She might only be 15, but few people are more passionate about finding homes for ex-racing greyhounds than Asha Henriksson.
Having a adopted her first greyhound 18 months ago – a fawn city winner she calls Pedro – she is hooked on the challenge of finding homes for more greyhounds.
As such Asha, who is studying Year 9 in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Windsor, spent a good portion of her September school holidays volunteering at the Greyhound Adoption Program stand at the Royal Melbourne Show.
“I love working here. I get a real buzz about promoting greyhounds because they are the best dogs ever,” Asha said.
The Royal Melbourne Show is traditionally the Greyhound Adoption Program’s most successful promotion of the year due to the large volume of people visit the stand across the 12 days, so many of which will interact with the greyhounds and ask questions about the breed’s suitability as pets.
“I’ve found that around 70 per cent of people that come over just want to give them a pat because they think they’re cute or because they have a connection to greyhounds. And the other 25-30 per cent are actually really keen on learning more about them,” Asha said.
“People generally want to know about their temperament, and things like whether they are suited to living in houses or apartments and how much exercise they need.”
“Most are surprised when we tell them they can live in apartments and that they only need a short walk each day.”
Asha was joined at the GAP stand by her father Lloyd, who is also a massive advocate for greyhounds as pets and her daughter’s involvement in the program.
“She (Asha) would work the full 12 days at the Show if she could,” Lloyd said.
“I’ve been raising her on my own since she was two and I’ve found that her interest in the Greyhound Adoption Program has been a really good thing for her.”
“She’s not a sporty person, so she doesn’t have a hobby such as netball. But she absolutely loves dogs, especially greyhounds, and it’s been great, firstly, to see her so passionate about something and, secondly, for her to have the opportunity to gain experience working at the GAP stand.”
Asha is hopeful that the experience gained from working at the GAP stand will help prepare her for a long term career working with dogs.
“I hope to one day have my own dog walking, minding and grooming business. That would be my dream job,” she said.
Judging by the passion she demonstrated at the Show, it’s hard to imagine her not fulfilling her dream one day.