Katie Murrell

Katie Murrell

Income Generation Manager

As I reflect on the events of the weekend just gone, I can’t help but feel proud of the team that pulled together to make it a success.

Despite the cold autumnal chill that has definitely started to settle in now, our local fundraising volunteers, both long-standing and new, dragged themselves and their hounds out of their warm beds on Sunday to make their way over to Margam Park and support Greyhound Rescue Wales as we attended Burns’ “Dogs Day Out” annual event. The event is an important one for us and for many animal rescue charities, as Burns are major charity partners that do a huge amount for us all. Burns donate food for all of our rescue dogs all year round, ensuring that our kennel dogs are on good quality food whilst in our care. They also donate a rehoming pack to each adopted hound so that our dogs go to their forever homes with the same good nutrition they’ve been receiving with us.

The first wave of volunteers rocked up with myself and Nicola at 8am, enthusiastically throwing our gazebo up in seconds. We were lucky to have some volunteers who were much taller than Nicola and I, as we struggled to reach all of the straps and ties that we needed to secure everything. Within an hour, we had tables out, merchandise on display, and Michelle and I were arguing over the price of different products whilst Nicola hunted for the petty cash that I never picked up. Alain kindly shared his GRW coat with me as I had underestimated the Welsh weather and had come woefully unprepared for the cold. Our wonderful new feather flags fluttered (backwards) in the breeze and marked our location for all volunteers trying to find their way over to us.

A man appeared at our gazebo early on and was quietly watching us. “Hi, I love your kilt!” I said cheerfully before clocking the name tag showing that it was John Burns himself. He thanked us for coming and we thanked him for everything Burns does for our charity.

10am came with the opening of the event, and some of our Hillcrest hounds started to arrive, along with another wave of volunteers and our queen of retail herself, Judy, along with sandwiches and the elusive petty cash. All hail Judy!

The Hillcrest Hounds settled into their roles, getting acquainted with their volunteer handlers and demanding attention off the visitors, whilst they waited patiently for their moment of glory in the main arena. We were kindly accompanied by Bella, Lexi and Lilly today, three newbies to Hillcrest. We have been lucky to have had many adoptions recently, so Nicola chose three new lovely ladies to represent the charity and sell themselves to potential new forever homes.

Many more volunteers started to turn up with their lovely, adopted dogs which always brings joy to see our adopted hounds in such loving homes. Beattie, Tom and Rey were some of the visitors of the day, greeting our lovely rescue and rehoming manager with familiarity and fondness. They created a greyhound lounge alongside our gazebo and before long, most of them were snoozing in the autumn sun whilst their owners reeled off the endless list of wonderful reasons why adopting a greyhound is great to passing visitors.

With just three hounds available for our display in the main arena, Alain declared that it would be a lovely opportunity for everyone to bring in their adopted hounds to support them! So at 11.10am, we trundled across the field to the main arena and lined up with a hoard of pointy dogs in tow. Nicola and I debated who was going to say what in the arena, before being thrown in there with a microphone and pretty much making it up on the spot. All hounds behaved impeccably and were excellent ambassadors for the breed, of course.

The rest of the day passed pleasantly, with another Hillcrest Hound, the lovely Charlotte, showing up to join the team with trustee Magdalena. Charlotte declared it play time with a small spaniel and we laughed as she tried to entertain the spaniel with a wild leggy dance. The spaniel, of course, looked utterly bewildered and went back to staring lovingly at it’s owner. As the day rolled on and the event got quieter, we sat and discussed the important topics of the day; why greyhounds are great pets and of course, how generous Burns are to support the charity.

At 4pm, no sooner had we decided to pack up, it was suddenly all neatly stacked in the back of my car again. Blink and you’ll miss it! After raising an excellent £250, and some vital awareness for the hounds, I think we can safely say that it was a day well spent. I can only express my heartfelt gratitude to the WONDERFUL volunteers who opted to spend their day supporting us, being a part of our community, promoting wonderful dogs who deserve forever homes.