Friday 6 July will mark 20 years since Greyhound Program Adoption Manager Larissa Darragh joined the program.
When Darragh started out GAP had been in existence for two years and re-homed 109 greyhounds. Today the initiative has adopted more than 8,500 greyhounds into the homes of loving Victorian families.
These days it’s rare for Australians to stay so long in their job, however, Larissa derives enormous satisfaction every day working at GAP’s property in Seymour.
“It’s all the tiny moments that happen every day that help me maintain my passion for the role, such as seeing the joy on an adoptee’s face when they first meet their new greyhound or seeing a participant cry because he loves his dog so much and finds it hard to give him up to us,” she said.
“I also get plenty of hugs from our office dog Dave the Greyhound and it’s so rewarding when you hear stories of a greyhound we’ve adopted out is blossoming in their new home.”
(L-R) Larissa Darragh and Alan Clayton.
(L-R) Alan Clayton, Larissa Darragh, and Gavin Goble.
We caught up with Larissa for a Q&A to discuss her time at GAP over the past 20 years.
Q. What inspired you to want to work at GAP in the very beginning?
I had seen a segment on Burke’s Backyard about GAP and greyhounds, and I contacted (then Coordinator) Melanie Tochner and signed up as a foster carer. Soon after my first foster dog, Beljay Nicky arrived and I was hooked. When GRV decided to bring GAP inhouse and advertised for a Coordinator, I stuck up my hand, and here I am, 20 years later!
Q. The GAP program has gone from strength to strength over the years. What are your most memorable moments in that time?
There have been so many! Bringing dog number 1000 into the Program, a white and fawn boy called Merlin, was pretty exciting. And I was lucky enough to meet my husband (Nick) through GAP too. He raced greyhounds and wanted to help us out as a volunteer.
Q. More than 8,500 greyhounds have been adopted since you started at GAP. That must make you extremely proud?
I am very proud of what we have achieved here at GAP, but I’m also very aware that I’m just a small part of a big picture and we couldn’t do what we do without the participants, the volunteers, the staff, incredible support from my manager (Sean Stanton), and the dogs.
Q. You spend so much time around greyhounds. What do you love most about them?
Not only do I see so many greyhounds here at work each day, but I have them at home too! For me, they are the ideal pet. I love greyhounds because they are very easy to manage, low energy, and they look so elegant.
Q. The program is continually growing. Where do you see GAP in the future?
My dream is that GAP continues to grow. Oh, and I’d love to have another dun (chocolate-coloured) dog enter the program! Of the 8.500 plus dogs we’ve had, only two have been dun. If you’re reading this and you have a dun greyhound, please send him to us!