Greyhound happy with pace on couch

Sarah Tweedale with greyhound Gabbie and Oscar the cat at home in Dunedin this week. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
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 week.

''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, said.

''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.

- nigel.benson@odt.co.nz

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