Two retired racing greyhounds have found new homes in the Isle of Man with support from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.
A volunteer for the charity Greyhound Aid League Isle of Man brought Nero and Bailey from the West Coast of Ireland to start their new lives in the Isle of Man. The Steam Packet Company covered the ferry travel costs.
The charity was established in 2012 to help find new homes for greyhounds which the racing industry had no further use for; Nero and Bailey being just two of the greyhounds the League has brought to the Island so far this year, with plans for more between now and the end of the year.
Sally McMullen, one of the League founders, explained: ‘Each year, thousands of greyhounds are bred for the racing industry and, each year, thousands are surplus to requirement, some as young as two years of age. Many greyhounds are euthanised, abandoned or exported. The lucky ones are taken into rescue centres and re-homed. Sadly, there are never enough homes for all of them.’
The charity was inspired by Missy, the first greyhound adopted by Sally and her husband Ian McMullen, to raise awareness of the plight of these lovely dogs and to find homes in the Island where they could live as family pets.
Ian McMullen said: ‘We are grateful to the Steam Packet Company for helping us to make this possible and we hope to work with them again in the future as there are many more greyhounds needing loving new homes.
‘Thanks to Greyhound Aid League, some of the lucky ones find loving homes in the Isle of Man where their gentle and adaptable nature ensures they soon become a valued family pet.
‘Usually, once people have had a greyhound, they will always be a greyhound owner and often having one greyhound leads to people having several at the same time! They are highly addictive!’
Sally continued: ‘We fundraise throughout the year to support our greyhound welfare and re-homing work and are very fortunate to be supported by a fantastic group of like-minded people, many of whom have greyhounds themselves or simply wish to help. As a small charity, we appreciate all the support and assistance we receive as every penny counts and it is amazing how the pennies add up.
‘We would also like to thank Greyhound Aid League volunteer and supporter Victoria Lyon who kindly undertook this journey on our behalf and then did the same journey in reverse to get back home.’
Christine, Bailey’s new owner, who lives in Douglas, said: ‘Bailey has settled in well. He has got me up a few times in the night while he gets used to his new routine, but he is now relaxed and happy and on the whole it's good. Ziggy (my Jack Russell) and Bailey get on really well - Ziggy tries to be the boss, then Bailey puts him in his place.
‘Bailey loves playing with his squeaky toys. He is good to walk on the lead and wants to say hello to everyone he sees. A very loveable dog that loves lots of fuss. It is a joy to have him in my home and I'm so happy to have him.’
Nero’s new owners, Alex and Luke from Douglas, are equally as happy. Alex added: ‘We have had Nero for over a month now and he is settling in really well. He has such a beautiful and sweet nature and it is so lovely to see his playful personality coming out each day. He loves his walks especially in the plantations, but he is the ultimate sofa monster - he likes to spend many hours relaxing on the sofa!’
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘The Greyhound Aid League Isle of Man is working hard to find homes for these animals. As the Isle of Man is so dog-friendly it comes as no surprise that they have already been able to rehome so many greyhounds this year. We’re pleased to have assisted with Nero and Bailey’s travel from Ireland and hope they enjoy their new lives here.’
Nero (left) & Bailey (right) at home on the Isle of Man