Catriona Ni Dhuill

‘Eating with the Enemy’ a positive experience for Catriona

Last Wednesday week, we saw Mullingar greyhound trainer Catriona Ni Dhuill come face to face with animal rights activist Amanda Large on Virgin Media’s Eating with the Enemy.

Catriona says the show, for which two strangers with opposing opinions sit down over a meal, was a largely positive experience for her.

"I have to say it was a brilliant being on the show, something different that you wouldn’t be doing in your everyday life. And I’ve had a great response to it."

A social media clip showing Catriona’s poem about her dog Tiny has notched up some 700 views.

While Catriona admits the conversation between her and Amanda did become "very heated at times", it was interesting to hear another person’s viewpoint.

"A lot of the heavy stuff about greyhounds was edited out, but what animal rights activists don’t realise is that there’s a big difference between animal rights and animal welfare. We’re all for animal welfare," Catriona told the Westmeath Examiner.

In fact, Catriona has for years been involved in the welfare end of greyhound racing, and is currently promoting the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust’s (IRGT) Foster to Adopt Scheme, adding that "there’s tremendous work being done behind the scenes".

In the end, the pair managed to bond over their shared love of dogs, and Catriona says her and Amanda have messaged since the show.

Catriona's dog Tiny.

She said people should take care to make sure the animal rights groups they might consider supporting do, in fact, use funds raised for animal welfare. "Pity stories of course will tug at your heartstrings," she warned.

"What people don’t realise is that greyhounds are the only breed of dogs in Ireland that have their own government legislation. We get, as all owners do, unannounced kennel inspections from the greyhound authorities," Catriona said.

"There’s a 20-point checklist to make sure they’re in good condition, so any cowboys that are in the industry will be hunted out, and unfortunately, there’s always a few bad eggs in all walks of life."

Catriona owns 15 dogs, all of which are blood donors for sick dogs.

"That means they’re seen by a vet every three months, and a blood count is taken," Catriona said.

IRGT Irish Greyhound Trust

Catriona says the IRGT’s Foster to Adopt Scheme is great for anyone looking to foster or adopt a dog. "There’s no adoption fee, plus the IRGT does a home check. Every dog is neutered, microchipped, and comes with a pet passport. They each have seven-in-one yearly injection, which means they’re vaccinated against kennel cough and rabies, they’re also wormed and de-flead so you don’t have any expense for a long time.

"Last year they re-homed nearly 2,000 dogs, and this year with the pandemic everyone is adopting, which is great too."

Catriona has re-homed her racing greyhounds all over the world, and has been to visit some of them in their new homes in Belgium and Milan.

"I’d be lost without my own little dog ‘Tiny’. A home isn’t a home without a dog," she said.