In Dog We Trust

A Specialist Greyhound, Sighthound and Lurcher Walking Service Based Near Hersham, Surrey

Wimbledon Puppy of the Year 2009 Castledale Queen (Queenie)

I have found myself in the fortunate position of being able to pursue my interest of working with man’s best friend, having retired from the Metropolitan Police in 2011 after thirty years exemplary service.

I became involved with greyhounds a few years ago after a friend told me he was keen to form a small racing syndicate. He introduced me to Norah McEllistrim, a very successful and experienced greyhound racing trainer, who owns and manages the kennels situated adjacent to the Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare (WGW)  in Hersham. The WGW re-home retired racing greyhounds.

As a result of this meeting I became a part owner in Striding Edge or ‘Robbie’ as he’s affectionately known at the kennels. We had lots of fun racing Robbie at both Reading and Wimbledon with some success. As with many racing greyhounds however, a recurring injury eventually led to his retirement and the prospect of him having to find a new home.

Sam presents the winners trophy for the stakes

I realised then how fond of him I’d become. He’d also appeared to take a shine to me (as well as anyone else offering him some affection or, better still, a few titbits) on our regular Sunday morning visits to the kennels! As a result Norah very kindly agreed to allow Robbie to continue living at her racing kennels until I was in a position to offer him a permanent home… mine!

Having introduced him to his ‘forever’ home, it took Robbie very little time to settle into his new domestic surroundings. This included learning that the four small black and white furry things (our cats!) running round the house were not there to be chased and caught but were all part of ‘the pack’. Negotiating the stairs however took him a little longer to master!

As time went by I became more involved with the work at Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare, especially the rehabilitation and socialisation of recently retired greyhounds. I was amazed by the staff’s dedication to the greyhounds, but the greatest satisfaction came from helping transform a former ‘racing’ animal into a pet and companion.

During my ‘apprenticeship’ I have taken many of the more unruly residents, awaiting rehoming at Hersham Hounds, for socialisation walks in local parks.

Sam with Greyhound Trainer Norah McEllistrim

This gave me an insight into how some greyhounds can react when meeting other breeds of dog, often for the first time. Their initial fear/aggression/prey drive can generally be overcome by familiarisation with other breeds, together with positive re-inforcement. I find this aspect of greyhound rehabilitation most challenging and ultimately, when a ‘difficult’ greyhound I have previously walked is re-homed, the most satisfying.

I am currently liaising with WGW with a view to introducing some of the more ‘difficult’ greyhounds to a structured socialisation programme.

I continue my professional development with ongoing training and dog welfare on various courses nationally.

Please call me on 07973 719348.