Meet our volunteers

Forever Hounds Trust relies on volunteers to make our mission a reality. From dog walking to homing support to administration and PR to adoption home checks, our volunteers are essential to everything we do. Here we bring those roles to life through some of our wonderful team members and find out what they do and how much it means to them!

If you have any time to spare to help as a volunteer, please click here to find out more.

Katrin: Volunteer Community Events Co-ordinator

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Katrin and friends at an amazing event!

‘We adopted Sushi, our little Greyhound girl from Forever Hounds Trust in September, 2012. Animal welfare has always been very close to my heart and after Sushi came into our lives it became more and more important to me to get involved and help to make a difference.

My role as Volunteer Community Events Co-ordinator works to organise events that raise awareness, funds and generate home offers for our hounds. We also arrange social walks and get- togethers where Greyhound owners can meet, make new friends and share their experiences.

I love being a volunteer for Forever Hounds Trust and my favourite part is when our events lead to a dog finding their forever home, though there are many more perks too. I’ve made lots of friends since starting this role and it gives me a real sense of achievement knowing that what I do supports this great charity and helps to rehome many more of these amazing hounds.’

Jenny: Volunteer Enquiries and Helpline Support

‘I already had a lovely little rescued greyhound called Tilly when I first came across GRWE/FHT at a Pet Rescue event in 1998. I took a leaflet, photocopied as they were in those days, read up on how I could help and proceeded to lose my life to the world of greyhound rescue. I currently share my home with a beautiful but ever so slightly bonkers greyhound called Amy along with a slightly challenging lurcher called Dylan.

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Jenny has supported the charity in many ways and now does so mostly from the comfort of her own sofa!

My volunteer journey started in a small way, helping at street collections which led on to Event Co-ordination for Hereford & Worcester, something I did for almost 10 years.  Stepping away from that role, I now respond to all the e-mail enquiries from the FHT website, as well as providing relief cover for the 03000 Helpline and assisting with the annual Volunteer Conference.

I suppose I’m a sort of Virtual Receptionist and it is a role that has turned out to be far more interesting and absorbing than I thought it would be.  All manner of e-mails drop into my Inbox on a daily basis; lots are simple homing enquiries and requests for event details, some are sad as people advise their much-loved FHT hound has passed away, others can be difficult and distressing but amongst them a few funny little gems appear, like the plea to help find Caramel the RABBIT a new home and the request for three bags of Super Turf Fertilizer! I do try and assist everyone regardless of the query so its particularly rewarding when people take the trouble to thank me in return and, in some cases, have even made a small donation.

My most favourite thing about volunteering for Forever Hounds Trust is that you are part of a great big family who love these wonderful hounds, who care passionately about their welfare and future and go that extra mile to get a vulnerable hound into a safe place. I have met some amazing and inspirational people, helped lots of hounds into their Forever Home and made lifelong friends. Together we do make a difference.’

Amanda-Jane: Volunteer Assistant Community Events Co-ordinator

‘We became aware of Forever Hounds Trust when we adopted our first Greyhound, Jenny. Soon after, it was time for the Great British Greyhound Walk. There were so many people with their hounds. I made so many friends and even found people that used to live near me and went to the same school!

Time passed and I enquired about any Forever Hounds Trust events that I could help with and was put in touch with Katrin. We did a few events together, finding new and exciting opportunities to spread awareness and make some money for the Charity: walking up South Hessay on Dartmoor with 40 Greyhounds, standing outside Pets at Home collecting donations, Picnic in the Park, Christmas walks and the dafter ideas such as New Years Day dips in the chilly Devon sea and the Onesie Challenge, where I wore a different onesie each day for a month! I also remember our very first Dog Show that was a success thanks to the help and support from family, friends and Forever Hounds Trust.

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Amanda-Jane fundraising for Forever Hounds Trust!

My role involves a little bit of time, emailing and phoning people to ask for donations for raffle or tombola prizes and searching the ‘papers for events to attend. I also bake dog biscuits or cakes to sell. The other volunteers who turn up to help are just as important.  Their contribution, and the support from my family and the Forever Hounds Trust team, is immense.

Volunteering is fun; meeting people and making friends. The hounds also know when we put on the blue uniform, our volunteer top, that something is going to happen and they are going to meet their friends too!’

Ken: Volunteer Regional Events Co-ordinator/ Lead Kennel Walker (plus Home Visiting and Transportation!)

‘In 2003, we adopted our first Greyhound from Battersea Dogs Home (now with added cats!); we were going for a smallish dog about knee high! However, Battersea had other ideas and we went home with a big, brindle boy called Aglish Ron, and that was our fate sealed.

We met Forever Hounds Trust by chance in 2007- we had gone out to help search for a missing Greyhound. We didn’t find the hound but did find Mark, a volunteer in the marked up Forever Hounds Trust dog transporter. We had a nice chat and came away with the date of a collection/meet and greet, starting with kennel walking, then collections and meet and greets, followed by going along to events and the odd spot of fostering.We had found a very nice group of people with a common love of houndies and a great cause to help with!

There’s always a need for fundraising and making people aware of the number of hounds needing homes, so I offered to help arrange some events and collections.  In time, I became the Event Co-ordinator for Stevenage and North Herts, which takes in Hitchin and the surrounding area.

My role now is pretty varied. I plan the dates for street collections and liaise with local councils to obtain them. I also book and run our stalls at local events. I’m helped by other Volunteer Event Co-ordinators and, of course, our volunteers in the Eastern Region, which is a big help as we can get quite busy during the summer, particularly as the Eastern Region is well established and people look forward to attending our events.

During my time volunteering with Forever Hounds Trust, I have also attended a Home Visiting course, so I go out to speak to prospective adopters too. As well as that, I’m competent with social media so I keep the regional volunteers updated with what’s going on by email, our regional Facebook page, and Twitter and I recently set up a page for our weekly Kennel walks so people can let us know if they can come along. I can also be available during the week so I’m able to help transport dogs if necessary, or take them out on assessment walks in different environments, which is great fun.

Ken helps his regional team in many ways!

Ken helps his regional team in many ways!

So, nearly ten years having been involved with Forever Hounds Trust and the universal Greyhound and pointy nose family, I can say that it has been extremely rewarding and fun and I would thoroughly recommend anyone to get involved with their local Forever Hounds Trust group.  You can do whatever you have time to do, helping for an hour or two at a collection or an event. Your help will be welcomed and you’ll be helping Forever Hounds Trust do what it does best, and that’s rescuing and finding homes for Greyhounds and Lurchers in need.’

Laura: Volunteer Regional Homing Officer

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Laura works hard to home hounds for Forever Hounds Trust

‘Back in early 2010, a friend asked if I would like to help walk the Forever Hounds Trust kennel dogs in my local area. After going and meeting my very first Greyhound to walk, I totally fell head over heels in love with the breed- so calm and gentle. Within a year, I became the Volunteer Regional Homing Officer!  I am now on my third Greyhound and have fostered 80+ Greyhounds and Lurchers for Forever Hounds Trust!

As a Regional Homing Officer (RHO), I am responsible for a range of things. From dog intakes, over-seeing the hounds’ care and assessments whilst in the rescue and, of course, homing them, to overseeing home offers from when they first come in, pre-adoption calls and home visits. A RHO also supports the Homing Team volunteers, Walking Team volunteers and volunteer Home Visitors teams. I spend half of my time with the kennel dogs and the other half in my ‘Forever Hounds Trust’ home office surrounded by the paperwork that goes with the role!

My favourite thing about volunteering is bringing in a terrified, abused hound, making them all better and then finding that perfect home for them to spend the rest of their days.  I also have the most amazing team in Dorset and Hampshire and, without them, I just couldn’t do what I do.’

Fran: Volunteer Assistant Regional Homing Officer

‘We adopted our first Greyhound- a beautiful, big brindle girlie named Tap- in April 2001. Shortly after Tap came home with us and our two rescue sheepdogs, it was suggested that perhaps we might like to help out at a local Forever Hounds Trust street collection. Having never done anything like that, I was feeling apprehensive but on the day all went well; Tap seemed to enjoy the attention and we chatted to lots of lovely people and met some of the other volunteers. We volunteered to help at more local events and then I started doing home visits to prospective homes. This was in the days before email was so widely used – I used to receive & send my paperwork via fax (remember those?)!

Fran and hounds

Fran and hounds

Nowadays my role is Assistant Homing Officer for Herefordshire & Worcester. This involves supporting Hilary, our Regional Homing Officer, and providing cover when she is away on leave, etc. This means ensuring that any urgent business is dealt with and home offers received are responded to quickly and passed to another volunteer, Helen, who organises the home visits. I also try to get out to walk the kennel dogs as often as possible and take suitable dogs along to our social walks and events.

It is a very special thing to see our hounds, who may have come to us as very sad, confused souls, blossom into happy, healthy dogs and wave them off to their forever homes. It is always lovely to meet up with “our” hounds; at our Post Homing Visits, local fundraising and social events or just a chance meeting in the street.’

Karen: Volunteer Regional Co-ordinator

‘In October 2008, we approached Forever Hounds Trust with a view to homing a dog and, just a month later, brought our beautiful black Greyhound, Lacey, home to stay.  Forever Hounds Trust is very much a ‘family’ and, having been made very welcome, we quickly became involved, taking Lacey along to any local events to Meet and Greet and to help out for a few hours- always enjoyable, always appreciated and with the satisfaction of knowing that more hounds are being helped into their forever homes.

It was at one of these events that we met Special Sponsor Dog, Freddie, who subsequently joined Lacey at home with us in April 2010. Having Freddie further drew us into the heart of Forever Hounds Trust and I gradually became more involved, helping out at events further afield, always with my two lovelies in tow. Freddie is always ready with his licky kisses, Lacey happy to be stroked and loved by admirers of all ages.

Karen (right) and Freddie are a winning team!

Karen (right) and Freddie are a winning team!

In 2012, I was asked to consider taking on the role of Regional Coordinator and on the premise that if you want something done ask a busy person I jumped in! Even having been in the role for some time, I sometimes find it hard to say exactly what it involves but, basically, I’m the person who holds all of the reins in one hand, bringing together the volunteers who work in homing, events and communications to support and strengthen our volunteer network. In short, I aim to make sure that everyone is happy and enjoying the time that they give so freely as volunteers.

I very much enjoy my role and I can’t imagine what I used to do with my ‘spare’ time before Forever Hounds Trust. My life is enriched by my Forever Hounds Trust family- both human and hound.’

Gill: Special Projects/ Photographer Volunteer

‘From as young as I can remember, I was always an arty child, often seen out and about with my Dad’s box brownie camera capturing fleeting moments on film. At the age of thirty, I had a chance to take my hobby to another level. I attended night school and worked through the City and Guilds photography modules with my result levels giving me automatic acceptance into the Royal Photographic Society.

Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I had also grown up in regular contact with Greyhounds and adored the breed, so, when six years ago the time was right to welcome a dog into the family, the immediate choice was to rescue a Grey.  That’s how I met Forever Hounds Trust, and soon realised how useful photography can be to a charity like this.

Gill and Alfie in one of their press appearances, thanks to Gill's creativity!

Gill and Alfie in one of their press appearances, thanks to Gill’s creativity!

My role ranges from capturing portraits of the new dog intake ready for the ‘Dogs needing a home’ page of the website; creating Facebook cover photos with advertising- hoping to reach literally thousands of potential new homes- to the other end of the scale, recording injuries inflicted on dogs before being rescued and coming into our care, ready for follow up action.  

There are those times of freeze-framing a fabulous moment at a dog show or other fundraising event that can be used by the charity to demonstrate what wonderful pets Greyhounds and Lurchers make. 

I soon learnt that the press and media are more likely to run a story with an interesting eye catching photo to go with it, and this can help raise awareness of the charity with the public via newspapers, magazines, and online to a global scale.  I also enjoy helping on special projects; for example, the public competition to find the photographs that best describe our Forever Hounds Trust calendar various monthly categories, and using Photoshop to get to the calendar artwork stage.  I never tire of photographing my own two greyhounds either- Alfie a brindle, who is nearly eleven and jet black Jess, who has just turned five.’

David: Volunteer Support Assistant

Dave helps support other volunteers

Dave helps support other volunteers

‘I first became involved with Forever Hounds Trust  in 2007. My wife Sharon (also now a volunteer) always wanted a Greyhound. Every year  Forever Hounds Trust fundraise in Hereford and it was from seeing the Greyhounds here that we adopted Heidi, a female fawn Greyhound, in September 2007. By 2008, we started walking the other dogs waiting for homes. Everything really started from then.

My role as Volunteer Support Assistant assists the Volunteer Manager in promoting volunteering opportunities with the charity in Herefordshire and Worcester. This involves closely liaising with the local volunteer centres and also employers who have volunteering programs. The role also involves supporting current volunteers and ensuring people are matched to a role that suits them best. I also help to support a culture of volunteering best practice.

My favourite thing about volunteering is seeing a healthy dog find a loving home. Myself and my wife, Sharon, meet many hounds that, when they arrive, are not in a very nice place and it’s a massive lift when we see them fully rejuvenated and go out to a home.  The funny thing is these dogs will actually remember you when you meet them again.’

Carol: Volunteer Specialist Space Co-ordinator

Carol and houndies!

Carol and houndies!

‘I became involved with Forever Hounds Trust 15 years ago when I brought home Ash, the sweetest Forever Hounds Trust puppy ever. Sadly we lost Ash this year but adopting him put me in touch with Forever Hounds Trust and helped me meet so many wonderful people. He also helped me to find my new vocation. I had just retired and was looking for something to do with dogs to keep me busy!

I had always been interested in dog behaviour and while I was working as an 07000 Advisor for Forever Hounds Trust I decided to go off and study dog behaviour work and get some qualifications. This led to me setting up the Post Homing Support Team. I am terribly proud of the team and the work they do. Every time I get up to thank them at Forever Hounds Trust’s annual Volunteer conference and report how well we’ve done I get a real lump in my throat!

My favourite thing about volunteering is not actually the dogs- it’s the people! The dogs come a close second. People are often so willing to try to understand their dogs better and that is very rewarding. I love the teams I work with, both in the behaviour team and at the Somerset kennels. They give so much of their time to make sure the dogs get the very best of care. Belonging to Forever Hounds Trust is like belonging to a huge family. They take an interest in what you do and support you. Lovely people!’

Carole: Volunteer National Deputy Post-Homing Support Co-ordinator

‘In Forever Hounds Trust’s 20th year as a charity (2016), I am celebrating my 20th year as a sighthound owner. Geordie, my first wonderful brindle boy (a Greyhound Lurcher from Forever Hounds Trust) taught me so much about the needs of these lovely dogs and began my fascination with them.  

I became a volunteer for Forever Hounds Trust six years ago when I took on my ex-racing Greyhound, Skippy, becoming a home checker and post-home checker. The behavioural queries owners then asked me to pass to the Post-Homing Support team led me to become more and more interested in the subject of sighthounds and, ultimately, to become fully qualified in dog behaviour. 

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Carole, part of our volunteer behaviour team

I am immensely proud of the work we do in the PHS team under Carol’s inspirational leadership – the gentle, reward based, modern training methods we advocate can be so effective.

As I look around at my own contented dogs  (two Greyhounds, a Saluki /whippet Lurcher , a German Shepherd and a foster Lurcher), I know there can be nothing more rewarding than  helping  to keep these special hounds in their forever homes. Of course, I’m also having a wonderful time – working with the many supportive and lovely  friends that I have made in Forever Hounds Trust!’

Tracey: Volunteer Social Media Assistant

‘I was a volunteer dog walker at Bristol Dogs and Cats Home, and in December 2014 got handed a gorgeous three-month-old Lurcher to walk – it was love at first sight and he was promptly adopted. Jett was my introduction to the fabulous world of sighthounds and I have never looked back. A few months later, I was at a dog show with Forever Hounds Trust in attendance, and straight away I decided I wanted to volunteer so I could do more for these deserving hounds… I made enquiries and here I am!

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Tracey, who shows that remote volunteering is also key to our mission!

As I successfully manage social media accounts for another like-minded charity in the equine world, I was a perfect fit for this role which involves administering both the Facebook and Twitter accounts- responding to posts, managing events, monitoring messages, re-tweeting and posting general updates. ‘

I love volunteering and am passionate about sighthounds, so, as my home isn’t big enough to take in all the needy hounds myself (I wish!), volunteering for the fabulous Forever Hounds Trust is the next best thing! I love seeing the happy homing stories and knowing I have played a part in making this happen. I also love the comradery within the volunteer network; not only am I helping the dogs, I am making some wonderful new friends.’

Hilary: Volunteer Home Offer Co-ordinator

All dog lovers welcome to volunteer for Forever Hounds Trust!

All dog lovers welcome to volunteer for Forever Hounds Trust!

‘How true that when one door closes, another door opens! I recently had to give up full-time work for health reasons, and then decided that, with more time on my hands, maybe I could offer some of that time to help a charity in a more practical way – I needed something to plug the gap left by not going off to work Monday to Friday. So the next decision was: which charity, and what could I realistically offer when working solely from home? My love of Lurchers has always been strong and maybe now I could really do something to help…

Cue Forever Hounds Trust!! I knew of the charity from their presence at events I’d been to, but apart from the obvious of financial support, I didn’t know what else they may need, or what I could possibly offer. A quick online search (how did we ever cope pre- Google???!) led me to their website and a chat with Volunteer Co-ordinator, Anna, who soon put that right – there was plenty I could do, and all very relevant and essential in the ongoing quest to give each and every abused or neglected sighthound a positive new life.

I started by helping the team with Pre-homing Telephone Call Screening – an ideal role for me as I’ve always talked for a living!! This stage in the homing process is so important: it helps to assess if the home offered (made either via the website or the 0700 freefone number) would be a suitable environment for a sighthound. If the chat with the person who enquired goes well (there’s a straightforward form to complete as you go along, which helps steer the conversation & ensures all the necessary info is captured & you don’t miss anything!) then the completed form is sent out to a team of Volunteer Home Visitors for one of them to take up the mantle by arranging a home visit to meet the enquirer and give an assessment of their suitability.

The role of co-ordinating these telephone screenings with the home checkers (and their subsequent reports) now also falls in my lap, as the region’s Home Offers Coordinator. I report to the Volunteer Regional Homing Officer, Laura, who then assesses all the material and takes it to the next stage of matching a hound to a home…. almost there for that elusive ‘forever home’!

‘What I love about this work and the charity itself is the knowledge that each and every person involved has a part to play in reaching the overall aim – there’s still a long way to go but I do feel that every day we’re making a difference. Added to this is the great team of volunteers that you meet along the way, working – and laughing – together with them. And best of all, there’s still ample time to fit ‘life’ around volunteering – it really is the best of both worlds!’

Keith- Assistant Events Co-ordinator/ Database Support Officer

‘I became aware of the charity in 2009 after listening to Honorary Friend, Annette Crosby, talking about it on the radio. I decided then that I would give my time to what was then Greyhound Rescue West of England to help save these beautiful creatures from a life of misery.

I became Assistant Events Co-ordinator in Wiltshire in April 2014. As I work as a database administrator in my day job, I was also asked if I would work with our database, Donor Strategy, in March 2015.

Keith helps our work in many vital ways

Keith helps our work in many vital ways

With my fellow volunteer, Michelle, and the rest of the team, we organise and attend street collections and events in Wiltshire. I also jointly update information on the database about the dogs when they arrive at the kennels, including their medical and behavioural history, as well as details of volunteers in Somerset and Wiltshire. Record keeping is a vital part of our work. I also jointly add events onto the Forever Hounds Trust website for the region that I volunteer in.

My favourite thing about volunteering is definitely meeting the dogs and their owners and, of course, promoting the charity and raising money!’

Maxine- Volunteer Regional Co-ordinator

‘My role includes working with and bringing together volunteer activity across homing, fundraising and communications to allow the region to operate smoothly and effectively. For the last 15 years in my career, I’ve been helping people around the world recover from trauma and abuse to reclaim their health and their spirit and I’m excited about bringing my skills and experience to this group, which so touches my heart.

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Maxine works across her regional team to provide support

The values I see here resonate so well with my own, which is why I decided to join Forever Hounds Trust (or GRWE as it then was). Of all the charities I looked at, this one impressed me the most because of the level of need the Sight Hounds have and the commitment of the volunteers. I’ve really been engaged by the compassion and dedication that everyone I’ve met puts into their own role and I look forward to growing alongside the team.’