Kelly puts horses and hounds on the Roads to happy retirement

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The only person who was surprised when Kelly Roads won an animal welfare award was Kelly Roads.

The thoroughbred racehorse retrainer and serial greyhound foster mum holds the 2022 Kerry Vernon Award for Excellence in Greyhound Welfare, part of Racing and Wagering Western Australia’s Greyhound of the Year Awards, despite having no idea she was even in the running.

“I was invited to the greyhound awards event and saw there was a welfare award on the program but I was astonished when they announced I was the winner,” she said.

“I thought it was a mistake and I was blown away. It’s an amazing reward for doing something I adore.”

Kelly started fostering greyhounds about three years ago and has since helped about 30 dogs make the transition from racing to home life, keeping two along the way.

Kelly’s first ‘foster fail’ Archer

“When my husband and I bought a property in the hills we thought of getting a working dog like a border collie or kelpie then realised we needed a dog that was active but not over active,” she said.

“We both work full time so we wanted an easy care dog that was happy to relax and sleep a lot through the day.

“We checked out Greyhounds as Pets, asked heaps of questions and decided to foster so we could see how it worked out with no obligation. Now we’ve been fostering back-to-back for three years.

“Archer was the third dog in our care and I couldn’t let him go. He’s normally upside down on the couch during the day.

“Then a blue female called Karma got along really well with Archer, so she stayed too.

“I think she was a pickpocket in a former life because she collects things. If a boot goes missing, I’ll check her stash in the bedroom and find her looking proud of herself.

“We still foster, so at any time we have three dogs here. We have all types from young dogs chewing everything to older ones who are a bit shy and don’t know about homes yet.

“It’s lovely to see them blossom, their personalities come out and they move on to happy new lives.”

Kelly has fostered around 30 greyhounds

Kelly also has two off the track thoroughbred mares, Just Jaffa and Very Rewarding, who now goes by the name Chardonneigh.

“She’s so honest and enjoyable, I just adore her,” she said.

“Her work ethic is amazing. Other horses get distracted but she’s switched on and with me every step of the way. She does everything I ask her to do and has an amazing temperament.

“Jaffa came to me for training and I fell in love with her. She has beautiful, balanced movement.

“I had her for two weeks and bought her.”

An enthusiastic advocate for Off the Track thoroughbreds, Kelly admires their energy and naturally forward moving style.

Very Rewarding, rechristened Chardonneigh

“I love the feeling that they’re taking you somewhere and using their energy in a positive way. I find them really rewarding,” she said.

“Thoroughbreds need a job to do. It gives them something to think about.

“They are a lot bigger and stronger than us and they don’t have to do a single thing we ask but those of us they choose to be partners with are hugely lucky. There’s nothing like it.

“Thoroughbreds have so much exposure to different environments when they’re in racing. They’re used to being handled and washed and going to places where there’s a big atmosphere, the noise of a crowd and loudspeakers.

“When a horse comes off the track, there’s no limit to what they can do. There’s a world of options for a happy life.”

Working with Chardonneigh