Smiling faces were seen on both humans and hounds as hundreds gathered across Ireland to celebrate and promote greyhounds as pets. Greyhound Rescue Association Ireland (GRAI) held their 8th annual Walk for Greyhounds in Farmleigh at Phoenix Park, Dublin, while a similar walk was organised simultaneously in Galway city. Held as part of the Great Global Greyhound Walk initiative, which this year saw several thousand hounds taking part on the same day around the world, the walks are aimed at informing the public about a breed often overlooked and misunderstood when considering a family pet. Greyhounds and lurchers (sighthound cross breed dogs) are affectionate, gentle dogs who only require moderate exercise despite their athletic prowess and are quite content to nap for a good portion of each day. GRAI spokesperson Úna Jansen notes “we hear a lot of misconceptions about the breed, since they are large athletic dogs, many assume they require a lot of space and exercise, however due to being sprinters they use up energy quickly and many live quite happily as apartment dogs”.
Following several years of an ever-expanding Dublin Walk that saw hundreds of attendees, GRAI were keen to spread awareness of greyhounds beyond the confines of the capital. Jansen says “greyhounds and lurchers have become increasingly popular pets in Dublin, go into any city park and you are likely to see more than one, however that is still far from the case in other parts of the country, so it’s key that we increase exposure across Ireland”. In collaboration with local rescue groups Galway SPCA and MADRA, the first ever Galway city walk was launched with a fantastic turnout of almost 60 dogs. Walkers brought dogs from as far away as Kerry, Clare and Mayo, generating great interest as they walked up Shop Street. GRAI are hoping to expand the Walks further afield in coming years as there are still a huge number of dogs needing homes while approximately 15,000 greyhounds are bred annually in Ireland for the racing industry.
GRAI is a registered charity committed to promoting greyhounds as pets and advocating for the breed in Ireland. Anyone interested in adopting a greyhound can visit the members page on our website www.grai.ie to find a rescue group in their area.