Barden Ridge local, Heather Robertson, adopted two dogs from Greyhound Rescue and says they can change your life for the better.
She first came into contact with greyhounds while working at an animal shelter.
“What struck me about them was despite what they’d been through, they still had such wonderful natures. I adopted two so they had company and watched their interactions until they became firm friends. It didn’t take long.”
Basic training is often needed for rescue greyhounds, many of which haven’t been a pet before. Heather said it took a little time for her two greyhounds Bluey (12) and Skye (9) to feel at home.
“I had to remember not leave things lying around. Greys quite often like to ‘collect’ things. Both love their squeaky toys. They’re eager to please, so learn pretty quickly. They’ve proven to be the most wonderful companions,” said Heather.
She said greyhounds are low maintenance, gentle and make great pets for all ages.
“They are 70-km per hour couch potatoes. They need only a 20 minute walk each day, unlike most other dogs, but will enjoy more. They have no doggie smell, shed little hair and seldom bark,” Heather said.
Because of her love for greyhounds, Heather also became a volunteer. She and her husband arrange greyhound adoptions across the Shire for Greyhound Rescue (GR).
“While it’s mostly done from my desk, once an application arrives we do a home visit. This helps us understand the adopting situation and what the dog will need to handle, such as stairs, flooring, children, other pets and so on. We also answer questions for would-be adopters,” said Heather.
She then talks the GR volunteers to find a suitable ‘doggie’ match. Once the volunteers and Heather have a short list, the next step is a ‘meet and greet’, plus a deposit from the adopter – greyhoundrescue.com.au/category/dogs-available
“Each greyhound costs $385 and comes with a helpful starter pack. Once a dog is on trial, I follow up to see how things are going. If people want advice, I can help. Also, GR has senior volunteers and a kennel manager who provide info,” said Heather.
She then adds the new owners to the Shire’s greyhound owners’ group Hobbit Hounds –www.facebook.com/groups/310095642481456 – and invites them to two walk locations.
“It’s most rewarding when the dogs find the loving homes they so deserve. Quite a few families join us for walks, so I see them having a great time. To have played a small part in this is just wonderful,” said Heather.
She and her husband also handle fostering across the Shire. This introduces ex-racers to life as a pet and is also a ‘try before you buy’ option for people who aren’t sure about adopting.
Nat Panzarino, GR chair, said the charity will pay for necessary vet bills while a dog is in foster.
“Carers cover food, shelter, as well as flea and worm treatments. We’ll also supply a muzzle, coat, collar and lead,” said Nat.
“How long a hound stays depends on how many adoption applications we get, but carers should be prepared to keep a dog for at least six months.”
She said people don’t need to worry about what dog they’ll get: “We match each household with a greyhound that will thrive there.”
Nat said foster carers are required to meet and greet potential adopters when the time comes.
“They can always adopt, but carers tell us it’s great to see their foster dog go to its forever home. If they decide to adopt, our greyhounds are desexed, micro-chipped and vaccinated.”
People who are interested in adopting, fostering or volunteering at GR’s kennels near Camden should complete a form available on GR’s website – www.greyhoundrescue.com.au
Photo Credit: Soniam Photography – Heather Robertson with Skye (left) & Joey (black dog on right)