By Darren Cartwright
A decade ago, pet lover Sue Murray had never owned a greyhound, nor had she ever desired to.
But after answering an ad, out of the goodness of her heart, to assist with fostering retired greyhounds until they found a new home, she fell in love with the breed.
Sue says the best $100 she ever spent was her purchase of retired four-time Albion Park winner Dusty Delight.
The five-year-old had a stellar career, winning 14 times overall and placing another 23, from 56 starts, to amass more than $55,000 in prizemoney.
His last race was at Capalaba in April 2020, yet, within five months, the Warren Nicholls-trained star, whose kennel name was Rocky, would become Sue's second adopted greyhound within a decade.
She picked up Rocky from the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP), run by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, at Churchable, 65km west of Brisbane.
GAP is dedicated to finding homes for retired greyhounds with more than 1000 placements over the past four financial years.
“The facilities are quite impressive,” Ms Murray said.
“A lot of the communication was done via email because of COVID.
“I keep saying to people it's the best $100 I've ever spent.”
Rocky may be gone from Mr Nicholl’s kennels, but he is not out of the Ipswich trainer’s mind, Sue said.
“It was lovely to hear from his trainer and we've exchanged his photos. He's sent me photos of when he was racing, and I've sent photos of Rocky relaxing.”
The GAP courses include a greyhound re-training program for their life as a pet that allows them to enjoy being in public without a muzzle.
Greyhounds that pass the program are issued with a unique ‘green collar’ that shows them as having graduated and being exempt from state muzzling laws.
Ms Murray’s bond with greyhounds was purely by chance.
Out of a love for animals, she answered an ad in 2013 to help with a foster program for retired greyhounds, which back then, was based at Racing Queensland’s Deagon headquarters.
Her first foster greyhound was ‘Jack’, who raced as Cake Fear, but instead of returning him within two months as planned, she decided to keep him as a pet.
“I am a failed foster parent,” Ms Murray said with a smile.
“I didn't know anything about greyhounds at all and I saw something in the local paper saying, come along to information session to learn about fostering greyhounds,” Ms Murray said.
“We fostered Jack and took him along once a week for manners classes and that’s where you learn everything.
“After completing the course and getting his green collar, I couldn’t let him go to somebody else.”
She said there is a lot misinformation about greyhounds and often, while walking Rocky around Sandgate, she will get asked many questions, many the same over again.
Both Jack and Rocky have been the most placid of pets, rarely bark and are disinterested in other dogs although if they see other greyhounds, they get excited, she said.
“I get asked a lot of questions, like ‘do they chase little dogs’ and ‘do they have to wear a muzzle?” Sue said.
“They don’t chase dogs; they rarely bark and shedding is minimal.
“The only time he has barked, it was three in the morning, and then outside security light came on, so he barked for a reason.”
As the years have rolled by since Ms Murray first adopted Jack, she has pleasingly come across more greyhound owners around Sandgate and Deagon.
Not surprising, she says, given the breed’s soft-natured and loyal manner.
“They're not a boisterous dog and they just like lying on the couch or their bedding on the floor.
“They don't need a lot of exercise. they're perfect dogs.
“I always say once you've had a greyhound, you'll never go back to any other breed.”