We bought James, or Ra Ra James, was his racing name, in February 2010 when he was 3 years old. James is a greyhound through the South Australian Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP). This program puts ex racing dogs into foster homes to test whether they are ok to be adopted.
Some dogs are, some aren’t. I think my Mum mentioned the GAP program, of which, I did a little bit of research and then phoned them up. My husband and two children (2 and 4yrs) who came with me to meet James at a Foster home. He was very timid, nervous and scared. We took him for a walk and decided that we would adopt him.
I talked to him all the way home, which was about a 45 minute drive, when I went to pick him up. Telling him it was ok and that he was going to a loving home. He would shake and look at me with his scared eyes….please don’t hurt me…
We knew he’d been through a lot. A lot of racing dogs aren’t treated very well.
We set him up inside on a nice warm bed and from that day on he knew that he would be very spoilt and very loved. The few issues we faced were that our eldest daughter, then 4, was very scared of him as he was a big dog and she was about the same height, so it took her a little while to feel comfortable with him.
He would defecate under our verandah, perhaps due to the fact he had been brought up in kennels. He was also a very fussy eater and would not chew on bones. This has caused problems with his gums and teeth. Racing dogs are fed on a stew like meal and not fed bones. He had corn problems which we had to have removed from his feet. This was caused from walking on harder ground as he was used to a soft racing track. Stress causes him to not eat and to lose hair on the rear of his legs – stress might be in the form of another animal being around, being left alone, etc. Excessive stress would have been from his mistreatment when racing. He also suffers from arthritis but this is managed with medication.
Some things we love to do together with James is taking him for a walk, particularly to the nice soft oval or the beach! He loves to run! He always loves being around us, and when he’s happy he lies upside down with his legs in the air!
My daughters love to dress him up sometimes, or cover him in blankets, or play vets and wrap up his legs. He lies down and loves every minute of the attention. Sometimes he runs around in circles, barks, wags his tail and has a great big grin on his face. Its lovely to see him so happy!
James has been like a special needs dog and has required a lot of understanding and patience. He’s such a beautiful, loving, gentle giant who loves his family to bits and we him. We love being around him and we love coming home to him. James has taught me a lot about greyhounds and what a gentle and loving breed they are.