Ever wondered what happens to racing dogs or greyhounds when they retire? The lucky ones are adopted by loving carers. Jess Jones caught up with one dedicated volunteer and greyhound parent.
Imagine having a job that involved scooping poop… and doing it for free… and enjoying it.
That’s how much Shelley Tinworth loves volunteering with Sydney charity Greyhound Rescue.
Tinworth was recently named volunteer of the month, which is no wonder given how much she loves greyhounds—and they love her right back. She says arriving at the kennels makes her feel like a celebrity.
“You feel like an absolute celebrity with an adoring fan base.
“The love you get from them is incomparable. Even the crappy jobs—and yes, I do mean poop-scooping—are rewarding because you’re doing it for them.”
But it’s not all dirty work. A day at the kennel sees Tinworth feeding and exercising the dogs, as well as heading out to do house checks before adopted greyhounds go to their new homes.
As well as volunteering at the kennel for the last three years, Tinworth and her wife Belinda Evernden have adopted their own beautiful four-year-old greyhound, Piper.
“Like the champagne, not as in Orange is the New Black,” quips Tinworth.
Piper is a former racing dog, whose prior owner wanted her put down after she didn’t place in her first race.
“That’s quite common, and no secret,” says Tinworth.
Luckily for Piper, the vet instead contacted Greyhound Rescue, and she found a new home with Tinworth and Evernden in Newtown.
These days, Piper volunteers as well, going along with the couple for pre-adoption house checks to make sure that all the couches are soft enough.
Tinworth says that greyhounds make wonderful pets because they are “loyal, loving, and goofy”.
Greyhound Rescue holds plenty of events where people can get up close and personal with the dogs.
“We hold meet and greets so the public can meet greys, give them a pat, and find out how great they are as pets,” says Tinworth.
Greyhounds are unlike many other dogs—they are low-maintenance, with no ‘doggy’ smell, and don’t shed much hair. They often get along well with other pets.
For people who might want to adopt but aren’t sure about committing just yet, fostering is also an option.
The biggest challenge Greyhound Rescue faces is a shortage of volunteers. As well as new homes for the dogs, the organisation always needs people to help with shifts at the kennel.
“Greyhound Rescue is a no-kill shelter,” says Tinworth.
“It needs volunteers to survive and receives no funding from government or industry. Everyone who volunteers is there purely for the love of greyhounds.”
Tinworth’s advice to anyone thinking of getting involved as a volunteer is simple: “Just do it.”
To make a donation or register your interest in volunteering, fostering or adopting with Greyhound Rescue in Sydney, check out: www.greyhoundrescue.com.au.