It was an amazing moment for me when I realised that I was a grown up. As children we were always told we weren’t allowed a dog, this was all for good reasons. Mum and Dad both worked full time and if we had a dog it would be on its own for most of the day. I’d carried the words ‘You’re not allowed a dog’ into my adult years. At the age of 37 it suddenly dawned on me that if I wanted a dog I could have one and make my own decision. This is how our little family of 4 became a family of 5 and Buster the greyhound came to live with us.
We knew we wanted a greyhound right from the off. We had seen them at country shows and raising money for the rescue centre in town and they always seemed so gentle. It helped that my husband’s nick name for a while was ‘Graham the Greyhound’. Like many people we searched the rescue centre websites looking for the ‘right’ dog, we even borrowed one or two friends’ greyhounds for a couple of days just to make sure. Finally we ventured down to John and Judith’s at Crossing Cottage and met some of the dogs for ourselves.
We knew we wanted one we could let off the lead and the dog needed to be good with children. Our greyhound also needed to not be phased by loads of people coming and going, life in a vicarage can be a bit chaotic.
It was great when Judith phoned me and said ‘I think your dog is here’. We went to meet Buster. He’d never raced. He can’t corner properly and was much better at straight lines than bends. So we met him a beautiful fawn 18 month old, chocolate brown eyes and eyelashes to die for. He settled almost immediately although the ‘no upstairs and not on the furniture’ rule disappeared immediately.
Buster goes with me to the nursing home where he likes all the biscuits and the residents love him, it helps that they don’t have to bend down to stroke him. He comes to church and runs circuits round the pews. I recently took up running and Buster is a great companion out on a jog, although there is something slightly demotivating when you think you’re belting it only to look down and realise that he hasn’t even broken into a trot.
Of course Buster is now a BAFTA winner and you can see him regularly (or see parts of him) on our sofa on Channel 4’s Gogglebox. Whenever we take him for walks in busy places it’s always him that get recognises more than us. Even when he isn’t with us it’s the first thing people say ‘We love your dog!’ I’d like to say the fame hasn’t gone to his head but he’d have to stay awake for longer than 5 minutes to tell me.
Since getting our greyhound our health and happiness has improved as a whole family. Owning a greyhound is a massive responsibility and a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly but these funny gentle giants have a habit of changing people’s lives and taking them to interesting places and experiences. Getting Buster is one of the best grown up decisions I ever made.