Freya, our sponsor greyhound at the Lincolnshire greyhound shelter, writes a thought provoking piece. Although very literate, you can see that Freya has had some help from one of the shelter’s long-standing supporters and greyhound adopters.
It was some many years ago, so we were told when a young woman of 21 and her friend, Phil, couldn’t stand to see what was happening to our breed anymore…. So they decided to do something about it and take on the racing industry….Now this was not initially to end greyhound racing back then…that was more of a pipe dream. It was to have some kind of welfare for the dogs and something for them after they had finished racing.
Also it was, and still isn’t, about the running in greyhound racing – it’s always been about the ‘bends’ on the track that have caused injuries to these dogs that have resulted in many being put to sleep before their time for things that could have been sorted, had owners wanted to spend money and time. But unlike whippet racing, which is more of a fun day with no bends and not a gambling night, these dogs were being put at serious risk. This young lady and her partner Phil had to do something. They could not stand back and watch this happening.
And so it began. A life of total devastation, heartbreak, reward, fights, her life being threatened, starving herself to feed her beloved greyhounds. But did any of this put her off? NO! She was our mum – our saving grace – and although a very talented lady in many other ways, who could have made her fortune in so many other walks of life had only one focus! A vocation. GREYHOUND RESCUE. She was known as the ‘original Greyhound Lady’ or ‘Mrs Greyhound’ as the years went on.
The thing is, as years have gone by, that is what happened…. A face without a name. Don’t get me wrong, Mrs Greyhound is very respected in the rescue world but it suddenly became apparent to us, she has no name anymore…. Even the Argos delivery guys call her Mrs Greyhound!
Of course, she and Phil struggled to fundraise but knew they had to do what it took to help this, at that time especially, most abused breed along with the beagle. Well, they did what they had to do, taking dogs in the most horrendous state you have ever seen…They did race nights at the track back then as that is what they had to do in those days. They also believed and she still does that to save us, it is better to have the trainers and owners on side than against. BUT that comes with the years of experience of knowing them.
For those who do not think things have moved forward in the fight against the racing industry, they have…. It’s still not enough? Agreed… We still need to stop the abuse, drugging, overbreeding and all the other terrible things this wonderful breed suffers…. But one thing has been noted over the years… For every battle won…another begins… So are we winning the End of Racing? Maybe we are? Yes? And is that a good thing? We would like to say Yes…That is why we started this fight, right?
But then the next battle begins… Exporting to Spain, Pakistan & China. You see the breeders still want their money… As do the owners…. Do not blame the trainers only… It is no longer black & white. Spain is a very cruel country for abuse! Pakistan too! China… They boil them alive and use them for meat, and also use their skins!
So… Are we winning? These are questions she constantly asks herself. Are we just fearing greyhound racing going underground now as we once were when they bring an end to racing? OR, is there now an even bigger problem?
Yes the majority of people want greyhound racing to end but what happens next? We all know it needs to be done in a way that means we are not placing them in further danger. We don’t want an influx of hundreds of thousands of dogs having to be destroyed either because it ended suddenly. Or are we not as bad? Innocents being destroyed, dumped, exported? All these things that need saying and thinking about…
We are on the same side but I have loved my breed and to watch what could happen to my friends is devastating to my and all of us who are so lucky to have come into rescue or to have found a forever home. It frightens me that until we get a stop on export, we still have an enormous worry on our hands.
Karen and Phil set out on this journey to save these dogs from a devastating fate at the time. Unfortunately, Phil left this world far too soon, he passed away young leaving Karen faced with continuing the journey alone without her pal. She has done this with a quiet respect throughout the rescue world.
Phil and Karen stared this rescue all those years ago. Sadly Phil is not here to see what Karen has achieved but we all know that he is watching over her and the dogs as it was a vocation to him as much as Karen. Phil was a big part of Karen’s life and a big part of the beginning of this story. Though Karen thinks of him often and quietly, he will always remain a big part of Greyhound Rescue, Lincolnshire.
Karen would never let these dogs down. It is a vocation to her. Karen would let NO animal down and take no glory in any of it. She is a very kind person with the biggest heart you would ever know. She has gone without food herself over the years to feed her rescue dogs. Everything this lady has and everything she has been for them. Nobody has looked into our eyes and seen our souls more than her.
She’s a thinker… She has fought trainers, owners & racing industry in her time and anyone that has every hurt an animal to be fair! She has done many TV documentaries, with people like Donal MacIntyre etc. but nothing frightens her more than what could happen next, with live export, because until this is totally banned and stopped full stop, and there is a controlled plan to end greyhound racing totally, then think about this. Please plan our future before you are part of our deaths.
She will always put her neck on the line for us. Because she is ‘Mrs Greyhound’. We could not have survived without the love she has shown us. We do not want to go for meat and be boiled alive, or exported to a worse life, nor do we want to be dumped or sent underground. She did not give up her entire life to let us go to a worse place. If this were the case…..It will be the end for Karen Schultz, our mum, but to the world….known just as ‘Mrs Greyhound’ – she has no identity anymore.
We thank our mum,
We need her.
Thank you from all of us for all your support over the years.
We at Greyhound Rescue would like to thank Greyhound Compassion for the continued support of donation food and financial support again over the last year. We always appreciate your help and look forward to your visits.
Karen Schultz – Chairperson
We timed our visit at the end of February to coincide with the deluge of abandoned galgos at the end of the hare coursing season – a time when Protectora y Santuario Scooby has few volunteers and much work. We were not disappointed. There were easily 350 – 400 galgos in the shelter, all had been dumped and rescued as the hunting championships closed in January.
We did the usual feeding and cleaning duties to help the small Scooby team.
Our visit not only coincided with an influx of galgos but also with the arrival of about 15 Dutch vets and vet nurses, all led by Patty and Judith who provide pro bono veterinary care to the Scooby dogs for one week each year. This meant we had to keep a constant flow of dogs going into the on-site clinic so that Patty and Judith’s team could spay and castrate as many dogs as possible. On their first day of the 7 day visit, they operated on 37 dogs. At this rate, they would handle about 250 dogs, no mean feat and very welcome!
Even though every volunteer trip is rewarding, they are never without adversity or heartache and shortly after arriving we faced sadness. As we took the bus from the train station into the town centre, we spotted a loose female galgo in a field alongside the road. We took the shelter manager back to the spot as soon as we arrived at the shelter. We observed the galgo from a distance and realised she was going into and out of a ramshackle building on private land. The manager got close to the building and could peer inside. He spotted a male galgo and puppies – they were obviously a family. He could hear other dogs in the building. Yet there was nobody on-site taking care of the dogs. We were powerless on private land but called the police and they said they would check out the situation. After asking around about an hour later, we discovered we had been on the land of a big time, aggressive galguero and were told that if we wanted to live in peace, we should never darken his doorstep again. The poor galgos and other dogs on the premises had to be left in the galguero’s hands. No doubt they will end up at Scooby later, we could only hope and pray that they do not suffer too much in the meantime.
We also heard about another female galgo loose in the surrounding countryside and that a kind lady was feeding her. Still the galgo had to be caught but the Scooby humane dog trap had broken. However, all was not lost because we while were at the shelter we learned with much gratitude that Scooby’s application for new trap from SNIP International had been successful. As we write, it is being shipped to the shelter, so fingers crossed the stray galgo will soon be safe.
To top it all we discovered that the Protectora y Santuario Scooby charity shop which the Scooby team is trying to establish was broken into during the second night of our visit and some cash was stolen from the till. It never rains but it pours!
There were many highlights with so many beautiful dogs and sweet puppies in Scooby’s care. A particular high point was that our trip preceded a transport of about 25 galgos to homes in Belgium, Germany and Holland. It was very heartwarming to see them being prepared for their road trip to loving homes. They were all residing in quarantine and on our last day, the shelter managers were busy finalising the passports and transportation papers.