Merlin is Richard and Clare’s second dog from Forever Hounds Trust. He’s only been in his new home a few weeks and he’s already living happily with horses, cats, chickens and pigs! He’s also given their older lurcher, Foyle, a new lease of life.
Clare told us how they came to meet Merlin. “Richard and I had always had horses and cats together, but since we’d been married, we’d never had a dog. We got Foyle from Forever Hounds Trust when Richard was working away for the RAF and he’s been a wonderful companion – great around our other animals and very gentle with the children as they were growing up.
He’s getting quite old now – we think he’s somewhere between 10 and 12 – and we’d been debating for a while about getting another, younger dog to keep him company.
Obviously, our other animals were a big consideration so we contacted Forever Hounds Trust and trusted them to find us a good match.
Merlin had come over from Ireland where we think he’d been tied up for long periods of time. He’s around 2 and quite a nervous boy. There’s no record of him racing and he has no ear tattoos (all racing greyhounds have tattoos to identify them) so we don’t know much about his history. Forever Hounds Trust assessed him and told us they thought he could easily live with other animals. We really appreciated the time they took to find Merlin for us – they get to know the dogs in their care so they can make sure they’re homed to the right family.
To start with, Merlin would back away when you approached him, so we had to work hard to get him more confident. We let him approach us in his own time and when he felt comfortable – and eventually curiosity started getting the better of him. He’s become way more confident already. Now he’ll join us in the living room and when we come through the front door, he’s there first with his tail wagging.
He’s very happy around other dogs and he and Foyle have formed a gentle, very loving friendship.
They nuzzle each other and their tails cross and wag – it’s so lovely to see. Foyle had started to become a bit of a picky eater, but since Merlin arrived, he’s much more eager around his food. He seems to have a renewed purpose to life.
Merlin’s fitted easily into our lifestyle. He plays and charges around in the garden and he follows me to come and see the horses and the other animals. I love greyhounds and lurchers – I’ve never seen any aggression in them, they’re just a really gentle breed of dog. We take ours to shows and away in our camper van, although it can get a little crowded at times!
Merlin is black with a white triangle on his chest and a tiny white tip on one of his feet. But his eyes! They are amber and almost glow.
We named him Merlin after the magician on TV whose eyes light up when he performs magic. I think all greyhounds have beautiful eyes – docile and melting – and they know how to use them!
Merlin’s good with the children who are now 8 and 10. He might move away if they get a bit loud, but we are letting him get used to things in his own way and in his own time. He’ll come to me of his own accord, but sometimes if I call him you can see that he’s a bit scared so you have to be careful about the tone of your voice. We try to make sure we’re always very calm around him.
You have to be patient and understanding when you take on a rescue dog – you never quite know what they’ve experienced before they come to you. But staying calm and consistent is always key and they soon settle in.
Why buy a puppy when there are so many rescue dogs that need homes?
We’d never dream of buying a puppy from a breeder because we know how many gorgeous and deserving rescue dogs there are that need their forever homes. Also, it’s much harder to assess a puppy for temperament, whereas a good rescue organisation will make sure that a dog suits you and fits in with your family.”
“We’ve had two beautiful dogs from Forever Hounds Trust. They took the time to make sure they were right for us and we know there’s always support there if we need it.”