A Greyhound's Tale

On this page, we’d like to introduce you to two beautiful greyhounds who’ve been helped by Animal Lifeline Wales.

Please say hello to Callie and Mick, two very special elderly greyhounds. Mick, pictured below, is now eleven, and was originally born in Ireland before coming to the UK to race and eventually retire.

Mick - A greyhound in the care of Animal Lifeline WalesVery healthy for his age, Mick now has a  little bit of arthritis in his hips, making him a bit stiff. Mick likes people and loves to snuggle on the sofa, though he can be a little wary of strangers, especially men the first time he meets them.

Callie was a hard working racer who ran in nearly seventy races during her racing career.

Both dogs found a happy retirement home with a kind, caring owner. Each day, they’d have a beach walk. At home they had a comfy sofa for snoozes and plenty of time for snuggles.

However, sadly their owner began to have difficulties with their health and was not able to access family support. Matters came to a head when their owner was hospitalised suddenly, and asked the charity to help take care of the dogs. Initially, the dogs stayed at a local boarding kennel while arrangements were being sorted out. Care at the kennel was excellent, and the kennel owner was able to provide regular telephone updates on the dog’s progress and welfare to their worried owner. Charity volunteers visited the dogs regularly, took pictures and then visited their owner in hospital with updates and news. This provided a much needed boost, and helped to reduce a source of worry. After a while, the dogs were able to be moved into a foster home. The foster home was experienced with greyhounds and the two dogs now joined two others, making a happy family of four hounds.

By this stage, Callie was in need of dental treatment and the charity made sure she had a necessary operation and aftercare. The dogs were able to visit their owner at the hospital premises (a wonderful boost and a big help in aiding recovery). It was reassuring for their owner to know that they were well, happy and being cared for together in a home with other greyhounds.

Callie - A greyhound in the care of Animal Lifeline WalesPlans began to be made to return the dogs to their owner but sadly fate intervened. An unrelated health matter to the original illness occurred, leading to further hospitalisation and the realisation that health matters were going to be   uncertain for a while. After consultation, their owner took the difficult decision to permanently relinquish the dogs to the charity. As the dogs had by now settled in so well at their foster home, a decision was made that the two dogs would stay there for the rest of their lives. This way, they could remain together, and could enjoy a stable retirement.  

Since then, the charity has made sure the dogs needs are being met. All vets bills are met, and Mick is now on regular medication for his arthritis, though both dogs are otherwise very healthy for their ages.

Mick was found to be reactive with other dogs when he was first fostered, so the charity helped by funding some sessions with a local trainer. Mick has been using a technique called BAT which has helped build his confidence around other dogs and he is now much more relaxed and happy when socialising. He loves meeting other greyhounds and has mastered the art of persuading the nearest human to give him a treat or make room on the sofa.

Callie has proved to be a very sociable, confident dog. She regularly takes part in charity events such as store collections, sponsored walks etc and goes regularly to sighthound playgroups. She has entered several dog shows and has a growing collection of rosettes. She is shortly going to be doing some dog training classes locally. Her favourite meal is chicken.  

We’ve shared Callie and Mick’s story because it illustrates several key points about how we can help animals and their owners. Firstly, the charity was able to be flexible when first asked for help – initially, it seemed as though respite care was needed and this was provided – both through using a local boarding kennel and by the use of an experienced foster home.

Secondly, the dogs were able to stay together and avoid entering a local dog pound. Elderly dogs would have had a very poor chance of being adopted from a dog pound, and with only seven days to find a home, would probably have been killed if they had not been successful in that time. Even less likely would be the chance of them finding a home together – the charity has made sure they will now be united for the rest of their lives.

Thirdly, long term fostering has been able to provide a happy ending for these dogs. The charity provides essential support by meeting veterinary bills and similar expenses while the foster home provides day to day care, training and enrichment. Regular reports, photographs and information are provided to the charity trustees on the dogs’ progress. Very happily, the original owner of the dogs is also kept updated and is able to meet up with the dogs and be sent regular pictures, updates etc.

If you would be interested in helping other dogs like Callie and Mick, or other family pets, the charity would love to hear from you. We are always looking for both short and long term foster homes. We provide lots of support and back up to our foster carers, and the charity will meet the expenses incurred such as vets bills, etc. It’s also a very rewarding way of helping both animals and their owners.

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