Adopted greyhound Blossom thriving in new Nambucca Heads family

A HAPPY HOME: John and Faye Hopkins with their pet Blossom. Photo: Emily Brisciani.
A HAPPY HOME: John and Faye Hopkins with their pet Blossom. Photo: Emily Brisciani.

Meet Blossom.

A retired greyhound, she has made a new home with Faye and John Hopkins and has slotted right into her new life.

As we chat by phone, in comes Blossom, keen to catch up with Faye for some pats and kisses.

"She's a very affectionate dog," Faye said.

Faye and John made the decision to adopt after the death of their much-loved border collie. And they are not alone. Lockdown has seen a surge in short term fostering and adoption of pets across the board.

And it's no wonder. Dog ownership in particular has been tied to positive health outcomes, with a 2019 review of studies undertaken since 1950 showing a reduced rate of cardiovascular risk and symptoms of stress.

Relaxation is exactly what Blossom, with her laid-back attitude to life in general, has brought to Faye and John's lives.

"We wanted a dog to fit in with our lifestyle and Blossom was the one," Faye said.

"She's so placid and affectionate, she just settled in. She's made a big difference to our lives - she's brought us happiness and both of us are more relaxed. We just love her."

The couple take her for walks along Nambucca Heads' iconic boardwalk and can't wait for the weather to warm up so they can introduce her to the beach.

"When I walk her, people will stop and ask about her, they give her a pat and can't get over how soft her fur is. She's just beautiful."

For the Hopkins, adoption of Blossom was "the best thing we could have done" for companionship. She is happy to follow Faye around the house and laze in the sun with her toys.

The fit between new owner and adopted dog is vital to the success of the match and it is something that GAP (Greyhounds As Pets) is spending a lot of time focusing on.

Making a match

GAP NSW general manager, Dr Alicia Fuller, said a matching system was used to connect dogs to their new adopted family. Rather than picking by colour, or wandering through kennels to choose a dog, a lot of work went into understanding each individual greyhound.

This could include getting to know their personality, what they like to do, how much walking they like and how much time alone they are happy with.

"Then we gather a lot of information on our adopters," Dr Fuller said.

"We get a wide range of personalities in our greyhounds and we need a wide range of adopters and foster carers to fit that, everything from young people to families to older couples, and we make sure we match the greyhound personality we've got with the person and their lifestyle."

AT HOME: Blossom is loving her laid-back lifestyle. Photo: Emily Brisciani.

AT HOME: Blossom is loving her laid-back lifestyle. Photo: Emily Brisciani.

A laid-back life

Lockdown has led to an increase in demand for dogs and greyhounds were increasingly recognised as a desirable pet.

"In comparison to other dogs their energy levels are low. They're short sprinters, and the exercise they need is only 20 minutes twice a day," Dr Fuller said.

"Otherwise they're very happy either lying on the sofa or on their bed in a nice sunny spot. They're really rather cat-like in that way."

During the first lockdown, the organisation saw a large increase in applications.

"Everybody who'd ever thought about getting a dog, or particularly rehoming one, suddenly felt they had the opportunity and time to do so," Dr Fuller said.

Short stays

In response to the second lockdown, GAP has implemented a 14 day foster period so people can get a little experience of what having a greyhound is really like.

"Even in that short 14 day period, the greyhounds can learn so much that will really help them when they find their forever home," Dr Fuller said.

With her choice of three beds, a backyard to play in and new places to explore, Blossom is making the most of her new life with Faye and John.

"She's spoiled rotten," Faye laughed.

You can find out more about adopting a greyhound or the fostering program at www.gapnsw.com.au.

This story Blossom a blooming great addition to new family first appeared on Newcastle Herald.