Love all around at the Mount

Mount Maunganui’s Mike Gardner and greyhound Jake will be joining the Great Global Greyhound Walk on Sunday.

They’re affectionately known as ‘40mph couch potatoes’ but local greyhounds and their owners will be getting off the couch on Sunday to join the 2018 Great Global Greyhound Walk.

The international event involves thousands of coordinated walks around the world to raise awareness and promote greyhound adoption. This year’s theme is ‘Love is All Around’, highlighting the heart-warming love and devotion families and their adopted greyhounds feel for each other.

In New Zealand the events are supported by Greyhounds as Pets, a nationwide charity that works to find homes for greyhounds as they come out of their time in racing.

Owners and their blinged-up greyhounds will meet at Mount Drury across from Main Beach at 9.45am on Sunday, June 10. The walk will leave at 10am and head past the cafes at the base of Mauao, along Maunganui Road through the Mount main shops, past the Farmer’s Market at Coronation Park, up Banks Avenue and back to Mount Drury again for a post-walk gathering and coffee.

Among those taking part this weekend will be Mount Maunganui’s Mike Gardner and his dog Jake who will be going for a 60s hippie look.

Mike grew up with cats but was talked into getting a dog by his daughter Aisha.

“For some reason I’ve always loved greyhounds but I didn’t think you could have one without racing one. But then we found out about the re-homing organisation Greyhounds as Pets and applied to adopt.”

Jake has been with the family for three years and is a “brilliant” pet, says Mike.

“He’s an unraced greyhound – apparently he was fast but didn’t like the chase – which is perfect for our cats.

“He’s a total revelation – very affectionate, quiet and gentle. He’s got quite a clown-like character and doesn’t like missing out on anything.”

Mike says greyhounds spent up to 14 hours a day sleeping and are very clean dogs that require little grooming.

“Everything you think about a greyhound is almost the opposite. They’re actually very lazy so lying on the couch comes naturally to them.”

Mike’s son Aidan is mildly autistic and not sure of dogs but he took to Jake right away.

The family has also enjoyed the social side of belonging to the thriving greyhound owners’ community, with regular organised walks and social events.

Mike says anyone is welcome to join the walk and find out more about owning a greyhound. Greyhounds as Pets will also have an exhibit at the Bay of Plenty Pet and Animal Expo at ASB Arena, Baypark on June 23-24.


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