Whilst racing greyhound owners may not be able to see their dogs on a daily basis, they try to visit them as often as possible and stay in regular contact with the trainers to check on their welfare. Sunday mornings are the most popular time for owners to visit and spend time with their greyhounds. Here, Greyhound Ambassador Mark Burridge describes his weekly visits to see his greyhounds at trainer Matt Dartnall’s kennels in Surrey.

Owning a greyhound is a privilege. It is a chance to share the career and retirement of these amazing dogs.

From the moment you meet your new recruit a friendship begins between you and the greyhound. My favourite part of my week is probably the Sunday morning kennel visit, where owners are blessed to spend quality time with our greyhounds – a couple of hours where nothing else matters.

The welcome we receive from our dogs as they see us is simply priceless. Their happiness at seeing us is obvious and they always leap up and gently put their front paws on our chests. Without fail, they press their noses on our faces for a kiss. It melts my heart every time I visit. Anyone who meets these dogs cannot fail to be overwhelmed by their kindness and gentle nature. They love their cuddles and are always happy to take part in selfies!

Our three greyhounds – Emily, Sandy and Wolfie – are superbly trained by Matt Dartnall at Stanwell and through this connection many new friendships have been formed with the other kennel owners. We all take the greyhounds out for a walk in the fields which gives us an opportunity to get to know the other greyhounds as well. There is genuine camaraderie amongst the owners at the kennels. We all cheer for the same kennel dogs when they race and we have come to feel very much part of a happy team.

Following the walks, our greyhounds are taken to the paddocks whilst we are treated to tea and coffee, biscuits and sausage rolls by Matt and his incredible staff. Matt always has time to talk new owners about their greyhound’s diet and exercise routines. The greyhounds are always in immaculate condition, groomed to perfection. It’s a very relaxing and enjoyable time spent with the beautiful greyhounds and fellow owners, filled with banter and laughs.

Eventually, loaded with a library of iPhone photos from the morning, we make our way home, already looking forward to the next visit. Each moment I spend with our special four legged friends just confirms what I have felt for a very long time – nothing will ever talk to you like the eyes of a greyhound.