Care home residents save neglected greyhound from ''life of misery''


Dexter aged five is now living at Woodside Grange Care Home in Rhos-on-Sea and along with the other residents has a care plan, detailing his food preferences, bedtime routine and walk times. Dexter escorts residents to their bedrooms when it is time to go to bed and one woman bonded so strongly with him that her family asked for him to attend her funeral.

Resident Freda Ashley, 83, says: “I look forward to seeing him every day” with fellow resident Margaret Latchford, 77, adding: “He’s part of my family. I love him so much.”

Owner of Woodside Grange, Michelle Snook, said: “When it was first suggested that we should adopt a greyhound I was very apprehensive. I’m a massive dog lover and I was concerned that things wouldn’t work out and he would have to be returned to the rescue centre.

“I needn’t have worried. From day one the rescue centre worked with us to ensure that a dog compatible with the challenges of a busy home was chosen. Dexter came with his foster mum for some day visits before joining us permanently.

“He has been a joy, he enhances the day for the residents, staff and visitors. He greets everyone with a wagging tail and makes us all feel special and loved.”

The care home adopted Dexter from Shropshire-based charity Hector’s Greyhound Rescue, which had been alerted to his plight by a member of the public in Oxfordshire. The charity found the dog in poor condition and gave it vital veterinary attention, which included the removal of 15 rotten teeth and fleas and worm treatments.

Woodside Grange wants to encourage other care homes in Wales to consider adopting their own greyhound thanks to the positive impact it has had on mental wellbeing at the home.

“We are really keen to get other care homes involved,” said Woodside manager Jackie Bodden, from Colwyn Bay.

“Greyhounds are a good height so they don’t get under anybody’s feet. Dexter’s very lazy and spends most of his time on his back with his legs up in the air. Everybody has fallen in love with him.

“He’s part of the family and he’s very important to them. All the residents and visitors know him. We’ve seen a massive difference in everyone. He brings them so much pleasure. They just connect with him.”

Praising their approach, Mario Kreft, chair of Care Forum Wales, said: “Dexter has made a wonderful addition to Woodside Grange and has improved the lives of all those who come into contact with him.

“We’ve known for some time how beneficial pet therapy can be for fulfilment and relaxation and I’m delighted Woodside has taken it to the next level by offering a full-time home to Dexter.

“I’m sure many other care homes would reap the rewards of a full-time four-legged resident and I wish Hector’s Greyhound Rescue the very best of luck with their search for homes.”

Hayley Bradley, founder of Hector’s Greyhound Rescue, has been rescuing greyhounds for more than 20 years. She set up the organisation in 2002 and now has a dedicated group of volunteers across North Wales, Cheshire, Lancashire and Shropshire who devote their time to saving and rehoming ex-racing greyhounds and other sighthounds.

The charity, which spends all of the funds it raises on the care of the greyhounds and rescues around 20 greyhounds a year, relies on foster volunteers to care for the dogs until new homes can be found. “The majority of racing greyhounds have good trainers and once they’ve stopped racing they will hand them over to the rescue centres like ourselves who take them in,” says Hayley Bradley.

“There is a percentage, however, that will give the dogs away or put them on social media where they can end up being used as bait dogs or for hunting or breeding. They can get in the wrong hands and end up in the pound or abandoned on the A5.”

Helen Wilkes, the charity’s North Wales’ ambassador, added: “We endeavour to match the right dog to the right home and we knew immediately that Dexter was a perfect match for Woodside Grange. He’s an Irish ex-racer who was living in desperate circumstances when we rescued him but he’s now living in luxury receiving all the attention that he loves.

“Greyhounds make perfect companions as they are very laid back, quiet and somewhat lazy dogs!”

Article By: Sue Learner

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