How the boy who didn’t have a dog became a top trainer

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There were no pets in Paul Stuart’s home as a kid but he always wanted a dog.

Now he always has at least a dozen as a leading greyhound breeder, trainer and owner.

At 16, Paul got his chance to spend time with animals through the work experience program at school.

“I used to watch a bit of greyhound racing so that’s what I chose for work experience and I was sent to John Tonkin, who had a few dogs in his back yard,” Paul said.

“When it was over, I just kept going back and helping out wherever he needed.”

On graduating from school a couple of years later, Paul gained his trainer’s licence at 18 and got a few greyhounds of his own to keep in the back yard while working part time in the family shop.

Before long, he moved to Sydney, committing to a full-time life with animals and four years’ learning about his chosen career with leading trainer Paul Wheeler.

When he moved back to Perth he brought two greyhounds with him, Winsome Bluebird and Pedrosa.

“One of the dogs closest to my heart was Pedrosa. I bought him as a three-month-old pup and he started me off as a trainer,” Paul said.

“He ended up being a WA Greyhound of the Year winner and he set me up in my career. He made me look good.”

As for Winsome Bluebird, she became the matriarch of the pack and mother to Paul’s most famous greyhound Miata, who won a place in the WA Hall of Fame, the title of WA Greyhound of the Year in 2012 and National Greyhound of the Year twice.

These days Paul’s three-year-old daughter Audrey does the rounds of the kennels with him, collecting feed bowls and playing with the dogs.

“She loves the dogs and she’s always around them. They react very well to her,” he said.

“I’m a fan of letting the greyhounds out together to play and socialise. They are a pack animal and thrive on being like a family. It helps when they transition to being a pet.

“A greyhound’s dream life is running, sleeping and hanging out together.

“I fell in love with the animal but the racing side is also fun.

“I’m always looking for perfection, whether it’s in a racing dog or a better pup – and the beauty of it is there’s no such thing.

“You never know what you’re going to get but improvement is always possible.”

Susan de Ruyter