Elmo was our first greyhound. We sought him out because a month earlier we had adopted a blue heeler (Mungo) from the pound, and his energy levels were driving us all mad. Our fault, but we knew nothing about blue heelers. Thanks to Mungo, we now know quite a lot about blue heelers, and about greyhounds.


There were no greyhound rehoming organizations in New Zealand at the time, but I found a trainer's website that had a page saying they rehomed them. I emailed them and they said they had a lovely four year old who had just 'blown a toe'. And so his career ended.

We drove down to meet them on Christmas Eve, 2003. My diary simply has the address, and 'Elmo, 33kg'. I had a bug and we had to stop every 15 minutes as I wasn't the best. When we arrived I said to Richard, "We have 20 minutes, max".

The trainers hadn't even expected us to turn up. Apparently most people who called didn't.

To us Elmo was quite incredible. He was bony, yet so muscular; gaunt, yet so elegant; and briefly friendly before returning to his bed to lie with his back to us. We were captivated, and returned four days later to collect him.

Elmo charmed us. Having two other dogs we put his bed in the spare room at first. We sat in the living room and called to him. He would run to the doorway, peep around it with his tail wagging, then twirl around and race back, throwing himself on his bed with a thud. It didn't take him long to settle, and we couldn't stop smiling.

That was almost eight years ago. Elmo is still charming, still elegant and still friendly, but aloof. He still loves to run and has mad bursts in the garden. His muzzle is all white now, he has fewer teeth, and his feet bear numerous scars. If not out walking or having a mad dash, he prefers to rest on his sofa or one of the beds in the sun.

As with most people who adopt a greyhound, Elmo has changed our lives. We met other people who love greyhounds and started Hounds 4 Homes. Elmo is also our logo, a tribute to the nobility and joy with which the greyhounds share our lives. For us, Elmo was the first of many greyhounds, and he has helped us welcome them all.

P.S. Mungo is still with us, nearly 14 years of age and still sharing his joy, too.