Back in 2007, Greyhound Adoption Program and Corrections Victoria joined forces to create the Prison Pet Partnership. Essentially what this partnership means is that selected greyhounds are paired with prisoners from Victorian minimum-security prisons – Dhurringile (male) and Tarrengower (female) – to help prepare them for life as a domestic pet.
One person that can attest to the successfulness of the partnership is former Tarrengower prisoner Roberta*. While in prison she fostered numerous dogs over the course of three and a half years, and they brought plenty of enrichment to her life.
“It was awesome. I had a paid job while in there, but the greyhounds I did because I wanted to. I had a bit of time up my sleeve so the dog would come with me everywhere until it had to be returned to GAP. I used to get a lot of the dogs that were a little bit more challenging than the other ones. It was very rewarding at the end seeing the dog leave more relaxed than how it came in.”
The greyhounds were also a hit with all the other prisoners.
“Whenever I would take a dog for a walk the other women would get a buzz out of coming up and patting it. Just having them around was awesome.”
Roberta was released in 2018 and returned home to her daughter and Great Dane x Bull Mastiff called Bob who was ten years old. Unfortunately, Bob died last October after it was discovered his body was riddled with cancer.
Following his death it took a while for Roberta to recover, but after a lot of nagging from her daughter she decided that if they were going to get another dog it was going to be a greyhound after falling in love with the breed while in prison.
On Saturday 16th of May Roberta adopted three-year-old Snoop Dogg (formerly Popeye) and he has already well and truly adapted to his new forever home by claiming her daughters’ bed for himself.
For anyone contemplating adopting a greyhound Roberta offers some insight:
“They’re the easiest dogs really. They rarely have health issues and they are good pets. They can be energetic, but they can also be lazy. They love their pats and you can play with them. They’re pretty perfect really.”
*not her real name.