March 17 marks the 27th anniversary of the founding of Victoria’s Greyhound Adoption Program, which is a significant milestone for the welfare of former racing greyhounds, and probably the most successful greyhound re-homing service in the world.
In 1997, two veterinary nurses from Sandown Park, Mel Tochner and Anita Smith, saw the need to find retirement homes for the dogs they cared for at the track.
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.
From these humble beginnings, the world’s most successful greyhound adoption program was born. GAP now regularly finds homes for up to 1000 greyhounds every year and assists other adoption agencies reach double that figure.
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 may 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 and regularly appears on ‘most popular’ breed lists, 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. 27 years young, many more happy retirements to come.
Greyhounds are My Life: Mel Tochner and Anita Smith