When Yvonne and Pete lost Carla, their German Shepherd cross in 2011, they swore they’d never get another dog. But then one of Yvonne’s work colleagues got an ex-racing greyhound and they fell in love with the breed.
“In more than 40 years of marriage, we’ve always had dogs and they’ve always been rescue dogs,” Yvonne tells us. “We had lurchers, Labradors and then, Carla, a beautiful Shepherd cross from Wood Green Animal Shelter – we were living in Bedford at the time. We lost her about four years ago. We’re not sure exactly how old she was but we think about 13 or 14. When that happened, we were adamant we weren’t getting another dog and we did pretty well really, lasting for three years!
However, the house did feel empty and at the time, I was working with a friend who adopted a greyhound. This dog was absolutely beautiful and although I’d never considered a greyhound before, now I was finding out more about them as a breed. Well, we talked and decided that we wanted to give one a wonderful home.
We wanted a dog that didn’t need much walking, and Forever Hounds Trust said that an older greyhound would be perfect.
Henry was a big black ex-racing greyhound whose owners were going through a marriage break-up and sadly, both of their dogs needed to find a new home. Barbara, the Regional Homing Officer for Gloucestershire, didn’t think that they needed to be homed together so we put the wheels in motion to meet Henry.
Fortunately, he was living quite close by, so Barbara arranged to join us for a walk with him. Very quickly, we decided that he was the dog for us and just a week later, he came straight to us from his old home so as to keep the disruption to a minimum for him.
He fitted straight in with us apart from a few housetraining issues. This became a little bit of a problem because he couldn’t go through the night but we had a lot of support from the Forever Hounds Trust behaviourist. She was brilliant and helped us see that he’d just got into a habit – once we broke the habit, it quickly stopped. It was really good to know that we could call Forever Hounds Trust and they would help with any issues we might have.
It’s just lovely to have him.
We’re quite active so we enjoy taking him for walks, but he is a couch potato and loves to sleep for most of the day. He’s a real character. He adores going in the car and the minute the door opens, he jumps straight in. We took him to the beach and he tried to drink the sea water – it was hilarious!
Everywhere we go, we find that people come and talk to us – they all want to know about his background and where he came from. We know that he’s Irish and he finished racing at about 2 ½ and we do enjoy talking about him and his past lives. He loves the attention too.
He’s very good with our grandchildren who are 9, 7 and 2.
And he’s Pete’s shadow. He adores him and Pete is completely smitten with greyhounds now. He likes to sleep in doorways so we’re forever stepping over him. But he comes running when the biscuit tin rattles.
The nicest thing was when he roached for the first time. That’s when they lie on their backs with all four legs up in the air and they only do that when they’re completely comfortable and relaxed in your home. We were very proud to think he liked being here with us so much.”
“When the time comes, and if we’re not too old, we’d definitely have another greyhound. There are so many that need homes, but they’re also such a pleasure to have around. What a wonderful breed.”