Kindred Tales | Iona and Elbee | Greyts
Greyts was created by communications student Iona Sheppard to help raise awareness around ex-racing greyhounds and how many of these beautiful dogs are currently looking for their forever homes. The book shares the success stories of 10 lucky dogs that eventually found loving homes despite their rocky beginnings.
We chatted to Iona about Greyts and how the project has evolved along with how her love for dogs began with family dog Elbee
Can you tell us about your book Greyts?
Greyts is a book telling the success stories of 10 greyhounds that were lucky enough to find loving homes after a rather rocky start in life on the racing tracks. In the book you’ll learn about the history of the ‘sport’ and what happens to the pups that aren’t so lucky. I used my photographic and editorial design skills to bring everything together in a hand-bound book with one goal; to get at least one beautiful greyhound adopted! All they want is to be loved and why shouldn’t they be. While working on the project I got to know so many amazing gentle dogs with heart-warming stories to tell as well as their owners who have created a supportive greyhound community. I got to join the monthly walks in York with a group of almost 200 greyhounds and other sighthounds, it felt powerful to be walking alongside so many rescued dogs who were lucky enough to feel loved by their families.
What inspired you to highlight the stories of ex-racing greyhounds?
Going into the project I didn’t really know all that much about greyhounds or the industry. The idea first came to mind when I was driving up to Leeds for a university interview and spotted a billboard advertising one of the rescue centres nearby. A couple of months later after having secured a spot on the Visual Communications course I was looking for ideas for my next big project when suddenly the greyhounds came to mind! I thought why not work on a book about one of my biggest passions, dogs!
Tell us about your family dog Elbee and how she came into your life?
After years of begging my parents, and my 12 year old self creating poster presentations of what breeds I wanted and how well I would take care of them they finally gave in! We did a lot of research into which breed would suit our family lifestyle best and found the Tibetan Terrier! They seemed to be the perfect medium size dog plus they’re anti-allergenic and don’t shed, all the boxes were ticked.
Next of course came choosing a name! As she was born with the pedigree year of an ‘L’ we wanted to call her L’ile Blanche translated from French meaning ‘The White Island’ however both of those are quite a mouth full leading to us shortening it to LB and then a the slightly cuter Elbee. As all puppies she was a bit of a handful at first but now at the grand old age of 9 she’s beginning to calm down, however she still goes a little nuts after a bath and at around 9pm every evening.
Where’s your favourite place to for a dog walk with Elbee?
Unfortunately, due to studying in Leeds and COVID not allowing me to go home to Brussels, I haven’t seen her in a while now. Despite all that it doesn’t stop me from reminiscing about taking her on walks to the local park and watching her make new friends every time, however she’s not so buddy with the squirrels and has a funny hatred towards beagles for some unknown reason.
Do you have any new projects planned for 2021?
Project wise I have the usual branding and packaging designs on the go but right now my biggest wish is to go home and go for a walk with Elbee! However, the later currently not being possible, I will continue to help raise awareness for ex-racing greyhounds that are in need of loving homes. Planting the seed of the ‘adopt don’t shop’ mentality to people, my parents included of course.