Carol Swales fell in love with greyhounds 25 years ago. She now spends her time uniting abandoned ones with dog lovers
It all started with Millie – a 15 year old greyhound crossbread who’d been found wandering unlit back roads in East Lothian.
I had been breeding dogs for most of my adult life, mostly Border and Welsh terriers, but answered the call to look after Millie despite having little room to accommodate her.
Thus began my love affair with greyhounds and becoming a halfway house for those needing to give them up.
In the last 25 years I’ve found homes for hundreds. I’m a dog breeder not a rescue charity but I rehome as a sideline.
Greyhounds are a bit special. Some say they’re precious but they are actually anything but. They’re calm, docile and low maintenance. All they need is a bit of TLC – but who doesn’t?
The popular misconception is that the breed are all racing dogs – they’re not. I’ve come into very little contact over the last 25 years of dogs which have been raced. I did rehome Princess Jameson – the Irish racer who had a lot of success in her day.
She’d been given up after her career was over, ended up mistreated and I got the call. She ended up with an excellent family who had five other greyhounds.
But that was just through coincidence. Most of the dogs I get have never seen a track.
People ask why I do it. Partly it was just chance but also greyhounds seem to have went through a period of popularity, similar but not on the same scale as the Staffordshire terrier issue today. People seemed to gravitate towards them not quite understanding the effort it takes to look after one.
Just now I’ve got two looking for homes: two year old Bertie who’s a camel coloured male who’s just had five teeth out; and Sheena, a beautiful four year old girl. They’re absolute pets and have perfect natures for families with kids.
I restrict my intake to five maximum. We run a farm here in East Lothian but I still breed and the rehoming side of things could easily take over the breeding business if I let it.
Dogs still all come to me via word-of-mouth. I don’t advertise my services though people in the local area are familiar with what I do and often spread the word.
I often get asked why greyhounds receive special treatment – and why charities are set up exclusively to rehome them. As I say I think this is because of the popularity of the breed and a concerted effort of these charities to alter people’s perception. They don't need to go 10 mile runs every day or require any special treatment; most will be happy sleeping all day.
It’s very like the situation facing staffies – they are actually very gentle loving dogs but they have a false reputation. They desperately need some positive doggy PR.