She raced 28 times in her career as the greyhound Bay Flyer. She wasn't the fastest going around but good enough to win four times and rack up almost $3,000 in prize money. But her biggest prize, in retirement, is being the first greyhound to be placed in a foster home as part of Greyhound Racing NSW's new Greyhounds As Pets program.
The program, launched in August, aims to find homes for retired greyhounds. Greyhounds can live to a ripe old age of 12 or more, meaning that once their career as a competitive athlete is dwindling at around the age of five, they still have plenty of time for lots of loving and care in their new career as a friendly family pet.
As the first part of the program, Greyhounds As Pets sets up a foster care system where, over six weeks, foster carers teach there former athletes how to be pets and how to live outside the structured life of racing. If all goes well, by the end of the six weeks the greyhound is then adopted out just like any other dog that may be chosen from a pound or a pet shop.
Bay Flyer, now known as Suzy, is the first greyhound to find a foster home and will now spend six weeks with foster carer Brett Christmas learning how to be a pet. Mr Christmas said he is looking forward to having Suzy with him for the next six weeks with the possibility that he may adopt her outright at the end of the period.
“I was involved with greyhounds as a kid and I know what great animals they are to have around the home,” Mr Christmas said.
“When I heard about the Greyhounds As Pets program I knew it was something I had to be involved in.” Greyhounds as Pets Coordinator Lara Griffin said the program is still looking for more foster carers from across NSW.
“At this stage we have seven foster carers ready to take greyhounds and we are aiming to home more than fifty greyhounds in the first 12 months so more carers are needed,” Mrs Griffin said.
“All the dogs in the Greyhounds as Pets foster program come with up to date vaccination certificates, are desexed, micro chipped, wormed and are provided with a collar, muzzle, lead and coat”.
“Greyhounds make fantastic pets, they are very affectionate, love cuddles and often sleep for about 20 hours a day so are great for families and busy working couples,” Mrs Griffin said.
Anyone that is interested in becoming a foster carer, wants to adopt or has a retired greyhound that they would like to place in the program can contact the Greyhounds as Pets team on the freecall number 1800 696 377.