The first of a new breed of retiree has arrived in Queenstown – a former racing greyhound called Carson.
A Lake Hayes Estate family is believed to be the first in the Wakatipu to adopt one of the distinctive dogs as a pet.
They’ve done so under a nationwide programme aimed at finding good homes for working greyhounds who quit the racing circuit.
Loveable pooch Carson has had no problem adjusting to the change of pace, says new owner, mum-of-three Angie Berliner.
“It cracks me up that Carson used to be a ‘professional athlete’ because he spends most of his time snoring on the sofa,” she says. “I think he thinks he’s actually retired as a cat.”
But the old instincts quickly return when Carson claps eyes on other family pets – two mice he thinks could be racing lures.
“He’s been trained to chase small fluffy things around a track and he certainly shows a lot of interest in the mice.”
The Berliners got the four-year-old dog – whose racing name was Crafty Carson – from the charitable trust Greyhounds As Pets two months ago, after he’d bowed out of competing due to a shoulder injury.
He used to be owned by the Pub Dog Syndicate and during a 65-race career notched up 16 wins, 21 places and earned $23,412.
The Berliner clan – originally from Manchester – became interested in greyhounds after their dog in England took ill and had to be put down.
They reckon Carson’s an ideal addition to the family as he’s great with kids and surprisingly easy to look after.
Greyhounds only need to be walked a couple of times a day in 20-minute bursts and spend most of the time resting up.
They also don’t have a strong doggy smell due to an absence of oils in their coats.
“I’d recommend a greyhound as a pet to anyone,” Berliner says.