Hersham Hounds – A Lucky life – beyond the track

jackie-380

Hersham Hounds

A Lucky life – beyond the track

All of the greyhounds who become Hersham Hounds are lucky greyhounds.  These are the greyhounds who will be loved and cared for until they are matched with the right people for them, the people who will take them home and make them a part of their family.  And if they don’t find the right people, then they will be cared for and loved for as long as they need it.

Piper

Pipe-150rI live with a lucky greyhound – Piper is a Hersham Hound.  Like many racing greyhounds, Piper was born and bred in Ireland.  She ran a few races and even won a couple.  Then, at just two years old, she was lucky and she was injured – not badly enough to be destroyed but enough to interrupt her racing career.  Again she was lucky.  At a sale, she caught the eye of a racing trainer who felt sorry for this pretty young greyhound – knowing that if she wasn’t sold, Piper would face a very uncertain future.  So Piper ended up at racing kennels in Hersham.  She never became fit enough to race again. Instead, she was very lucky and handed over to the rehoming charity based in the kennels just next door –  Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare – and became a Hersham Hound looking for her ‘forever’ home.  And that was when I got lucky because I met her and fell in love with her and she came to live with me.  So now, as well as being a regular volunteer, occasional worker and trustee of the charity, I’m also a greyhound owner.

Rosie

rosie-150Rosie is another lucky Hersham Hound.  During her three-year racing career, she ran 67 races. She retired in 2008, just one of around 8,000 greyhounds who retire from racing every year.  When her trainer closed his kennels, Rosie wasn’t on the list of greyhounds destined to become Hersham Hounds but, somehow, this lucky girl found her way into the van and ended up here.  And she’s been here ever since.  Now 13 years old, Rosie is the oldest resident in Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare’s kennels.  Her strong chase instinct and generally roguish ways have meant she’s never found the right people to adopt her.  Luckily for her, Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare don’t ever destroy dogs just because they have behavioural problems or are old.  So lucky Rosie has found her forever home as a Hersham Hound. She gets the very best care from the team at the kennels and regular walks from volunteer walkers.  She’s been to the beach many times and has even had the occasional weekend away in a holiday cottage with me and her friend, Piper.

The Inbetweeners

The team at Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare is hoping there will be another 40 lucky greyhounds in our kennels before the end of the year.  We are calling these our ‘inbetweeners’ and they are all ex-racing greyhounds from Wimbledon Stadium.  These are not the high profile dogs that will still be racing when the stadium closes this year but rather the forgotten greyhounds who have been at their trainers’ kennels since retiring – stuck somewhere in between racing and finding space with a rehoming charity.  We are determined to find space for all of these greyhounds, to bring them in to our kennels, make sure they have any medical care they need immediately and, ultimately, to find them all a home.  So far, we have 15 ‘inbetweeners’ safely in our kennels.

Jackie is one of our lucky inbetweeners.  She’s an eight-year old who was left in the care of her trainer after she retired and her syndicate of owners fell apart.  She was lucky enough to be kept safe by her trainer and cared for until she was able to find a place with us a couple of months ago.  She can be a little reserved when she first meets people but overcomes her shyness when she gets to know them.  We think she will blossom into a wonderful family pet when she finds the lucky people who adopt her.

The cost of welfare

All of the greyhounds who become Hersham Hounds are lucky greyhounds.  These are the greyhounds who will be loved and cared for until they are matched with the right people for them, the people who will take them home and make them a part of their family.  And if they don’t find the right people, then they will be cared for and loved for as long as they need it.

Of course, all of this takes money and time.  It costs us about £2000 per year to look after each greyhound – and we can have over 80 of them at any one point.  Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare is not funded by the racing industry but instead relies on generous supporters and willing volunteers for income and to help us to walk and socialise our greyhounds, fundraise and work with us to help promote greyhounds as a family pet.  It is also an uphill struggle trying to maintain our kennels in a decent condition.

fundraising

With volunteer help, we repaint the kennels every year and sometimes think it is only the paint that is holding them together!  We rent our kennels at the moment and ideally we would like to have our own property that we can properly invest in and provide a secure future for our greyhounds.  We recognise that finding the right place will not be easy but we are hoping that this is one area where we will be the lucky ones!

Hounds in Hersham

We hope we will be able to stay in or close to Hersham.  Hersham has a long history of greyhound racing and there have been kennels in Turners Lane since the 1930s.  We are proud to be a part of this history – we have been here for 16 years – and really appreciate the support we get from the local community in the form of volunteer walkers, donations including dog food, towels and duvets and fundraising activity.  In return, we like to get involved in community activities from giving talks to the local Rainbows to helping to protect the green belt around Turners Lane.

We feel that our annual Christmas Blessing of our greyhounds on the village green has already become a tradition and our summer open day is a great opportunity for local people to meet our greyhounds and find out a bit more about what we do.

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As I’m sat writing this, Piper is flopped out asleep next to me.  She doesn’t realise how lucky she is and she’s certainly not going to thank me for ‘rescuing’ her.  But I feel lucky to have her and thankful that I have been able to help her and other greyhounds to find a new life beyond the track.  Whether as an owner, regular or occasional support I can definitely recommend getting at least one greyhound in your life.

Helen Baldwin

Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare

Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare is based in Turners Lane, Hersham. 

We are open to the public nearly every day between 11am and 2pm. 

For more information, please visit our website www.hershamhounds.org.uk or give us a call on 01932 224918

You can also visit our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Wimbledongreyhoundwelfare/

 

 

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