Thursday, July 25, 2013

Whittingham Kennels

Mummy and Daddy took me to visit some furry friends today at the Whittingham Retired Greyhound Trust rehoming kennels in Waltham Abbey. We like it there. There is a huge field at the back and a pretty walk down into the woods on the edge of Epping Forest.

First of all we took out Rooney for a walk. He was as quiet as a lamb and very well behaved. He would make a lovely pet for someone. Being 5 means he is just youthful enough for a bit of fun, but mature enough not to have any annoying over exuberant puppy characteristics. He has a very waggy tail, which has been shortened as he kept banging his tail against the wall.

Whilst we are on the walk, we also met another lovely Black boy called Charley. He had a very calm, cuddly nature and is still a pup really at only 3 yrs old. He seemed very good around other dogs.

Daddy has a soft spot for very large greyhounds, and Lenny is the tallest one they had. I was very distraught when Daddy put me in a paddock, and then took Lenny out for a walk...what a cheek! I quavered and whined and did my most heart rending rattles and sighs......and sharp squeaks. They did bring Lenny back though. Mummy thought he looked really elegant trotting beside Daddy. He reminded her of a trotting carriage horse. Daddy was jogging quite fast whilst Lenny's stride was not even a run, just a fast, walk with the occasional trot.

Mummy has a soft spot for Harry. He is 4 and he did get a home, but his owners felt that owning a dog was not quite right for them after one night....and it was nothing to do with Harry really.

Now here it the thing about us greyhounds. If you have never owned one before, and you take us home, it can feel a little bit odd for a few can be filled with anxieties and worries that we won't settle or behave.  We might even seem a little bit feral, or over-excited. When Dizzy and I arrived here we both reacted to things with enormous enthusiasm and I have to admit, we did not know the rules and got a little bit out of hand on the first night. Mummy and Daddy had a Chinese and had no idea quite how quickly we can move when one food appears....Dizzy pulled a nest of noodles from the bottom and off Mummy's plate, munching at the speed of light. Of course, we were taught not to steal or beg and as soon as we are shown the rules, once is enough and we get it. But to begin with, Mummy and Daddy did say ''oh no. what have we done!'' as we seemed odd to them. Greyhounds move and do things in an excited fashion which can give the appearance of being wild or out of control, but actually we are creatures of habit and just as happy to unlearn any kennel or racing we say, if you adopt a hound then just give it a go for a week or so, and you will see that we fit into your way of life and we will love you like nobody else has ever loved you. it is common to get first time nerves when you have a child, or you adopt a new pup, but sadly unlike human babies who on the whole get to stay after one day whatever happens, we often get handed back to kennels by folks who think they made a mistake and a dog is not for them. We are big, we can be excitable and sometimes a little aloof if we have been passed around but all of that wears off so quickly and we learn to behave the way you want us too. After all, it is the submissive and gentle characteristics bred into us for racing and coursing which has made us the gentle and noble breed we are. No other breed could take what we have had to endure and turn out to be so loyal and stable. I would like to be an ambassador for the adopted greyhound. 

You might also find that we are not quite housetrained, but even that can be a worry but is easily corrected. It took me about one day to understand not to pee indoors, and then I got it. Dizzy took about 2 days. Mummy and Daddy took us out every hour on Day 1, every 2 hours on Day 2, and enforced the double toileting outdoors first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. All we needed was praise and a biccy, and if we did pee accidentally....we do not need any primitive behaviour please like rubbing our nose in it or spanking our bottoms. We just need you to say a firm 'No' and take us outside as quickly as possible with a command like ''In the garden''....and that explains it.
Often in racing kennels we are locked up for hours, so are allowed to pee in certain areas of our kennels so we don't immediately know we should not be peeing in your giant kennel too!

These kennels do such good work at rehabilitating dogs and getting them homed. There is a very happy atmosphere there and none of the dogs are distressed in any way as conditions are so favourable. They have lots of light, air, company, fuss, walks and trips out to the paddock to be outdoors. The only problem is, if these dogs do not find good loving homes then it will not make way for the hundreds of other dogs that need a home.
Whittingham needs to empty its kennels regularly and make way for new hounds in need.

They do have some residents, who get overlooked though which is a shame. There is a girl called Pixie, who is very sweet but has spent all her life of 8 yrs in kennels. With good health, she may have another 8 yrs if she is lucky, or at least 6...and it is a shame that she might never get to know what a sofa is like or have a loving family because of her age.

There is also a lovely, lively boy called Red who is a bit of a character called Red. He is 6 yrs old and that is getting dangerously near to the age that means he is a veteran and more likely to stay in kennels. He is a lovely red/fawn colour, has a short tail (his was too waggy too), and is cuddly and cannot wait to get out of his kennel for walks. 

Apparently, he can be a bit choosy about making friends with other dogs...and I know just how that can be. I am of Royal blood and a personage such as myself, could not lower themselves to talk to the underdogs like whippets, or jack Russells, or spaniels. And don't get me started on labradors. If one of those comes indoors, then I just have to show my teeth and complain to establish a correct working hierarchy.

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