An unlikely partnership has formed between prisoners in Australia and rescued greyhounds. The charity Greyhounds As Pets SA (GAP SA) and two prisons in South Australia have formed a mutually-beneficial relationship. Since 1997 GAP SA has been rescuing greyhounds from the racing industry with the aim of retraining and re-homing them. The new partnership with Mobilong and Adelaide Women’s prisons sees inmates employed to take care of and retrain the dogs. After completing their training the greyhounds are adopted to the general public. Mobilong prison, which is one hour from Adelaide, currently has 18 greyhounds who are each paired with a prisoner.
Josh who is one of the prisoners in the GAP SA program, spoke to the ABC about the experience. Josh said the harsh realities of prison life are inescapable, except for when he gets to spend time with his greyhound Rosie. “Dogs aren’t judgemental like people,” he said. “They don’t care what you’ve done in the past, they don’t care who you are as a person as long as you have a good relationship with them, so it means a lot to us.” Hayley Mils the deputy correctional services chief executive said the prisoners’ moods completely changed around the dogs. She said, “The program brings out that nurturing side in the men and that’s really important,”. Mils went on to say “The men who are in our care here are fathers, they’re partners, they’re sons, and that [nurturing is] such an important skill to take back out with them.”
The program has two main aims: to retrain and prepare the greyhounds for family life, whilst also providing a meaningful program for prisoners. It has also increased the mental wellbeing of the prisoners involved. Being involved in the program also allows prisoners to study Certificate II in Animal Studies. Four hundred dogs have now gone through the program at Mobilong prison. Additionally 200 dogs have been retrained and re-homed through Adelaide’s Women’s prison.
Adopting rescued greyhounds
Greyhounds make great pets. Despite their reputation for running greyhounds can also be couch potatoes and are suitable for apartment living. They are also kind, nurturing, playful and gentle. If you are considering rescuing or fostering a greyhound check out the local greyhound rescue in your area. If you happen to live in South Australia you ca rescue a greyhound like Rosie directly from GAPSA.