Professional Rugby league player Ryan Papenhuyzen (pictured above right), National Rugby League’s fastest full-back and a record setter for his club in Melbourne, has joined forces with the Greyhound Adoption Program and Greyhound Racing Victoria to become a welfare ambassador.
His role will incorporate promoting the whole of life welfare of greyhounds, from racing to rehoming, pup to pet.
Ryan has a background with greyhounds and is passionate about promoting their path to retirement. Ryan’s first racing dog was Gary’s Gift, and he’s currently involved with the National Greyhound Draft as part of Team Britton with an interest in two dogs, Kiss Me Kate and Absolute Ruby.
In what could be seen as the ultimate compliment, Ryan’s also has a superstar racing greyhound named after him – Papi Go Fast.
It’s not all about the racing for Ryan though.
“I think what I’m really passionate about is that fact that they’re awesome athletes that run some really fast times but they’re also really chilled pets,” Ryan said.
“If they can find a good home at the end of their career that’s something I really want to push.”
“I’m excited to team up with GRV as this is something I’ve always had an interest in, and it will be a great way to contribute to the industry. I think what has really developed nicely over the past few years has been the welfare aspect of the industry.”
“The fact that greys actually have such a great temperament makes them an even better pet. To see so many walked around our local dog park is great, and to see them have a chance of a racing career and then be rehomed afterwards is something I feel really strongly about.”
GRV Chair Peita Duncan welcomed Ryan to the team.
“Ryan has a genuine passion for greyhound racing and the greyhound breed, and he has a huge profile being one of the up-and-coming stars of the NRL,” Ms Duncan said.
“We look forward to working closely with Ryan to promote the responsible ownership of racing greyhounds, and to help create greater awareness about opportunities to foster and adopt retired racers.”
Ryan’s record in the NRL is super impressive. He was named Rookie of the Year in 2019. In the challenging year that was 2020, his Melbourne club won the grand final, and for Ryan, the Clive Churchill Medal as man-of-the-match.
Earlier in 2021 he again began the season as full back and designated goal kicker to replace the legendary Cameron Smith, and in round four scored four tries in 11 minutes, putting him in second place for the most points scored in a game.