I think it was the sight of the rear end of a greyhound rushing through my bungalow on the way to her bed with a nice warm freshly baked baguette clutched between her jaws and sticking out either side of her front end that made me finally get around to writing this.
Hippie has been a part of our family for almost ten weeks now and this epistle is set to dispel all the rose coloured rumours put about by the people who want you to adopt a greyhound. Don’t get me wrong we love her dearly but oh boy has it been a journey so far!!
To begin, let me take you back several months to a time when my daughter and I were ‘dog free’ in our small bungalow. We have a six-year-old cat, very large and very beautiful, name of Max (on a good day), he rules the house as all cats do, but we love him.
Then there is Hendrix the guinea pig, small and quite friendly although I don’t find him very interesting (he’s my daughter’s pet) – all he does is warble when I open the fridge door because he knows the carrots are in there and he does like a carrot.
We live a quiet life, or we did until my daughter decided to ‘pin me down to a dog decision’.
I had always said that after the death of my fox terrier some years ago the only dog I would entertain in my home would be a greyhound. Why? Forget the size, I had been told that they do not shed their coat, bark very rarely and have no oil in their coat so no ‘wet dog smell’. I do believe that the animals that live in our home should be ‘home friendly’, and that means nose and ear friendly. But I was unprepared for my daughter’s insistence on the new addition.
We were on holiday with my son and his wife last November happily sitting by the bar when my daughter asked me yet again if she could get her dog. I gave all the usual excuses, Max, the cost, the cleaning up after it, but nothing stopped her. Eventually I turned to my son and asked him what he thought of the idea and my objections, I was hoping for some common sense but should have known better – he thought it was a brilliant idea. Fuelled by alcohol we drew up a contract whereby my daughter must clear up after said animal and pay for all related costs and have no more tattoos or piercings for the next ten years. The contract was signed and witnessed and the only part of it that haunts me now is the related costs bit – we returned home and the search began.
We looked on the internet and learned that all rescue greyhounds are ‘couch potatoes’ that sleep for sixteen hours a day, only need two ten minute runs a day instead of hours of walking and can live with cats. It all sounded marvellous – too good to be true?????
My daughter, who was very aware of her contractual obligations, started to buy items for the new arrival. A large space was cleared in a corner of her bedroom and a double duvet with covers was purchased (greyhounds need soft bedding – they get sores from lying on hard surfaces). She also bought a raised feeding bowl set; the breed cannot digest their food properly if they eat at floor level.
She approached some greyhound rescue establishments and we were invited to one of them in Nottinghamshire to be ‘checked out’. The people that owned the centre were more than cautious of our lives and suitability to re-home one of their dogs, we told them we worked all day but that we would go home at lunchtime to check the animal. But they were less than impressed; they did, however, let us walk one of the hounds and arranged for our home and garden to be checked out.
The dog we were given to walk was six years old and I voiced my reservations to my daughter, saying that it would be better to have a ‘younger model’ if she wanted to enjoy the fun side of the animal’s nature.
This, too, seemed to be frowned upon by the owners but they did say they would look for a young female for us if our home checked out okay.