We’re proud to introduce the latest member of our family – Coco! Coco is a rescue greyhound who was about to be put down because she wouldn’t chase after the lure. Unfortunately, the racing industry breeds approximately 22,000 greyhounds in Australia every year, selecting the top few dogs to keep and routinely putting down the majority who do’t make the cut, like Coco.
In fact, Coco didn’t even have a name until a few weeks ago, she was just B421, the green inked tattoo in her ear. It was thanks to the good people at Greyhound Safety Net, including her wonderful foster Kate, that she made the journey from the vet to our beloved Coco.
Although people pay thousands of dollars for pedigreed puppies while so many greyhounds are destroyed everyday, greyhounds are actually the purest aristocrats of the dog world.
They are the first distinct breed of dog to be portrayed in art in 6000 BC and the only breed of dog have been to be mentioned in the Bible. In Proverbs 30, Solomon commented “There be three things which go well, yea, Which are comely in going: A lion, which is strongest among beasts and turneth not away from any; A Greyhound; A he-goat also.” Now I’m not sure about the he-goat bit, but two out of three ain’t bad, Solomon.
The Egyptians considered the birth of a greyhound second only to the birth of a son and when a greyhound died, its family members mourned by shaving their heads, fasting and wailing.
Anubis, one of the most prominent Egyptian gods, had the body of a man and the head of a dog and was represented in Egyptian art as a greyhound.
So it’s quite confounding to have these beautiful creatures so ill-treated in today’s world. In the 4 weeks which we have had Coco with us, she has proved to be the best dog we have ever had. Loving and calm, quiet, intelligent, eager to please, cheeky and attentive.
Our nanny said that she’s the best of dog and cat, and it’s so true. Coco is elegant and dignified like a cat. She rubs against your legs when she wants a pet. She purrs when she’s happy and she gives you this sardonic expression when you throw a ball at her. Silly humans – cats and greyhounds don’t play fetch!
But unlike a cat, she’s thoroughly thrilled whenever she sees you and loves human company, happy to follow you around the house on the most banal of errands. Going to get a cup of coffee? Cool! I’ll follow too!
Our Coco also loves the beach and it was heartbreakingly gratifying to see her gallop on the sand for the first time, frolicking in the waves while the kids squealed with delight. She takes any opportunity to get her paws wet and Finn loves that he has a new water companion.
Grehounds have a metabolism on steroids. They burn off food on just a fraction of exercise a day that other dogs need. Once or twice a day, Coco gets to run around our property, and when she goes bonkers, it’s like watching a cheetah! Greyhounds can reach 72 kmh in just 6 strides from standing. No other land animal except the cheetah accelerates like this.
Compare this to Usain Bolt – when Usain set his 100m world record, he ran at 37 kmh and covered that distance in 9.58 seconds. A greyhound would do that in just 5.33 seconds. And while a cheetah can sprint for only 270 m or less before collapsing, a greyhound can run at top speeds for up to 11 km.
Pretty amazing stuff.
And yet, paradoxically, greyhounds don’t need much exercise at all! 20 minutes is plenty for them. Coco will run around outside for 10-15 minutes by herself and then collapse on the sofa panting and spends most of the day on the sofa to be honest.
Lots of people have the misconception that greyhounds needs lots of space and exercise when they are perfectly happy as apartment dogs. In fact, my adoption kit papers were headlined “Congratulations! You’ve just adopted a couch potato!”
Coco goes with us to feed the ducks every day and doesn’t mind them at all, although she gets a bit startled when they flap at her and go “Nyah nyah you can’t get us!”
She was completely flabbergasted when she saw our neighbours horses for the first time. Here she is below, making friends tentatively…
The kids adore her, even though she has moved into their paddling pool…
Coco’s favourite thing is going on car journeys. She paws at the car and whines whenever she gets near it.
So far she’s been to just about every vineyard within 15 minutes of us, Box Stallion, Tucks Ridge, Merricks General Store, Yabby Lake, Oceans Eight, the list goes on. It’s lovely that we have so many dog friendly places on the Mornington Peninsula.
When Coco’s über happy, she does this silly looking thing where she lies on her back and wiggles ecstatically. It’s called “roaching” in greyhound lingo. Here’s a video of her roaching about at Box Stallion Vineyard.
And that’s us at Ocean’s Eight today doing a wine tasting.
These are some of Coco’s friends from Greyhound Safety Net – we brought her to visit their booth at the Westernport Festival at Hastings recently. They all look so different – greyhounds come in a vast array of colours and markings. It was fun to see them socialise and in the hour or so that we were there, there wasn’t a single bark or scuffle from the 15 or so greyhounds. They generally love being with each other and are used to doggy company, having being raised in kennels.
As you can see, we’re very much in love with our gorgeous Coco and if you have room in your home and heart, do consider adopting a rescue greyhound because they are wonderful companions and will return you every ounce of affection many times over!