A SOUTH Lakes couple are celebrating finding homes for more than 500 former racing greyhounds with a brand new animal ambulance.

Jenny and Stuart Stott, who run the Greyhound Trust South Lakes from their home in Witherslack, took delivery of the new ambulance last week.

The Greyhound Trust is a national charity with more than 50 branches and help find homes for more than 4,000 retired racing greyhounds.

“Greyhounds really do make wonderful family pets,” said Ms Stott.

“They are affectionate, loyal and almost always get on very well with children.

“Last year we found homes for 72 dogs from the South Lakes branch.”

The new animal ambulance was funded by grants and funds raised by volunteers, together with help from local businesses.

A grant was provided by Support Adoption for Pets, and Pye Motors of Morecambe supplied the van at a generous discount.

Chris Leadbetter, of Pye Motors, said: “It has been a pleasure to be working with The Greyhound Trust on this project, when given the opportunity to help out we were more than happy to get involved.”

The ambulance is air-conditioned and fitted with compartments for three dogs, together with storage space.

“Our old animal ambulance could be seen travelling into Kendal four or five times a week taking dogs to our vets,” said Mr Stott.

“All dogs are given an examination then spayed or neutered and given any dental treatment that they require before they go to their new homes.”

Veterinary first aid equipment is being installed in the ambulance by Highgate Veterinary Clinic of Kendal.

“I have worked with Jenny and Stuart since they started rehoming greyhounds 14 years ago. I really enjoy giving veterinary care to the greyhounds as they make great patients,” said Liz Dodd, Clinical Director at Highgate Clinic.

“They are also excellent blood donors due to their relaxed nature, and Jenny and Stuart are kind enough to quickly transport donor dogs to our clinic when a blood transfusion is required.

“It is a pleasure to support them by providing and maintaining the first aid kit for their new ambulance.”

The pet greyhound population of the Lake District has been growing steadily since Jenny and Stuart started fostering them in 2004.

“We now have a fantastic support network of volunteers who walk the dogs, organise group walks, raise funds and help to make people aware how rewarding it can be to adopt a greyhound,” said Mr Stott.

Helen Smith, of Grange-over-Sands, who recently adopted a greyhound called Clyde from the couple, said: “Until we met Jenny we had never considered a greyhound but Clyde became part of our family in only a few days.

Jenny spent a lot of time talking to us as a family before she matched us up with Clyde.”