A cheeky young greyhound named Freddie (pictured) recently became the 200th former race dog to be fostered through Tarrengower women’s prison in Victoria’s north.
Tarrengower is one of two minimum security Victorian prisons – Dhurringile men’s prison is the other – involved in the Prison Pet Partnership, an allegiance between Corrections Victoria and the Greyhound Adoption Program that has stood since 2007.
The partnership sees around 70 greyhounds fostered by inmates each year to help prepare them for life as a family pet by spending time socialising and exercising the dogs, helping them learn new skills such as climbing stairs, and teaching them basic obedience.
Watch: An insight into Tarrengower’s Prison Pet Partnership.
“The fostering process is imperative in ensuring a smooth transition for greyhounds to adapt from life as a professional athlete living in a racing kennel to a family pet living in a home environment,” said Andrew Copley of Greyhound Racing Victoria, which manages the Greyhound Adoption Program.
“There are a number of GAP foster carers in the community, however turnover is always high as fosterers often become attached to the greyhounds they are fostering and end up adopting them themselves, leaving them without any space in the home for further fostering.”
“However, with the Prison Pet Partnership we know that every year around 70 greyhounds will go through the prisons and be adopted out, and this is what makes the partnership so valuable.”
The arrangement is a win-win for all involved, with inmates gaining valuable experience working with animals and finding motivation to exercise by walking the dogs. Further, with their renowned gentle nature, the greyhounds provide inmates with unconditional love, something some of them are experiencing for the first time in their lives.