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Athlete Rheed McCracken’s greyhound Zyla is the perfect coach

By Emma Blake Daily Telegraph
When he crosses the finish line in Tokyo next weekend another former racer will be on Rheed McCracken’s mind. But she has four legs instead of two wheels.

The Paralympian has been training intensely in Newcastle ahead of the Men’s 100 metre T34 heat on August 29 with his loyal greyhound Zyla as his companion.

“It’s nice to come home from training and put a long session behind you,” McCracken said. “She is always happy to see me, I take her for a walk and the last thing on my mind is thinking about a race. She’s such a good support animal.”

Rheed’s family is in Bundaberg and his girlfriend Ashleigh McConnell, a Paralympian swimmer, has been training in Melbourne so he and Zyla have become very close.

He adopted her from Greyhounds As Pets earlier this year and said they had matched the two of them so well.

“I needed a dog that was good on the leash and didn’t pull a lot and was friendly around other dogs,” he said.

Rheed is so fond of Zyla he is considering adopting another greyhound when he returns from Tokyo.

In the meantime he is focusing on bringing home a gold medal at this, his third Paralympic Games.

Greyhounds as Pets is offering 14-day fostering during lockdown and will deliver dogs to your doorstep.

Photo credit: Chris Pavlich

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