Be the voice for Greyhounds
A Fresh Start for Greyhounds in Tasmania
There is an old proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child ” and that’s the inspiration for this story because it takes a whole community of dog lovers to help ex-racing Greyhounds find a fresh start in a new family home.
So we are taking you behind the scenes for a sneak peak into what’s involved with rehoming ex-racing greyhounds after they retire from the track.
Bred and trained to chase, these dogs have generally never spent time in a family home. Sofas, glass doors, lawn mowers, stairs, hairdryers, and other breeds of dog are all new things they need to learn to cope with and adjust too.
When a Greyhound is surrendered to us, our “village” of foster carers, volunteers, pet parents and staff begin the process of helping them adjust. It involves a lot of love, care, patience and attention.
Where does a Greyhound's Fresh Start … start?
Greyhound trainers and breeders across the state contact the Dogs’ Homes for assistance with rehoming their greyhounds. This is either when the dog is retiring after racing or if they have been trained to race but did not make the track.
We are fortunate that our four Homes across Tasmania are available for intake of ex-racing Greyhounds. But making sure we have the resources and room within our care networks and Homes is important too.
When these Greyhounds arrive, they have access to the same initial support, vet care, health checks and behaviour assessment as every other dog that arrives at our Homes.
Once they have completed their initial assessment, we generally transport our Greyhounds to our Hobart Home.
Our largest network of trained volunteers and foster carers are based in Hobart.
Then it takes a “Village” of Dog Lovers
This is where our Greyhounds are placed into a home environment. Here they can be nurtured, supported and introduced to lots of different sights, sounds and surfaces.
It must be a strange place don’t you think, after life spent generally in a kennel and on a track. It’s the best place they can be though.
It’s a continuous process of support, assessment and feedback to our Behaviour Trainer and Foster Care Co-ordinator in Hobart.
We generally need foster care support for a minimum of two weeks. Sometimes it is longer depending on how well the Greyhound goes adjusting to their new home environment.
Our Dog Walking Volunteers
In between foster stays and foster care day outings, our trained dog walking volunteers are lending a hand to support our Greyhounds.
Our volunteers ensure these Greyhounds are given plenty of exercise and chances to chill.
They are also helping socialise them and teaching them to walk with calmly and confidently on a lead and harnesses calmly. After all it’s not a race anymore.
And of course, it is back to that continuous loop of feedback and support between our Behaviour Trainer and Foster Care Co-ordinator.
Our Ambassadog in Training – Sir Tater Tot
Some of you may know Sir Tater from our Xmas Appeal. He has taken a leaf out of Ambassdog Norm’s book and is also pawing it forward. He gives us a helping hand with our Greyhounds too.
Tater is the perfect mix of a calm and playful dog. Helping Greyhounds to learn that little dogs must be respected but can also be great dogs to hang out with as well.
Most Greyhounds have only met other Greyhounds, so Tater loves to help them learn that dogs come in all shapes and sizes.
He’s the type of dog that does not find it stressful. He loves to meet our greys and go for walks with them and our volunteers.
Our Dogs' Homes Staff
Vet care staff, our Behaviour Trainer, our Foster Care and Volunteer Co-ordinators are constantly involved helping to guide and advise our care networks as well as directly supporting our Greyhounds themselves.
It’s a continuous loop of feedback and assessment between everyone involved. Thankfully the Dogs’ Home have good systems in place to capture valuable feedback/advice and act on it.
From the time these Greyhounds have arrived at one of our Homes to the moment are they placed up for adoption, 6 weeks has often flown by.
The Day of Unmuzzling - Hint: It’s NOT just a Day
In May 2021 the Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania was accredited by the Office of Racing Integrity as part of their Greyhound Unmuzzling Program in Tasmania.
This means we are authorised to assess each ex-racing Greyhound that comes into our Homes for their suitability to be unmuzzled, whilst in public.
All the information, feedback and observations from our care networks plus the professional observations and of our Behaviour Trainer contribute to this assessment and decision.
It’s important to remember though…
Unmuzzling does not mean Greyhounds can also be “lead free”. All greyhounds that have been unmuzzled are still required to be on a lead whilst out in public and that lead must be no longer than 2 metres.
That’s why our adoption process is so rigorous. Our Expression of Interest adoption process helps us to better understand your home environment and helps each Greyhound find their perfect match.
Greyhound Adoption Day
Greyhounds make awesome pets. They are goofy, gentle, playful dogs who often make great couch potatoes.
But choosing a specific type of dog to match your lifestyle, family and home environment is sometimes important too. Like all dogs, every Greyhound has a unique personality – there are calm and chilled greys, active and playful greys.
So, familiarise yourself with what being a Greyhound pet parent means. Decide on the type of dog that will suit your lifestyle, and remember that just like many other breeds, rescue Greyhounds sometimes need a little extra attention and understanding.