Karim is a white Saluki cross who was found straying and badly injured in Durham. He’s now the loving companion of Jack and lives in St Cleer in Cornwall. Karim spends most days curled up in his armchair in Jack’s bookshop, being fussed by the customers.
By his own admission, Jack wasn’t a ‘doggy person’ until he got married and his wife wanted a chocolate Labrador. When the relationship broke down and he moved to Cornwall, he wanted a friend of his own.
“I went to a local rescue and they asked me if I’d be interested in a lurcher,” Jack told us. “I thought no to start with because my image of them wasn’t a good one – I thought they’d be quite hard to handle. However, then I read one lurcher’s story, a boy called Zak, and thought that actually he sounded rather lovely.
I went all the way to Abergavenny in Wales to fetch him and this boy became the love of my life. He was a bull lurcher, so he was quite a big stocky dog but a complete couch potato. He was about eight and frightened of everything, but oh, so gentle! I had Zak for about four years and he came everywhere with me. When he died, I was absolutely heartbroken. His kidneys were failing and eventually, he stopped being able to walk so I knew I had to make the worst decision ever.
I still think about him every day and I decided then and there that I wasn’t going to have another dog, because I just couldn’t handle the pain of losing it.
Well, that lasted all of two weeks.
I soon realised that I couldn’t be without a dog in my life. I also felt that I owed it to Zak to give a home to another dog that needed one.
I definitely wanted either a greyhound or a lurcher and started looking around. When I contacted Forever Hounds Trust, I just said ‘let me have the next one that really needs a home’. Forever Hounds Trust matched me with a new companion, based upon my needs and his.
Oliver (now Karim) was a skinny little wretch of about four years old who’d been used to hunt and then dumped or lost. He was in a dreadful state; his chest had been ripped open, probably by barbed wire, and he had broken ribs. The vet didn’t think he’d last the night but tried him on antibiotics as a last resort and he rallied!
He couldn’t be any more unlike Zak. He was understandably very fearful when he first arrived and needed a great deal of reassurance. With time and patience, Karim – or كريم in Arabic – slowly began to realise that humans could be kind and that his past was behind him. I take him everywhere with me. I run a little bookshop in the village and he comes to work with me every day and has his own armchair. People come into the shop just to see him and take his photo.
He’s beautiful – he has white fluffy ears, tail and feet with a white patch on his forehead.
Apparently, the Saluki is the only dog that a Bedouin Arab would allow into his tent, and the white patch shows that he is blessed because he’s been kissed by Allah.
He really just needed a home and someone to love. He’s so loyal and affectionate. I absolutely love watching him run and fortunately, his recall is excellent. I think sighthounds are wonderful, and I often daydream about having more money and a bigger house so I can have a pack of at least four or five lurchers and greyhounds.
Karim sleeps with me every night. He warms up my side of the bed, then when I get in, we have a cuddle and he moves over.
And as soon as I open my eyes in the morning, his tail is thumping and the first thing he wants is a cuddle. He stands on his hind legs to give me a smooch – I just love him so much.”