Thursday 30 September 2010

Community of dog owners

It's nice to see the Lady Of The House and other dog walkers nodding, smiling and saying a friendly 'Hello' on our walks.

The community of dog owners is strong in the street and in the countryside and online. It's good to have someone to talk to when you need a bit of advice.

This morning the L O T H has registered on a HUGE greyhound owners forum called Greytalk.

She also "tweets" some of my blog postings on her Twitter profile where she's following a number of dog lovers and dog groups (and vice versa).

A number of Retired Greyhound Trust websites also have forums and message boards where you can ask questions, share information and make friends.

There's no excuse to feel alone if you want to talk to other dog lovers. It's good to talk.

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Little Red Riding Who?

This rain's really no joke. And I tell you what else isn't a joke - my coat.

I mean....what do they think I look like? It's like wearing a sleeping bag. And my head still got soaking wet.

Anyone got any ideas on a smart coat for the winter that actually fits a greyhound's physique and doesn't make me look like I'm auditioning to play Santa?

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Water fuss over a bath

This wasn't here yesterday? Me investigating the bath
There's quite a few homes around where we live and walk having renovations done, and the Lady Of The House and the Girl Of The House have been taking more than a passing interest in the contents of their skips.

At first I wondered if times were harder than I had imagined - but baths were what they were interested in.

It turns out that the G O T H - who goes back to Coventry University soon for the final year of her degree course in Theatre - has been told by her tutors to acquire a, they're not being rude.

It's for some performance piece they are going to be working on this term. And they DID mean a bath big enough to take her and some water.......who knows what they have planned? She certainly doesn't.

Well, there has been a particularly nice 'cast out' bath in a skip nearby for a couple of weeks and yesterday afternoon - on our walk - we detoured up the drive of the house in question and knocked on the door to ask if we could have it. No-one answered - so the G O T H left a note through their letterbox and soon got a text back from a nice lady who said of course we could have it.

At first the two of them were planning to walk round and carry it back to our house (which I thought was a bad idea as they could so easily be mistaken for the Chuckle Brothers - "To me, to you").

Finally, they saw sense and went out to our car and started wrestling with the back seats to make as much space as possible. I saw them drive off with the G O T H in the front seat as far forward as it would go with her knees under her chin. She didn't look silly at all.

I don't know how they got on loading the bath out of the skip and in to the car....but when they got back to our house I peeped through the glass on the front door and watched the performance of them getting it out again.

Maybe that's what the students are going to be doing in Coventry....seeing how much fuss they can make putting a bath in and out of cars? It was like listening to a 1960s novelty comedy record featuring Bernard Cribbins (whoever he is).

"It's stuck"
"It won't go that way"
"We'll have to take the legs off"
"Pull that side down a bit"
"I want a cup of tea"

Eventually they wrestled it through the gate and it now resides underneath the living room window in the back garden.

I'm not looking forward to watching them go through all that palaver again when they take it to Coventry. Maybe it can stay here and we can plant flowers in it?

Sunday 26 September 2010

Showing off

Well, another first for me today with my family - I entered my first class at a fun dog show.

The Lady Of The House and I entered the ring for class 4 - Best Rescue at the dog show at Derby's Markeaton Park.

We weren't placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd but there were some lovely rescue dogs with far sadder stories than mine.

The L O T H said she was just pleased that I didn't take off in pursuit of any of the park's squirrels - in which I had been showing a keen interest. And the Judge said I was a credit to my family - which was nice. AND I got some more lovely bone biscuits from The Dog Bakery stall! Hurray!!!
Entrants and onlookers at the Markeaton Park dog show
The Dog Bakery stall was also raising money for Derbyshire re-homing charity Just For Dogs which I thought was lovely. JFD do some great work on behalf of animals. Read the story of how they save the life of Casper the friendly dog. It's chilling that anyone could slit a dog's throat and leave him for dead. Thankfully there are decent people around who will try and put things right and in Casper's case there was a great happy ending.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. I'm curling up for a sleep. See you tomorrow.

Saturday 25 September 2010

What to do with the weekend?

Well, this morning's walk involved me coming to a standstill under the trees on the nature reserve that was once a clay pit as a squirrel frolicked overhead.

The Man Of The House thought it was quite funny as I watched the squirrel bob and weave through the branches and make gurgling growls under my breath.

So, what to do now with the rest of the weekend?

Top choice for tomorrow is the Fun Dog Show at Markeaton Park in Derby. It's on from 11am to 3pm and now that the Lady Of The House has her car back she's threatening to take me along and enter me in the class for the saddest eyes.

They were a bit sad when I realised I was never going to get close to that squirrel this morning.  (But not as sad as the eyes of the L O T H when she paid that car bill yesterday - yikes!!!)

Friday 24 September 2010

Working that room, baby

Well, the pots have all been washed, the biscuits and cake that wasn't eaten, or taken home by guests, has been put away (shame I liked the smell of the ginger and lemon one) and the Lady Of The House's first-ever coffee morning for Macmillan Cancer Support is over.

She raised £106 which she's very pleased about - and I had a lovely time.

I do love people and having lots of friends and neighbours in the house was my idea of heaven. I walked from one to the other to give them all lots of chance to stroke and fuss me - and they didn't disappoint. Then I went back to the first person and started working the room again.

I had to wait until the guests went home before I got one of my bone biscuits for being good.

The Girl Of The House also got a request to puppy-sit this afternoon for one of the neighbours - so she's gone off quite happily to do that while I recover from all the fuss and attention.

Roll on next year's coffee morning.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Bag it and bin it - and it won't cost the earth

Here's a fact to make your mind boggle: Almost 1000 tonnes of dog poo is produced in Britain every day.

Not a nice subject for you squeamish humans, I know.

Responsible dog owners these days clean up after their dogs - which means perhaps an average of six little bags a day to gather up the stuff.

Now, the thing is, dog mess will of course break down naturally over time and return to the earth - but I can understand why you wouldn't want it lying around in public view until then. But sadly, many dog owners put it into plastic bags that WON'T break down and will be in landfill sites for HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF YEARS.

The best answer for the environment is to only use 100% biodegradable bag which will degrade much faster after it's thrown away.

Dog waste/nappy sack bags - 100% degradable
The Lady Of The House uses bags she buys online from Wikaniko - click here and then go to The Products, then enter the shop and go to the bags section where you will find rolls of 50 100% degradable 100% compostable dog waste/nappy sack bags for just £2.98.

I am told they are also ideal for clearing the waste from your litter trays (if you have one of those cat things!) and for use as nappy sacks (if you have one of those human babies!)

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Firewalk with the PDSA

Some people really will walk through fire for pets - or at least over it.

The PDSA is looking for volunteers to join its Firewalk next month at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre, Shropshire.

On the evening there will be a two-hour motivational talk by trained experts - which apparently is what you need to prepare you for the challenge of walking on a bed of hot coals.

If you are 16 or over you can be part of this special event if  you pay £10 to register and commit to raising at least £150 in sponsorship.

To find our more go to The PDSA's firewalk page or ring Lizzy on 01952 204791 or email

Personally, I'll stick to pounding the pavements and frolicking through fields.

Tuesday 21 September 2010

Coffee for cats?

The Lady Of The House keeps muttering about 'tidying up', and she's making sure I get brushed with my grooming mitt in the garden every day this week - all because she's got some friends and neighbours round on Friday for a coffee morning.

It's not just any coffee morning, it's part of the World's Biggest Coffee Morning fundraiser by Macmillan Cancer Support.

I think cakes may be on the menu, from what I hear, but personally give me a pig's ear or a cow's ear any day of the week.

Me tucking into a cow's ear

I can't imagine why anyone would want to drink coffee. It smells very suspect to me. But apparently coffee, along with bacon and eggs and broccoli, contributed to the longevity of a couple of the oldest cats who ever lived.  Sounds like another EXCELLENT reason not to like coffee if you ask me.

Monday 20 September 2010

Inspiring story of Ruth Boswell and Daybreaks Kennel

Over at Solihull in the West Midlands you will find the Daybreaks Kennels, home of Perry Barr Retired Greyhound Trust.

How they came to be there is an inspiring story of one woman's devotion to helping greyhounds.

Yet, Ruth Boswell wasn't even particularly interested in dogs when her husband persuaded her to give a dog a home in 2001.

The website for Daybreaks Kennels run by Ruth Boswell
But since then she's offered a loving home to many retired greyhounds and even given up her job to making running kennels a full-time occupation.

Please read her amazing and touching story here. It just goes to show how anyone can become addicted to living with greyhounds.

Sunday 19 September 2010

Greyhounds galore

Oh what a BIG day yesterday was!

Just a few folks from the Great Greyhound Gathering 2010
Truth to tell, I was a bit overawed when I got to the racecourse at Colwick, Nottingham and saw all the people and oh-so-many greyhounds at the Great Greyhound Gathering. My tail was tucked right under my tummy and my ears were flat against my head.

But the Lady Of The House and the Girl Of The House took me off somewhere quiet and gave me lots of fuss and reassurance while I got used to it.

Then we met a few people we knew. There was Jane with her two greyhounds Jack and Sophie - Sophie was at Crossing Cottage in a kennel near me in July this year before Jane gave her a forever home.

Then we saw John and Judith who run Crossing Cottage - and I stuck my nose into the dog's lucky dip and so the L O T H took the hint and had a go and won me some dog treats.

Next we ran into one of the Crossing Cottage volunteers who used to have long chats with me in my kennel.

After that I felt a lot more confident and I said hello - in that way beloved of greyhounds - to lots of dogs.

Had a nice long sleep in the car going home.

Thursday 16 September 2010

Getting ready for the 4th annual Great Greyhound Gathering

Just two days to go to the Great Greyhound Gathering 2010!! I'm SOOOOO excited.
Picture from
For a while it was touch and go whether we would make it...the Lady Of The House is in the middle of some serious car trouble (don't ask, long story apparently). But she's now lined up to borrow her dad's car and the L O T H and the Girl Of The House are going to be taking me to Nottingham Racecourse to meet up with some old friends. YAY!!!!

This will be the fourth annual GGG, and last year's event attracted about 3,000 people and 800 dogs, I'm told.

When we were at Ashbourne Show last month a few of my old friends (who were volunteers at Crossing Cottage kennels) asked if we would be there so hopefully we'll be meeting up with them again as well as lots and lots more people and dogs.

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Braving the cat walk

How am I doing when I see a cat on our walks these days - I hear you cry?

Well, maybe I don't hear you - but I'm going to tell you anyway.

Because the good news is that thanks to lots of praise and fuss when I walk past a cat without barking or lunging I am now quite calm about our four-legged furry fiends...I mean friends.

I still prick up my ears and look interested, but the Lady Of The House (or the Man) just walk me swiftly on without saying anything as soon as they see a cat's caught my eye and then make a lot of fuss of me with lots of "good girl"s - which I love more than anything - once we've got past the cat without any big scene.

Cats are never going to be my best friends, and I'm glad we don't have any in this house, but it's all a lot calmer now when I see a cat on my walks than when I first came home at the start of last month.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Dog walkers needed

The Lady Of The House says it's lovely having a reason to get out in the fresh air two or three times a day - and that reason of course is ME!!

I only need two 20-minute walks a day but sometimes. if we have time. we go further afield (and if it's raining we don't go very far at all, thank you very much - I HATE the rain).

The Man Of The House usually does my last walk in the evening and he does more walking at weekends when he's not at work. In fact they seem to have it pretty much sorted between them. Nice example of domestic co-operation. Well done, guys!

I get really excited when I see them getting ready to take me out (and I'm pretty well aware of what time it is and when my walk's due). I wag my tail like crazy and my ears go right back and I grin like mad and do a little wiggly dance of joy and sometimes stand up on my hind legs. The L O T H says she's not sure what there is to get QUITE so excited about. But I love my walks.

All the greyhounds waiting for homes in Retired Greyhound Trust kennels need walks too. When I was at Crossing Cottage a lovely lady used to come and take me for walks every day.

If you live in Sheffield, the RGT branch there is advertising on its website for volunteer dog walkers. They need people who can spare a bit of time on a regular basis on weekday mornings between 8.30 and 12 noon.

If you can help please give them a ring on 0114 288 8300.

Also, a BIG pat on the back to Sheffield RGT for finding new forever home for 400 greyhounds in two years! Good going!

If Sheffield's too far away for you, maybe you could look for your local RGT branch on this page of the national website and see if they need any help. It's a great way to meet lots of new people (and dogs) and walk in some lovely countryside in most places.

Monday 13 September 2010

Two's company

Monday again, and the start of another week which will see all the good people of the Retired Greyhound Trust doing their very best to match the right retired greyhounds with their perfectly-matched forever family.

Although I am happy being an only-dog, a lot of greyhounds are happiest in pairs. Some of them may be brother and sister, others may have become firm friends in kennels and those who know and love us at the RGT kennels will always do their best to keep us together if they know that it will make us happiest.

Families who have taken on two greyhounds who want to be together find them a lot easier than you may imagine. We're an easy-going and good-natured breed and take up less space than you might imagine and for dogs who believe that two's company it does mean that we'll be happy together if the family needs to go out without us.

Today I thought I'd spotlight a couple of pairs of greyhounds which the RGT is currently trying to re-home together.

Jason and Kylie from Clark's Farm Greyhound Rescue
The first pair are called Jason and Kylie and they are five-year-old brother and sister and they currently live with Clark's Farm Greyhound Rescue which is at Wash Lane, Little Totham, Maldon, Essex. The RGT say they could both be trained to accept cats.

Heartbreaker and Teddy Bear from Harlow Hounds
At Harlow Hounds in Essex they are trying to find a home that would like to take five-year-old Heartbreaker and six-year-old Teddy Bear. They give each other confidence and would be suited to a quieter home where someone has lots of love to give them and ideally some experience.

Hope you are all lucky in finding good homes soon

Sunday 12 September 2010

A treat of a day

The website for Burton's branch of the RSPCA

Today I took a stroll - on my lead of course - to the 6th annual companion dog show held by Derwent Valley Dog Club in aid of the RSPCA Burton Branch.

Dogs of all shapes and sizes and types were entering obedience and breed classes as well as novelty classes - like "The dog the judges would most like to take home".

The Nottingham branch of the Retired Greyhound Trust were among those who had stands at the show. Those RGT people never seem to stop! It's so great that people work so hard to show what great pets greyhounds make.

I didn't enter anything....but I might try next weekend at the Great Greyhound Gathering - but more of that later this week.

The Lady Of The House did buy me some treats from The Dog Bakery - home-baked with all natural ingredients, no preservatives, colouring, added salt or added sugar. Looking forward to giving them a try.

Friday 10 September 2010

Taking your time with visitors

Me and the Lady Of The House have had a lovely visitor today.

It made me think that when greyhounds first come to a new home it's a good idea not to have lots of people round in a short space of it can be a bit overwhelming when a dog is trying to get used to its new surroundings.

It's best for us to have a bit of time to bond with our new family first and get used to them - and that's what we did when I came here.

I came here at the start of August so the Girl Of The House was home from university and the Boy Of The House was enjoying his school summer holidays, the Lady Of The House was starting a new life outside the office where she had worked for years and years, and the Man Of The House was on a fortnight's holiday at home too.

I can hear every word you say, you know
A few close relatives came round to meet me that first week, and I did settle in really quickly as I had lived in a home before - and loved it. But some retired racers have never known life outside kennels so they have even more new things to get used too.

Today Alyson came. I LOVE Alyson because she stroked me lots and bought me a lovely minty chew. I really like just lying in the front room on my bed and listening to the conversations knowing that there's people with me in the room.

See you again soon

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Wishing Sandy a speedy recovery

My recent problems with my dew claw - oh, and I've scraped my nose a little bit since we last spoke - were put into perspective when I heard about the lucky escape of a greyhound called Sandy who fell 60 feet off some cliffs in Dorset last Saturday.

The Swanage coastguard rescue team were called into action after the horrified owner reported their dog had gone over the edge of a cliff between Studland and Old Harry Rocks.

Luckily for Sandy and his owner, the Swanage casualty watch team were already heading out to Old Harry when they got the call from Portland and they were on the scene extremely quickly.

They could see Sandy, who had broken his leg, at the base of the cliff and sent a crewman ashore. The Coastguard team then passed a special dog bag down so that the lifeboat crew could safely recover the injured greyhound to South Beach from where its owner whisked it off to a vet.

The Swanage coastguard say that the next day a very similar accident happened at the same spot, but by the time they got to the scene the owners had managed to rescue their dog themselves.

Of course we greyhounds love to run, and maybe Sandy got the sight, or smell, of a rabbit and took a very dangerous step too far. I wish him a full and speedy recovery.

Tuesday 7 September 2010

"Quite brave - for a greyhound"

Is this what they call "damning with faint praise"?

I had to go to the vets yesterday to get the troublesome dew claw removed, and she said I was "Quite brave for a greyhound"

Where the claw isn't - my dew claw after the clipping
The nice vet lady spoke kindly to me and then suddenly bent down clipped my claw off!! I yelped once very loudly, but it was over very quick and the Lady Of The House says it will all be for the best as I'll not catch it on everything and keep hurting myself. I was a bit shakey but I got lots of cuddles and strokes and I was soon as right as rain again.

This morning the L O T H came back from a quick shop in town with a little pink cuddly squeaky pig dog toy. It's about the same size as the little teddy that no-one won for me on the tombola! I've been having a good play with that and love carrying it round the house.

Sunday 5 September 2010

A quiet weekend

While everyone was out at the Little Theatre Company Playathon yesterday I had a fairly quiet day on my bed.

The Man and the Lady Of The House popped home at lunchtime to feed and walk me and unfortunately I caught that dew claw again - the one I hurt on the Corkscrew Hazel in the garden last week. I yelped a lot and although it doesn't stop me walking it looks like a trip to the vets is going to be needed to sort it out.

The Man and the Boy Of The House came home early at teatime after the B O T H hurt his knee banging it on a metal railing. So there were two of us feeling a bit sorry for ourselves last evening.

I'll take it steady today I think.

Friday 3 September 2010

Food Glorious Food

I enjoy my food, but I do eat quite calmly and steadily and I'm good at not begging for food from the family. I let them eat in peace.

I do have my food dish raised up. Rather than buy a pet dish stand, my family got a good tip to use a plastic flower pot which is a good fit for my dish. It means it's a comfortable height for me - and it won't overbalance even if I push it round the floor to get the last bit of food.

I keep hearing this song called "Food Glorious Food" playing around the house. Apparently three of the family will be doing songs from a musical called "Oliver!" in tomorrow's fund-raising Playathon by Little Theatre Company which I mentioned earlier this week (See here)

I've not forgotten that teddy you've got in the tombola you know, people. Singing in my ear isn't going to distract me either.

Thursday 2 September 2010

Claws against climbing

Hi there

Feeling a bit sorry for myself today. It's my own fault I 'spose.

After my morning walk we came home and I sort of tried to climb this big bush/tree thing in the garden. The Lady Of The House said it was a Corkscrew Hazel. Anyway, whatever it was it smelled of cat and I had my front paws right up in the branches so I could get a better sniff and then something hurt and I started howling and came down holding my right paw in the air.

The L O T H had a look and thinks I've pulled my dew claw when I tried to come down. But I'm having a good rest and she says it doesn't look like any real damage has been done. I'm getting lots of extra fuss so that's good.

Think it will be a short walk this afternoon though.

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Irresponsible dog owners let us all down

Hasn't it been a wonderful hot, sunny day today? Well it has been here. Hope the weather's been good for you too.

Me enjoying the sunshine

I did a spot of sunbathing in the garden and then had a great time enjoying the scents and sights of the nature trail this afternoon with the Lady Of The House.

On the way we round she stopped for a chat with two young men who were from the council investigating complaints from local people about owners who don't clean up after their dogs.

The L O T H told them that she thought it was horrid to see mess left by she said for folk who don't even own dogs it must be even more annoying.

The men asked her if she thought there were enough dog bins and she said of course. We were standing at a crossroads of paths and there was a green bin right there, and (from experience) she knew there were at least two more very close by. No-one could use THAT as an excuse.

Some people do let their dogs off the lead in that area....maybe they think that's an excuse if the dog runs off and they don't see what it does (or turn a blind eye). But our view is that owners have to be responsible for what their dog does...wherever and however.

It's not fair when the irresponsible minority spoil it for all of us. People who walk through the nature reserve are likely to look at all dog walkers and wonder if they are responsible for the messes.

I would be really sad if they ban dogs from that area......