Okay, so here’s the situation. You’ve just read an article or seen some statistics about the greyhound racing industry that has really upset you or royally pissed you off. It’s all very well to be outraged and emotional on behalf of the dogs – that’s how you know you’re a human being with a heart and conscience – but what do you actually do? How can you take action and help the hounds?
Take a look at any greyhound rescue group’s website and you’ll see a long list of dogs waiting for their forever home. You can also be sure that there is another long list of ex-race dogs waiting to go to the rescue group once their resources are freed up enough to take on more dogs. So if you’ve been looking for a companion and you adore big dogs with big hearts, why not consider a greyhound?
Maybe you can’t commit to a dog of your own right now, or maybe you’ve adopted so many already that another furkid is just not feasible. Why not try fostering? Every extra foster carer is an extra dog (or two!) saved. Greyhound rescue groups are always in need of reliable foster mums or dads who can shelter a hound while they find a family of their own. Most groups will pay for food, bedding, collars, leads, vet care and so on, so all you need to supply is time, effort and love.
What if your circumstances don’t allow you to take a dog in, permanently or otherwise? Don’t let that stop you! Contact your local greyhound rescue and ask them if they could use any of your special skills: photography, graphic design, copywriting, accounting, dog training, printing, etc. There’s usually always something that needs doing, whether it’s as humble as making coats and collars for a fundraiser or driving the dogs to their vet appointments, or even helping them redesign their website and keeping their Facebook and Instagram up to date.
Perhaps you don’t have the time to volunteer. Perhaps you have work or family commitments that keep you busy pretty much 24/7. Please consider making a donation. Rescuing dogs costs money: fixing a leg broken on the track costs thousands of dollars, and de-sexing, microchipping, worming and vaccinating cumulatively cost hundreds of dollars. (By contrast, the average adoption fee for a greyhound is around $350.) Most greyhound rescues are also registered charities, so you can claim your donation back on tax.
Not everyone is in the enviable position of being able to make a donation out of their own pocket, and that’s okay. Try running your own mini fundraiser within your circle of friends, family and colleagues instead. This could be anything from asking people to sponsor you to run a marathon or complete a 100km walk, to requesting donations to your chosen charity instead of gifts for your birthday or Christmas.
- Speak Up
Always remember your power as a voter, a buyer and a member of the community. Don’t forget that public outrage was the cause for many changes in the industry in 2015! Email your local MP or state racing minister and ask them to consider banning greyhound racing. Tell them you will only vote for political parties whose policy is to shut down the greyhound racing industry. Contact companies that sponsor greyhound racing and let them know why you will no longer be supporting them. Write to the media, call in to radio talk shows, send in submissions when industry inquiries are held, or blog or tweet about greyhounds. (Remember to be polite and factual.) You have a voice – use it to say NO to greyhound racing.
- Turn Up
From time to time you’ll notice greyhound advocates coming together to organise events. These events may be protests against greyhound racing like the Feb 7 Shut It Down national rally, large group walks to promote greyhounds as companions and increase public awareness of the breed, or fundraising events like garage sales and sausage sizzles. Be there to show your support of the greyhounds and get to know some like-minded people. You’ll probably make friends and you’ll definitely get to cuddle lots of happy hounds.
- Get Out (and About)
Sometimes helping the greyhounds really is as simple as just getting out of the house. Your happy, healthy greyhound is the best ambassador we could ask for. Take your furkid out for breakfast or coffee at your nearest dog-friendly café, bring him or her along for trips to the pet shop for treats, and talk to people about greyhounds when you’re out walking together and they are struck by your dog’s incredible good looks. Every bit of awareness helps!
- Get Social
Leverage your network by connecting with greyhound rescue or advocacy groups on social media. Subscribe to newsletters, Like their pages or channels, share news and petitions, comment on posts or threads that interest you, Like pictures that catch your eye – every bit of engagement counts. (Literally. Using Facebook as an example, the more interaction a post has through likes, comments and shares, the more people it will reach through newsfeeds. So don’t think that hitting the Like button doesn’t do anything, it actually does help!)
- Don’t Bet On It
Last but not least, do nothing that harms the hounds. As Anthony Douglas Williams said, “Not everyone is in a position to help other animals, but everyone is in the position not to harm them.” If you gamble, make sure you bet on something that doesn’t involve animal cruelty. Every dollar that is wagered on a greyhound race legitimises this so-called sport, whether by increasing the industry’s revenue or just sending a message to others that gambling on greyhounds is socially acceptable. If your friends or colleagues are keen to have a night at the dogs, try to convince them not to go and don’t attend if they go ahead.
Now that you’ve got some ideas on how you can help the greyhounds, have a look at this list to find your local rescue group:
Animal Rehoming Cairns and Tablelands District (all-breed rehoming charity with a greyhound branch)
Southern Cross Greyhound Adoptions – https://www.facebook.com/southerncrossgreyhoundadoptions/?ref=bookmarks&hc_location=ufi&__mref=message_bubble
Good luck! And thank you for helping the hounds.