Why Jodee is glad dogs can’t count

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Greyhound owner Jodee Jennings secretly has a favourite dog in her family’s kennels but they all believe they’re the chosen one.

It’s actually a leggy black-and-tan girl called Winnie, although the only clue is the number of toys stashed in her dog bed.

“Much as Winnie’s my favourite, every other dog in our kennel gets treated the same as Winnie,” Jodee said.

“I don’t let the other dogs know. They all think they’re my favourite.

“Winnie’s bedroom has more toys than anyone else’s but I don’t think the others notice.”

Jodee divides her time between helping her parents, greyhound trainers Christine and David Robartson, with the dogs at their property near Mandurah and working as a special needs education assistant at a local primary school.

Unsurprisingly, greyhounds sometimes visit the school on special occasions or in the role of story dogs.

In the family home, a large room off the living area is devoted to a puppy nursery.

Reigning over the pups is a wheezy, waddling French bulldog called Rex, whose tongue is usually hanging out the side of his mouth in a loopy grin.

Jodee says Winnie was once among the eager pups scrambling for Rex’s  attention.

“Winnie’s mum Hazel had a bit of trouble with one of the puppies when she was having her litter,” Jodee said.

“I caught Winnie as she was born. Out she came and she was in my hands and it was like having my own child.

“She’s a fawn girl with a beautiful black muzzle. Winnie knows she’s gorgeous, I think she knew from the start that she was special.

“Her number one characteristic is she’s stubborn. She’s also loving and wants cuddles and attention all the time.”

Now aged two, Winnie lives with about 10 other dogs in the kennel a few steps from the house and is at the start of her racing career.

On a typical day, Jodee will be up at about 5am to give Winnie and her kennelmates a run before breakfast.

There’s some more morning exercise before the main meal of the day then a few hours’ sleep and a play in the paddock during the afternoon. Then more sleep.

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“When greyhounds aren’t working, they’re sleeping. Their favourite place is their bed but when you walk in to see them, they’re straight up for a pat,” Jodee said.

“I love working with animals. My favourite part is they’re always happy to see you.

“You can be grumpy and sad but that never lasts, they make you happy.

“Winnie is super keen and excited since coming out to the kennel and she can’t wait to get out on the track. She loves to run.

“She’s strong and determined and always gives 100 per cent.”

Jodee says Winnie’s racing career is promising but she has longer term plans in mind.

“Winnie has a spot at home on my couch when she retires, so she will be with me for life,” she said.

“We have a connection, which we’ve had from the start.”

Susan de Ruyter

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