National Trustee Week

17 November 2017

In recognition of National Trustee Week our Chairman Professor Steven Dean has written the following piece to highlight some of the work our Trustees do for the Greyhound Trust...

TrusteesProfessor Steven Dean, second from the right, with Andrew Rosindell MP, Greyhound Trust CEO Lisa Morris-Tomkins, and guests at a recent event in London.

I am proud to be the Chairman of the Greyhound Trust. We have a defined role - finding homes for greyhounds retiring from a racing career. The Greyhound Trust is not about raising money for the seemingly endless task of rescuing a wide variety of dogs from poor quality lives. It is about organising and funding an effective response to a well-defined need and we have a good view of what is required to prepare dogs for a happy life in a family home. It is inspiring to work alongside our committed volunteers, supported by a small number of salaried staff who do the job because they are dedicated to helping greyhounds find their first family home. That is the sort of thing I like to get involved in - a clear purpose, with defined processes and heart-warming results.

Why do I do it? It an opportunity to contribute quite simply. I have had a lot of fun and employment thanks to dogs and since ‘retiring’ have set about devoting my experience and learning towards improving how we treat dogs in society. I was a for a time a vet at a dog track and have always admired the breed for its temperament and abilities. These dogs need some help when they retire and stepping in as Chairman has allowed me the opportunity to guide the Trust towards an ever better future and thus improve what we can give back to the greyhounds that need our care and attention. I have veterinary skills, business experience and have been Chairman of a number of groups and organisations, so why not use all of that and put it to good use for the sake of the retiring greyhound.

The result is quite a lot of hard work, quite often a feeling of achievement especially when I see how many dogs we help each year, some frustration with the inevitable financial barrier preventing us from helping more greyhounds find great homes, but most of all its the response from people I meet, with a retired greyhound by their side, that gives me the best reason to be involved. The owners are generally full of praise for the people they have met from the Greyhound Trust. All things considered its the sense of achievement that makes me do this work.

Would I encourage others to do it? Yes I would but tempered with what I hope is sage advice. Being Chairman is not about personal promotion but if you love dogs, appreciate the breed in particular and want to feel that you have made a selfless contribution (and get a kick out of meeting happy dogs with smiling owners) its is a very worthwhile role. I do enjoy putting my experience to work on a problem and see the result at the end and happy dogs and smiling owners tells me we are getting it about right - but there is always more we can do, or things we can do better. So the job as Chairman of the Greyhound Trust is not up for grabs just yet! 

If you are inspired by Steve's story and would like to volunteer for the Greyhound Trust, we are always keen to hear from you. We currently have volunteer roles at our branches and head office for anyone with a passion for helping retired racing greyhounds. Get in touch at hello@greyhoundtrust.org.uk

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