It’s been a busy year for the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust. As of the end of November 2018, 893 greyhounds have been rehomed in conjunction with the IRGT. 469 of these were direct IRGT rehomings, with 424 of these courtesy of organisations receiving financial support from the IRGT.
Brenda Powderly, a trustee with the IRGT and a familiar face at Shelbourne Park with her beloved retired greyhound Ted, has a family history steeped in greyhound racing.
“There were always greyhounds here for as long as I can remember. My mother and her brother were involved, we used to breed, we used to rear, we used to race,” she says.
Brenda, hailing from Drogheda, Co. Louth, has fond memories of the now closed Navan track. “It was the first track I ever attended, it closed down sadly about 20 years ago. I can remember during the mid-1970s, it would have been my best year, I have a piece of Waterford Crystal up there I won there, we had six or seven race dogs there at the time. Between them they won 24 or 25 races this year, which left me with the leading owners prize,” she reminisces.
With her success on the track, she says it was a natural transition to begin working with retired racing greyhounds: “Even at home here, when I was growing up, there were always a few older greyhounds pottering around the place. A couple of years ago I got involved with the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust, it’s work I thoroughly enjoy. It’s great to see people’s faces when they get their dog, but on the other side of it, it’s great to see the other side of it, maybe when an owner doesn’t have room to keep on a greyhound and he or she is happy to see them go to a good home.”
Brenda says that owners who may want to rehome a greyhound in 2019 shouldn’t hesitate to do so. “It’s actually quite simple, even more so now greyhounds are microchipped,” she says. “It’s funded by the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust, there’s very little expense on the owner. The only thing I’d say is, put a bit of thought into it, if you have a greyhound coming to the end of their career in a few months, start thinking about it then. Don’t leave it until the last minute and expect a greyhound to be rehomed the next day.”
The IRGT is 21 years old this year, and Brenda admits she would love to see the 1,000 mark of greyhounds being rehomed broken before 2018 is over. However, with that being said, she believes that the work of promoting retired greyhounds is happening more than ever before.
“The 'Our People, Their Stories' was a wonderful achievement and a wonderful thing to do. The feedback from it has been fantastic. We’ve got some great press reviews and promotions in the press. We just need to get the word out there, particularly a little bit more here in Ireland. It just needs to be got out home here a little bit more, abroad it seems to be no problem, but we just have to get that message to everyone we can meet here at home.”
As for her hopes for 2019, Brenda wants more of the same. “The awareness is becoming a bit more, so to keep working on that. I think 2019 is going to be a wonderful year,” she says.
LISTEN: Brenda Powderly's full interview can be heard here.
WATCH: Brenda and Ted's video for the 'Our People, Their Stories' campaign can be viewed here.