Dezzie, the former racing greyhound, above with Lee and Lisa Beauchamp, has quickly worked his way into Lisa’s heart — and on to her sofa. *Photo supplied
Dezzie, the former racing greyhound, above with Lee and Lisa Beauchamp, has quickly worked his way into Lisa’s heart — and on to her sofa. *Photo supplied
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It’s time. I’m ready. It has taken me almost a year and a half to get to this point since our beloved American bulldog Sandy died in October 2012. 

I know that pet owners deal with the death of their pets differently. I still miss Sandy to this day and couldn’t think about ‘replacing’ her. 

Until now. I’m finally ready to welcome a new dog into my life, and he arrived from the UK last Thursday.

His name is Dezzie, he’s a retired racing greyhound, two years old, he’s stolen my heart already and he’s very much ‘my darling boy’.

Racer

My husband and I were first introduced to Dezzie in July when he was the kennel mate to our racing greyhound, Princess Jetta, at the Burhill Kennels in Surrey, England. 

At the time, Dezzie was still racing. He was an excellent racer known as Droopy’s Design. Sadly, in September he had to retire due to a minor back leg injury. 

When racing greyhounds retire they either go home to live with their devoted owners, or they are moved into a retirement home. 

Dezzie was owned by the Norah Mac Racing Club, of which we are also members, so our trainer, Norah McEllistrim, very kindly kept Dezzie at her training kennels until January 2014. 

He was then transferred to the Brighton Greyhound Owners Association Trust (BGOA) for Retired Racing Greyhounds in Sussex.

That’s when it was decision time for us. 

We had fallen in love with this sweet-natured brindle boy, and we didn’t want to lose the chance to have him in our life. 

We had to act quickly; however, important questions had to be addressed. 

Were we ready to adopt him? Was it practical to bring him to a new life in Bermuda? We agreed that given his handsome looks and easy-going nature he would be adopted quickly, so decision made, I started my quest.

I phoned Jenny Bunting, trustee of the BGOA, who absolutely dotes on each greyhound in her care. 

I explained who I was and asked if we could adopt Dezzie. Thankfully, he was available; he was mine. A big reserved sign was placed on his details on the BGOA’s website and Facebook page.

Now the pressure was on to find a pet transporter and get some quotes. Where to start? I asked around for referrals which I got from two friends who had imported dogs recently. 

I contacted three companies, the quotes were pretty much the same, maybe $100 difference in total. 

I opted to choose Ladyhaye International Pet Travel Agents because Ian Fairman, pet travel agent, answered all of my emails and offered excellent advice. It also helped that the Ladyhaye offices were located in Surrey too, close to the kennels.

Processing

With Ian on board, and Jenny aware of what she needed to do, they set about organizing the DEFRA certificate, medical certificate, and Import Permit from the Department of Environmental Protection, booked a cargo ticket on British Airways, and built a crate to fit a greyhound. 

You need to be aware that you have a 10 working day window to work with when processing the paperwork and preparing the dog for travel.

I had requested a Thursday travel date on BA, so this would enable me to settle in Dezzie over the weekend, and sure enough Ian met this request.

I also followed the advice of a friend who recommended that I use the services of MiniMax Forwarders to take care of customs clearance in Bermuda. 

This appealed to me as I could see that it would become a headache for me receiving all of the paperwork and then running around to pay the various Customs fees. 

I contacted Tony Binns, air freight manager, and he was wonderfully helpful and reassuring and dealt with everything efficiently.

Let me point out now, it’s not cheap importing a dog to Bermuda from the UK, and the current exchange rate doesn’t work in our favour. Keep in mind the size of the dog. 

A smaller dog will require a small crate and takes up a smaller amount of space in the hold. 

On the other hand, a greyhound needs a big crate! Our total expenditure was in the region of $3,300.

There may be cheaper options via the US but I wanted Dezzie to fly on BA as their reputation for pet transportation is excellent.

Dezzie arrived safely last Thursday. 

Marianne Wilcox, BA manager, personally supervised his crate being unloaded. 

The cargo handlers and customs officers at LF Wade airport were amazing, everyone made a big fuss of Dezzie when we coaxed him out of the crate and on to Bermuda soil.

For the past week he has settled in brilliantly. 

He’s discovered the scents at Shelly Bay Park, rolled in the seaweed along Shelly Bay beach, secured a girlfriend and claimed his place on the sofa. He loves the TV. 

It can be a huge upheaval for these dogs to transition from kennel life to home life; however, he is proving to be relaxed, calm and very lovable.

Greyhounds make wonderful pets and despite their racing past only require a couple of 20-minute walks per day.

After just one week, I can’t imagine life without this gentle giant, I have a new running partner and a new best friend.