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April 2020 is Adopt A Greyhound Month

Greyhound Rescue is all systems go for April is ‘Adopt-a-Greyhound Month’ despite COVID-19, but like everywhere else is using safe practices and some new arrangements.

GR's kennel capacity is 33 dogs, with another 26 in foster care. Right now the volunteer-run rescue is still taking in Greyhounds, rehabilitating them for rehoming, plus placing them in foster homes and permanent homes.

GR’s adoption fee for April is $385 and includes vaccination, microchipping, plus all hounds are flea, worm and heartworm tested and treated. This fee also includes a New Adopter Kit with a collar, leash, muzzle and loads of other goodies.

“Meanwhile, we're taking all recommended measures to protect our staff and volunteer workforce from COVID-19. We're practising social distancing and limiting the number of people on the property at any one time," said Nat Panzarino, President, Greyhound Rescue.
"We have an emergency contingency plan in case we're unable to have volunteers travel to the kennels. We've also secured an ongoing food supply for the dogs. GR are lucky enough to work with SavourLife, as well as Raw and Fresh in order to provide high quality food for our kennel dogs."

With more people at home due to COVID-19, GR is receiving far more foster and adoption applications than usual, but it's encouraging people to think through their decision carefully before applying.

"It's great to get this support, but applicants should keep in mind that adoption's for lifeWhen this is all over, shelters such as GR won't be able to suddenly take in all the dogs that have been put in to foster placements, so if you're keen to be a foster carer, be aware that you may still have the dog when the time comes for you to return to work," said Nat.

"Please consider whether things will still be viable if you were working your usual hours. That said, a period of time when you're home to settle your new dog in is great! So if you were thinking of adopting, then now may well be the time to do it."

She said that for April is ‘Adopt-a-Greyhound Month’ this year, the volunteers would love to find 'furever' homes for Bjorn and Sasha, two long term houndies who've been with GR since 2018. Both are three-year olds.

"Bjorn, a gorgeous blue boy who was so anxious arrived in early March 2018. He needs a home in a quiet neighbourhood with a yard where he can stretch his legs. He’s happy to be home alone during the day and is being fostered with another greyhound. It's really heart-warming to read in his online profile what his foster carers say about how he's blossomed," said Nat.

Sasha had a broken leg and has been doing physio exercises with GR's kennel manager as part of her rehabilitation: "While Sasha doesn't need further leg care, she should have no off-lead runs in large spaces for a few more months and even after this period, should not be 'zooming' too often."

April is Adopt-a-Greyhound Month: Team Volunteering

(From left ) volunteers Tracy Donadel and April Morley, with Paula Oberosler and greyhound Prancer
As we once again celebrate ‘Adopt-a-Greyhound Month’, Greyhound Rescue (GR) decided to give us an inside peak at how its volunteer adoption team creates so many ‘happy endings’.

Full-time workers April Morley and Paula Oberosler had never met each other until they began volunteering with Greyhound Rescue (GR). Now this special twosome is a digital team that works together each week finding homes in Sydney, Canberra and the Illawarra for hundreds of ex-racing Greyhounds.

April said they each get an equal share of the adoption applications, regardless of location, then they ask other GR volunteers who live in various parts of Sydney to do a home visit.

"These visits are important because seeing the household - whether a unit, house, villa or town house - helps us ensure a great match. We can also answer any questions people may have. If we have a greyhound of our own, we often take it with us," she said.

Volunteer April Morley holding foster greyhound Cheeky
and partner vollie Andrew Garrick
The GR adoption team do their best to find the right dog for the right home.

"People don't have to worry about the kind of greyhound they'll get. We carefully consider the applicant and their lifestyle, then match the dogs up accordingly. It takes a while, but it means the dogs end up in loving homes and new adopters feel supported by us," said April.

She first got involved with GR when the state government announced they were going to ban greyhound racing: "I wanted to adopt to help make sure they all got homes.” 

April chose to support GR as opposed to other rescue groups because it's a no-kill shelter and predominantly run by volunteers. She’d encourage anyone to get involved. 

April currently has a foster girl greyhound called Cheeky which needs a permanent home. 

Volunteer Matt Randall driving greyhound Sev to an appointment
“Do it! The volunteers at GR are the nicest people I have ever met. I always have a great time when I volunteer and the greyhounds are lovable, lazy and gorgeous,” she said.

Long term volunteer Paula Oberosler, the other half of the adoption duo, said they take pride in being so successful with GR’s adoptions. “The amount of time, effort and thought that goes into every aspect of this volunteer work is reflected in how many happy dogs they're able to place in their 'furever' homes,” she said.
She said once a dog is officially with their new family doesn't mean the 'job' is over.

Sarah Thomas with greyhound Reg
and two whippets
“New adopters always have questions and the occasional issue, so we are always on hand to assist them as best as possible," Paula said.

She thinks anyone who is thinking about volunteering should just do it. In fact, three extra ‘vollies’ - as the volunteers call themselves - have just been added to the team to help with the 10 to 20 adoption applications which are always in play - Sarah Thomas, Matt Randall and Michelle and Peter Williams (lead photo with greyhound Gatsby). 

"Do it! Do it now!! It’s absolutely life changing for the better, no matter where and what you’re doing. 

The goodwill you receive from making a positive change is so rewarding,” said Paula.

“You also make many 'greyt' friends at GR. Right now, they really need more kennel volunteers on week days. Morning shifts in summer are 8-11am, while the afternoons are 2-5pm, seven days a week. Winter shifts are 9am-noon and 3-6pm.”

The charity’s rented kennels are near Camden. This is where volunteer Tracy Donadel, who was part of the adoption team for a long time, is now taking a break from that and doing kennel shifts instead. Learn more about kennel volunteering in the video below:


Tracy also works full-time. She started volunteering with GR in 2015 when a friend asked her if she wanted to join him and a few other mates to walk some dogs.

"Heck yes was my answer! A few weeks later I found myself out at the kennels again. I was asked if I wanted to make it a regular thing. I said no, but my mind kept wandering to thoughts of the gorgeous greys over the next week and the rest is history," she said.

Tracy 'resisted' adopting her own greyhound for a couple of years due to her social and work life, until she fostered Elton in 2017. Fostering a greyhound in your home helps it learn about being a pet while it waits for a permanent home.

"Eventually it became clear to me that there was no way I was letting him go so I made it official. We’ve been inseparable ever since. A true bonded pair," she said.

Occasionally a pair of hounds will arrive together at the kennels and are clearly close. Greyhound Rescue makes a big effort to home these pairs together. It can take a while.

"Not every household can take two dogs, but because GR is a no-kill rescue the time is available for the adoption team to find a perfect fit," she said.

Tracy said there are many challenges - the financial strains an independent rescue has, the constant search for a secure property to call home and when dogs arrive at the kennels that aren't in good condition, but she has keen supporters.

"Everyone in my life supports the time I give GR. Some of my friends and family have also become contributors. They join me at events, or volunteer at the kennels, or support fundraising efforts," she said.

"My mother is currently supplying what feels like half of the Sydney greyhound population with knitted beanies!"

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