A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Bonnie and her charismatic and noble pooch Seymour. I was immediately taken by the pure adoration she had for him, and her staunch advocacy for ending greyhound racing and the exploitation of others like him.
Let me tell you, Seymour was not easy at first. He took a while to warm up. Firstly he was a bit anxious about his new environment, then he refused to walk on the gravel, he didn’t like looking at the camera (neither do I, so I can’t blame him for that!) and he would not go anywhere that he did not approve of. Luckily, as always, I went to the photoshoot with chicken, and it wasn’t long before we were great friends.
I love working will all dogs, and Seymour was no exception. His stubbornness only added to his character, and as soon as he got sand in between his toes, he was off! Galloping around on the beach and in the water like a horse that has just bucked his rider.
Bonnie and Seymour were one of my favourite dog photo shoot teams to work with last year and I hope you enjoy what she has to say.
So Bonnie, you are the proud mum to crooked nosed Seymour the ex-racing dog. What made you decide to adopt a greyhound and what drew you to Seymour in particular?
I don’t remember exactly what it was that made me what to rescue a Greyhound, but I remember seeing one at the beach about 10 years ago and thinking “what a funny looking dog bouncing around!”
There is just something so unique & charming about such a tiny head and long nose on a huge body.
We planned on just fostering for a while, to make sure the breed was a good fit (and to convince my husband). I was sent a few different profiles to have a look at and see which dog we wanted to choose. I remember opening Seymour’s profile and laughing. The other Greyhounds I had previously seen all had great profile pictures, showing off their best sides. But Seymour’s profile was a close-up photo of his little face. He had these huge ears sticking up and an even bigger off centred roman nose. It looked like a mug shot and I knew he was the one!
We had a meet-and-greet planned one afternoon shortly after. As soon as he arrived, he ran around the back yard, relieved himself on my flower bed, came inside and had a drink from the toilet before laying down on the loungeroom floor. We both knew he was home.
How old is Seymour and how long has he been in your life?
He is eight and a half years old. His birthday is the 6th of June, and of course, we throw a big birthday party for him every year with plenty of dog-friendly food. We have had Seymour for almost 3 years now and have had the absolute pleasure of seeing him learn to trust and love over that time.
Seymour in his happy place – running on the beach, at his own free will.
In just a few words, describe how you view the breed, and explain the most fun traits
Incredibly loving & loyal. And of course, very funny, although they can often seem aloof or shy, they are big goofy noodles full of love!
Greyhounds have a lot of distinct traits, but my favourites are:
– They are massive couch potatoes and love to sleep. I know they look like they need a lot of exercise, but trust me, they are seriously one of the laziest breeds, and sleep for around 18-20 hours a day.
-Their teeth chatter when they are excited, it’s usually extra loud around mealtimes.
– They have very low body fat and need to wear coats or PJ’s when it cools down – Making them the most fashionable of all the breeds!
-They are natural therapists with super good intuition. If you are ever feeling blue, your Grey will pick up on it and will make sure to give you extra love. They often gaze at the humans; it has a very soothing effect.
Where did you adopt him and what advice would you give to someone else who is interested in getting a greyhound??
We adopted Seymour through Northern Rivers GAP (Greyhounds as Pets) but depending on where you live there are several different organisations around Australia.
I think the most important thing for people to understand, is that like all rescue dogs, each hound is an individual and may have a little bit of baggage.
Greyhounds rescued from the racing industry, are not used to being a “pet”. Kept in kennels for most of their lives, they are used to having their own space and don’t necessarily know how to interact with their new families. It took Seymour around 8 months before he started to play with toys, now he has too many to count.
Many Greys have had no interaction with any other breeds, so it will take time for them to learn to socialise. It is surprisingly common for rescued Grey’s not to know how to use stairs, simply because they have never seen them before. Your house may be a completely foreign environment, but if you are aware of this, and you are patient, you will be rewarded with the most unique and special bond you could imagine.
Greyhounds have so much love to give, they just need a chance to share it with someone.
What has he taught you since he moved in?
Mostly that I am a crazy dog mum, but definately an appreciation for the little things. When you rescue a Greyhound, you get to see them experience a lot of ‘firsts’. Their first time seeing the beach, first time playing and really, their first-time experiencing love. It is a really special thing!
If Seymour was a human, what would his chosen career path be and what would his goals for 2023 look like?
A Surf-Life Saver! He loves the beach and whenever another dog is retrieving a ball from the water, or just out having a swim, Seymour is always on patrol. He wades out into the water and barks until they return to land safety. I think that would translate well into his human life. Plus, he definately has the muscles to be on Baywatch!
Seymour enjoying the view ….and his freedom!
You are very clear on your stance about dog racing. What do a lot of people not realise about the greyhound industry that you think would really shock them?
I think a lot of people are naive about the entire industry. They see a bunch of skinny dogs in colourful vests running on a TV screen in the background of their local RSL without giving it another thought…but I think people would be shocked to know the sheer number of dogs that are discarded by the racing industry every year, most Greyhounds never make it past their fifth birthday. As of November 2021, 137 dogs were euthanised on the spot on Australian tracks as a result of injuries sustained from racing. As NSW is the only state that publishes the number of injured dogs killed later off-track, it is impossible to know the total killed each year.
I also think people would be shocked to know how much taxpayer money is given to the racing industry’s every year. The Queensland Government funded Racing QLD with $76 million over the 21-22 financial year. They are also providing a further $40 million to create a new dog racing track in Ipswich.
What is your solution to the problem, do you think it would be better to ban racing altogether, or is there another way of doing it that could be fun for the dogs?
I am firmly against all animal exploitation and whole heartedly believe Greyhound racing should be banned. Australia is one of only eight countries in the world that has a commercial greyhound industry, an industry that is inhumane, cruel and barbaric. It creates overbreeding and promotes unethical practises to generate revenue and “entertainment.” These dogs are discarded when no longer profitable, treated as a commodity, rather than a living creature.
I think the industry likes to encourage the idea that ex-racing dogs are just happy athletes that run for fun, and “retire” to a loving home. But for most, that is not the case. Firstly, due to overbreeding to find a champion, there are far more dogs than homes.
The national rate of greyhound breeding continues to be about six times the racing industry’s capacity to rehome.
For the hounds that do race, if they are lucky enough to make it off the tracks, the transition to a household pet it not always easy. The racing industry creates and rewards dogs with very high prey drive, but many, as a result, are then deemed unsuitable for adoption/re-homing because of their anti-social behaviour and are euthanised. It is ironic that what they were once praised for is now what gets them killed.
Lastly, for many, an 8-year-old dog that has been neglected, with anxiety and a limp from racing, just isn’t as desirable as new puppy.
Would you adopt another greyhound or do you think Seymour prefers to have you all to himself?
We would love another Greyhound, but I think for the time being, Sey enjoys being an only-child. He has become accustomed to a certain lavish lifestyle and I’m not sure he is ready to share it. I’m also not sure if we could fit another dog in our bed!
If you didn’t have a greyhound, what other breed would you buy?
I can’t imagine my life without a skinny shadow following me around, but if I couldn’t have a Greyhound, I would have another rescue dog. It is such a special privilege to be able to provide a home and a second chance for a dog, whatever the breed.
Is there a greyhound related charity that you particularly like that you would suggest people donate to if they are keen to help in some way?
–Free the Hounds is an amazing Greyhound welfare advocacy group dedicated to ending racing www.freethehounds.com.au.
–Gumtree Greys is a Brisbane & Melbourne based Volunteer-run rescue charity that helps to rehome hounds.www.guntreegreys.com.au
–The Coalition for the protection of Greyhounds. They campaign tirelessly to educate the public and expose the suffering caused by the racing industry. www.greyhoundcoalition.com
There are so many more amazing charities, but if people aren’t in a position to donate money, there are other ways you can help. Consider writing to your local MP & council & sign active petitions at www,greyhoundcoalition.com
Most importantly remember, if you are only able to do one thing, boycott the industry. If you continue to bet on greyhound racing, these beautiful dogs will continue to die.
Thank you Bonnie, and thanks for the information about the greyhound industry. This was a really interesting interview and I’m sure my readers will agree.
If you want to find more pictures of the handsome Seymour, I have a gallery dedicated to him in the gallery section, but you can also find his instagram page @seymour.the.hound
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