It is the week before Christmas. Most of us are busy; but most of us have lost a beloved animal or person along the way. This makes us very aware of people and animals that are in need at this time of year. It becomes more poignant at this time of year.
I was in the process of writing an article for an ezine that I regularly contribute to when I realised that the same article would fit in nicely on this blog.
I am a member of many groups on Facebook and most of them provide help and support for many different aspects of our lives. I belong to many dog (specifically greyhound) groups and also many horse support groups too.
But what really distresses me,even now, are the amount of people that ask for advice about their greyhounds particularly when they are first time greyhound owners. Bear with me for a moment-specifically my distress concerns the fact that people are unaware of typical problems that come hand in hand with rehoming dogs that have never been in a home environment in their lives.
I know this is a common problem with most rescues, but many dogs have been in a home at some point in their lives but the people have just not been able to cope-but at the very least they have some idea of living in a house.
Greyhounds have never normally experienced any kind of home life and as puppies never had the luxuries of being taught life skills like house training or living with a family and have very little experience of socialisation. So with this in mind I wrote the following Christmas list for one of my current favourite greyhounds who has been in kennels his whole life and is desperate for a home.
Here is Ducky’s Christmas list…….
Anyone out there in internet land that is considering rehoming one of us-my message is being given to Pennie in the hope she will write it up for us (and me in particular as I have been in kennels AGES! I am so hoping for a new home)
I have lived my life in kennels which I have liked (I think) but I have known nothing else. There was a brief spell (I think) where I may have been in a house but I don’t remember it clearly. I have shared my kennel with other greyhounds, some I liked a lot and some that I didn’t care so much for. But we are split up a lot for one reason or another so we never really have time to get to know each other.
The lack of space in kennels means that you have to grumble at your friend that you share with so you can lay down PROPERLY (that means stretching out sleeping). I have heard that people get very upset if they are growled at by us, but I would really like to tell everyone that we don’t mean to scare anyone and most certainly aren’t aggressive but this seems to make people afraid. Please don’t be afraid or return me to kennels if I do this-it is often just surprise and nobody likes being woken when they are sleepy do they?
If I ever got a home I am not sure how I would do around other dogs especially breeds I have never met-I hear there are many different types of dog, some which even look a bit like the fluffy things we chased when we were racing. I often ponder on this, does this mean we should chase them too? Or will somebody teach us which to chase and which are actually like us greyhounds?
At Christmas I dream a lot about many other things too
I would love some space and some quiet as it is noisy here, at least it is noisy most of the day, and it is very hard to rest when the others are being taken out and walked and VERY hard to rest before we are fed at lunchtimes. I love food I really look forward to meal times and in fact I would love more! I particularly like sausages and consider it a special day when I get some!
I have been told by other visiting greyhounds that now have homes that they get more lovely food, but I can’t think of anything better than sausages!!
I also dream about a home where people will forgive me for things I don’t get right. It will take me a while to adjust from kennel life and I am sure that things will be different.
I hope I will be given time to adapt to walking in new places.
I am sure I will be very distracted by new places and experiences and I am sure they will be very different to the race tracks I used to run in, and the place I now live in. Although I raced under lights and people were all around I didn’t really notice, as I had other things on my mind and those times were brief and I had to concentrate on running after the fluffy thing.
I do really love running and would like to tell all of you peoples that I may not have a strong enough bond with you at the beginning of my time with you to return to you without guidance if I am let off my lead. This is where I am sure sausages will come in-I am so looking forward to having sausages when I am out and about…..
I am dreaming of a huge soft bed which will be away form the hustle and bustle and which is mine….all mine.
Give me time to rest and sleep -I am tired and I wont be able to function in a new place without the sleep I lost while I was in kennels -I have always had to share and have always found it hard to have enough space to sleep and rest as much as I would like. I know I told you this before but I tell you twice as it is IMPORTANT.
Please don’t give me too many rules to follow or ask me to listen too hard at the beginning of my time with you, a new home will be hard enough to get used to without imposing too many rules and boundaries on me. I promise I will do my best but I can’t promise that I will always get things right.
A house looks like fun and I am sure there are things in it that you would rather I didn’t touch but I will need help with this and cannot guarantee that I won’t get things wrong from time to time. I know that there are lots of things that I will be allowed to look at and perhaps play with and I hope these will be obvious-even to me!
I don’t know if you know about the fact that us greyhounds can get stressed with all the excitement and comings and goings so please take time to read my body language, and if I have to tell you something please try to identify what I am trying to communicate. I have heard stories of greyhounds being bought back to kennels for barking and growling …..I can’t say I wont do these things as we are allowed to in kennels-and our kennel mates know exactly what we are saying to each other.
I have also heard of problems with peeing inside -we don’t like to pee inside our kennels but we don’t always have a choice-so if I am lucky enough to get a home please show me where to go when I need to go-I have not had access to other places-ever- when I need to go at night when no one is here , so please show me again and again, and I hope my new people will stay outside with me when I am learning, as I will feel a bit isolated when I am outside on my own.
I can imagine I might get distracted too, by all the outside stuff and by fluffy things climbing on fences (I think they are called cats?) anyway I am sure that will be an easy thing to learn as long as I have help…..but there seem so many things to remember. I do hope Santa brings me lovely and understanding people.
My list seems very long and I am not sure how well Pennie will be at dictating all my wishes properly but please do bear these things in mind.
Love to you all at Christmas
(ps I live at Ashwells RGT in Brentwood Essex and I have a beautiful black coat with white speckles-I look like I have been snowed on! I am also not very big and have a cute button nose!)