Anne with Mario (standing) and Kayla

Message from Anne

Dear Friends,

It is a real pleasure, on the occasion of our 20th birthday, to contribute to this newsletter and share this moment with current friends and supporters of GIN.

GIN became registered as a charity in May 1998, but the work leading up to this had begun in the early 1980s. Retired and abandoned greyhounds were filling up rescue kennels alarmingly and being overlooked as potential pets as the public had no experience of the breed except as a sporting dog. Much work needed to be done to promote both their plight and their suitability as companion animals. I adopted my first greyhound in 1986 and researching her background back to her trainer, owner and breeder, a whole new world began to open up.

Education has always been a very important part of GIN’s work. Caring for an ex-racer successfully requires knowledge and understanding of the life they ave been born into. In 1996, Ringpress commissioned The Pet Owner’s Guide to the Greyhound and later the Retirement chapters of The Ultimate Greyhound.

At that time, 1000 dogs per year were being shipped from Ireland to Spain. I could bear no more to hear rumours of the awful conditions awaiting them there. Never being content with hearsay, I planned a secret investigative trip in September 1991, to see it for myself and brought 4 dogs back into quarantine for examination by a respected greyhound vet. Accounts of GIN’s first rescued greyhound and galgo can be read here under ‘Home ’ and ‘How we started’.......

Some kennels were closed down; others pledged to make improvements. I chose to stick close by, working alongside the employees and wrote and produced a 2 hour instructional video in Spanish for them (El Cuidado del Galgo de Carreras) detailing every aspect of compassionate care of a racing greyhound from cradle to grave. It has been loaded on to Youtube and amazingly been embraced by Hispanic enthusiasts everywhere, including in Central and South America.

The burden of 6 months’ UK quarantine meant finding sympathisers and homes elsewhere in mainland Europe, not an easy task before the days of the internet. We were homing some greyhounds with American Forces in Germany, which extended gradually to German nationals, and then real stars emerged in Switzerland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg etc. I have counted 14 different countries with whom we have worked.

In the mid 1990s, as the tracks closed down in Spain, the scandal of the mistreatment of thousands of galgos in the hidden rural areas of Spain reached our ears. This brought us closer to the young Spanish volunteers in the refuges desperately trying to address the situation with zero resources. Italy, and Elisa, came on the scene about this time as Naples and Rome tracks closed and our collaborators in Europe once again came to the rescue.

The above sketches GIN’s involvement over three decades of greyhound concern and care. Beside the ~700 dogs GIN contributes to rescuing each year, I am proud to see the fantastic work they do financing building improvements to the refuges, providing suitable vehicles for transportation, and funding veterinary care and sterilisations.

The major educational project in schools that GIN promotes too is a great success locally and will have a lasting influence on the mindset of these youngsters in the future, teaching them compassion and kindness.

But none of this can happen without funds and that has meant regular dogged hard work from you out there... and it can seem like a treadmill I know.........The Bournemouth Shop, the Sponsorship scheme, the Merchandise sales, the work of the North West team. I am so very mindful and grateful.

GIN continues to flourish under an able and experienced management team well able to carry our cause forward into it’s third decade. I am sorry that due to ill-health, I can no longer participate.

Thank you for believing in our cause, for enduring its travails, supporting our work and earning GIN the high respect in which it is held.


Anne Finch

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