Experienced foster carer Aileen Travis was the recipient of the inaugural GRV Welfare Award at the 2015/16 Victorian Greyhound Awards on Friday night.
The GRV Welfare Award recognises outstanding contribution to the welfare of greyhounds, and Aileen certainly fits the criteria having fostered almost 200 greyhounds through her home since 2001, helping them make the transition from professional racing athlete to domestic pet.
Aileen, who lives at Crib Point, has also volunteered countless hours of her time transporting greyhounds, meeting new foster carers and assisting with adoptions for the Greyhound Adoption Program.
“I’ve only kept three of the greyhounds I’ve fostered over the years as I have always thought of them as someone else’s pets. But they’ll always be my foster dog. So I have 200 foster dogs,” a surprised and emotional Aileen said upon receiving the award.
Aileen and husband Dean are renowned for putting their hands up to foster more boisterous greyhounds, leading her to say that “fostering takes a lot of determination and persistence.”
However, Aileen’s connection to the greyhound breed stems back further than her connection with GAP.
“I grew up in Portland where I would see (legendary greyhound trainer) Allan Britton walking his greyhounds,” she recalled.
GRV Deputy Chair Judith Bornstein, who presented the GRV Welfare award to Aileen, described the award as a symbol and a recognition of the role many people contribute to greyhound welfare.
“Welfare isn’t just about breeding and rearing and racing – it’s about rehoming. It’s about the whole of life of greyhounds, and Aileen has played a really, really significant role in ensuring the welfare of greyhounds through their lives,” Judith said.
“Aileen had had nearly 200 greyhounds through her home and that is quite an achievement.”