Ann Shannon, head of the Homesafe branch of national charity the Retired Greyhound Trust (RGT), was rewarded for her life-long dedication to finding loving homes for greyhounds at the BGRB (British Greyhound Racing Board) Annual Awards last weekend.
Ann, who lives on the Isle of Man, was unable to attend the event at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, but her award for ‘services to retired greyhounds’ was presented on her behalf to the charity’s director, Ivor Stocker.
Ann has worked with retired greyhounds for 50 years and in that time has found an impressive 10,000 homes for the ex-sprinters in her care. She began rehoming at the young age of 15 when she joined the greyhound stadium in Ramsgate as a kennel maid and then, over 30 years ago, along with her husband Bernard and a group of other greyhound enthusiasts, she became one of the founding members of the RGT.
Now, thanks to the hard work of RGT volunteers like Ann all over the country, the RGT has 65 branches across the UK from the Isle of Skye to Jersey, all dedicated to spreading the word that greyhounds make wonderful pets.
Director of the RGT, Ivor Stocker, says: ‘The tireless devotion of branches like the Homesafe RGT has gone a long way to showing people that greyhounds are far removed from the frantic appearance they give on the racetrack, and actually have very affectionate, laid-back and loving personalities. The majority are just lazy couch potatoes who only ask for a couple of short walks a day – as well as a comfy bed to snooze on!
‘Ann is a very worthy recipient of this award. Her lifetime of hard work in finding homes for retired greyhounds really deserves to be recognised and she is an inspiration to us all.’
The RGT is hoping that 2007 will be a record year for the charity, which rehomed 3,700 dogs in 2006. He especially hopes that visitors to RGT branches will spare a thought for its older greyhounds between the ages of six and ten, many of whom are overlooked for adoption in favour of their younger friends.
‘Our ‘middle-aged’ greyhounds really are suffering a mid-life crisis!" Ivor explains. "We’re keen to show people that they are certainly not over the hill and have plenty of life left in them.’
If you are interested in finding out more about retired greyhounds as pets, you can contact Ivor Stocker at the RGT national office on 0870 444 0673. He will put you in touch with your local branch.