10256743_1057262574314524_2261177518962911664_o2015 was another successful year for HUG and it’s small team of volunteers. Irish home offers are on the increase and Margaret, our Homing Co-ordinator, was kept busy following up on all applications, arranging homechecks, and finding suitable HUG hounds. In total 80 hounds found new homes, 36 of these were to Irish families. The remaining 44 hounds travelled abroad to be adopted via our rescue partners: Rescued Racers in Wales, A Grey’s Home in Belgium, SOS Levrieri in Italy, and Swanton Abbott Greyhound Adoption in Norfolk UK.

Due to the pressure of their family and work commitments, HUG was no longer able to avail of kenneling facilities provided by two of our HUG volunteers. Paid kenneling was subsequently found for HUG hounds in counties Kerry and Wexford, along with a few foster homes around the country. Due to a number of abandoned lurchers being taken in by HUG at the start of 2015 our foster spaces were very limited. It has taken 14 months to find homes for all the lurchers, and lack of foster homes is still a problem for the rescue.

10151370_986095644764551_8279108285449863602_nHUG is in constant demand to help with rehoming unwanted greyhounds from racing greyhound owners and trainers, and members of the public. Some people have more than one greyhound to rehome and it can take us a while to place them all. In August we were contacted by a trainer in the South East with a litter of eight dogs. By working with him we took the dogs in twos and found them forever homes or foster spaces. The last two of these dogs were taken in last month and are available for homing.

11717490_999274920113290_4504504905645453962_oSome of the dogs HUG takes in also require extensive veterinary care. One such case was Dawn, a beautiful brindle female, who had a deformed front leg. After unsuccessful surgery and treatment the decision was made to amputate her front leg. Dawn made a full recovery, was adopted by two of our volunteers and is a great ambassador for HUG. She was also a Nose of Tralee nominee and finalist!

Fundraising is very important to ensure HUG can help as many greyhounds as possible. We were very fortunate in 2015 to be nominated as the Irish Veterinary Nurse Association’s charity of the year, and they raised €2,586 for the rescue. HUG volunteers also presented an information stand at the IVNA awards in Mullingar, where IVNA members could learn more about our work and also meet some of the HUG greyhounds.11139372_972949696079146_7103776586366229618_n

Due to many dog shows and events taking place outside and the Irish weather being unpredictable, the HUG team purchased a promotional tent which had its first outing at the Killarney Dog Show. The sun actually shone that day, but the dogs were delighted to rest in the shade. Other fundraising events included volunteers running the Cork Mini Marathon, and street collections in Macroom, Bantry, Listowel, Tralee, and Kenmare.

A new fundraising idea was also started last summer, an online Facebook auction where people could bid for items kindly donated by supporters and businesses. The Summer auction raised €838, and then a pre Christmas auction was held which collected €710. It is hoped to continue these in 2016.

12187878_1069768303063951_7768792745298890065_nWhilst HUG is busy rehoming Irish greyhounds and carrying out fundraising, it is also important to promote greyhounds as fantastic family pets. The Greyhound Rescue Association of Ireland’s annual walk took place last June at Farmleigh in Dublin, with a picnic in the Phoenix Park afterwards for the many hounds and people taking part. HUG again attended the Pet Expo in Dublin last November which generated a lot of interest, and many previous adopters came to visit the stand with their HUG hounds. By getting the general public to meet and actually touch a greyhound is the best way of people seeing how gentle and affection this breed can be.

Due to the generosity of our supporters with previous fundraising appeals HUG now has a new van for the transport of the greyhounds to events, vets, and new homes. The graphics are now completed, and the van has been registered with the Dept of Agriculture. Final certification will be obtained in 2016.

11222536_1062950013745780_283959596423412248_nThe Dept of Agriculture continue to recognise the work that HUG does with regards to greyhound welfare and rehoming, and at the end of 2015 HUG received an ex gratia payment of €4,000 from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which is an increase of €1,200 from the 2014 payment.

New microchipping regulations for adult dogs will come into effect at the end of March 2016, and as part of this process some Board members attended an information day held in Dublin in August in conjunction with Fido, the main Irish microchipping database.

A few other changes were made to HUG’s activities: HUG decided that its post adoption material would now change to feature Mary Jane Fox’s new book ‘ Understanding Greyhounds – Our Companions through the ages’. HUG also now stocks collars from Irish firm Swaggles to complement our existing Kitsch Collar range.