TASMANIA’S Greyhound Adoption Program has teamed up with the Parkside Foundation to offer special needs clients an opportunity to become involved with greyhounds
The Parkside Foundation is a non-profit organisation that provides personal support services to people in a wide range of circumstances.
For the past two months GAP Tasmania coordinator Susan Gittus has been working with Parkside to grow its involvement with Parkside’s Branching Out Program.
“Working with Parkside is part of GAP Tasmania’s community engagement strategy and visiting the dogs has certainly grown in popularity with Parkside clients,” Gittus said.
“This association with the Parkside Foundation forms part of our plan to grow opportunities to place greyhounds into the community.
Parkside’s senior services coordinator Michelle Oates says the partnership is proving successful.
“We look at a number of volunteer programs and assess what we and the clients would like to achieve and one project was to try and source where we could go to have some special clients interact with dogs,” Oates said.
“So we contacted Greyhound Adoption Program Tasmania and they were only too pleased to work with Parkside.
“This is part of our Branching Out program that started with a couple of clients wanting to participate and not surprisingly the popularity has grown enormously within our client base.”
Three Parkside clients who attended today’s hour-long session at Elwick were Jacob O’Bierne, Mitchell Webb and Michael Jamieson who are regular participants in the program and they all were obviously happy to be around the greyhounds.
Parkside support coordinator Dion Saxon explained the importance of the Branching Out Program and why there are plans to expand it.
“Our clients have the same needs as us but there are not many outlets where the clients can give back to the community,” Mr. Saxon said.
“With GAP Tasmania our clients not only get to interact with the greyhounds they also are reaping a lot of benefit in that they are given a sense of self-worth through helping with the awareness of the greyhound adoption program.”
The purpose of GAP Tasmania is to find loving, permanent homes for the greyhounds when they have retired and being a part of Parkside’s program helps prepare the dogs for life outside racing.