Penny's Greyhound Blog: Stand By Your Mum

Well, it has been an eventful few months for Suzie and I.

Obviously we have had Christmas, New Year and in the middle of this a terrier (feeling territorial of the shop he was in I guess) flew out and attacked Suzie as we walked past. She got thrown against a parked car and grazed all the skin off the back of her legs trying to get up and away – before the owner managed to get the dog off. She was very shaken and came away with a small hole in her throat. Luckily no proper harm done and the lady was very apologetic and helpful.

Also, due to various hideous personal happenings, I am now going to be homeless in February and am once more single! Don’t worry, I’m not about to give you chapter and verse about relationships but through all the turmoil I have been struck by how much I rely on Suzie. It’s terrifying really as the animal worker part of my brain is reminding me she’s a nearly 13 year old greyhound, and at 36 (and a half!) I ought to be able to stand on my own two feet by now anyway. Despite this though, I feel like my weight is being held up by Suzie’s tired old four paws.

Suzie in the Christmas spirit

Suzie in the Christmas spirit

I expect other readers will have been through the same thing in life and although you know you love your dogs beyond all reason, you don’t always remember how you depend on them until something forces you to see it clearly. That silent knowing face, big following eyes and the warm tummy being waved at you for a rub; just bring a smile to your face no matter what. Even the comforting smell of your own warm contented hound makes you feel like breathing again. It’s also a lot more practical too – in that the daily routine has to continue and therefore, so do you.

The morning walks – giving you a reason to get out of bed. The treats routine – making you smile and stay organised to have the treats in (in Suzie’s case even more so as some treats are actually pain meds). The break in sulking alone on the sofa to Miss Marple and a box of tissues – because lunch time is here and yes; your floppy eared friend is up and stretching, looking at you expectantly. Then as dark falls (and it seems to have been dark and raining for about two years recently!) you still get to go out and see twinkling Christmas lights and meet other dog walkers to speak to and keep active.

If I stopped, then so would Suzie’s food, walks and really her life. So of course I don’t. It’s unthinkable to me and any good dog owner that I would let her suffer because of silly human stuff she has no concept of. Or does she?

Even though she is probably wondering why I keep snuggling up to her all the time, what that funny wet stuff is that comes out of my eyes all over her nice fur and “When will she stop kissing me?!” She takes it all in her stride, offers a gentle head on my knee at all the right times and if anything, seems to have taken to nosing the toy box open more frequently since both our lives changed. I can’t even explain it to her properly – although of course I have tried, aloud to the room! How do you let them understand that things have changed and that you are sad, but that in no way is it their fault? How can you say that their pack composition has also altered and so to them things must seem unsettled suddenly? How can I warn her that she will soon be in her third home with me and that I wish this wasn’t so?

House viewings are always hard work but as many readers will know, trying to find a rented place with a dog can be very tricky. Luckily there are understanding landlords out there and also responsible dog owners that encourage more landlords to take the plunge. I am viewing places that meet both our needs and trying to pick one that will suit, but it is hard to tick all the essential boxes. After all I do need to be able to afford it and get to work from it as well as it being dog friendly! At the moment it has meant lots of car trips for Suzie and I as a team – which she likes anyway so no harm there. We have our paws and fingers crossed that we get sorted soon and then get settled in to a hound friendly home once more.

So, as I am all too aware that greyhounds can be especially sensitive souls, everything I am doing is making great efforts, every day to make sure she does not slide into sadness.

And so – she is doing the same for me.

What a team!

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