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Clocking up the miles for retired Greyhounds

A 500-mile round trip is nothing to West Lothian-based Beth Haley, who says there is nowhere she wouldn’t go if it meant finding a loving home for a retired greyhound. For Beth, who is passionate about finding a home for ex-racing hounds, has worked for the Retired Greyhound Trust (RGT) for 15 years and believes she has found homes for more than 1,000 dogs in that time.

While spending so many hours on the road may seem a thankless task to many, for Beth it is worth it to see the joy that it brings not only to the dogs, but also to their new owners. "Seeing people’s eyes light up when they welcome a greyhound into their home matters more to me than anything else. With their loving, kind nature, greyhounds can make a big difference to so many lives. They can bring families together, comfort the elderly and the handicapped, and provide companionship to the lonely," she said.

At one point Beth rehomed greyhounds across the whole of Scotland, from John O’Groat’s to the Borders, but now she is helped by the charity’s other Scottish branches allowing her to concentrate on her immediate area.

Despite finding homes for so many retired greyhounds, Beth can recall them all. "I may not remember the owner in a month or two but I will never forget the dog and exactly where they are living. I seem to have a homing device for dogs that I have placed," she said.

This homing device can often lead to delayed journeys as Beth gets tempted to wander off her route to visit old friends and see how they are settling in to their new homes. She is so keen that every dog is homed lovingly, that she will sometimes refuse to leave a dog if she feels the home or the people are not right. "On more than one occasion I have driven 500 miles to home a dog and taken him back with me again because I didn’t like the home. As far as I’m concerned they give 100 per cent during their racing lives and so deserve the very best in retirement," she said.

Beth has her own seven-year-old greyhound called Sally. She says that fawn-coloured Sally literally melted her heart with her big brown eyes and her friendly nature.

Now she is hoping that the 18 greyhounds that she is looking after while they await permanent homes, might melt someone else’s heart. "Because they are ex-racers everyone tends to think that they will need lots of exercise. Actually, once they have stopped racing they can be real couch potatoes needing just two short walks a day. The rest of the time you are quite likely to find them curled up on the sofa enjoying a long nap," said Beth.

And she says they make delightful pets being adorable, loyal, good with children and often happy to share their space with other pets.

Anyone interested in providing or sponsoring a home for a retired greyhound should contact Beth in West Lothian on 01501 753 224 and Janice Carmichael in Edinburgh on 0131 476 0069.