Thursday, 31 May 2007

Who's who and how did we end up like this?

An interlude post from the humans. This is going to be a very long post, so pour yourself a coffee, pull up a comfy chair, and put your feet up.

Who's who and how did we end up like this?

We never planned to have this many dogs. We were aiming at two. We missed.

It's a long story... of course. As a "grown up" (which I guess is a posh way of saying you pay taxes) I'd always wanted a dog, having spent formative years with Coke, Cheeka, Simba... then numerous family dogs. We've always had dogs, my family: Poppy, Daisy, Suvi, Marlowe, Amber. The aunt's and uncle's dogs, grandparents' dogs, the list goes on.

When I met the Dogfather (before he was the Dogfather) we acquired a dog from the Blue Cross, a local rescue in the UK. "Acquired", "A dog". No way. Brandy was THE dog. Brandy The Dog, Mr The Dog. To this day, six years since he left us, he is still BTD, MTD and watches us from pictures on the wall. We never had another dog while he trampled his paw prints into our putty-like hearts simply because he did not like other dogs and did not want to share us. It was the Brandy way.

Brandy.Brandy and Mr Lemonhead - his favourite toy.

When we lost Brandy the world ended and we were "NEVER GOING TO HAVE ANOTHER DOG". After two weeks we could not stand the aching void and snuck Boots into the house. Boots came from one of the family who could not keep him any more.

He was slinky, he was black. He slept all day and every other minute he could manage. He was a LURCHER. Best kept secret in the universe. The perfect working person's dog. Hardly ever barks. Likes to go out for quick sprints and adventures, then sleep it off for the other 23.9 hours of the day. Provided there is no defrosting fish left on the counter to be stolen. Very inconvenient, interrupts the sleeping.

Boots before he started going grey!

Having a lurcher who HAD lived with other dogs gave us the ideal opportunity to acquire another dog. What.. TWO dogs? We found rescue that specialised in greyhounds and lurchers (that would be EGLR then). They only had a puppy who would fit our household (we already had Maddie the cat at this point). We hummed, we hawed. We erred, we ummed. I was mostly working at home at the time but was worried that there might be odd days I would have to work away from home, so we hummed and hawed some more.

A couple of days later I phoned EGLR again and there was a wee girly (but grown up) dog who needed a home and might fit our household. Unfortunately I forgot to mention this bit to the Dogfather, so when we went to look at the new girly dog, the Dogfather thought we were looking at a puppy (and had his heart set on such).

The girly dog was lovely. The Dogfather wanted to meet the puppy.


As a result, in September 2001, Cleo"The Girly Dog" and Tealeaf "The Puppy" both came home with us.

Cleo and Tealeaf when they first arrived.

We were a three-dog-one-cat-two-people family. And we were NOT GOING TO HAVE ANY MORE.

Three was enough. More than enough, we really had our hands full. Tealeaf was the first puppy we had ever had as grownups and we got a lot of things wrong...

Editor's note. At this point we moved to a bigger house.

What with us phoning the rescue every now and then for advice about the dogs (very nice and helpful people they are too) we got to know the lady that runs the rescue quite well. We offered to help if we could, transport runs, fostering etc.

So we started to foster, some lovely pups, some gorgeous older dogs, all went on to happy new homes and most still stay in touch and let us know how the dogs are getting on, and some are now really good friends.

In November 2002 I got a call from the rescue asking if we could take in two dogs as an emergency foster, an elderly deerhound and a gorgeous lurcher, their owners had signed them over to the rescue when the husband had to go into hospital.

"Of course" we said. Idiots. But there was NO WAY WE WERE KEEPING ANY MORE. ok?

Megan and Michael arrived. Michael went off to another fosterer after a few days as we also had a friend's two greyhounds coming to stay and the house was full (no really? 7 dogs are too many?). After a few days and lots of discussion we decided that trying to rehome an 11 year old deerhound was a bit silly and she may as well stay with us as she probably would only be around for a few months. (Nothing to do with the fact that she was utterly gorgeous and we were smitten, no nothing to do with that). Gullible twonks.

Meg when she first arrived (and boy, could she flirt!).

We were a four-dog-one-cat-two-people family. And we were NOT GOING TO HAVE ANY MORE.

A few more fosters came and went, some stayed a few days, some stayed for months. Freddie who had Lupus came and nearly, nearly became one of the gang. Jura, who the rescue thought might only last a few weeks and needed a place to stay, came, plonked herself on the sofa, made a miraculous recovery and went on to be rehomed with Freddie. All left their muddy paw prints in our lives.

Freddie and Jura when they arrived.

Getting a little crowded...

Freddie and Jura going off to a new home together

Having gained a reputation for looking after the poorly and old dogs, we were asked to look after a 10 year old lurcher girl with cancer, they did not expect her to live more than a month or two. So Myrtle came to stay, and we adopted her right away.

Myrtle :)

I think we are going to need considerably larger sofas...

We were a five-dog-one-cat-two-people family. And we were NOT GOING TO HAVE ANY MORE.

Then in December 2003 a friend contacted me asking if I had noticed there was 16 month old wolfie looking for a home in a rescue nearby. Oh dear. The Dogfather had ALWAYS wanted a wolfie, he grew up with them and was besotted with the breed. Oh dear.

So KuBrin came to live with us.

We were a six-dog-one-cat-two-people family. And we were NOT GOING TO HAVE ANY MORE.

KuBrin as a gangly teenager when he arrived.

Sadly, a few days after KuBrin arrived, we had to say farewell to Myrtle, she gave us a fabulous four months and was a delight to have around (though Maddie the cat probably would not agree).

We were a five-dog-one-cat-two-people family.

Editor's note. At this point we extended the current house to make more dog living space.

KuBrin was (and still is) a bit of a handful, so apart from one more (howling, and I really mean it) puppy we stopped fostering. Then as things started to settle and KuBrin calmed down a bit (it's all a matter of relativity) we discussed the possibility of squeezing an oldie or two. You know, the ones that don't get a second look in the rescues because they don't have long. (NB. at this point - Megan had been with us for two years and was showing NO signs of slowing down - a 13 year old deerhound is ridiculous - the average lifespan is usually listed as 8 years.)

Lo and behold, a couple of days after this discussion, EGLR phoned as about Hobo. She was a 16 year old girl of mixed descent, not even the LEAST bit lurchery. In fact we think she was knitted cos no one part of her matched the others. Hobo had been left in a builder's yard when her owner went to jail. Obviously the rescue did not think she would last long, she was very wobbly on her pins and needed a warm fireside to "live out her days".

So Hobo came to stay with us.

Hobo and a small bone..

We were a six-dog-one-cat-two-people family. Again.

She was brilliant, she was funny, lovely and viceless. You could not ask for a nicer dog. "Don't walk her with the other dogs" they said, "She won't cope". We could not keep her IN. In our multi dog home she perked up, took an interest in life, started barking at everything (especially dinner), pogoed though our lives and generally made her presence felt. There was one memorable occasion of "handbags at dawn" with Megan when the sound of a ruckus made us bolt downstairs in our dressing gowns to find the two old biddies sitting growling at each other, each having slipped on the laminate.

A year and a half later Hobo broke our hearts.

And there we are... back to being a five-dog-one-cat-two-people family. And we still are, for now anyway.

Tealeaf (aged 6), Boots (11), Megan (15), Cleo (10ish), KuBrin (4).

Anyone made it to the end?


Katherine and Pippa, said...

Yeah, but I needed something a bit stronger (glass of cava) 'cos I knew I would.

We all have stories, an there are always sad bits.

Hearts out to you for fostering tho, couldn't do it.

We got Ben from Blue Cross, an knew someone who got her greyhounds from rescue centre. It was all Bucks area.


Sophie Brador said...

I want your life! If only I could find a dog father like that. Do they only make them in the UK?
-Sophie's mom

wally said...

I think this is the Greatest Story Ever Told.

And while I am partial to the stocky, you are truly a beautiful pack. Is there room for me on your couch? Perhaps we could stack?


Finnegan said...

Hooray! Lovely story. When I have a bigger house and a bigger yard, I would love to get a second, maybe third dog; however, I don't think the husband would go for three.

You have a wonderful household!

Finnegan's Mom

nm said...

I should not read things like this first thing in the office. It makes me so happy to hear your story and how you arrived at your current lurchery life. However, it makes me go out and want to rescue every dog I see right now - reports, work and lattes aside.



Ali said...

Oh yes indeedy, I made it to the end but my eyes seem to have developed a leak and my nose has got all stuffed up.

Having had the pleasure of spending many happy hours with your crew and meeting many of your fosters I feel justified in my leakiness. You are, of course, more or less responsible for our expansion from 1 to 3 dogs, although we are sensible and have expanded no more!! *wink*

My glass is charged and raised to Myrtle and Hobo this evening. Although I didn't ever meet Brandy - he too holds a special place in our hearts.

Ali, Graeme and the 3 black hounds.xx

PS. The Meglet sends snogs to the Leaflet

Kyre. said...

*sigh* I love this post. I love that you and the Dogfather take in oldies that need and deserve happy rest of their lives.

Oh and please send KuBrin over. Ko wants to meet a dog that is bigger than her.

Tofu Burger said...

oh wow! What a great story! Sadly I am an only dog at the moment...the landlord won't my dog-ma adopt another friend. Good Work you are doing... there is going to be a great big sofa for you in the next life! muah!

Blue said...

Hi Kerrio

Really glad you did that post, fills in a lot of gaps re the gang.
It's such a heart tugging story too. You & the Dogfather are dog lovers extro-ordinare!

Best wishes & pats to all

kingsley said...

i made it to the end too!

i have always enjoyed reading your blog.. and this post is especially touching. i love how you describe your dogs and their journey to you.

Can see that they are so well loved!

great job!

Angela said...

I made it too! Being new to the Blogs from the Dogs, it's nice to be able to see where everyone fits in!

I've volunteered for Greyhound Gap for years but always thought we couldn't foster because we both worked (The Lurchers come with us) and then we were asked to foster an Almost Oldie (nearly 9)who was quite happy to stay at home, with me coming home at lunchtime for an hour.

I've come to realise that Oldies are a law unto themselves and never quite do what you expect them to do, including not thinking that they're old!

I also heard this week how you were almost responsible for Ali's expansion to 3 dogs!

Ferndoggle said...

Well...that has to be one of the greatest stories ever. Kudos to you for all you've done (and no doubt, will do) for those exceptional dogs!


Lorenza said...

Yours its a great story. Sure you have a lot of love to give to your dogs.
Have a great weekend

General Jackson said...

I went to sleep a couple of times (that is the Basset way) but I made it to the end.

Of course I knew all the story having lived with the Lurchers for a couple of months.

I can thoroughly recommend "Lurcher Haven" if you want to be looked after properly.


Charlie said...

You're incredible!
- Charlie