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Stories from owners

Andy & Rosie

Having persuaded Val, my wife, that we should think about having a dog, she actually came up with the idea of a retired greyhound and, much to her astonishment, I immediately made an appointment to visit Crossing Cottage Kennels.  She agreed to go, but only on the basis that we have a look around and then think about it some more.

However, on arrival at the kennels, John’s opening gambit was, ‘Come on, we’ve got the perfect dog for you’. We were taken to meet Andy, a big black and white dog with baleful brown eyes. Every other dog in the kennels clamoured for attention, but not Andy.  He took one look at us and strolled off to his bed and lay down with a big sigh.  Val was smitten. Andy looked so sad, we had to take him home.

It turned out that Andy had been in the kennels for over a year. Always overlooked by would-be homers, probably because he didn’t push himself forward.  Even more reason to take him, according to Val.

Having gone through all the formalities, the adoption went through and Andy came home with us.  He was perfect – quiet, clean and beautifully behaved in the house (and office) and on the lead. And he still is.  Off-the-lead, in open spaces, he reverts to type; he was born to race.  Invariably, he does two flat out circuits of the field, always in the same direction, and then falls in behind, waiting for the lead to go back on.

But he remained reserved.  Never sought affection and responded grudgingly to any that was given.

After we’d had him for about 18 months, I came up with what I thought was the solution to Andy’s reticence.  He needed the company of other dogs.  We should get another greyhound to keep him company.  Val was appalled and adamantly refused.

However, on a visit to the kennels, I came across a very pretty blue dog called Bridie.  A chat with Judith revealed that Bridie was a bit of a problem.  She’d been homed twice and had come back both times for a variety of reasons. She’d got a reputation as something of a ‘devil dog’.  Judith said that if I wanted to take her home and try her with Andy, I was welcome.

So I did and having got her home (and, at Val’s insistence, changed her name to Rosie), she stayed.  And, far from being a devil dog, she’s fantastic.  Clean, quiet and beautifully behaved – a really charming character.

Only one minor area of concern.  She’s a chaser.  Anything smaller than her, furry and with four legs, she’d be gone.  I learned from bitter experience.  Having let her off in the middle of a ‘safe’ area, she spotted rabbits in the distance and she was off.  Field, after field after field.  I reckon, with Andy trotting happily at my heels, I did about five miles across rough ground trying to catch up with her.  Eventually she went in to a barn and I managed to corner her.  My furious reprimand was met with what I can only describe as a defiant smirk.

She stayed on the lead for a long time after that episode but now, having checked every horizon carefully, I let her off in ‘safe’ places and she contents herself with racing and, much to his annoyance (he barks at her), beating Andy in his two laps round the field.

Rosie and Andy are now a couple.  He’s top gun (or at least she lets him think he is) and, after three years, he’s turned into a really affectionate dog who actually comes and gives you a hefty shove in the back when he wants a stroke.  Rosie is a delight – funny (she actually makes a noise like a dolphin and stamps her feet when she wants something) endearing and affectionate.

We wouldn’t be without them now and, if anyone is thinking about getting a dog, we would unreservedly recommend a visit to Cross Cottage.  John will be waiting with the time-honoured phrase – “Come on in, we’ve got the perfect dog for you” – and he probably has!

Ray and Val Hirst


Willow came to live with us on 7th July 2009. It was just a lucky chance that we had gone to the kennels the week before to have a look and find out about keeping a Greyhound. Judith suggested we take one for a walk and see how we got on. Willow, or Pearls Black as she was, had been returned to RGT and was looking for a home. Well, one walk was all it took, and after a home check, she became one of our family. A sad depressed dog then, unsure and insecure.

Gradually she came out of her shell and began to trust us and show her real character. And what a gem she has turned out to be. Great fun, mad moments, gentle, lovable, affectionate and beautiful to look at. She loved to race around the garden, which began to look like a race track! It took some time before I risked letting her off the lead for a run on the marsh, but as long as there were no other dogs she was fine. She also had to get used to our son’s Beagle, called Poppy, plus a bundle of energy called Pippa, a Parsons Jack Russell belonging to our daughter. Willow and Pippa are now great friends. Unfortunately on 13th January 2011, Willow raced off after some friends and their dogs while we were on the marsh. At the far end of the marsh is a 10 ft dyke, and Willow was unable to stop. She tried to jump it but crashed into it and broke her left front leg. With help from my daughter and a friend we got her out, my husband came down with the 4 x 4 and with more help got her to the surgery in Newark. They did what they could to ease her pain, and then we took her to the Veterinary Hospital at Castle Donnington. The Surgeon there did what he could to save her leg but it was too badly smashed, and it had to be amputated. After a few
days we got her home and slowly she started to cope with her disability. She was naturally very depressed and disorientated, but is now going for short walks and visits to John and Judith at RGT.

Now in February she has started playing with her squeaky toys again and pulling her bed about when she is excited!. She trots down the garden and races back to the house! Through it all she has never once showed any sign of bad temper and is as lovable as ever. Her coat is growing in and despite her loss she is still our beautiful lovable Willow.

The Carlins

In 2010 my daughter was diagnosed with Cancer, she was 11. Alex commenced a tough three years of chemotherapy,  at its worst Alex was in a wheelchair and was on morphine to control the pain which meant that she missed over two years of school it severely shook her confidence and ability to talk to people, teachers and friends had commented that she wouldn’t talk to them very much.  Harry my younger son is autistic and struggles to make friends and communicate.

Never having owned a dog before, Patrick (who had waited 50 years to own his own dog) researched dogs and saw that greyhounds were great wonderful pets and both he and Alex spent over 18 months to convince me that we should have one.  Life was too busy and hospital and risk of infections were too great for Alex and I couldn’t take on the extra work of a dog……..so treatment finished at the end of March 2013…… We went to Crossing Cottage and talked to John and Judith Who talked to us about owning greyhounds, what it involved and what we would have to do, gave us a DVD and a booklet. Let us walk three or four dogs, we didn’t want to choose one then, but did actually like one particular one.  So within a few hours we phoned them and asked to reserve a black one.

We collected Royal two weeks later and took him home, complete with all the things we needed (supplied by RGT), Royal had been homed before and was returned, so we did have it slightly easy for beginner dog owners.  Royal settled well, cried for about an hour on the first night, but then just went to sleep.  We had a baby stair gate to keep him in the kitchen at night and when we were out, he climbed over that. We shut the gate and then the door, within a few hours he opened the door and climbed over the gate, so we gave up and let him have the run of downstairs, he was content and settled and clean.

We noticed the difference in Alex straight away, she wanted to go out on the walks, and she was tired at first and often took pain relief when she came back but she wanted to walk Royal, a big step for her.  Alex was egar to talk to people about her dog, telling teachers and friends.  It was extremely surprising to find Alex talking to strangers when she met them while walking Royal.  Her determination to walk him on her own made her willing to prove to us she was getting stronger and was able to handle him.  Her consultant remarked on Alex at her review and said that the benefits of the dog had already had on Alex were better than any medicine.

Royal is great, calm, gentle, doesn’t bark (except when you invade his space when he is asleep), he has playful times, loves it when you sneak his squeaky out and hide it under his vet mat. Loves his walks and going out with the family. He is settled when we go out to work, thrilled to see us when we come in, he is a waggy tailed happy doggy.  He is a delight…… but we did notice he responded very well when meeting other greyhounds and was starting to whimper when we left them………Harry takes longer to process change, he struggled at first, but loved spending time with Royal, within a month Harry was happy to take Royal out and then within another few weeks, he was scooping poo, to show us he is capable of walking Royal on his own.  Harry loves taking Royal out and talking to him.

One of our closest friends asked me what I was doing this weekend, so I told her “we are off to Crossings Cottage to get another greyhound”.So now we have two………She replied “Are you mad?  They are big dogs”
my response was “He’s showing signs of being lonely, he’s following me around more, and he needs another dog to keep him content.  Having Royal was one of the best decisions we have ever taken as a family, Patrick has the best exercise machine he ever bought, he does both early morning and evening walks.  Alex has changed so much that her doctor and psychologist have noted it, her and improving her physically by walking him.  Harry is constantly improving and learning about Royal, gaining so much confidence and making friends.  Me, well Royal has given me a focus, so that I am not constantly looking at Alex and worrying if she is ok.  He is brilliant he has given us all something to focus on and move forwards as we all recover from the last three years”
She replied,  “you do all sparkle now, I can’t argue with your decision”


Dear Judith and John

As I have been with my new owners for a week now I thought I would write and tell you how I have been getting on.

Everything was very stressful at first, these people came and loaded me into the back of their car and went on a long journey. When we stopped they took me through this gate into a really large garden, I had a run around but didn’t want to go too far in case I got lost. I did find it comforting that I had my own bed with me and I lay on that for a lot of the time watching what was going on. I was able to lie in front of a nice fire in the evening but everything was very strange and I didn’t want anything to eat.

On my second day I tried to persuade them to bring me back to you by standing at the gate and looking sad but they wouldn’t let me back into the car. I then discovered that there were some interesting things called pheasants to chase in the garden, they also left some really smelly droppings on the lawn so I had a good roll, it made me feel a bit happier and a lot smellier. I had a good wash down later that day as my owners didn’t appreciate the smell.

By Monday I was starting to feel more at home and decided I had better eat some food particularly as it had some freshly cooked chicken in it. My new owners were giving a lot of fuss so I decided that perhaps things were not so bad after all and started to feel less stressed.
On Tuesday I got a new bed, it is ever so comfortable and is made of something called memory foam and it helps the leg I no longer have! I am getting quite used to the routine now and have started to meet some different people and they all make a great fuss of me which I love. I also like my evenings stretched out in front of the fire.

I chase around the garden every day, there is lots to see and when my mistress is gardening I like to lie in the sun and watch what is going on. I have also got used to both my owners going out, sometimes together, sometimes separately but they always come back and I am always pleased to see them.

In the morning my master comes down first and I go up the garden with him to let the chickens out, I have a chase around but know not to bother the chickens as they belong like me to my owners. My mistress gives me a good brushing every day which removes some of my undercoat so I am looking very glossy now and she makes a big fuss of me

Today, I met my neighbour for the first time, he is a black Labrador about the same height as me, we had a good sniff around each other then I led him on a chase around the garden but he couldn’t keep up with me as I am so fast. I enjoyed meeting him and will see more of him now that we are friends.

I have sent you a couple of photo’s of me in the garden as I thought you would like to see how I look now.

Perhaps if you are coming anywhere near were I now live you will call in to see me.

A big lick



The newest addition to our family, Daisy, came home with us on the 27th August 2019 and we’ve had her for just under three months now. Though we never would have guessed that we would have ended up with a 30kg greyhound who bears more than a passing resemblance to a medium-sized red deer (and loves nothing more than fully occupying every piece of soft furniture we have in the house), we have loved every second with our gorgeous girl and wouldn’t change her for the world.

My wife and I had discussed getting a dog for quite some time before we made our first fateful trip to Judith and John down at the Retired Greyhound Trust. Though at first my wife wanted nothing more than a Lady and the Tramp style puppy under the Christmas tree, we both quite quickly realised that adopting a rescue (or, in this case, retired) dog was what we really wanted to do. At first greyhounds were about as far from our mind as possible though, after a little research online, we became completely fascinated by these elegant looking and sweet-natured creatures.So, of course,we decided that we really needed to take a closer look!

And so, one fateful morning (and entirely on the spur of the moment), we drove down to pay a visit to the kennels at Crossing Cottage. Although we showed up completely unannounced, we were warmly welcomed by John, Judith and their team of wonderful volunteers.They sat down with us to have a chat about what we were looking for and to offer their own recommendations for which, if any, dogs would be most suitable for us. Since we both work full time, we were worried that our lifestyle would be incompatible with rehoming a retired racer but after a long and helpful discussion with the team at the RGT, we came up with a list of five or six dogs who would be most suitable for us. John and Judith then suggested we take each for a walk to get to know them a little better and out of these dogs, two immediately jumped out at us – a big blue boy called Duke and a lovely brindle girl called Daisy.

Eventually, after a great deal of agonizing over these two beautiful hounds, we decided that Daisy was the right choice for us. After a home visit from the lovely Jo and a few simple bits of paperwork, we were back home with a slightly unsure but very curious greyhound.Though it took her a week or two to really get to know us and settle in, Daisy has been almost perfect since day one. Like all greyhounds, she is equal parts sophisticated and goofball and it is a real joy to see her personality beginning to emerge. She is such a gentle, well-behaved dog and has so much love to give (unless you happen to be a squirrel!) and we could never imagine having a different dog sharing our home with us now.

In short, we can’t recommend the team at the East Midlands RGT enough and I would strongly recommend to anyone considering getting a dog (rescue or not) to pay a visit to the kennels and get to know Judith, John and all of the gorgeous, wonderful dogs waiting for a loving home. Greyhounds have all but ruined other dogs for us now and even though their size and strength might seem intimidating at first, I urge anyone considering a dog to get to know a greyhound or two before they make their choice. Speaking as someone who has owned and loved boxers, labs and terriers before, you won’t find a sweeter, gentler or more beautiful dog than a greyhound.

Do yourself a favour and pay the East Midlands Retired Greyhound Trust a visit! We guarantee you won’t regret it and you might just end up going home with more than you bargained for!

Jamie, Laura and Daisy.


On our first visit to Crossing Cottage, we were welcomed by Judith and John and showed around the kennels at all the gorgeous Greyhounds. After talking to John and telling him our lifestyle and what kind of temperament we were looking for in a Greyhound, John introduced us to Joe as he thought he would be a good match for us and Joe really chose us after giving me a huge lick on the cheek and looking into those big brown eyes of his – how could we resist him!

While, we were waiting for a home check, we went back for another two visits and took our grandchildren, as this was what Judith advised. I bought Propecia generic with nosubhealth.com some time ago and I’m starting to see some good results now that I’ve been using it for two months or so. 2019 is going to be a year with a nice bush of hair on my head, so glad I bought this product!!!! Thanks, Nosubhealth.com folks. We were able to walk him and visit him a few times and given lots of really helpful information about aftercare and advice on what to do when we got him home; feeding, walking and adapting to living in a home etc. which has since been ongoing, as John and Judith are always there on the end of the telephone for any help and are happy to give us any advice no matter what.

We were 100% happy that we were making the right decision about not only the right dog but also with the right kennels. The kennels are immaculate; the dogs are their number one priority. We were given plenty of information about Joe including his pedigree, trainer, injury, general health and temperament and he was in excellent condition when we got him. We’ve also been given lots of information about the Retired Greyhound Trust, with up and coming events, fayres, walks and Greyhound gatherings to which we have attended on numerous occasions and enjoyed getting together with other Greyhound owners and especially their dogs. Since adopting Joe in August ‘09 we now wonder what we did before Joe as he has become such a big, but SPOILT!, part of our family now thanks to John and Judith and their dedication to finding Greyhounds new loving homes.

From Joe, Janet, Allan and Lauren Proffitt

Eddie & Stella

If someone had told me a couple of years ago that I would have 1 greyhound nevermind 2 vying for position on my settee I would have never believed it but we have – both from Judith and John Morton at Crossings Cottage in Newark.

The background to our introduction to John and Judith and greyhounds starts with my youngest son Niall who is autistic.  Autistic children have problem with social interaction and can find every day situations extremely stressful – one of these being with dogs especially the noise they make and life out and about with Niall was becoming extremely difficult. During this time I happened to watch an item on television about greyhounds and how many needed homing after their racing career finished.  It also mentioned how good they were with children and that they rarely barked – they sounded too good to be true.  After looking on the web site for information on greyhounds that needed homes I came across John and Judith’s site in Newark.  As we were staying near Newark over the Christmas holidays I phoned John to get some more information.  I told him of Niall’s condition and that it would depend entirely on his reaction to the dogs as to whether we would go ahead. From the very first phone call John was so friendly and understanding and we arranged to go and visit.

When we arrived at the kennels the dogs automatically started to bark and Niall began to stress but once we had gone inside they settled down and he calmed down.  We met both John and Judith who showed us round the kennels and straight away we were so impressed with all the care and love they gave to their dogs.  The greyhounds and how friendly and pleased they were to see us soon took in Niall and our eldest son Euan. We chatted to Judith and she knew exactly which dogs she thought would be suitable for us. The boys excitedly set off looking at the dogs and we took out two of them for a walk.  We were amazed how good the dogs were on leads and how happy they were to come a walk with us.  After much deliberation the boys settled on Eddie provisionally if we decided to go ahead.  We left John and Judith to have a think about it and as we got in the car to leave Niall burst into tears as he thought we would be taking Eddie home that night.  What an amazing reaction, one we never thought we would see and our minds were made up there and then.  After speaking to Judith later that evening she explained the adoption procedure including a home check.  Needless to say this all went well and we collected Eddie in early January.

We were so excited and a little apprehensive when we arrived at the kennels to collect him but John and Judith were great at settling our nerves and giving us advice before we set off for home.  Eddie was great and settled down really quickly.  He has always been great with the kids and both of them love him to pieces.  We have visited John and Judith at Christmas Fairs and always have a look at all the residents.  An idea started to form in my mind that it would be lovely to have a female greyhound as Eddie had been so easy, so we found ourselves at the kennels again and chose Stella a beautiful fawn greyhound and collected her just in time for Christmas 09.

Eddie is very protective of his sister and our family is complete.  Eddie is very quiet and laid back and Stella is a typical girl who loves lots of attention and fuss.
Niall is fine with all dogs since having our 2 greyhounds, the difference is amazing.  We try to get to the kennels when we can and wish we lived nearer so we could support them more in the fabulous job they do.  We have been home checkers ourselves which was a great experience. We can’t thank John and Judith enough for making our lives so much easier with Niall and bringing the joy of greyhounds into it., We have a motorhome and the dogs love travelling in it.  Eddie has already been to France and Spain and both of them have toured all over the UK.

We have also used Crossing Cottage for kenneling the dogs while we flew to Spain and it was great to know they were looked after with as much care as John and Judith give to them.
Liz Yates

Sasha & Diva

As I write this, sitting at the kitchen table.  I am being watched by two snoozing, black, beautiful greyhounds, sprawled out happily on a mound of quilts and pillows. Although we have only recently adopted, “Sasha” and “Diva”, I cannot imagine life without them. Which is remarkable considering that our son’s allergies had lead us to believe that dog ownership was impossible.

Unfortunately, allergies run in our family, both my son and I carry Epi-pens for a severe nut allergy. While my son Giacomo is also allergic to tree pollen, dust mites, horses and dogs among other things. Not only had he had to give up riding but it was also thought that he would be unable to have a dog.

However, I had noticed that he seemed able to tolerate my brother’s lurchers and greyhound so I felt that there might be a glimmer of hope. I began to do some research on the internet and discovered that although greyhounds aren’t hypoallergenic like the poodle crosses, their fine coats and minimal shedding meant that a number of allergic persons were alive and well and living with these wonderful hounds!!!

Our excitement grew as we saw Diva lying on the ground paws in the air waiting for a tummy rub while Giacomo snuggled up to her without a sign of an allergy. My husband who had up to this point been rather ambivalent about greyhounds as he really wanted a, “cuddly Labrador” appeared smitten. He told me later that when Sasha had leant on his leg and then gently pushed her nose into his hand, he was hooked.Which is how we found ourselves one Sunday afternoon at, “Crossing Kennels” where after walking one or two other greyhounds fell for Sasha and Diva. They seemed perfect for us in everyway. Aged 7 and 8 – having previously been rehomed and then returned because of their owner’s ill health, they were the ideal pair for first time, novice greyhound rehomers.

With great excitement we returned on Saturday to take the girls out for a trip in the car, when disaster struck. Giacomo’s eye puffed up like a football and we returned to the kennels our hopes dashed and feeling confused. Why had everything gone so well the first time? This the problem with allergies, we had no idea what had set the reaction off, though we later realised that the dusty old coats the girls were wearing as it was raining were probably the culprits.

When we actually got the dogs home, John was constantly at the other end of the phone good humouredly answering our myriad queries from why Diva hadn’t eaten her breakfast to where to put their beds and how to exercise them. When Giacomo had the allergic reaction in the car he was heartbroken as he was hoping that we would be able to bring the dogs home with us for a trial.  Judith was so kind to Giacomo, explaining on the one hand that he needed to go home and let his eye settle down but on the other hand assuring him that Sasha and Diva would not be rehomed to anybody else until we decided what to do next.
We decided that a trial was the only way forward and I am happy to report that after a week it was plain to see that the girls were here to stay and Giacomo was fine as long as he didn’t stroke the dogs then rub his finger in his eye!  Which would be enough to cause a reaction in even a non allergic person.

In the short time that we have become involved with the dogs we have had so many fantastic experiences, from taking them to RGT shows and winning rosettes to meeting all these wonderful people who are involved in rehoming greyhounds. Until I met Sasha and Diva I didn’t realise that there was a secret club that all of us who love these dogs belong to. The rehoming community that I have met at various greyhound gatherings have been warm hearted, friendly and extremely supportive to us as new owners, going out of their way to pass on their knowledge and advice.

This story would not have had such a happy ending without all the marvellous help and support from Judith and John and all their helpers who do such a brilliant job in looking after these wonderful hounds and finding them their forever homes.

So to summarise our story, it might not work for everyone but please think about adopting a greyhound even if you have an allergy. Secondly, give some consideration to older dogs, they might have been rehomed before and returned to the kennels through no fault of their own and can show you the ropes. Oh and if you can manage it two can be great as they can keep each other company.

I really would encourage anybody considering adopting a greyhound to go and visit Crossing Kennels, you won’t regret it.

Finally I was amazed to hear that black greyhounds often take longer to rehome than some of the other colours…..Has everyone gone mad?  Haven’t  they ever read Black Beauty!!!!

Fostering Annie

After losing our beautiful greyhound Stella we had decided that our other greyhound Eddie at 10 years old would be our only dog but he had other ideas! From being a very laid back greyhound he became very stressed when left alone.
My husband had done some research into fostering and thought instead of committing to another permanent greyhound it might be a way to help out.  I contacted Judith at RGT Midlands who talked me through the process of fostering and mentioned a couple of dogs she thought would benefit from fostering. We visited RGT with Eddie and took out both dogs. Both were beautiful but Annie seemed a perfect match for both of us and most importantly Eddie, a gorgeous black greyhound with a white nose and white socks. My husband collected Annie and brought her home as I was at work. When I came home she was curled up in her bed in the kitchen eyeing everything warily. Initially the one thing that freaked her out was the washing machine but even that only fazed her for a while. She has been a dream, no accidents, knows when to leave Eddie alone and is always so excited to see her. She is still a little timid when doing or going somewhere new for the first time but is really becoming a lovely dog who gets lots of comments and fuss when out and about.
Having Annie has definitely taken the edge off grieving for Stella, we couldn’t imagine life without her and Eddie has decided we are going to adopt her!
I would recommend fostering to anyone especially if you are uncertain whether you are ready to commit to a full time greyhound, they truly are the most wonderful dogs and if needed we would always foster again.
Liz  x