Cats, Dogs and Hounds at Home
Although we have four children between us, Tom and I will never have our very own bundle of joy. Pets (what else?) are not us. Specifically, they are not Tom. Whilst I’m fine with cats, heck I even gave the kiss of life to one of mine after she was hit by a motorbike (sadly her internal injuries were too severe to save her), it’s dogs I really love.
My favourite family dog was Zorba (Ma’s Greek Island period), an absolutely adorable miniature dachshund who could melt the stoniest human heart. We also had Rima, a dazzling red setter, who liked nothing better than to sneak up on unsuspecting visitors and goose them and, briefly, Sam a naughty standard dachshund. Sam came to us for a trial run when his old lady owner was finding him a bit too energetic. He shot through the house, eating soap, drinking from the toilet and jumping up the curtains before racing outside to gobble some bread left on the lawn and crunch a few snails. Then he got a bit above himself and tried to stop Dad coming in the house, growling at him furiously, soapy snail-green slobber foaming from his mouth, and that was the end of the trial.
These days I mainly meet dogs on my run. I have had the odd bad encounter with scary farm dogs, and, of course, Dorothy, the Jack Russell who bit my bum so thoroughly that I had to get patched up at hospital. But I’ve also met some lovely dogs like Ben and Whisky who got to know me before their owner, wagging their tails when they saw me approaching (actually, they were probably laughing). My absolute favourite though, because I’ve always wanted one, is Max, a beautiful and gentle rescue greyhound who loves a fuss.
Since I can’t have my own dog, reading about other people’s rescue greyhounds is the next best thing so I was very happy to support the Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare kennels at Hersham, Surrey by buying a copy of Hounds at Home a new collection of true stories about adopting and living with greyhounds, by Victoria Kingston and Hilary Johnson. It’s available from the Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare website (£4.50 plus £1.50 P&P) and describes the ups and downs, the funny and the sad of adopting a hound needing a home. There are some gorgeous photos – Darius with stegosaurus is irresistible - but it’s the stories that are so touching and one or two of them sent tears streaming down my face. If dogs are you, you might like it too.