CPA and business consultant Michael Eberand’s love of Greyhounds started 30 years ago. “That doggo lived to a ripe old age with us as a pet.”

Like other greyhound owners, Michael beams when speaking about his love for his dogs. His first, Ebby Miss, is buried on his property under a memorial rose bush.

A pup of Ebby Miss was champion greyhound Ebby Ripper who Michael explained won many champion races. “Our best memories are with her, traveled Australia with mates who owned her with us and she took on and beat the best,” he said proudly.

He believes greyhounds are better looked after than any other breed of dog. “Greyhounds make great pets, and the majority of people start out because they have a love of their dogs.

“People I know deeply care about their dogs who are looked after carefully from birth, and socialized as they grow.”

Like many other owners, his dogs live in his house and tend to take over! “Once the weather hits 26 degrees they are in air conditioning. They are fed the best and no care is spared at any time to have them looking and feeling their best,” he said.

Not all his greys race. “We have a greyhound with us among many who never raced due to bent foot and he’s the best pet ever.” Outside of the sport, few people are aware of how strict the regulations are around greyhounds and how spoiled they are.

Michael believes greyhound racing can be a shining light for all animal industries internationally and said they are better protected than other domestic dogs.

“There are over a million domestic dogs in greater Sydney alone* and there isn’t a lot of focus on how dogs are treated generally. Everyone who has a greyhound as a pet will see how well cared for these dogs are and how the vast majority of them make great pets, not despite their care growing up and during racing, but because of it. “And you get to race your pet doggo. How good is that?”

What about the ice cream?

Michael is also famous within the sport as the originator of the ‘GREYT ice cream challenge!’

“Greyhounds love ice cream, and I had promised to help a group who rehomed a greyhound for us, so I came up with the idea of an ice cream challenge to raise funds for them.”

With the competition – streamed on Facebook – between his dog and another champion, the event after a race meeting was a great success, raising around $3000 for the rehoming group.

“People also got to see the real gentle side of two very competitive top class race dogs.”

He said as well as the enjoyment factor, greyhound racing generates many jobs and economic benefits across the country.

“We are fortunate to have a lot of money being invested in safeguarding integrity and welfare. There’s a great opportunity for Australian greyhound racing to be a world leader in looking after animals and I think in general it’s on the way.”

(* According to an Animal Medicines Australia report on pet ownership in 2016, dog ownership was at 38 per cent of households in NSW, or 20 dogs per 100 people. This equates to a dog population of more than a million across the Greater Sydney region. A 2019 update puts this at an even higher number)