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Lessons from a greyhound

Therapy Dog Hayley Gillard EcotherapistYou may have seen from my photos over the last few weeks that we have a new puppy in our lives! Mo is a whippet and the newest addition to my pack! I have to give my husband Ross a public shout out here, as Mo was a surprise Christmas gift for me, and all girls dream of surprise puppies don’t they! The husband did good!

You may also know Bryn. Bryn is our retired greyhound and the therapy dog I use during my animal assisted therapy sessions with clients. I want to tell you a bit more about him. Two years ago I wrote a blog about lessons I’ve learnt from Bryn, and I think it’s time we revisited it.


The information below refers to my experiences 2 years ago, and underneath that you’ll see my updates now that Bryn has Mo the whippet in his life!


Meet Bryn. Bryn is our big, beautiful, quirky, soft and totally chilled out greyhound.  He came into the Gillard household about 3 years ago after we had been to visit a greyhound rescue centre in Birmingham (we used to live there). He has a lot to teach us!

We only went to the rescue centre to ask some questions, to take the dogs for a walk round the block and to see if taking on the responsibility of owning a dog was for us. Within 10 minutes of getting there we had already paid a donation for Bryn and booked in for a home-check so that the Greyhound Trust could come and see if our home was suitable. Obviously! It was never really going to be any other way I don’t think, being such an animal lover!

Bryn was the first greyhound we clapped eyes on. He was in his cage, fast asleep on a big rug, flat out on his back with all four paws in the air! He really made us laugh and we immediately fell in love with his chilled out, care-free and relaxed attitude.

We knew Greyhounds were a chilled out breed but when we got Bryn home and settled we realised just how much. And now lovely friends, comes the lessons!

Bryn is an ex-racer, we got him after he’d ‘retired’. He spent the first four years of his life racing. Living life fast paced at break-neck speed, always aiming for wins and having a go go go attitude. Always chasing his dream (the rabbit)! See any similarities between that and how you live your life? I sure do. Sometimes my brain doesn’t stop whirring all day until I get in to bed at night. That is not good for me. I know that but I still do it. Sometimes I’m so obsessed with achieving all the things on my to-do list that I hardly have time to realise I’ve eaten my lunch. That isn’t good for me either. Are you the same? Always trying to achieve your goals and forgetting to stop and look after yourself?

Over these last few weeks I’ve really been learning a lot of lessons. There are so many similarities between Bryn’s early life and my hectic moments.  But I want to try and learn from him. I don’t want to be stressed out any more.

He’s learnt to relax, chill out and get good rest. I’m taking some lessons from my greyhound.

This weekend my beloved Bryn has spent at least 80% of his time fast asleep on a sofa! Most of his sleep has been on his back – he looks gloriously chilled out, content and care-free.

Here’s some photos:

  Bryn Therapy Dog Hayley Gillard Ecotherapist

The rest of the time he has eaten super healthily (we feed him a raw food complete diet) and been for walks in the local country park where he can run around care-free to his heart’s content. Clearly, it is not practical for me to sleep this much, I do want to work, socialize and have a clean house too. It’s the increased amount of rest, healthy living and big-doses of nature that I want to adopt. I want to live more like my greyhound!

In the weeks when I have got the balance right, it means that when I’m working, socialising or doing chores I can do them with a refreshed mind, a rested body and a can-do attitude rather than the self-inflicted sluggish feeling that sometimes hangs over me.

I want to be more like Bryn!


2018 – an update!

What a difference Mo has made to all our lives!

Mo is excitable, energetic and has a true go-get attitude! He is so enthusiastic about life.

So, as well as lessons from a greyhound, there’s also lessons from a whippet.

Enjoy life!

Live it to the full!

Make plans!

Get excited!

Dream big!


ITherapy Dog Hayley Gillard Ecotherapistt’s been really fascinating watching Bryn react to having a new puppy in the house!


Bryn’s new lessons for me have been about resilience, staying calm under pressure (!), practicing being patient, learning to be tolerant and allowing things that can be potentially stressful (like having a puppy demand your attention all day!), just sweep over him and do not affect his calmness.





Pets are amazing for our wellbeing, but perhaps your pets can teach you some lessons too?

Let me know in the comments if you have a pet that can teach you a thing or two!


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3 Responsesso far.

  1. Julie says:

    Perfect Hayley! I’m the same with my pup, Murray, he’s my lifesaver x

  2. Debra says:

    Aw I love this post. Beautiful photos of gorgeous doggies.

  3. Jools says:

    My 2 dalmations are high energy, high maintainence but also high loving beauties. Elsa is deaf and is such a beautiful soul although she can be naut=ghty at times but has fur like satin so is very therapeutic to stroke which makes the stress of the day just melt away. Pepper is her brother and is highly strung but also loves to be cuddled and stroked especially in the evening. No matter what has happened or whatever moofd I have left the house in the morning they are always SOOOO excited to see me when I get back home (even 10 minutes later they carry on like they haven’t seen me for weeks). I always get a ovely welcome home and would be lost without them. Pepper is extra special as he began acting very oddly towards me in January 2014, nudging me on my left side and just starung at me lots. February I went for a regular Mammogram and they found I had breast cancer, so he was obviously trying to tell me something was wrong bless his little heart.

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