What Ethical Rescue Means to Us

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Gumtree Greys is proud to be an ethically funded, professionally run rescue group. Let’s unpack what that involves.

Toby the greyhound's head is visible over a woman's shoulder, who is photographed from behind. She is wearing a shirt with an image of angel wings beside the text 'Greyhound Guardian.'

Rescuing is often positioned as inherently ethical, but it takes more than just rehoming animals to meet that definition. At Gumtree Greys, we hold ourselves to very high standards to ensure that our program is providing a sage, supportive and professional environment for the hounds and humans in our care. 

What makes Gumtree Greys an ethical rescue organisation?

Gumtree Greys pride ourselves on being:

Transparent

We make a commitment to all our volunteers, foster carers, adopters, donors, charity partners and community members to be transparent about our practices, governance and finances

We don’t take any money from the racing industry or work with industry-aligned businesses, meaning that we rely entirely on the generosity of our community and corporate donors. 

Professionally run 

We have an active Board, whose members oversee business processes such as financial reporting, risk assessments and charity governance. This means that the board ensures that every cent donated is accounted for, that we maintain our integrity, and that our operations are safe, viable over the long term, and considerate of everyone involved.

This approach extends to our training practices and the rehabilitation we provide for greyhounds in our program. We use and advocate for evidence-based methods supported by science, meaning we only use positive reinforcement (R+) training methods and we don’t use practices based on dominance theory

Positive reinforcement isn’t just for training! Teddy is rewarded for his hard work as a model with yummy treats.

Our Director, Julia Cockram, is an IAABC-certified behaviour consultant who is on hand to offer advice and support to our foster carers, adopters and the wider community of greyhound guardians in Melbourne. We also refer our foster dogs to other suitably qualified professionals to help manage behavioural or health challenges.

Our team of coordinators have been working together for many years, and collectively boast over 30 years experience, having rescued and rehabilitated hundreds of greyhounds. With diverse professional and personal backgrounds, they all share a love of dogs and of our wonderful community.

Safe and supportive

Our dogs don’t judge us and we don’t judge each other. Gummies provides a welcoming community for everyone, which means that we don’t tolerate discrimination of any kind. We use our social media and online presence to advocate for safe and inclusive spaces in rescue and to celebrate the diversity of our wonderful community.

We could not do what we do without our volunteers, which is why we’re also committed to providing a professional and supportive environment that allows them to develop and learn. We encourage growth through mentoring and access to formal training programs like Compassion in Balance, which assists our co-ordinators and frontline volunteers to process traumatic experiences, recognise burnout and manage compassion fatigue.

Responsible decision-makers

While we of course wish we could provide loving homes for every greyhound in Victoria, the reality is that as rescuers, we have to be realistic about what we can achieve. For us, this means that we have a cap on the number of dogs in foster care at any given time, so that we don’t exceed the resources and volunteer capacity that we have available. 

This cap can fluctuate depending on the care needs of our dogs, and the speed of our pipeline (e.g. the average time dogs are spending in foster care before finding adoptive homes). Our Foster Coordinator regularly reviews the cap and it is discussed at Board level.

By sticking to this cap, we’re always in a position to offer both hounds and humans the essential support and care they need. We make sure that we have the financial stability to pay for vet treatment for all our foster dogs, as well as having alternatives readily available if a volunteer’s circumstances change or a hound needs a different environment to thrive. 

Why being an ethical rescue matters to us

We hope to one day see greyhound racing phased out in Australia, but in the meantime we need to be able to do this important, lifesaving work for as long as possible. That mission drives our commitment to being professionally operated and ethically funded. We can only do what we do as long as we stick to our values, work within the resources we have, care for our volunteers and wider community, and ensure that our dogs live safe, happy lives.

Last modified: June 29, 2024