Portsmouth-based Rosie Tungatt plans to make it big in greyhound racing

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Her last holiday was in 2014 and days off are non-existent for Portsmouth-based greyhound trainer Rosie Tungatt, who is dreaming of success both on and off the track.

After turning her back on previous careers as a model, carer and a flight attendant, the 26-year-old is now one of the UK’s youngest professional greyhound trainers with capacity to work with up to 35 dogs.

Rosie’s enthusiasm for the sport dates to her childhood where she was a regular racegoer at the now closed Portsmouth Stadium. The Tipner venue closed its doors in 2010 before its demolition two years later – ending 80 years of greyhound racing on the island.

Despite greyhound racing’s 13-year absence locally, Rosie’s enthusiasm for the sport has never been greater. Her former globetrotting lifestyle could not be further from the 365-day commitment required to be a professional trainer – and she doesn’t regret her decision for one moment.

“I’m totally hooked,” said Rosie. “From the moment I wake the dogs up for their breakfast until they go to sleep at night, they never fail to put a smile on my face.

“The buzz when they’re on track doing what they love is incomparable to anything else – I’m just as proud when we land an A8 winner to a greyhound competing at the highest level.

“I loved my previous jobs. But this is the lifestyle for me. My dogs are my life from 6am until 10pm everyday and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

With no greyhound racing venues in Hampshire, Rosie now races her dogs at the newly opened Oxford Stadium.

In addition to training her racing greyhounds, Rosie also cares for several retired greyhounds who no longer race competitively. It comes amid the introduction of several key schemes launched by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), the sport’s governing body.

They include the Greyhound Retirement Scheme, Injury Recovery Scheme and its fresh welfare strategy ‘A Good Life for Every Greyhound’.

Combined, the schemes have resulted in record rehoming rates (94%) while injury and fatality statistics (1.23% and 0.03%) have dropped to all-time lows.

“People always stop me to ask if my greyhounds are rescued, and each time I explain there is no such thing as a rescue greyhound – they’re retired,” said Rosie. “I’ve read the horror stories of the past, and thankfully the sport has made significant strides regarding welfare and rehoming.

“The regulation and support in place now is what makes me comfortable earning a living from the sport. If I need new air conditioning units to keep my facilities cool in the summer, I can get help.

“Financial support is provided to treat injured greyhounds too and every dog is attached to a £400 bond before it takes to the track to assist with rehoming costs when its career ends.

“The sport as we know it today is completely different to even five years ago.”

While Rosie hopes her training career can go from strength to strength, she also plans to inspire a new generation of supporters off it.

She regularly opens her kennels to new visitors and has extended an invitation to anyone who wishes to interact with dogs but cannot commit to owning one full-time. It comes after a major survey by Statista revealed 87% of dog owners in the UK said owning a pet made them mentally healthier.

“It’s been proven interacting with dogs helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression,” said Rosie. “Owning a dog is a big commitment and not everyone is able to welcome a four-legged friend into their home due to financial pressures or existing commitments.

“There is always an open door at our kennels for people of all ages to meet the dogs, help with walking, feeding, grooming and more.

“We set the highest welfare standards and the more greyhound racing can do to educate how loved and cared for these magnificent dogs are the better.”

If you’d like to request a visit to Rosie’s kennels, please contact her directly via rosietungatt96@gmail.com.

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