Preparing greyhounds for life in slow lane

Sonia Graham with greyhounds at kennels run by Sonia and her family near Reston.

Sonia Graham with greyhounds at kennels run by Sonia and her family near Reston.

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Tucked behind the quiet village of Reston, down a winding, single lane road, you will find New Mains Farm.

A busy farm in its own right, New Mains is also home to the Scottish Borders Retired Greyhound Trust. This is just one of the 75 Retired Greyhound Trust kennels to be found in England, Scotland and Wales.

Sonia Graham with Badger and Moira, greyhounds at kennels run by Sonia and her family in Reston.

Sonia Graham with Badger and Moira, greyhounds at kennels run by Sonia and her family in Reston.

Our branch is run by Sonia Graham and her wonderful team of helpers who devote much of time to the care, rehabilitation and re-homing of the greyhounds that are no longer useful to the racing industry.

There may be up to 30 dogs at any one time and because the racing career is usually a short one, most of the greyhounds handed over to the RGT are between two and four years old.

They may be bred for speed, but the greyhound is one of the most gentle, sensitive, affectionate and sleepy dogs you will meet. They love their walks, but they probably won’t need as much exercise as some other breeds. Mostly they will sleep, preferably on a sofa or a thick, warm bed – they don’t have much natural padding.

Their sweet, patient nature means that they are good with children and also with older people and some of Sonia’s greyhounds have gone on to become ‘Pets as Therapy’ dogs. They adapt perfectly to family life, thriving on the love and attention bestowed upon them.

They can live happily with other breeds and can be desensitised to cats with great success.

Anyone deciding to give a home to a beautiful greyhound will need to make a few visits to the kennel to meet them and Sonia will be able to suggest several dogs that would suit each individual’s life-style. She knows the history and character of each dog and knows where they would be happiest.

The Reston team are passionate and dedicated and the growing number of greyhounds now living in and around Berwickshire is a testament to the wonderful work they do.

Each dog is neutered, micro-chipped, treated against ticks and fleas, vaccinated and wormed before setting out to its new life. They will also have their own collar, lead and walking-out coat. Sonia is always available for aftercare help and support.

○Sarah Sharp is a member of the Scottish Borders Retired Greyhound Trust.