By Christine Taylor
I had never had anything to do with greyhounds, never liked them in fact, considering them to be all bony and skinny, half starved and not at all cuddly or friendly (with the risk of getting reported for cruelty to the RSPCA). As I was working five hours a day, I had no intention of getting – dare I say it – a Labrador, until I retired around 2018. Boy, was I in for a surprise! In June 2008, I went with my daughter and son-in law to the Lincolnshire show. After wandering round we spotted the Lincolnshire Greyhound Rescue Stand. Being dog lovers, they headed straight to it. I followed reluctantly.
Upon arrival I was ‘accosted ‘by a large black bony, skinny brown eyed hound called Lark, who decided to take the weight off her feet by leaning heavily against my legs. As I looked down, and into those gorgeous brown eyes, I did not realise just what an impact she was to have on me. On returning home, and for the next two days, I could not forget those eyes. On the Monday I phoned Julie, who had been in charge of the rescue stand to see if Lark was still with her. She was and so we went to meet her properly at Julie’s and that, as they say, was that. I arranged to collect her two weeks later, after the Waddington Air Show in July. She had somehow seen me as her new mum! We settled in together in our new life right away. She was wonderful, priceless, in fact.
We enjoyed seven beautiful years together, although 18 months after she came to me, I had a heart attack and had to give up my job. From then on, we were inseparable… where I went, Lark went, whenever possible. Everyone who met Lark adored her, including several young pups who though she wasn’t their mummy and would go underneath her tummy looking for a feed! She just stood there until they moved, never making any fuss, or trying to harm them in any way. She was a right little mother hen. Lark had a couple of health problems over the years, but was never any trouble, taking everything in her stride.
Last November, Lark was diagnosed with cancer. She was started on a course of treatment, but sadly, it was to no avail. I was to lose her. My gorgeous, friendly, happy girl had to go away, leaving me bereft, heartbroken, and totally unable to function without her here. All those tears for her, even though I had never liked the breed – until she picked me up. On the 10 December 2015, knowing that I had a lot of things saved for a greyhound rescue charity,
“From then on, we were inseparable…where I went, Lark went, whenever possible.”
“Last November, Lark was diagnosed with cancer… My gorgeous, friendly, happy girl had to go away, leaving me bereft, heartbroken…”
I came across a piece of paper that I was given several years ago, by the ladies of North Yorkshire & East Lincolnshire Greyhound Rescue. I decided to phone and see if the items would be of use to them. I spoke to a lady called Dawn. We had a nice chat and she arranged to collect it all on the Saturday afternoon. This she did and whilst here I told her of Lark’s health problem and that I was worried about getting her into the car that Wednesday to take her to the vets. On the Monday, Dawn phoned me and said that they had been discussing Lark and her illness. Dawn offered to take us to the vets because her car had a ramp at the back. On the way, we were talking about a hound which had been returned. His name was Snowie. Little did I know what was going to happen next!
On arrival at the vets, and after being told the awful result about Lark, what a blessing it was that Dawn was in the waiting room. I was in bits. The vet was very supportive, but had it not been for Dawn, I really don’t know what I would have done. She was more like an old friend than someone I had only met once before. So caring and compassionate, I could not have wished for anyone better. She ‘phoned me several times during the next couple of weeks, just to see how I was. My daughter became very concerned about my state of mind and on Sunday 3 January 2016 she phoned me and asked if I would like to go over to the kennels to see the dogs which were for re-homing. When we got there the first dog that Dawn asked if I would like to say hello to was Snowie. As soon as she brought him in the room I knew! We played with him for 45 minutes and he was perfect. Even my daughter and son-in-law fell for him. We were shown the rest of the dogs in the kennels, but it had happened again. Snowie had picked me. I said right away that he was the one and Dawn delivered him on Wednesday 6 January. He made himself at home at once, taking himself for a tour. It is now 17 January and it is as though he has been here forever. He is gorgeous, with again, those beautiful brown eyes. A super boy of two years and four months, a wonderful credit to the greyhound breed. He is happy, playful, lively, affectionate, wanting nothing more than his meals and an excessive amount of cuddles, having a five minute playtime at bedtime, before settling down on my bed beside me for the night. Since he came here, to his forever home, I still feel very sad at times, but he seems to know, despite being a baby. When I am a bit down he always comes to get a big cuddle and manages to pull me round again. I still love and miss Lark terribly but I have, until writing this, managed to keep the tears away. Snowie has given me the will to go on. I feel so privileged to have been chosen by these two magnificent dogs, to be their long-term ‘mummy’ and, though I have only had Snowie for 11 days, I will do my utmost to give him as much as he will give me. I only hope we will have very many happy years ahead of us. As my daughter said after we first saw Snowie, when you put all of these events together, it is as if it was meant to be. For anyone considering buying or re-homing a dog, I would say every time, re-home one of these magnificent hounds and you will be rewarded in spades, with their gentle loving, lovable, friendly, adoring natures. I was asked to write a few words about life with a greyhound. As usual, I have got carried away with the subject. If you want to know what it is like, my advice is, re-home one. You will never regret it. I promise you.
IN MEMORY OF LARK