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New research published today by the Retired Greyhound Trust (RGT) and coach operator, Greyhound UK, proves that Britain is a nation of animal lovers. But despite this the charity revealed figures which show more than 1,000 greyhound dogs need loving new homes.

Former European and Commonwealth 400m Champion Iwan Thomas joined forces with Greyhound UK and its new charity partner, the RGT, to help home retired greyhounds.

According to the survey, 77% of pet owners think of their pet as an additional member of the family. More than a quarter (29%) of pet owners think referring to themselves as ‘Mummy’ and ‘Daddy’ when talking to their pets is acceptable, while 32% said that including their pet in a family photo is acceptable.

From snuggling up on the sofa (60% of pet owners said that allowing a pet on the family couch is acceptable), to settling down for a night’s sleep (36% said it’s acceptable to allow their pet on their bed), Britain’s pets seem to enjoy a pampered lifestyle. And more than a quarter (27%) of owners admitted that it was acceptable to take their pet on holiday.

Almost a quarter (24%) of pet owners said it’s acceptable to hold a funeral or burial ceremony for their pet, while one in seven (13%) said that planning to leave provisions in their will for their pet is acceptable.

The survey was jointly commissioned by the RGT and Greyhound UK, the luxury, low cost coach operator. Greyhound UK has partnered with the charity to raise awareness of the hundreds of greyhound dogs that are without homes in the UK today.

On the bus

Representatives from the two organisations were joined at Wimbledon dog track today by Iwan Thomas. He became the latest celebrity to pledge support for the Retired Greyhound Trust, following fashion icon Twiggy.

Iwan Thomas 2

“I’m a huge dog lover,” said Iwan. “Greyhounds are wonderful dogs so it’s great to see a company of the stature of Greyhound get behind such a worthy charity. I would urge anyone who is considering a dog to think greyhounds – I certainly hope to adopt one in the next few months.”

Iwan Thomas

Ivor Stocker from the Retired Greyhound Trust said: “It’s clear from the survey that Britain is a nation of animal lovers. However, despite greyhounds being incredibly loving and easy to look after (two 20 minute walks per day) we still have so many that need homes.

“I hope that by working with the world’s most famous coach brand, Greyhound UK, we can better support our wonderful network of volunteers and encourage more people to consider providing a home for these beautiful dogs,” he added.

Managing Director of Greyhound UK, Alex Warner, said: “The iconic, sleek, Greyhound logo is one of the most recognised in the world. In the UK, we want to give something back to our four legged friends that have done so much for our business. We are proud to adopt the Retired Greyhound Trust as our official charity partner for 2011.