Hounds First Sighthound Rescue (Registered Charity 1152540) rescues and rehomes sighthounds across the UK, including lurchers, greyhounds, whippets and salukis as well as other types of sighthound.
The rescue was founded in January 2013 by Rachel Hayball and Danielle Waites and gained charity status in June 2013.
Most of our dogs are placed in warm and loving foster homes where they are carefully assessed and, if needed, rehabilitated before rehoming, however we do also rent a few kennels for our dogs that have complex behavioural needs and are not yet ready to move into a foster home. All Hounds First rescue dogs have a full assessment and health check and are given any required veterinary treatment, neutered if old enough, microchipped, vaccinated, wormed and flea treated before going to their new homes.
Hounds First is a rescue who are against training methods that inflict pain and distress on dogs. We use and promote science based positive force free dog training principles.
Chair Person and Treasurer- Tracie Gledhill
Patron – Rachel Hayball
Tracie Gledhill – I’m Tracie, mum to 4 and married to Carl. We have 4 dogs of our own, 3 whippets and a greyhound, as well as Eddison the bull lurcher and Blue the whippet who are permanent fosters. I started my love affair with Sighthounds after meeting Eddison at a local rescue centre, and volunteered for Hounds First soon after.
After a few months I became more involved and was asked to become a trustee and was elected as a treasurer in 2014. I became Chair of the charity in May 2017. I love looking back on all the different hounds that have passed through the rescue, our home and our lives, and feel lucky to know that I am in a position to be able to offer rescue help. Going forward I am hoping to gain more experience and qualifications in dog behaviour and psychology.
Sally May – Hi, I’m Sally. I am Mum to three grown up sons and grandma to three grandsons. I have four dogs of my own, three of whom are ex-foster hounds who never left! My involvement with sighthounds came about after spending a lot of time helping to search for a lost whippet, during which time I got to know Rachel, the founder of Hounds First. From there I went on to helping to transport dogs for the charity.
Shortly after that due to an unfortunate set of circumstances a pregnant saluki cross and her ten puppies were left looking for emergency foster, I stepped in and since then I have rarely been without a fostered sighthound in my house. In April 2014 I was officially asked to become a trustee of Hounds First, which I happily agreed to. Being a trustees is at times challenging and heartbreaking, but overall rewarding and uplifting.
Sarah Whitmee – Hi I’m Sarah. I have 2 beddie whippet lurchers and have fostered all kinds of lurcher mixes for Hounds First. My love affair with sighthounds began when I married into a family of lurcher nuts! I started fostering and volunteering for Hounds First in 2015 and have been a trustee since early 2016.
I have a degree in Zoology, a MSc in Environmental Technology and a PhD in Ecology and currently work in the field of conservation biology as a postdoctoral researcher. My background in animal behaviour and ecology makes me fascinated to understand more about the evolution of dogs and their behaviour. I have done day courses in t-touch, canine body language and recall training. I also try to read as much about the science of dog behaviour as I can and hope to do more study in the near future!
Liz Kirtley – Hi I’m Liz. I am married to Shaun and we have two daughters. I have three dogs of my own; two Hounds First sighthounds and one honorary sighthound who came from another rescue. I first adopted from Hounds First back in 2013 and ‘accidentally’ became a foster carer in 2014 when an emergency foster home was needed for a dog that was local to me. In the same year I also started to volunteer on the Hounds First phone line, initially taking calls once a week.
I have continued to foster for the charity and in 2016 became more involved with the day to day running of the rescue before being invited to become a Trustee in December that year. I am studying for a Diploma in Canine Behaviour with the International School for Canine Psychology and Behaviour whilst also extending my learning with further reading.
Carl Gledhill- I am married to tracie with 7 children and 7 dogs between us. I started my rescue journey by volunteering with several rescues to homecheck and transport and gradually got more involved until I became a trustee of Hounds First.
As a ex-hgv driver I am often found advising on best routes for runs or doing the longer ones myself. As a kid I remember seeing a guy walking several sighthounds and I can remember wondering why would you would want more than one; turns out I’m now that man, and my only complaint is we need a bigger bed so we can fit them all in with us!
Rachel Hayball – Hi, I’m Rachel. I am a married mum of 6 children aged 2 months to 12 years, and have 4 dogs – two whippets, a border terrier and a border collie. Plus a menagerie of cats, guinea pigs, chickens, horses and a small flock of sheep! I founded Hounds First in 2013 and was the Chair until early 2017 and have now taken a step back to concentrate on my business and family but remain involved in supporting the rescue with behavioural advice and assessments. I am a qualified dog trainer and run my own dog training and behaviour business – Life Skills Dog Training. I have a Diploma in Canine Behaviour from the International School of Canine Psychology and Behaviour and have also studied a level 3 course with the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers. I am a full member of INTOdogs and am a Registered Accredited Animal Behaviourist with the Animal Behaviour & Training Council (ABTC). I am also a rescue member of the Pet Professionals Guild and one of only twelve Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainers (VSPDT) in the UK.