In 2010 my daughter was diagnosed with Cancer, she was 11. Alex commenced a tough three years of chemotherapy, at its worst Alex was in a wheelchair and was on morphine to control the pain which meant that she missed over two years of school it severely shook her confidence and ability to talk to people, teachers and friends had commented that she wouldn’t talk to them very much. Harry my younger son is autistic and struggles to make friends and communicate.
Never having owned a dog before, Patrick (who had waited 50 years to own his own dog) researched dogs and saw that greyhounds were great wonderful pets and both he and Alex spent over 18 months to convince me that we should have one. Life was too busy and hospital and risk of infections were too great for Alex and I couldn’t take on the extra work of a dog……..so treatment finished at the end of March 2013…… We went to Crossing Cottage and talked to John and Judith Who talked to us about owning greyhounds, what it involved and what we would have to do, gave us a DVD and a booklet. Let us walk three or four dogs, we didn’t want to choose one then, but did actually like one particular one. So within a few hours we phoned them and asked to reserve a black one.
We collected Royal two weeks later and took him home, complete with all the things we needed (supplied by RGT), Royal had been homed before and was returned, so we did have it slightly easy for beginner dog owners. Royal settled well, cried for about an hour on the first night, but then just went to sleep. We had a baby stair gate to keep him in the kitchen at night and when we were out, he climbed over that. We shut the gate and then the door, within a few hours he opened the door and climbed over the gate, so we gave up and let him have the run of downstairs, he was content and settled and clean.
We noticed the difference in Alex straight away, she wanted to go out on the walks, and she was tired at first and often took pain relief when she came back but she wanted to walk Royal, a big step for her. Alex was egar to talk to people about her dog, telling teachers and friends. It was extremely surprising to find Alex talking to strangers when she met them while walking Royal. Her determination to walk him on her own made her willing to prove to us she was getting stronger and was able to handle him. Her consultant remarked on Alex at her review and said that the benefits of the dog had already had on Alex were better than any medicine.
Harry takes longer to process change, he struggled at first, but loved spending time with Royal, within a month Harry was happy to take Royal out and then within another few weeks, he was scooping poo, to show us he is capable of walking Royal on his own. Harry loves taking Royal out and talking to him.
Royal is great, calm, gentle, doesn’t bark (except when you invade his space when he is asleep), he has playful times, loves it when you sneak his squeaky out and hide it under his vet mat. Loves his walks and going out with the family. He is settled when we go out to work, thrilled to see us when we come in, he is a waggy tailed happy doggy. He is a delight…… but we did notice he responded very well when meeting other greyhounds and was starting to whimper when we left them………
One of our closest friends asked me what I was doing this weekend, so I told her “we are off to Crossings Cottage to get another greyhound”.
She replied “Are you mad? They are big dogs”
my response was “He’s showing signs of being lonely, he’s following me around more, and he needs another dog to keep him content. Having Royal was one of the best decisions we have ever taken as a family, Patrick has the best exercise machine he ever bought, he does both early morning and evening walks. Alex has changed so much that her doctor and psychologist have noted it, her and improving her physically by walking him. Harry is constantly improving and learning about Royal, gaining so much confidence and making friends. Me, well Royal has given me a focus, so that I am not constantly looking at Alex and worrying if she is ok. He is brilliant he has given us all something to focus on and move forwards as we all recover from the last three years”
She replied, “you do all sparkle now, I can’t argue with your decision”
So now we have two………