Hands up who got a rescue pooch in the last 18 months? Dogs have been changing, supporting and comforting us during our COVID lives, but what does it take to change the life of a dog?
Many humans actually suck when it comes to taking care of our ‘best friend’.
Some dogs are often confined in tiny barren pens or kennels, deprived of human companionship and stimulation for up to 23 hours a day. These dogs are often lucky to make it to five years of age, rather than their full life expectancy of 14 years. No, this isn’t another country, this is Australia. A country that prides itself on high standards when it comes to animal welfare.
These animals are greyhounds – the dog that seems to fall outside our community duty of care. Dogs bred for bets, not pets. They’re not in the best ‘friend zone’.
Beautiful and intelligent
One local couple decided that they were going to try to change the life of one dog – Russell and his partner Brenda adopted Stella, a beautiful and intelligent four-year-old ex-racing greyhound.
Russell says they have always owned dogs. ‘When 4 Corners broadcast a show around the greyhound industry my partner and I decided that our next dog needed to be a greyhound.’
Russell and Brenda did their research on the industry and were both appalled. ‘The first reports came out that said 17, 000 greyhounds are killed every year Australia wide – not just the track, but through breeding as well,’ said Russell. ‘That includes 8,000 puppies.’
Hypocrisy in our society
‘One of the things that gets to me is that it exemplifies the hypocrisy in our society’, says Russell. ‘We don’t look after greyhounds because they are a commodity that brings revenue and votes.’
Sadly, most greyhounds breeders see dollars not waggy tails and licky tongues.
After four months with Stella, Brenda and Russell are sold. ‘Greyhounds are sweet – they’re such a Byron dog! They are chilled and they don’t take “shit” laughs Russell.
Stella looks to Russell constantly. She’s gentle and keen for a pat. ‘She has enormous separation anxiety,’ says Russell. ‘A lot of Greyhounds don’t know basic things like walking towards a glass door, they walk into it. Some of them can’t walk up steps. Stella doesn’t know how to get in a car, she has to be picked up and placed in.’
‘When we got Stella she had a dislocated toe. When you read about them, they all have injuries. She is lucky her internals are good because so many have liver damage, kidney damage from the supplements and the dirty tricks of the trade like tying their leg up before a race which numbs the leg.
‘It’s an appalling industry.’
The 3 3 3 rules for rescues
Russell and Brenda have had great success getting Stella used to her new environment. ‘It’s a 3 3 3 thing with them,’ says Russell on bringing a rescue Greyhound into your home.
‘First three days do nothing, then in three weeks take them for short gentle walks, and at three months they start feeling like they are at home – although she has no recall – she will not come back. They don’t know their names. They aren’t given a name that is them.’
Russell and Brenda got Stella through Friends of the Hound, based in Murwillumbah. ‘There is a constant stream who need rehoming. Every day on Friends of the Hound website is info about more that need rehoming.’
Tweed Mega Track for Greyhounds at Chinderah
There are plans for a Tweed Mega Track for Greyhounds at Chinderah and this Sunday on Zoom, Greens candidate Mandy Nolan is hosting a chat with Greens upper house MP and animal activist Abigail Boyd, Tweed councillor Katie Milne, Minjungbal woman and Traditional Owner Rachel Cavanagh and Denis Anderson from the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds.
The hopes are that one day all greyhounds can revert to being best friends, and not loved or sentenced to death depending on the vagaries of gambling.
To join Mandy and the panel at 5pm on Sunday, to register at: Mandy4richmond.com.au.