It’s fair to say we have moved about a bit. You have to hand it to us, we always sleep with our boots on ready to run.  Tia began as a shed in a field and then traded up to a sewage farm in Sowerby Bridge. A devastating break in and Yorkshire water put the kibosh on that and we were saved by a timely legacy which lifted us to another level. A bit of crawling to the bank and we were able to purchase Moorside farm. Eventually outgrown after 10 happy years, we nervously moved down South as far as Doncaster. Millrace and its 70 acres allowed us to expand the numbers we could save and it quickly became the go to kennels for the surrounding tracks. Sadly the world and urban creep began to impact our lives, and after 7 years we needed to call the removal vans again. We managed to buy a farm outright, in Scotland.

Easter Hardmuir Farm is beginning to take shape, and we have recently opened our first shop in Nairn. The dogs have developed a taste for Haggis. We too have grown to love the place but miss our curries though visiting volunteers have been known to bring us some from our old takeaway. They also send their love along with the Chicken Tikka Masala.

Our first move took a few hours. Everything in the pickup, sign over the door and get the kettle on. Our last move entailed three months of preparation, a team on each site and five massive Gillies Transport horseboxes being cheered on along the M1 by supporters clutching banners at the side of the motorway. Go Tia go! Check out the video.

Covid knocked us for six and we all have our own stories. The usual suspects dumped their dogs after the last race at Askern and we had a good dozen on top of the “family” to provide for. Again our supporters came to our rescue and squeezed another onto the sofa. Most never returned to the fold and are still there. It was a horrible time for all but we are still standing, unlike some of our fellow charities sadly.

Under our wing we have around twenty five greyhounds, most of whom won’t be going anywhere due to age and issues, plus the same number of horses, most of whom are the size of bungalows. Donkeys, chickens, goats and also our doves which were in the removal vans sandwiched between the pork and the beans. It is impossible to put a figure on the amount of dogs and horses we have helped. This has been achieved through the efforts of wonderful people, frankly restoring our faith in human nature. Our work is not done yet as we move into our next phase. The joint announcement of the RSCPA, Blue Cross and Dogs Trust aiming for the cessation of the sport within 5 years signals our next challenge. There will be thousands of dogs needing places and it’s bad enough now. Nevertheless we welcome the declaration and the big three’s massive resources mean they will probably achieve it. Tia will do its best.

Our founder is a nightmare and most people don’t last the pace. Death threats, walkouts, splinter groups, a sustained online attack by animal rights nutters are all part of our rich tapestry. That’s just the supporters. Then there’s the racing industry itself. One trainer stripped naked on the yard after we had just fed him a good dinner, another threatened to pour accelerant over her!  Some supporters have been tempted to offer them a light on occasion.  However around 6-8000 animals would stand between us and in rescue as in life you need a hard edge to survive. We aren’t milk and water people, but we do good work. A few trainers openly loath us but still beg us to take their retired dogs and will wait until a place becomes available. That speaks volumes. We are proud to say that we are banned from every racing forum in the land.

To those who stick with us please know we couldn’t do it without you. Any rescue will tell you they would pack up tomorrow if not for the volunteers. We have the very best. Sometimes we get it wrong and there is remorse. We are not perfect. Neither are you.

We have to keep going. Even without the politics, greyhound racing is in trouble. The stadiums are in the inner city and the land worth a fortune. The average age of a trainer is in the late 60’s, youngsters soon quit when the bills arrive. We know of several kennels where 40 dogs are looking for a place in a rescue. A series of welfare scandals damage the image and no sport can continue without the backing of sponsorship and big firms wont risk their image. We know of more horror stories to come out soon. Every day, tracks host races where say 5 of the 6 are trained by the same person.  Prize money is pitiful and the quality of runners seems to decrease by the year. Our own overheads are also soaring and it is difficult to see past that at the moment. A recent bill has seen an increase of 300% in twelve months. We are worried and very tired with staff shortages.

However, we are still rehoming lots of greyhounds in Yorkshire and with the network of supporters and volunteers we have we are still continuing to save these beautiful dogs, albeit in a different way.

We are just sitting tight but at some point Tia will get back to Yorkshire…maybe not me and Bob, but we do need a rehoming kennel down there.