We wrote to Clarissa Baldwin CBE, Chair of the Greyhound Forum, to ask what advice the Forum has been giving track managers in this heatwave when the guidance to pet dog owners has been to take all precautions to avoid heatstroke.
The response from Clarissa Baldwin CBE (Chair of the Greyhound Forum) acknowledged that the hot weather situation in racing is appalling and assured us that the Forum members were pressing for industry reform. The reply indicated that whilst the hot weather posters were sent to all tracks, there are currently no sanctions on tracks that continue to race when welfare of the greyhounds could be compromised. The Forum is asking for some proper scientific research, a Rule added to the Rule Book and then heavy sanctions on those that disregard it.
We responded by questioning why scientific research is needed when the dangers of exercising dogs in hot weather are already well-known. Indeed the RSPCA website has seasonal advice for dog owners. We also wondered why the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), as the regulator, couldn’t act to change or apply a special regulation in these extreme circumstances. All of this was accepted by the Chair and she informed us that talks were being held yesterday.
In parallel with this email correspondence we discovered that the GBGB had issued hot weather advice yesterday (in full below) which included: the track vet’s advice will be respected and racing managers are advised not to hold 6 bend races during the day. In our view this is not good enough for obvious reasons and implies the track vet’s advice is not always respected.
On the other hand the Irish Greyhound Board has suspended all trials and racing between 10am and 7:30pm (full details below) and has deferred key races. Both IGB and GBGB issued a veterinary advice bulletin about caring for racing greyhounds (both are below). Surprisingly the GBGB advice note indicates that some have advocated putting the greyhound in an open chest freezer. Thankfully the vet has rejected this idea warning of a real risk of freezer burns to the feet and any wetted skin.
It’s good that the IGB has taken these welcome steps and we think the GBGB should follow suit. We are surprised the GBGB has not taken adequate steps especially as yesterday was the first day of the GBGB’s new Chairman, formerly CEO of the RSPCA.
Here we are trying to keep our rescued racers cool in afternoon temperatures of 25º, listening to reports of the Saddleworth Moor fire and reading intermittent bulletins about how to keep the elderly, our children and pet dogs comfortable in these record temperatures. We’re following all the advice reminding us that a dog cools only through his tongue and paws; advising us not to exercise our dogs in the heat of the day or on hot surfaces to avoid burned pads or worse, heatstroke. Having read a particularly gruelling report about heatstroke in dogs and in one particular pet dog in our area who sadly died of heatstroke today after his morning exercise, we checked just what the greyhound racing timetable in the UK for today looks like. We wondered if the tracks might have cancelled some race meetings. After all, if pet owners are not supposed to exercise their dogs in extremely high temperatures, surely greyhounds are not racing at 40mph around tracks at 2pm in the afternoon?
No, it’s worse than imagined, racing started at 10:29am today, probably just as the canine victim of heatstroke died in his local surgery, 20 minutes after arriving there from his morning exercise. The screenshots from the online greyhound racing information reveal that greyhound racing is definitely not being cancelled in this extreme heat.
The races commenced today at 10:29 and finish tonight at 22:45, just as we are starting to follow the TV doctors’ advice about keeping cool at night to ensure we sleep well through a hot and sticky slumber. When cross-referencing the race start times during the day with the weather forecast for the track locations, the temperatures range from 18º (with a “feels like” temperature of 20º) to 27º (with a “feels like” temperature of 28º). The evening to nighttime temperatures range from 19º to 23º, and 16º when the 22:45 race starts.
Isn’t this too much? Doesn’t racing in this extremely hot weather contradict all the advice we’re receiving for our pet dogs and their daily exercise?
Having cross-referenced with the weather forecast, we turned to The Greyhound Commitment announced by the The Greyhound Board of Great Britain on 14 March 2018. You can read The Commitment in full here. How does racing in this week’s hot weather gel with these sections of The Greyhound Commitment?
Doesn’t seem very committed, not much fun or enjoyment for the greyhounds racing in 27º.
Still, a former CEO of the RSPCA joins the Greyhound Board of Great Britain next week as its Chairman. Perhaps on Sunday night he’ll watch the long-range weather forecast for his first week in the job and cancel the racing if the hot weather continues.
There are no words to pay tribute to Mary Organ of Dungarvan Rescue but we’re going to try! Mary is a formidable lady with limitless compassion, drive, empathy, courage, tenacity and expertise. Mary rescued so many dogs, German Shepherds, Greyhounds, Lurchers and many, many other mixes and breed types. All of them were needy in the most extreme circumstances.
Mary was always perfectly comfortable about speaking out against the racing industry and perpetrators of cruelty. She managed this admirably without putting any rescue mission or dog in jeopardy. Never scared to convey the truth.
We came to know her personally when she rescued our lovely black lurcher, Spirit, who was saved from a fate worse than death with bailing twine embedded in and tightening around her oesophagus. Spirit survived thanks to Mary giving her mouth to mouth resuscitation, the ultimate skill of the vet stitching her almost fully severed neck, and Spirit’s own spirit (now you know how she got her name!). After her rehabilitation she became famous for her literally “warm licks”. Without Mary she would not have survived like so many other dogs saved and transformed by Mary’s hands-on care.
Mary worked tirelessly for the dogs in her rescue. She ran it single-handedly and the facilities were a reflection of Mary’s perfectionism for the welfare of the hounds living there.
We were, of course, sad to hear that Mary would be retiring from rescue. The welfare world’s loss is retirement’s gain and we hope that Mary enjoys what the future brings and wish her the absolute best of health and happiness…. With lots of warm licks!
We’re registered with easyfundraising, it’s a great site where you can help Greyhound Compassion raise funds simply by doing your everyday online shopping!
Over 3,300 big name retailers are included, such as Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, ASOS, Booking.com, eBay, Boden and M&S.
Once you register us as your good cause, we will receive a small donation to say ‘thankyou!’ It’s completely free and over £20M has been raised for causes just like us so far.
We would like to raise as much as possible to help the greyhounds and galgos so please sign up and help us at https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/greyhoundcompassion/
Great turnout for the Greyhound Compassion sponsored walk today with all sorts of breeds of dogs – the most we’ve have ever had.
Thank you to everyone and all the hounds who took part. Although we’ve resumed winter temperatures, the weather held out – just. It was a lovely bracing walk.The walkers all received goody bags with treats and tennis balls and a rosette for each dog. Thanks to Judy Shirley for organising the walk and Laura Cuthbertson for making up the bags with kind donations from Pets at Home and Crofts of Banbury. Judy also gave out her homegrown young sunflower plants as a gift.
Judy is now collecting the sponsor money. Thanks to everyone who gave a donation on the day.
To quote Judy: “ Feeling nicely tired now – had a really good afternoon. Jude.”
As you hear the gentle clink of ice cubes and fizz of tonic in your summer G&T and recline in your deckchair, iPad in hand, soaking up the sun (having soaked up the rain already) and contemplate what you could do from the comfort of your lounger to raise funds for the greyhounds and galgos, please consider these 5 things:
1. Buy a handmade iPad/iPhone cushion from £5 to lodge your iPad firmly on your lap before progressing to the next 4 things….
2. Sort out your jewellery and donate your unwanted pieces (gold, silver and costume jewellery) to Greyhound Compassion. We have a reliable and fair supporter who is a jewellery expert and will buy donated jewellery from Greyhound Compassion.
3. Register Greyhound Compassion as your preferred cause on Easyfundraising – “feel good shopping”. When you shop online, from groceries to getaways, you could be raising funds for Greyhound Compassion if you shop with any of over 3,000 well-known retailers via Easyfundraising and a percentage of your spend is donated to Greyhound Compassion at no additional cost to you. It’s also possible to Gift Aid the donation. Thanks to 11 shoppers we have raised £388.93 from Easyfundraising over the last 3 – 4 years. Please help us to boost this with your weekly shop! If only you’d nominated Greyhound Compassion when you booked that flight to your beachside deckchair now!
4. Sponsor – A – Hound online as a birthday or Christmas gift for a friend or relative, or treat yourself.
5. Renew your Greyhound Compassion membership online for just £5 per annum. You’ll receive our annual newsletter and a Greyhound Compassion lapel pin.
Every year we make sure Greyhound Compassion’s outgoings pay tangible expenses for the shelters we support and last year was no exception. Scooby had finance for renovations to the galgo enclosures. Dungarvan had help for the rescue of 10 greyhounds from filthy conditions. We contributed to the transport preparation costs for the Limerick greyhounds going to their homes in Italy. The Lincolnshire greyhounds nearly had a chilly Christmas when the boiler in their kennels stopped working and we paid towards a replacement. So thanks to you, were able to hit the spot with our funds as our Annual Review shows.
We hope to see you at our fund-raising events this year.
If you are not able to join us, perhaps you’d consider one of the “five things from your deckchair” and help us to continue helping the greyhounds and galgos. Thank you.
This year we are appealing for funds to build an 800m brick wall to replace dilapidated fencing at Protectora y Santuario Scooby….
There is a corridor which provides access to the galgos in 15 – 20 runs and the surrounding fencing is in dire need of replacement. It needs to be replaced with bricks up to shoulder height (human shoulder height) and then chain link fencing on top. This gives the dogs the benefit of natural light and fresh air in their outdoor runs but without a transparent view into each others’ territory, withdrawing the opportunity to antagonise each other, or to dig under the fence to reach the neighbours, or break out and go on a tour of the shelter! This corridor and its passages amounts to 800m of enclosures. This is a large-scale project and we estimate the cost will be €20,000.
We will help Scooby with the fund-raising appeal for these needs which are critical for the shelter’s survival as a much-needed galgo refuge. Thanks to your support and donations, we already have £3,000 towards these renovations. A Facebook auction organised by a small group of friends in Holland (but not a Dutch auction!) raised €5,000 for the brickwork and 4 young, Slovenian volunteers are being sponsored to run the Medina del Campo (home of the Scooby shelter) 10k run and so far we have pledges of €3,710. This means we still have to raise €7,900 We will also apply to grant funding bodies for assistance. If you would like to donate towards the new brickwork, or know a company interested in sponsoring the wall (complete with advertising!) please let us know
Fermin Perez is President of Scooby in Spain. He has led its development from a refuge for stray dogs and cats in a disused ruin, to a purpose-built shelter with running water, electricity and an onsite clinic. Fermin talks to Greyhound Compassion about Scooby’s journey – and the hundreds of abused galgos that are saved by Scooby every year.
Greyhound Compassion (GC): Fermin, how did you start with these galgos?
Fermin: Well, I am a science teacher in a secondary school and many years ago, one pupil came to me, not knowing what to do, because his uncle (a galguero) was going to hang his galgo. I was shocked. It was then I went to the pine groves on the outskirts of Medina del Campo and saw with my own eyes the hanging galgo corpses in the trees. I used my camera and blasted the evidence far and wide. This shamed the local galgueros into stopping the hangings. Now, they surrender them to Scooby at the end of the coursing season or they leave them to stray in the streets. We pick them up, often the victims of a car accident by that time.
GC: Have the hangings stopped?
Fermin: They have more or less stopped in Medina del Campo. Occasionally, we come across a galgo corpse in the woods which is always very tragic but rare nowadays. At the end of the last coursing season in 2018 we rescued a pregnant female galgo with deep wounds in her neck (pictured below). She had almost certainly got herself down from a noose, made her way into the village centre before collapsing.
Greyhound Rescue, Lincolnshire is one of the shelters Greyhound Compassion supports and we asked them to update us on their activities.
Well, here we are with our letter to you which normally comes from our sponsor dog Freya who has been very good over the years at writing them and letting you all know what has been happening here at the rescue and keeping you informed on all her pals.
As you may have already seen, Freya was taken from us suddenly after a very quick and unexpected illness and we can only say that life in the kennels has not been the same without that remarkable little girl’s presence.
She was a joy to be around, always happy and skipped out of the kennels every morning and teatime. We miss that skip, that love she gave us back in bundles.
So to you Freya, a big hole in our hearts and a massive emptiness in a very full kennel block young lady. What an impact you made.
So we have to do your write up with tears running down our faces as we remember you and how all the other dogs were so worried about you…and we remember also Solo, who was a lifetime kennel dog who we lost on 23 December after a short illness. She was in with her 21 year old mum Opal, who is now coping well again after getting her new kennel mate Gem.
With rescue comes sadness, heartache, as much as reward. More so. We must not dwell, Freya would be saying, and all the others that went before her. But we are only human. Just the same as our owners…we just don’t get the same time to grieve.
We have to carry on for the others and the next one that is going to fill that empty kennel, however hard we find it.
And sometimes even we don’t know how we get through it. It can become clockwork for a while and we just ‘stop thinking’ for a time.
You cannot show the others how you feel inside, we still have to sing to them, play with them and have fun with them, or what is the point for them… Just as we did for Freya and Solo when they lost pals.
And so that is what we did, and will continue to do…for all of them.
We have been struggling with various issues as happens from time to time, we had the boiler break down and needed a new one to which Greyhound Compassion came to the rescue to help fund it, which we and the dogs thank them so very much. We are also needing the roof inside sorting, with boarding out which will provide extra warmth for the dogs as a lot of heat is lost though there.
We are in desperate need all year round of good old fashion (big bed) blankets for the kennel dogs. We also need to do a bit of cosmetic work inside the kennels to freshen it up and there are a lot of works to be carried out in the grounds which Karen and myself used to do ourselves but due to Karen’s illness, she can no longer carry out herself.
All this unfortunately comes at a cost which we are not used to having been more self-sufficient and this has had a knock on effect on Karen as she feels saddened by this even though she has done it herself for the last 38 years or so.
Karen managed to come out fundraising on Sunday 11 March for a couple of hours. Now Karen is by no means doing nothing, believe me when I say she is an amazing lady who even with this illness and with fractures down her spine and a break in the base of her spine she still refused to stay in hospital and came home and got herself to the animals to do what she could and she still does. She never stops even on crutches constantly now and have to say she still puts me to shame and tells me to ‘jog on’ we have work to do!!
Karen is struggling with walking now and this is how it is but in her words ‘it is what it is and I will continue to do what I can for as long as I can’…and as I know Karen, while ever she has a breath in her body, she will…and will never let any animal down.
Karen continues on crutches to care for the animals and as always they adore her interaction with them! She does tell me however she can no longer pick up poo!!! That’s ok though as I have a certificate in poo shovelling!
We have decided to have a singalong in the afternoon with the dogs as Brindy in particular enjoys this and Linda. These two really get the others joining in! Edgar has a dance and we all have a good howl, including Karen and me! I am not actually sure if the dogs aren’t trying to drown out my beautiful singing voice but I think they enjoy it!
We have had a good year with re-homing and are looking forward to another and hopefully our online website shop is moving in the right direction now with sales on the handmade martingale collars and hand painted pyrography leather collars Karen is making. She is also doing a range of harnesses and fleece coats (nightwear) too! So all good.
We also have many greyhounds for sponsorship which can be found on our online shop. We appreciate all your continued support.
Linda and Lucinda were here with us when we lost Solo. We would like to say a thank you both for your support and to Lucinda for all the help with Solo and the kennel dogs on that sad day.
We have had some losses yes and we have had some new ones in. Welcome Jack, the new sponsor dog. Ben, Linda, Billy all ready for adoption and Olga who has just been reserved. The kennels are full to busting as always and always another waiting.
Edgar our blind greyhound who was from the Romanian circus is making fantastic progress with trust and plays now. He loves toys and treats and dancing while we mop! He also loves my singing which is quite something! He always gives us the ‘once over’ by sniffing our hair and face to check it is us before he ‘let’s himself go’ but he is still very nervous of new people coming in and out of the kennels which is understandable with what he has been through.
Whether he will ever be able to overcome this is something we will continue to work on with him. After being hanged and surviving that and then the trauma of being rescued in Romania and transported for five days by van to the UK to us, it is no wonder he is taking some time. He deserves so much credit for ever learning to trust a human again and we consider ourselves to be very lucky and honoured he does.
Jack, the new ‘sponsor boy’ is also doing well. He still has a way to go but he has put weight on and is looking a lot better. He still has a few issues with nerves but again Karen is working with him and he is a lot more settled. He is a very big lad and very loving and needy. Very handsome.
Brindy is getting older but still as noisy as ever when it is treat time of any kind of food time! He is such a ‘different’ kind of greyhound to the normal! But still, he tells us he is just misunderstood!
Lobo & Blanca are still thinking they are puppies even at nine! They are still very beautiful loving greyhounds although have been a bit of a handful over the years!
Opal is now 21 years old and we have just put her daughter Gem in with her after the loss of her other daughter and kennel-mate Solo. It was a very sad time for Opal but Gem has cheered her up and they often cuddle up in bed together.
Roger, our lurcher is also doing well. Cheeky boy, very cheeky boy! He loves to play and loves all the other dogs. Such a friendly boy. He now trusts and loves human contact too but is still very scared of big open spaces and checks where we are.
Pandora and Apollo are still like an old married couple and cannot be apart from each other! They have been in love from the start, although Pandora can sometimes be the ‘grumpy lady’ and puts Apollo in his place! He certainly knows his place!
Drac and Helsin, the saluki cross greyhound. Ex circus dancing dogs like Edgar from Romania. These two are so very loving and rely heavily on each other. They are like big babies but take some handling. They are like rockets and anxious when people visit for fear they are being taken away. Again, they have simply been through too much trauma.
Ilona is doing well. She came to us at three months and is now 21 months old! Finally growing up!!! Max is getting older, he’s now eight and says he is feeling it. He has not been the same since he lost his companion and our own girl Beau last March. We often do not realise just how close they really do get.
Willow is still a little monkey although a lot better than she was. She is a lovely black greyhound who will be with us for life and is now a new companion for Max.
Patch is 15 and lives along with West and Ilona. She thinks Ilona is her pup and we cannot tell Ilona off when she is naughty as Patch will tell us off!!! Patch has never taken to any other dog as much as Ilona! Ilona also adores Patch!
West is now about 14/15 and we have been worried about him as he is not in the best of health now although he is not in pain. He has been a very difficult lurcher in many ways and came to us from a family break-up. He has trust issues and does not like many people although gets on with the other dogs and adores all cats! He is very sensitive.
As you can see there are many reasons why some stay with us for life. Some due to illness and many due to trauma they have suffered.
We would like to again thank all of those past and present that have sponsored any of our dogs and especially those who sponsored our beautiful Freya, who has taken a piece of our hearts.
Ruth and Lesley are two of our trustees. They have 2 of our dogs, Harry and Jade. We had a stand at Heckington Show at the end of July 2016 with myself, Ruth, Lesley and Christine and of course Snowie, Bonnie and Max. We had a lot of fun over the couple of days we did it. Putting up a gazebo was stressful, where Ruth and Lesley were laid underneath it flat on the floor with the roof on their heads at one point. I don’t think we were understanding the instructions very well!
Ruth, Lesley and Christine were all amazing as were all the dogs.The show came to a close and we all got back to our own ways of life! A week went by and Ruth called and we were chatting about the show and I asked “Are you ok? You sound a bit rough?” She replied with she had had a bit of an accident on her pushbike. She lives in Salford and she had got the front tyre stuck in the tram line and come off and bumped her head… we told her she should maybe get it checked out and she said she would if it didn’t get any better and we thought no more of it.
Ruth had a CT and MRI scan and what was revealed was devastating to all of us and this is one time we are glad she came off her pushbike as this was nothing to do with the accident. Ruth had cancer – A brain tumour. Read Ruth’s story in her own words.
We would like to thank Greyhound Compassion, Linda, Lucinda, Magic, Petal and Tess and all the fundraisers/supporters for their amazing, continued support over the last year. As you know and have seen, we couldn’t do it without you!
With love from
Dawn of Greyhound Rescue
Here, our friend Ruth talks candidly about her cancer diagnosis, and her beloved greyhound Harry.
In October 2014, after suddenly losing our old greyhounds, Harry and Jade came into our lives – two very bouncy, happy loving youngsters and boy, did we feel the difference!
Fast forward two years, to August 2016, and I had a minor accident where I fell off my pushbike. I got low grade concussion and was soon after diagnosed with a high grade brain tumour. Surgery and radiotherapy followed.
The dogs kept me going, they and my wife were amazing. As soon as I could walk, I was back out every day with them getting some fresh air. They made me recover quicker and I owe my fitness and health to them.
At the end of February 2017, whilst on a trip to Bristol, the dogs stayed with my parents. Upon our return, Harry had a small lump on his bum. Mum and dad had spotted it and taken him to the vets whilst we were away as they were worried. We kept an eye on this for around six weeks or so, taking him back and forth to our vets, trying various tablets, until in April the vet told us that my gorgeous blue boy had cancer too.
This was heart-wrenching. I love my pup so much and the thought that I might lose him was shocking. The vet diagnosed him with a mast cell tumour which reacted to histamine, hence why it had been so reactive to all the medications that he had been given. When initially found, it had been around a 2cm lump, increasing to a 15-20 cm lump before it was removed.
On the 21 of April Harry went in for surgery. We had been told that it would be a lengthy procedure and after six hours of not hearing anything, I phoned the vets. I was told that the vet was just finishing with the surgery and that it had been much more complex than expected. I went over to see him that evening and the poor boy didn’t know me. I asked if they would keep him in overnight as I knew that we couldn’t care for him at that time. He wasn’t able to stand, he was so weak, it was so painful to see.
The following day, we went over to Sheffield to collect a dog on behalf of Greyhound Rescue, then took him to his new home. It was heart warming seeing a new partnership of dog and ‘new mummy’ and made us both realise how much Harry means to us. That afternoon we both went to see Harry at the vets and found him extremely lethargic and not in a good way. The vet said that he had lost a lot of blood during surgery and they hadn’t known if he would pull through the first night or not. On 23 April, we brought him home with the instruction to keep him quiet and return him for a follow up check in two days’ time.
We took him back and he was starting to heal well. The vet was pleased, cleaned and changed his dressing and asked us to come back in a couple of days for his next check-up. We were changing his dressing daily ourselves and the day after the visit, when we checked his wound, a large part of the skin graft had died. We rushed him over to the emergency vets and the dead skin was cut off, the wound was cleaned but it had left a gap of around 20cm by 10cm of open skin. The vet who cleaned the wound wasn’t hopeful that it would heal and it left us feeling very deflated.
The following week, Harry was back at the vets having emergency surgery, our amazing vet had a pioneering new surgery which would stretch some of the healthy skin over the wound to reduce the size of it, allowing a smaller open wound to have the best possible chance of healing.
He recovered from this surgery much quicker although he still required the wound dressing daily and twice weekly visits to our vets in Leeds (from Manchester where we live). These continued for the following six months to allow for regular dressing changes and cleaning, as well as laser treatment to assist with speeding up the healing of the wound.
By the start of June, his wound had healed enough that we were able to start him on chemo. Following the histology results, it was revealed that he had a grade 3 tumour, however the lab were unsure whether full clearance had been taken or not, therefore the vet wanted to start him on Palladia. Knowing how I was feeling taking chemotherapy, I worried how Harry would be. I was having chemo every six weeks and it was taking it out of me for between 5-10 days each time. My poor pup was going to be on it every other day. The vet explained that dog chemo is very different to human chemo and that he would be unlikely to have any side effects.
I couldn’t believe that both of us had had cancer, and were now on chemo together. Everyone was joking that he was doing it out of sympathy for me, but I do believe that we are so close that, somehow, his tumour came out whilst he knew I was in treatment for mine.
We are both now in remission. Harry has had blood tests and is fully clear after six months of chemo, I had eight months in total and we are both well. We both have our scars but they don’t stop us getting on with our lives. He is still my beautiful blue pup, just with a slightly patchwork bottom!!