Greenhounds Bringing Comfort and Creating Smiles

You may have read our news item about Greenhound Bobby who qualified as a Delta Therapy Dog last year. Since then, there are now several more Greenhounds who are bringing comfort and creating smiles by visiting hospitals and retirement homes.
Greenhounds Bringing Comfort and Creating Smiles

You may have read our news item about Greenhound Bobby who qualified as a Delta Therapy Dog last year.  Since then, there are now several more Greenhounds who are bringing comfort and creating smiles by visiting hospitals and retirement homes. We would like to pay tribute to these special dogs and their owners who volunteer their time.


King came to GRNSW Greyhounds as Pets after an average racing career. He was much loved by his owner/trainer who wanted him to have a happy life as a pet. King was placed in foster care to help him make the transition from racing to retirement where he excelled and adjusted quickly to new environments and situations. GRNSW Greyhounds as Pets had previously been contacted by St Martins de Porres aged care facility at Waratah (near Newcastle) who were keen to get a new residential dog after they lost their live-in Labrador. They were happy to wait until the right Greyhound came along to meet their requirements. King had the right attributes for the job and after completing his foster care period, he came back to Greyhounds as Pets for some advanced training where he spent time getting used to wheelchairs and dealing with various situations he would come across in St Martins. After a two week trial period at the facility, the ownership was confirmed and King officially became a residential therapy dog. He lives part-time with a carer (who works at St Martins) and spends the rest of his time being adored, hugged and patted by the residents.

Here are some words from King’s carer Nicole.
“It is so lovely to see King bring a smile to our residents’ faces as he nuzzles up against them. He is a truly beautiful animal and I am so grateful to Greyhounds As Pets ... he is also a lovely part-time addition to my home. Every day my daughters want me to bring him home! I have a strong feeling that our next dog at home will be a Greyhound!”

Click this link to see a video of “A Day in the Life of King”.


Leah is 12 years of age and an old hand (paw) at pet therapy visiting. Her owner Les Westerweller took her into his family after visiting the Greyhound Adoption Programme exhibit at the 2005 Royal Easter Show.

Les tells Leah’s story.
“At the time I had a friend in a nursing home at Leichhardt and Leah and I became a weekly visitor to him and other guests at the home. Leah was a hit and had a natural gentle way with the people and brought many a smile to their faces. Being a greyhound she fitted in with the generation of people that lived in the home as in days gone by many racing hounds were walked in the streets and everybody’s uncle seemed to own one so there was always something to talk about. In 2006 I read an article in the Reader’s Digest about the Delta Dogs Pet Partner program (now Pet Therapy) that visited nursing homes and made an application immediately. After reading the paperwork, it was clear to me that Leah met all the criteria to join so we did so. I had to attend a training course and Leah was required to pass an assessment. The assessment covered such things as walking beside you, not over reacting to loud people, wheelchairs, medical equipment etc and noise such as a bed pan being dropped. This assessment is carried out annually.

Leah has also represented the Greyhound Adoption Program at such events as Royal Easter Show, Better Homes and Garden, the Retirement Show, Social club for people with disabilities and many local fairs and dog shows. Leah and her photos (along with my granddaughter) have been used to promote Greyhounds as Pets and Greenhounds. Leah received her Greenhound collar in February 2012.

Leah has been a blessing to many people. She has sat at bed sides of very sick and dying people and has bought a smile to their faces and the faces of those who were visiting them. She also offers light relief the staff working in these homes. Leah is quite old but still going strong.”


In 2011, Warren Britten and Nola Wilton welcomed Arnie into their family after he went through foster care with GRNSW Greyhounds as Pets. Proving that one Greyhound is not enough, Gretal followed a few weeks later. The pair soon became great ambassadors for the breed, proudly walking around their local area with Greyhounds As Pets backpacks, giving out brochures to encourage Greyhound re-homing and winning hearts. Both dogs became Greenhounds in 2012. With their loving gentle natures, Warren and Nola began to take them on pet therapy visits to Villa Maria Nursing Home, a 120 bed complex at Unanderra (near Wollongong).

Warren says;
“My Mother-in Law lives in one of the high care units at Villa Maria. She is 95 years young, now totally blind and recently had her right leg amputated below the knee which means she is confined to a waterbed or wheelchair. Whilst not being able to see Arnie and Gretal, she manages to feel both of them from their heads down to their tails. The residents really enjoy contact with the dogs and derive great pleasure from their visits. The dogs are very placid and adore the extra attention they receive from both the residents and the staff. They willingly go from one person to the next and enjoy having their heads patted and a general rub down, bringing smiles to faces wherever they go.”


Shan Patterson took Sally into her family in 2007 after she was made available for re-homing by the Greyhound Adoption Programme NSW. Colin Marshall got Misty in 2009 from the same programme. Humans and dogs all became good friends and started their pet therapy journey together.

Shan tells their story.
“The reason I adopted a Greyhound was I knew they were wonderful companions and really love people. Sally is a member of our family and we take her everywhere we go, she goes on holidays with us and is much loved. She raced up until I fostered her with the intention of adopting. She needed some rehabilitation into the outside world but as she is very intelligent that was not difficult and when she finally met Misty two years later they became best friends. Misty is sweet and smart and very relaxed with other dogs and different situations. She is like a member of our family and we see her every day.

Sally and Misty did the Delta Therapy Dog assessment on the same day, 27th February 2010 and were reassessed two years later and continued on as therapy dogs. For a year Sally and I visited an aged care facility in East Sydney called Vincentian. I was very proud of her as it was a tough place to go as it catered for homeless people with mental problems due to alcohol and drug addiction. One resident who was lifeless and never made eye contact or talked would gently pat Sally and one day he called her by her name. I remember the day when an elderly blind gentleman was very distressed and I placed his hand on Sally to calm him down. After that we used to visit him regularly and he would always tell me that Sally was the only thing he looked forward to each week. We eventually left Vincentian as Sally could no longer cope with the smells and feeling of the facility but we continued at another facility in Maroubra. I had to retire Sally a few months ago due to some ongoing illness. She is terrific now but it was time for her to take life a bit easier. She has done so much for the image of the Greyhound breed. She is an amazing smart girl. Colin continues to visit with Misty to two aged care facilities in Rose Bay where she is very much loved."