By Phil Weir
There wasn’t a party this year, or a community day with a cast of thousands, but the 24th anniversary of the founding of Victoria’s Greyhound Adoption Program was still a significant milestone for the welfare of former racing greyhounds.
In 1996, two veterinary nurses from Sandown, Mel Tochner and Anita Smith, saw the need to find retirement homes for the dogs they cared for at the track.
From these humble beginnings, one of the world’s most successful greyhound adoption programs was born. GAP now regularly finds homes for more than 1000 greyhounds every year.
Mel and Anita realised that most racing dogs retire at around four or five years of age; probably only a third of their life.
The continued success is the tangible result of Greyhound Racing Victoria’s welfare priority; that racing dogs are promised a happy retirement.
Apart from the successful promotion of the greyhound as a pet, particularly suitable for urban living, the program has been the catalyst for a whole community of like-minded greyhound owners who have formed walking groups and social media assemblies where many new friends have been made. The sheer volume of images of greyhounds in silly poses that adorn the internet is staggering; not to mention wildly funny…
The secret is out. The greyhound is now on ‘next pet’ lists throughout Australia, thanks to their beautiful nature and the work of people like Mel, Anita and the hundreds of volunteers and staff members who have dedicated themselves to the breed.
Here’s to GAP. 24 years young, more to come.