Every dog has its day

Greyhound Angels founder Melita Shonis with a group of dogs from her shelter.
Greyhound Angels founder Melita Shonis with a group of dogs from her shelter.

Ms Shonis said she founded Greyhound Angels because dogs that were unable to make the grade were left at vet clinics or put to sleep.

‘It was quite common that I would go to the track with one dog, and come home with two,’ she said.

Ms Shonis said she became involved in greyhound racing at age 16 because she thought it would be an excuse to get another dog after losing the beloved family pet.

‘I enjoyed racing with my dogs, but I treated them like pets,’ Ms Shonis said.

‘If they didn’t want to race, I’d find a home for them and my passion became re-homing rather than racing.

‘When I won at the races, that money went into buying a new bed, treats or collar for the dogs.’

Ms Shonis said she took dogs from 15 trainers and has more signing up.

‘There is a constant, overwhelming, never-ending need to find homes for slow racers, and those unable to race.

‘I have fallen in love with greyhounds and found homes for around a thousand dogs since I started in 1994, and it annoys me that if I can do it, the owners can do it too.’

Ms Shonis now has a supportive team to help but said rescue groups are under a constant burden because greyhounds are misunderstood.

‘I see people put their dogs to sleep because they aren’t fast enough, but they are the ones that are good pets, good with cats, young children, older people and families.

‘They are so gentle, easy to please and are very low maintenance.

‘I could never understand, when I worked at the track, that most of the dogs I took in were judged rubbish by their owners,’ she said.