By Conor Kane
An Irish greyhound has forsaken a sporting career in favour of one of contemplation after being adopted by a priest in an Austrian monastery.
Formerly Ballinveala Dudu, who has been given the monastic name Dudu by his new "colleagues", the greyhound was rehomed in September by the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust to Germany and has since been adopted by a priest in the small town of Bregenz in western Austria.
Dudu was based in Limerick but was unraced and IRGT trustee Brigid Frank, from Loughrea in Co Galway, was a key player in his rehoming.
His new home was secured by Greyhoundhilfe, a German agency with a long-established partnership with the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust.
Welfare officer with the Irish Greyhound Board and secretary to the IRGT, Barry Coleman, said the trust has partnerships with rehoming agencies throughout Europe and Irish greyhounds are proving particularly popular as pets in Germany.
"It is excellent to see Dudu, and hundreds of others like him, finding loving homes and having a happy and healthy retirement," he said.
"Greyhounds make for excellent pets and have an uncanny ability to transition to the family couch with ease. They are best known as couch potatoes, needing very little exercise or special diet.
"With greater public awareness we can ensure these prized athletes get the retirement they deserve and equally bring happiness to many people’s lives.”
The IRGT has helped to rehome over 5,300 racing greyhounds since 2008, with 853 rehomed between January and October of this year. The Irish Greyhound Board contributed over €100,000 to the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust in 2017.
The main source of funding for the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust continues to come from greyhound racing owners, through a 2% deduction of all winning prize money which is then matched by the Irish Greyhound Board.
A further 132 greyhounds are on the IRGT’s rehoming list with 60 of these to be rehomed between now and the end of the year. These greyhounds will be rehomed as pets in homes in Ireland, the UK, Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic and Belgium.