A Homing Centre’s Blog: “The GRS is the best thing to have happened to the sport”
Husband and wife Kev and Jenny McCormick have been rehoming greyhounds since January 2019 when they set up the Skegness branch of the Greyhound Trust. In June of this year they set up their own homing centre, Seaside Greyhounds, and since then have been taking dogs in independently. In this blog, Kev takes us through their rehoming process, talks about some of the misconceptions people have about greyhounds and gives us his thoughts on the Greyhound Retirement Scheme.
“My wife and I have been rehoming greyhounds for the past few years now and I have to say it’s one of the most tiring but rewarding jobs I’ve ever had. It’s just the two of us running the centre but we have excellent volunteers who come and help us with things like fundraising, dog walking and grooming. Their support is incredible and we really couldn’t do it without them – here’s one of our fantastic volunteers, Tracey, with Barney (Barnish Vulturi).
These days, the main way we find homes for our dogs is through social media. We’re very lucky – we have a young man, Chris Connelly, who runs our website free-of-charge and also helps us spread the word about our greyhounds via Facebook and Twitter. We then of course go out to local events with the dogs, like carnivals and fetes, and fundraise that way.
When we think we’ve found a suitable home for one of our greyhounds we make sure that we do a home check and quite often we take the dog with us. We’ve done virtual home checks before, especially during the recent Lockdown, which are ok but there’s nothing like having a good chat in the living room with a potential owner.
In terms of what we look out for in our home checks, it’s mainly whether the house is a safe environment – for example doesn’t have any loose cables lying about – and, ideally, has a nice, secure garden. Having said that, we have homed to someone without a garden before but we make sure they take their dog out for walks every day.
In the 18 months we’ve been working in rehoming, we’ve found homes for about 70 greyhounds who’ve gone on to live with all sorts of owners – from young couples in their early 20s to people in their 70s; from people who live alone to families with children. There’s definitely a greyhound somewhere that would fit any type of family.
A lot of people do their research before they come to us which is great but the major misconception people often have is that they think greyhounds need a lot of extra walking or exercise. It’s actually the opposite. They’re the most lazy, placid animals ever!
For me and my wife, rehoming greyhounds is something we love to do and something we work incredibly hard at – we work up to 15 hours a day, 7 days a week. We actually have seven ex-racers in the house and they are the loves of my life. My eldest two are black girls and they’re the most beautiful colour – I call them my ‘Black Beauties’.
In my opinion, I can safely say that the Greyhound Retirement Scheme is the best thing to have happened to the sport. People pay £200 up front, which is on average less than one-month’s kennel fee for a racing greyhound, and the GBGB match that payment! So now, when a greyhound comes to us via the scheme, we’re able to take them in knowing they have a £400 bond attached to them to help with kennelling costs (we manage to cover all spaying and neutering through our fundraising work). It gives us that extra peace of mind and the time we need to go about finding a loving home for them.
I would say, the best thing about the scheme is that current racing dogs who are already registered with the GBGB can join the scheme before they retire – it’s not just for those dogs who are about to be registered. The scheme caters for greyhounds across the sport so that they can all benefit from the bond when they retire. I think that’s just brilliant.
In practice, we’ve found the scheme works very well. Over the past few weeks, we’ve already successfully rehomed a few dogs through the GRS. Minty (Stringer Bell), who won a few top-class sprint races in Henlow, came to us on the scheme and is currently waiting to go to a fantastic home in Leicester. We’re also about to rehome Kenny (Heaven’s Boy) – he never actually raced because he didn’t want to chase but his owner was able to retire him through the GRS and bring him to us to find a great, forever home. Here are some photos of the two.
If anyone’s looking to welcome a dog into their home, I would really encourage them to consider homing a greyhound. Greyhounds are the most loving, docile dogs – they’re the exact opposite of what people expect them to be. They are just fantastic and an excellent addition to any family.”