Greyhound Safety Net Newsletter 10th Anniversary Edition 2016
Happy 10th Birthday to Greyhound Safety Net!
I started with GSN nine years ago when I fostered my first dog, Zac. I had already adopted my first girl, Miss Jenny, from GAP, but felt it was important to support a smaller, independent greyhound rescue group.
If you had told me 9 years ago that my lounge room would become a kennel for four greyhounds, I would have laughed—I had to buy a lounge chair so I had somewhere to sit!
Now, who would have thought that a small group of people could make such a difference to nearly 800 greyhounds this year—all colours, all sizes,
some smarter, most funny, all lazy and fast, young dogs and old brood bitches.
In this issue of ‘Greyt News’ we look back at the beginning of GSN and celebrate ten big years. We celebrate all those wonderful greyhounds saved, mourn the thousands we could not, and thank all those people of good will who have made the mission of GSN a possibility—to you we raise a glass and give our warmest gratitude.
Best wishes, Audra Audra Kunciunas
Reminder: Let's Spring out of Winter! GSN BBQ lunch and a fun get together 12pm Saturday 17th September
Fully-fenced area for off-leash fun for hounds Fundraiser raffle & doggy goods for sale
Greyt Competitions: Best Dressed Dog, Blackest Dog, Longest Nose, Longest Tail, Best Trick, & more...
Large under-cover area for all-weather fun.
Fundraising entry fee:$15 adults, $7.50 children. We would also appreciate any contributions of food, either salads or desserts.
Address:Southern Obedience Dog Club
56 Soden Road, Bangholme
(Corner of Springvale Road & Frankston Freeway, entrance via Soden Road, off Springvale Road just north of the beginning of the Frankston Freeway.)
Please RSVP Now 12th September firstname.lastname@example.org if you are able to join us, and if you are able to help out with food. Could you also advise of any special dietary requirements.
P.S. We need more help on the day—helping in the kitchen, with drinks etc—get involved and have more fun! email@example.com
Greyhounds need your help Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show September 2016
GSN has once again been given a chance to promote greyhounds as wonderful pets. We would like to have at least six dogs appear on each of the three days - September 25, 26, and 27. It doesn’t matter which rescue group the dogs have been adopted through, the only criteria is that they need to be relaxed about being admired by the public—not hard things for greyhounds to do.
GSN: The story of how it all began
The people involved with GSN have, for the most part, changed over the years, but the dedication and love for the breed continues.
We’ve had our struggles, our good times and not so good: we’ve pulled out our hair out over the bank balance, disagreed with each other, wrestled with egos, despaired over too few foster carers and too many dog ‘bounces’, have been frustrated with bureaucracy, and, not least, shed tears over
the lives of all those dogs we couldn’t save.
How many of us have fostered greyhounds, each time weeping a little after dropping them off to their new homes? Each time telling ourselves that by letting go of this dog, we were giving another greyhound the chance to find its ‘forever home’.
We have also had our lives enriched by this beautiful, friendly, affectionate, sometimes quirky, breed of dog.
The first group of people who began GSN in 2006 started something special.
The original group included the now longest serving GSN member Julie Mathieson, together with Annie and Spiros Karamoutzos, Cherie and Larry Cromwell, Sharon and Doug Lovell, and Jenny and Don Graham.
Since then a number of people have comeand many left—but each person has brought with them a passion for the breed and the belief that greyhounds deserve so much better than they usually get. Collectively, all these people have made something happen which, perhaps, the original founders would never have dared to dream GSN could achieve.
Julie has dedicated a decade of hard work, with heartache at times, completely turning over her life—and Russell’s—to saving these wonderful dogs.
The one person from this original group who has stayed on and become the lynchpin of GSN is Julie Mathieson.
The rest of us concern ourselves with raising enough money to pay the vet bills, finding enough volunteers for the next publicity event, deciding on committee matters, promoting the joys of owning a greyhound and so on, but we also worry what GSN would do if Julie—with her husband Russell’s patient support—ever decided to pack up her bags and move on with her otherwise very full life. We have no idea!
Now Julie was been adamant that the celebrations not be all about her,and, of course, they aren't—"It's all about the dogs". We celebrate the greyhounds we have saved, the ones sadly we couldn’t save, the love for greyhounds we’ve shared, and the trail we’ve blazed for other rescue groups.
Even though just one person could never achieve all that GSN has accomplished, we have to acknowledge that GSN could never have imagined let alone come close to the 800 dog mark without Julie.
And, yes, thejob of saving greyhounds is enormous. Currently, only a small percentage of dogs make it passed their racing career—and that includes the dogs saved by the racing industry’s adoption groups around the country.
So, you can’t rehome them all, and Julie has to make the heartbreaking decisions about which greyhounds come into our program. She has to juggle which ones to take in and which ones to let go, knowing they could die, or end up somewhere worse—for example, being exported to Macau for racing.
Julie has had to cope with all sorts of situations. Firstly, dealing withtrainers who often call wanting GSN to pick up greyhounds "passed their use-by-date" or they will be put down within days; some of these greyhounds are in poor condition, some injured, or simply traumatised by their treatment.
Julie also manages the foster carers and adopters, and makes matches that bring joy and love into four-legged and two-legged lives. She also has to deal with people who don’t want black dogs, people who expect dogs to be perfect, the 'tyre kickers' and commitment-shy.
Most of us don’t fully realise or understand the sacrifices Julie has made. She does a tremendous job that is more than full-time, she has other important responsibilities, and she does her GSN work all on a voluntary basis. We salute you and we thank you, Julie.
In the beginning Julie had met racing greyhounds in the 1970s when they were never considered as pets. She always thought they looked gorgeous and started to fall in love with them. Fortunately, the word started spreading in the late 1980s and early 1990s, about how good they were as pets.
She and her husband, Russell, decided to adopt their first greyhound as a companion to their beloved Dalmatian, Chloe. They met their first greyhound, Sally (a stunning blue brindle), at a GAP event at Dandenong Showgrounds—where we had our 10th birthday celebrations—and instantly fell in love with her.
Julie started to do some rescuing and rehoming by herself, and then some people she had met through GAP gathered around her, e.g.: Sharon took a boy with pannus (Rex) that GAP wouldn’t adopt out; Annie fostered Phoebe for Julie and decided no-one would want her (Phoebe was an unusually cranky greyhound) so decided to keep her. Annie and Julie had meet at the car park temperament assessments originally run by GAP. Julie was friends with Larry and Cherie, who already had quite a few greyhounds.
Someone within that loose group—acknowledging what Julie was doing—suggested they do this properly and form an actual rescue group. Annie came up with thename, based on GSN being a safety net for dogs that wouldn’t make it through GAP, and Cherie designed the GSN logo that we know so well today.
GSN gives thanks Organisations Many thanks to Sandown Vet Clinic—who have been with us from the beginning.
We greatly appreciate Abba boarding kennels—who give us a heavily discounted rate to give our dogs time to recover from surgery.
We also want to thank all those other organisations that have given us discounts, donated flea and worm treatment, offered professional advice, run workshops, given sponsorships or made significant donations.
Individuals We also want to recognise Bob Baldock (who used to take our dogs through vet work until he became
Stella and Ian (and Stella’s former husband, Peter, who co-shares the property). Stella allows us to keep some dogs on the program when we don’t have enough foster carers available.
Our heartfelt thanks go out to all the many Volunteers, Committee Members, and Donors of money and professional services who have supported GSN over this last decade.
GSN’s First Test Dog: Jack
Finally, having acknowledged all the two-legged contributors to GSN, we’d like to make a very special mention of a champion four-legged contributor to GSN’s achievements. Jack—the Jack Russell terrier—was adopted by Julie and Russell many years ago, expecting lots of love, time with his family and frolics in the fields and streets as he explored his new territory.
Being Julie’s dog, Jack got all of that—and so much more.Jack was drafted into serviceas the GSN test dog—the one we sent to meet the greyhounds to ensure they were friendly to small dogs.
Jack has tested the vast majority of the 800 greyhounds GSN will have saved during 2016. Jack fronted the shy, the forward and the feisty and never took a backward step. If they were too feisty, Jack gave them a reprimand.
Sadly, as Jack got older and slower, it all became too hard for him and he had to relinquish his role as GSN's test dog. However, we have a worthy successor in Buckley, who carries out the tradition set by Jack.
In recognition of his contribution to GSN, we awarded Jack with the GSN rosette for the first and best GSN test dog, along with a commemorative dog tag.
Sadly Jack is no longer with us. Julie’s stalwart companion for most of GSN’s life is now in doggy heaven. She misses him every day.
Greyhounds need your help—can you lend a helping hand? For a small, independent group, we have achieved a great deal, blazed the trail for other greyhound rescue groups, even influencing the industry’s Victorian adoption program for the better.
Greyhound Safety Net Inc. encourages and promotes greyhound welfare wherever greyhounds need a helping hand.
We raise funds through social events, art auctions, book stalls, garage sales, market stalls, the sale of craft goods that are generously donated to us, calendars and donations of money.
The funds help cover veterinary costs, micro-chipping, kennelling and the foster care of greyhounds in a home environment until a permanent home is found.
Sometimes, when the GSN finances are looking dire, individuals have paid vet fees, and temporary kennelling while we find foster carers to make sure greyhounds are taken into our program.
GSN needs the following: Our foster carers are a vital link in the rescue chain - every greyhound taken into foster care is a dog saved, and every greyhound adopted makes room to save another.
Adoption/Foster Carer Assistants We have been reliant on Julie Mathieson, our Adoption/Foster Carer Coordinator, for the important work out in the field. But this can’t go on and we need new people to step up to the plate at the frontline of what we do. So, could we encourage you to think about how you can help.
Maybe that means stepping up yourself or helping us find others to do so.
Please contact Julie on 0431 747 130
Foster Carers GSN desperately needs more foster carers, especially those without cats. We can only take in greyhounds where we have a foster carer for them. Without volunteers for this vital role, GSN is powerless to rescue greyhounds.
Please contact Julie on 0431 747 130
Cat Testing Program—Coordinator needed We have many offers to foster or adopt cat safe greyhounds, but no official testing protocol. GSN needs someone to help develop and coordinate our program to test GSN’s foster dogs for cat friendliness We want our dogs to have the best chance at rehoming and this is a vital part of our adoption program.
Please contact Linda on 0417 233 869
Commissioned Portraits Master Artist Wendy Jane Sheppard Consider a beautiful portrait painted or drawn by award winning artist Wendy Jane Sheppard with 15% of the sale donated to Greyhound Safety Net.
Wendy Jane and her husband, Syd, adopted greyhound brother's Buddy and Leo from GSN, and wish to support GSN to help find more forever homes for retired greyhounds.
Wendy-Jane has over 30 years professional experience completing commissioned artworks resulting in many happy clients in Australia and overseas—a spectacular portrait treasured forever. Commissioning a portrait is easy with many options available.
A selection of Wendy-Jane's portraits can be viewed on her Face Book page ‘Portraits: Animals & People’ by Wendy Jane Sheppard Master Artist or on her website www.wendyjanesheppard.com
Dog Rescue Association of Victoria (DRAV) Greyhound Safety Net is a member of the Dog Rescue Association of Victoria (DRAV), the peak body for dog rescue groups in Victoria.
DRAV’s policies for rescue groups include
Rescuing and rehoming animals from Victorian pounds;
Protecting and maintaining the rules of DRAV to maintain a high standing in the community;
Lobbying as necessary to improve the standing of members of DRAV within the community and government;
Promoting responsible pet ownership, educating, encouraging and working together with the community as a whole to embrace a caring and responsible attitude towards animal welfare;
Supporting a network of animal rescue groups, foster carers and volunteers.
Other supporters of DRAV are Beagle Rescue Victoria, New Beginnings Animal Rescue, Oscar's Law, Pug Rescue & Adoption Victoria and Victorian Dog Rescue & Resource Group.
Unfortunately, like all of us rescue groups resourced entirely by volunteers, DRAV struggles to resource its separate goals and activities. But as the oldest and largest private charitable greyhound rescue group in Victoria, Greyhound Safety Net does think it is highly desirable for rescue groups to hold themselves to the highest standards, and joining together with other rescue groups under the umbrella of DRAV helps us to develop and work to those high standards.
T: 0431 747 130
Greyhound Safety Net Inc
PO Box 400
DOVETON VIC 3177 www.greyhoundsafetynet.org
Articles in this newsletter are contributions from members and non members and views expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Greyhound Safety Net Group Inc. or the committee and office bearers.