Lauren joined RWWA in May 2016 ago as Coordinator of the Greyhounds As Pets (GAP) program. Prior to working for GAP Lauren has enjoyed a varied career in journalism, public relations and marketing.
Her career highlights prior to joining GAP have included: reporting from Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, on the second anniversary of the North Korean bombings as a freelance radio journalist, coordinating the rebranding kick-off event for the Telethon Kids Institute and developing a series of promotional videos for Playgroup WA.
Lauren currently owns a little Whippet called Wall-e and would love to eventually adopt a greyhound sibling for him.
She says working at GAP isn’t conducive to a one dog household, “There are so many gorgeous dogs coming through GAP,” she said. “Honestly, I’ve verbally adopted a dog every week since starting!
Lucky for me my husband keeps me grounded or I would no doubt be hoarding greyhounds by now!”
I coordinate the Greyhounds As Pets programme, an initiative of RWWA committed to helping retired racing greyhounds transition to their new life as pets.
It feels like I’ve been working for RWWA for years, but in reality it’s only been 5 months! I can’t believe how much has happened and how many exciting opportunities we’ve had in such a short period of time.
Coordinating GAP is an incredibly rewarding role. On a personal level it’s wonderful to be in a position to help the dogs’ transition to a new part of their lives. I never get tired of seeing photos of the hounds we’ve helped rehome or hearing about their new lives as pets. I’ve also loved getting to know the industry and seeing first-hand how much trainers and owners care about their dogs. I wish the community could be a fly on the wall at GAP to see trainers getting emotional when they give us their dogs or watching them when they drop off coats they have made in their own time to keep our GAP dogs warm, it’s remarkable how much passion there is.
I’ve always loved dogs, particularly hounds, there’s something strikingly beautiful about the silhouette of the breed. I owned a Deerhound cross a few years ago, she was such a gentle giant and I knew greyhounds had a very similar personality. When I saw this position come up I couldn’t believe it, what could be better than working with greyhounds and promoting them to the community as pets?
The memory that sticks in my mind most is of Angel, the Deerhound mentioned above. It makes me smile now, but at the time I didn’t find it funny at all. I was taking Angel for a walk at a local park and let her off leash to stretch her legs, she was 11 at the time and rarely strayed far from my side. All of a sudden she was off! A big white goose had claimed her attention and before I knew it she had launched herself into a lake chasing after it! Of course, being a sighthound she had no intention of coming back to me as I called after her from the bank. Round and round she swam after this goose -who I’m pretty sure was teasing her, staying just out of reach and swimming in circles. I watched on helpless as Angel went from energetically swimming after this goose to paddling very slowly with only the tip of her nose and head visible above water. I thought, “That’s it! I’m going to have to go in after her and pull her out!” Just when I was about to dive in to rescue Angel and perform puppy CPR she ambled over to the side of the lake and walked calmly out. I was frantic and embarrassed as everyone at the park was giving me that look, Angel on the other hand looked very pleased with herself, wagging her tail and smiling as only a hound can.
It’s a really exciting time to be part of GAP, we’re expanding and undergoing a series of changes with the goal of positioning the program as the peak rehoming body for retired greyhounds in Western Australia. An aspirational goal for us is working on cultural change to do with what makes a “good dog”. We know how amazing greyhounds are and I think the public are starting to see this too. What we hope to do is to plant the “greyhound” seed in people’s subconscious so when they are in the market for a family dog they automatically think of a greyhound.
We’re also exploring other avenues for retired racers including their use as therapy dogs and reading dogs. In addition GAP is planning to run large scale adoption days, start a volunteer program and run unique marketing campaigns – exciting times!