy.
''I can't imagine life without her. I'm besotted with her. A
lot of people start with one and then get a second one.''
However, the Tweedales' six cats, Oscar, Lucy, Isaac, Bella,
Maggie and Tonks, were originally less than impressed with
their new housemate.
''The cats were OK. They were a bit nervous at first, but
Gabbie was more anxious about them. That's probably why she
failed her racing career,'' Mrs Tweedale said.
''A lot of people think greyhound racing is cruel, but most
trainers want to see their dogs retire in a family.''
GAP sells the dogs for $380, after giving them a complete
health check, including desexing, microchipping, registration
and training for a new life as a pet. There were 19 former
race greyhounds living as pets in the Otago region, GAP
southern regional co-ordinator Susan Sinclair, of Kaiapoi,
''That will go up to 20 this week, as we're about to send
another one down there. They're very addictive. They always
seem to have a worried look on their faces but, behind that,
they're quite cheeky. They're a sweet-natured dog, but very
cheeky and very funny,'' she said.