THE suitability of greyhounds as pets has been highlighted by Irish actress Pauline McGlynn of Fr Ted fame.
Pauline, who is in West Cork filming the TV mini-series Holding, met Charlie, Lyra and Adele at the West Cork Animal Welfare Group’s rescue centre in Owenahincha.
The actress volunteered to promote the centre, especially the three greyhounds who weren’t getting much attention from adopters.
‘They are such a maligned breed of dogs and they need every single bit of help that they can get,’ said Tory Joyce the group’s fundraiser. ‘All they need is a run in the morning and evening and a sofa on which to snooze.’
The three at the rescue centre are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to rehoming unwanted greyhounds in this country.
‘There are tens of thousands of greyhounds in Ireland at any one time, but very few make the podium,’ said Tory.
Just two greyhounds have been rehomed by the West Cork Animal Welfare Group while dozens – all ex racers that are now surplus to requirements within the greyhound industry – have been sent abroad.
‘We are finding it extremely difficult to find good homes for them in Ireland. It’s almost impossible,’ according to Tory.
‘The solution for most is to send them to other rescue centres abroad, places like Sweden, England and Italy where they seem to appreciate them more.’
At the centre – which was founded by Jennifer Headlam and Ruth Andrews – Pauline met two of the main volunteers, Katy Burgess and Aisling O’Sullivan and learned how the rescue centre is as busy as ever.
‘It’s an endless intake of dogs and cats and kittens – up to 45 dogs at any one time, and 30 cats,’ said Tory, who pointed out that there is even a waiting list.
Earlier that day, Pauline also did a stint at the group’s weekly Saturday stall at Skibbereen Farmers’ Market.
‘It was a bit like candid camera,’ said Tory, whose regulars did a double take when they met Pauline.
Thanks to all the generous people who have supported the stall over the last 12 years, Tory said they have crossed the €150,000 mark.
But another €50,000 could be added if the annual sale of calendars and cards were included.
Every cent is needed because now, post pandemic, there are a huge number of unwanted dogs. These ‘Covid pups,’ who are now heading for 18 months, need rescuing too.
Tory said they were the product of ‘short term thinking.’ Some dogs have developed behaviour issues, while some owners find they don’t have the same time to devote to their welfare now that they are no longer working from home.
‘Pauline was wonderful,’ said Tory. ‘Everything you’d expect and a 100 times more. She is genuinely interested in animal welfare, especially greyhounds and chickens, and is well known for knitting jumpers and tea cosies to raise funds for them.
She’s also the patron of Littlehill, Greyhound Protection UK and Candy Cane Rescue, which rescues greyhounds from the meat trade in China.
‘Pauline’s an extremely busy person,’ she added, so it was very kind of her to help the local rescue in the area.’