Greyhounds hold Lisa Olden's heart.

She moved to New Zealand from just outside Nottingham in Britain with six dogs. She has been breeding them for the past 12 years.

"I had raced and bred greyhounds in the UK" said the Turakina resident.

"When I heard that there was a lot of interest in greyhound racing in New Zealand I decided to move. "New Zealand was a lot cheaper than the UK so it seemed the perfect answer."


Even though it's a slower pace of life, especially in Turakina, Lisa said it's been pretty much a perfect lifestyle for her and her dogs.

"I race my dogs in Palmerston North and at the Hatrick Raceway in Wanganui so I'm halfway between the two race tracks.''

She admits she's an old softly when it comes to her dogs.

"I love my dogs and I would never be cruel to them. When they retire, whether from injury or age, they should be comfortable and loved and have a nice sofa to sleep on. Could be one of mine or their new owners.''

Lisa has 12 sofas set up in her house, one for each dog.

She gives some of her dogs away and follows the guidelines of the organisation Greyhounds As Pets (GAP).

Lisa said one of her greyhounds now lives with five small cats.
"And he loves it and he's very happy."

After racing I re home them all if I can.
"I bring them inside while they calm down and get ready for pet life."

Her dogs all start their day around 6.30 with earlier feeds on race day so it digests and prepares them for racing.

"Then later I go out and wash the kennels, bath any dirty dogs, run the pets, check and repair any injuries on racers."

"My dogs run around in the field to exercise and do what they feel like, which may be not a lot but they do enjoy running around with a rugby ball", she said.

"Greyhounds don't need or want much exercise, they are really lazy. They're great with kids and I handle them from birth."

Racing today at Whanganui are Lisa's three racers called So Unbelievable, Chaos Theory and World Freak Show.

And whether they win or lose "they are all my babies".
She said most dogs can be re homed and they make great pets.

"They sleep all day", she said.
"They really are dogs with a very gentle nature."

When being re-homed, GAP advises each greyhound goes through a comprehensive programme before going to live with their new family. While at trainer's they undergo a temperament assessment to ensure their suitability for re homing, and determine the type of home that will suit them best. While greyhounds have been trained to chase, their desire to please means that many can be retrained to live very contentedly with small animals.

The programme specifically likes to identify cat friendly greyhounds for those adoptive families who love both. GAP also ensures each greyhound is in good shape health wise so after the assessment each dog is health-checked, de-sexed and micro chipped.