Over the years we’ve noticed at all of our collections how the public is now fully aware of the ills of the greyhound racing industry. Many of the people we speak to also know what fantastic pets greyhounds make. This in itself is not unusual.
There is also always the ex-trainer, son of an old-time trainer, who remembers schlepping between Walthamstow or White City or any other track in the country, or a former kennel maid or racing owner. They come over to the dogs, touch them with a deeper fondness than the usual city centre shoppers, and stuff a tenner in the tin as they explain that they know the dirty washing of inside racing and are glad to have thrown in the towel. This is not unusual.
There are others who ask us about Greyhound Compassion’s charitable objectives and we talk about the galgos rescued by Scooby. They are absolutely horrified when they learn about the thousands of galgos bred and killed every year for the hare coursing fraternity. Some shed a tear as we talk about the galgos rescued from the streets and hunters by Scooby. This is emotional, but not unusual.
So what was unusual about our flag day in Welwyn Garden City? It didn’t rain, was quite warm and sunny! But it wasn’t the weather or the kids learning how to interact with a pet dog. It was the outpouring of warmth from the donors who proactively came up to Dustin, Lucy, Petal and Magic.
They told us so fluently about their greyhound at home on the sofa, their lurcher who had stolen the lamb steak the night before (Chilli, you know who you are!), their greyhound they’d moved overseas with and is now commanding respect in their local village, their neighbour’s greyhound who has convinced them to home a greyhound when they retire. It was endless.
The affection they showed for Dustin and his co-collectors was enormous. This was coupled with an increased abhorrence for the opaque racing industry which exploits the greyhounds as its commodity without any obvious care for injuries or life expectancy beyond the racing return.
We are very grateful to the donors who folded up their loose change and put in our tin on that day in WGC, but what was striking was the infinite and immeasurable sympathy for these gentle, affectionate and abused hounds.