Wednesday, 22 September 2010

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.

17 comments:

Jenny Beattie said...

There are all sorts of reasons for people who love animals not to have pets, aren't there?

We can't have pets, in spite of loving both cats and dogs, because we were only going to be living in Bangkok for two years. If we'd know it was going to be seven (it will be in two years) we would have got one, enjoyed it and brought it home via quarantine.

While we've been in Thailand we've discovered that Daughter's asthma and excema is entirely down to cats... that is NEVER going to stop her owning cats, I'm afraid.

Posie said...

Ouch I would not like getting my bottom bitten on my run...poor you. I too love dogs, my brother has a rescue greyhound and they make lovely dogs. We've just got one collie at the moment, but have 'inherited' three cats, who have moved in and made themselves very at home, I am not a cat person, but am gradually getting a soft spot for our three characters.

Lucie said...

I love dogs, too. We have an English Bull Terrier and she is lovely and I can't imagine not having her around. Unfortunately she suffers with a heart murmur and has to be on a special diet as anything other than Chappie dog food makes her violently sick :( but she is doing well and has just turned 5! :)

Jane Lovering said...

Two dogs, four cats to report here! Every one of them a waste of fur that's loved to death. Dylan is border collie x something (his mother won't tell) and Tiggy is border terrier x jack russell. And @ Jenny Beattie - I am massively allergic to both cats and dogs but manage my asthma with steriods because I can't imagine living without them!
It's such a shame, Chris, that you can't have pets, but supporting a cause as you have is the next best thing (and one which doesn't involve walking in the sleety dark in February, muttering about 'bloody dogs').

Pauline Barclay said...

Sadly we couldn't have our own bundle of joy...life! But we have two fantastic rescue doggies who are so spoilt it beggars beleive! If you fancy a peek at them, please visit either my web site or my blog and you will see pics of them. As for being bitten on the bum....very scary! But despite this you are being very very kind to them! Hugs x

Debs said...

I've bought a copy of this book, mainly because it's for such a good cause, but it's a great read.

Grumps is clipped by a woman who also looks after rescue greyhounds and she and other helpers take several of them for walks near Noirmont a lot of the time. Beautiful creatures, I'd love one.

Cottage Garden said...

Oh Chris you do give me a laugh! The story of Sam has had me in stitches.

As you know I am a cat person but if I had the space I would have a dog as well - no question. I really like houndy type dogs, they are quiet, well behaved, elegant and gentle. Max sounds like he could melt lots of hearts. Thanks for the link to the WGF website.

Jeanne x

Fran said...

We're not allowed a pet because the landlord doesn't want us to have animals in the house. It's my one regret about this house.

Pondside said...

That Sam was a character!
My friend has a rescue greyhound - what a sweetie she is. No squirrel is safe, though if she is in the yard and off-leash. She's fast!

gaelikaa said...

Lovely post Chris. I remember that Jack Russell bit last year (ouch). I joined the Animal Rescue site on Facebook recently. If you go to their website every day and click on the purple button, they get money from their sponsors to buy food for the animals. I try to remember to do it every day. I'm currently bothering my husband to agree for us to adopt a street dog. I think it would make a great pet for our kids.

gaelikaa said...

Lovely post Chris. I remember that Jack Russell bit last year (ouch). I joined the Animal Rescue site on Facebook recently. If you go to their website every day and click on the purple button, they get money from their sponsors to buy food for the animals. I try to remember to do it every day. I'm currently bothering my husband to agree for us to adopt a street dog. I think it would make a great pet for our kids.

Rob-bear said...

Her Ladyship, Miss Sadie, is a recent acquisition by this old Bear. Standard Poodle; fifty pounds of energy and enthusiasm on four feet. She walks me twice a day, and plays with me in our back yard. She is, literally, a main reason why I get up in the morning.

Too bad you don't have a dog. Condolences.

LITTLE BROWN DOG said...

Gosh, dogs, well what can I say? Tom is very wise and obviously values his sanity, however since mine went years ago, I suppose I might as well donate what few marbles I have left to the cause of saving some other poor blighter from having to put up with the unutterably dreadful Brown Dog. Mind you, today I had the pleasure finally of meeting a more badly behaved one...

Flowerpot said...

That sounds a must for me - you know what I'm like about dogs!

Lane said...

My parents have just lost their greyhound Harold. I will have to get this for them.

Sad that dogs are a no no for you Chris. You'd be a lovely catch for one:-)

Chris Stovell said...

Jenny, that must be tough, when your stay has been so protracted, to think you could have had a pet after all. Sounds as if your daughter's going to have to make other sacrifices to have her cats. Or maybe find a way round the asthma/excema problem.

Posie, it's funny how cats adopt people, that's why I prefer dogs really - I love all that slavish devotion! Lucky brother!

Lucie, oh gosh, someone else for you to look after. But it's good news your dog is doing so well despite her problems, poor thing.

Jane, I wouldn't have expected anything less - it must be all go in your house. Full marks to you for getting so much writing done when you're surrounded by children and pets!!

Pauline, yes, I always feel a touch envious when I read about you taking your two for a walk in the balmy night air. Not much chance of me doing either here!!

Debs, it is a lovely read isn't it? Poor Grumps might have his nose put out of joint though if you came home with a new 'baby'!

Jeanne, yes your cats are lovely and it's easy to see how fond you are of them. Sadly even a gentle dog wouldn't convince Tom... especially when he read about Sam!

Fran, neither does my landlord!

gaelikka, oh, I'll check out the site and watch your blog to see if a dog appears!

Rob-bear, your Miss Sadie is adorable-looking... and obviously has you wrapped round her little paw!

LBD - said with feeling!! Has Brown Dog been particularly naughty lately? Or devoured any freshly-baked cakes or new cushions? I do miss your blog - do come back when it's safe!

Fp, well worth it - do buy some tissues too!

Lane - hehe! You have made me smile! Condolences to your parents re the loss of Harold - there's a section in HaH about losing beloved pets and it had tears rolling down my face. Lots of funny and sweet stories too.

arosebyanyothername said...

Shall get the book. Dogs are a must for me. Rufus the WhippetX sprawled on the second best sofa as I type farting quietly. He loves a good squirrell chase too but as ours are red ones here he has been told not to catch them!