It’s Volunteer’s Week – a chance to recognise the fantastic contribution volunteers make to our communities and say thank you. Volunteer’s Week 2023 is a time to celebrate and inspire. Never has there been a time that Forever Hounds Trust, and rescue charities in general, need volunteers more. The cost of rescue is increasing, but dogs continue to need us to be there for them….volunteers allow us to keep doing what we do whilst keeping costs as low as possible.
Our volunteers make a huge contribution to the welfare of greyhounds and lurchers in many different ways – diversity is our strength. So, we want to say a huge thank you to ALL our wonderful volunteers, and whilst sadly we can’t introduce you to them all, we’d like to celebrate some of our volunteers across a variety of roles. If you are inspired by our fabulous volunteers, and would like to help the hounds, you can click here to get involved.
I began volunteering for Forever Hounds Trust in 2009 when it was still GRWE (Greyhound Rescue West of England.) This was not a selfless act. My Jack Russell had died, my marriage had broken down, and so had I. Somewhere in my grief, a dim distant memory of walking ex-racing greyhounds in Herefordshire had come to the surface, and this random memory propelled me off my couch and into action. I rang the enquiry number on the website, and before long, I was being invited to kennels to meet the dogs!
Between then and now, I have taken on all kinds of roles: walking; vet runs; homing, fostering, rehabilitation, home visits; fundraising, transport runs, and using my design skills to help with marketing and advertising. In the early days, when we still had kennels in the North West, I was very hands-on and very soon, it was less about my emotional needs and more about the needs of the dogs in our care.
I developed great friendships with many of the volunteers, and supporting each other through whatever challenges ‘rescue’ threw up, soon became part of the incentive to help. Some of these friendships have continued to grow and develop and are now some of the most important of my life. I’ve been blessed to share my home with many wonderful foster dogs; each one came with a requirement that needed to be met, a lesson for me to learn, and a love to be shared.
And of course, I can’t write this without mentioning my four beautiful forever greyhound girls: Holly Monster, Greta Garbage, Belle the Wonky Donkey, and Feebee Fleabag. Gone now, but still living large in my heart!Anna
I volunteer for Forever Hounds Trust as I have always loved sighthounds and have previously rehomed a number of ex racing greyhounds. Having recently retired and now with a much more energetic lurcher Zoe, I wanted to do something worthwhile with my time. I know many animal charities find it hard to compete for funding with all the other charities out there.
I have mainly focussed on fundraising and coordinate our efforts in Wales with our small team – we do various events selling merchandise, organising fun things for dogs and humans to do, for example Chepstow Arts Festival and garden centre collections. I also undertake fundraising challenges, last year Zoe and I did a marathon a month for 6 months, and this year am walking Offa’s Dyke with the Welsh team: https://www.justgiving.com/page/dewi-fht-1679666320969.
I have also had a couple of fosters – last year we took on Bliss, an elderly greyhound whose poor mum wasn’t really able to care for her properly being ill herself, and had to give her up when she went into a home. Bliss was with us for several months and needed quite a bit of TLC to get her back to full health and now has a lovely home with another lurcher. Recently we took on a young lurcher puppy George, who had been abandoned with his siblings and mum, and came to us in a very emaciated condition. We spent the last two months nursing, feeding and training him into a much more confident boy prior to him going to his forever home.
I have met some lovely people and wonderful hounds, there is so much unnecessary cruelty to dogs and anything we can do to help rescue, rehabilitate and rehome some feels very worthwhile. The fostering can be stressful but is very rewarding when you feel that you have helped a dog reach his or her potential, especially as being in kennels can be very distressing for some. It is also nice to do something different from the corporate world I was in before.Nicky
One of the reasons I enjoy volunteering with Forever Hounds Trust is that I’m passionate about animal welfare. The charity’s vision, mission, and values fit with this.
Volunteering for the charity gives me the opportunity to help greyhounds and get involved with learning about their health and welfare. I enjoy meeting people and talking with them about their dogs and the charity.
I’m involved in a variety of volunteering roles within the charity which includes:
Helping out and organising events to raise funds and raise awareness. Regular dog walking and enrichment on a Sunday morning, giving the dogs quality time out of the kennel environment. I also do regular transport runs to collect greyhounds and lurchers from all across the country and Ireland – this is where you get to see the hard reality of rescue. There is nothing I love more than collecting a dog on a transport run and following their rescue journey with the charity and onto their forever home. I get a huge amount of satisfaction from the team effort that is put into helping these dogs.
I’ve also fostered many greyhounds and lurchers over the years for Forever Hounds Trust, helping them on their journey to their forever homes.
You could say I’m a good all-rounder, and I’ll happily turn my hand to anything!
I’ve met lifelong friends through volunteering with the charity, and I cannot recommend volunteering enough, especially the feel-good factor of knowing you have been part of a fantastic team who have saved a hound’s life.Kim
We adopted Ginny Greyhound in July 2016 and I soon found out that volunteers arranged social walks and “playgroups”, which we enjoyed joining. I hadn’t expected her to bring me so many new friends! We’ve had such pleasure from having Ginny with us, that I wanted to help other kennel hounds waiting for new homes. Hence, I decided to apply to become a volunteer myself.
I helped with collections at shops and garden centre’s, taking Ginny along, but I soon realised she wasn’t that keen on the attention – or the shopping trolleys – so decided instead to get involved in other aspects of fundraising…especially when I learnt about the costs involved in rescuing a dog!
I was encouraged (or persuaded?!) by another amazing volunteer to help at a clothes sale and several Christmas Fairs and “Meet & Greets” which really are a great social occasion for humans & hounds alike. My role at these has been in the kitchen cooking, or serving refreshments donated by volunteers with cake-making expertise, which I don’t have!
During COVID lockdowns, I became a Telescreener (a now redundant role), making phone calls to over 70 prospective adopters/fosterers to gather information on their homes and lifestyles to enable us to match them to a hound.
Currently, I am helping to run online fundraising events – raffles, auctions etc which can be a bit stressful – I posted 40 parcels in one week recently…the Post Office queue wasn’t too happy! But, it’s so rewarding when you see the amounts raised and know it will help.
I have met so many lovely people, and, of course, hounds, both online and in person, and would recommend becoming a volunteer to anyone who has time to spare. I have found it can fit round work and other commitments (an understanding Other Half who will make the tea when it gets very late also helps!)Alison
I adopted Hugo-The-Boss six years ago, and he will be eleven years old in July. I first discovered my love for sighthounds twenty-four years ago, and he is my third. Hugo-The-Boss and I enjoy volunteering for Forever Hounds Trust because we support the rescue and rehoming efforts the charity make for greyhounds and lurchers.
We like the various volunteer activities one can get involved in, or take a lead on. For example, I have been organising other volunteers and supporters to raise awareness, fundraise, and promote the adoption and fostering of greyhounds and lurchers for the past five years. Having hounds present is usually a convincing conversation starter in public when we do meet and greet events, they show the general public what a noble breed they are and what a gentle nature they have. These events take place in partnership with Pets at Home in Weymouth, as well as at village fayres and festivals all over Dorset.
Furthermore, I organise monthly sighthound social walks in various locations in Dorset. We always meet up after the walks for refreshments and lunch which is greytly enjoyed by both humans and their hounds. Hugo-The-Boss and I like meeting and socialising with other hounds and their humans. It’s great keeping company with other like-minded people and sharing our stories….all whilst surrounded by sighthounds!Frankie
I volunteer for Forever Hounds Trust for the love of the hounds, and wanting to help them on their path to their Forever Homes. There are many abandoned hounds, some ex-racers, some other sighthounds due to unforeseen circumstances, sadly, some are just left out in the cold to fend for themselves.
During my time with Forever Hounds Trust I have mainly focussed on fundraising and helping with events. However, I have in the past transported dogs to their foster homes or to kennels. When there were kennels near to where I lived, I joined in with the walking of hounds when I could. Even now, I am always available for transporting and walking.
I get pleasure in helping our hounds, whether it be by walking them, or raising funds for their welfare and happy futures. I enjoy educating people about the various breeds and their needs, for example, a lot of the general public are surprised to hear about how much (or little) exercise they need, and how they should be fed. I take great satisfaction in seeing a hound go to their Forever Home; the pictures that are taken always show very happy hounds with their equally happy hoomans!
I am lucky to work in a very tight group of volunteers within the Eastern Region, and could not do everything I do without their support at events.
Congratulations to all volunteers for their hard work for Forever Hounds Trust, the hounds appreciate it.Carol
Many people tend to think that volunteering for a rescue means dog walking, but, as you have seen, we have volunteers in many different areas of our operations – dog walkers, transporters, fundraisers, administrators, graphic design, event teams, behaviourists, fosterers, physios, and trustees…the list goes on.
So, whoever you are, whatever skills you have, and wherever you live, you probably have something to offer hounds in need. Click on this link to apply to volunteer and really make a difference.
That just leaves us to say a huge THANK YOU to ALL our wonderful volunteers, we couldn’t do what we do without you.