IMG_20141017_123732900-copyAs I write this, sitting at the kitchen table.  I am being watched by two snoozing, black, beautiful greyhounds, sprawled out happily on a mound of quilts and pillows. Although we have only recently adopted, “Sasha” and “Diva”, I cannot imagine life without them. Which is remarkable considering that our son’s allergies had lead us to believe that dog ownership was impossible.

Unfortunately, allergies run in our family, both my son and I carry Epi-pens for a severe nut allergy. While my son Giacomo is also allergic to tree pollen, dust mites, horses and dogs among other things. Not only had he had to give up riding but it was also thought that he would be unable to have a dog.

However, I had noticed that he seemed able to tolerate my brother’s lurchers and greyhound so I felt that there might be a glimmer of hope. I began to do some research on the internet and discovered that although greyhounds aren’t hypoallergenic like the poodle crosses, their fine coats and minimal shedding meant that a number of allergic persons were alive and well and living with these wonderful hounds!!!

Winning rosettes a Sutton-on-Trent Festival with Sasha and Dive

Winning rosettes a Sutton-on-Trent Festival with Sasha and Dive

Which is how we found ourselves one Sunday afternoon at, “Crossing Kennels” where after walking one or two other greyhounds fell for Sasha and Diva. They seemed perfect for us in everyway. Aged 7 and 8 – having previously been rehomed and then returned because of their owner’s ill health, they were the ideal pair for first time, novice greyhound rehomers.

Our excitement grew as we saw Diva lying on the ground paws in the air waiting for a tummy rub while Giacomo snuggled up to her without a sign of an allergy. My husband who had up to this point been rather ambivalent about greyhounds as he really wanted a, “cuddly Labrador” appeared smitten. He told me later that when Sasha had leant on his leg and then gently pushed her nose into his hand, he was hooked.

With great excitement we returned on Saturday to take the girls out for a trip in the car, when disaster struck. Giacomo’s eye puffed up like a football and we returned to the kennels our hopes dashed and feeling confused. Why had everything gone so well the first time? This the problem with allergies, we had no idea what had set the reaction off, though we later realised that the dusty old coats the girls were wearing as it was raining were probably the culprits.

Photo first meeting at Crossing Cottage Kennels 2014

Photo first meeting at Crossing Cottage Kennels 2014

When Giacomo had the allergic reaction in the car he was heartbroken as he was hoping that we would be able to bring the dogs home with us for a trial.  Judith was so kind to Giacomo, explaining on the one hand that he needed to go home and let his eye settle down but on the other hand assuring him that Sasha and Diva would not be rehomed to anybody else until we decided what to do next.
We decided that a trial was the only way forward and I am happy to report that after a week it was plain to see that the girls were here to stay and Giacomo was fine as long as he didn’t stroke the dogs then rub his finger in his eye!  Which would be enough to cause a reaction in even a non allergic person.

When we actually got the dogs home, John was constantly at the other end of the phone good humouredly answering our myriad queries from why Diva hadn’t eaten her breakfast to where to put their beds and how to exercise them

In the short time that we have become involved with the dogs we have had so many fantastic experiences, from taking them to RGT shows and winning rosettes to meeting all these wonderful people who are involved in rehoming greyhounds. Until I met Sasha and Diva I didn’t realise that there was a secret club that all of us who love these dogs belong to. The rehoming community that I have met at various greyhound gatherings have been warm hearted, friendly and extremely supportive to us as new owners, going out of their way to pass on their knowledge and advice.

This story would not have had such a happy ending without all the marvellous help and support from Judith and John and all their helpers who do such a brilliant job in looking after these wonderful hounds and finding them their forever homes.

So to summarise our story, it might not work for everyone but please think about adopting a greyhound even if you have an allergy. Secondly, give some consideration to older dogs, they might have been rehomed before and returned to the kennels through no fault of their own and can show you the ropes. Oh and if you can manage it two can be great as they can keep each other company.

I really would encourage anybody considering adopting a greyhound to go and visit Crossing Kennels, you won’t regret it.

Finally I was amazed to hear that black greyhounds often take longer to rehome than some of the other colours…..Has everyone gone mad?  Haven’t  they ever read Black Beauty!!!!

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