FOR Ashlee Terry, her passion and love of greyhounds gives her a great reason to get out of bed each day.
“They help me get up every morning,” the 25-year-old said.
Having been faced with her own mental health issues over the past few years, Ashlee said the greyhounds have helped her along the way.
The Cranbourne local (pictured above with Kobi) has managed to channel all of her energy into a rewarding career which she said has its ups and downs, but overall it’s something she absolutely loves.
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Passionate about rehoming all her greyhounds, Ashlee was mentored by Karen Leek who has been involved in the industry since she was 13-years old.
Living in Warrandyte with her family who owned a general store, Karen became friends with a young vet nurse trained by Jim Gannon, a Greyhound Racing Victoria Hall of Fame inductee.
Her friend Ange had a greyhound and asked Karen If she would like to meet him.
“I thought oh I don’t know about this,” Karen said.
“She took me down to see this greyhound, and when she opened the door this dog comes flying out and lands on me, feet on my shoulders and licking my face.”
“His name was Field King.”
This was the beginning of Karen’s future.
“We travelled the country side with all these dogs. I was still in school at the time and I would just sleep in the back of the car,” she said.
The year Karen turned 18 she went to New South Wales for 12 months, and would only return home on the condition that she could have a greyhound.
“My parents said that’s fine, you can have a dog just come home,” she said.
From this point it just continued to grow for Karen, as she dabbed in most aspects of the greyhounds including, training, breeding and these days, rearing.
The Devon Meadows resident said a highlight during her career was winning the Shepparton Cup as well as a race named in honour of her late friend Judy Hayley, at Sandown Park.
“Judy was a good friend of mine, so it was very special to win that one,” Karen said.
Unlike Karen, Ashlee said she was born into the greyhounds with both her parents heavily involved, but when her father passed away things changed.
“When dad passed away mum had to let the dogs go, there just wasn’t enough time looking after me on her own,” Ashlee said.
“But I would watch videos and I always knew I wanted a dog.”
Eventually Ashlee got back into the greyhounds when her and her mother got jobs at the Healesville Greyhound Racing Club. Around the same time, Ashlee started to work at another trainer’s property where she ended up looking after a sick puppy that she nursed back to health.
“This was the first dog that went into my name as a trainer,” Ashlee said.
Not long after, Karen approached Ashlee to work for her where she does “a little bit of everything.”
For Ashlee, it was harder to pinpoint an exact highlight in her career to date, for her the most important thing is “getting the best out of each dog.”
This said, of all her dogs Ashlee does have one champion on her hands in American Monster which has won 21 of his 45 starts, with a combined total of 32 placings.
“The greyhounds are always in the back of your mind, they keep you going,” Ashlee said.