Pearl first came to me as a short-term foster from Greyhound Rescue Wales in March 2010. An ex-racing Greyhound, she’d originally been in the care of the RSPCA in Lincolnshire. At just over a year old, she was young for her racing career to have ended. Her ears were highly sensitive, and it’s my guess she was too unnerved by the noise at the track to be any good as a racer.
When she first arrived she was terrified to go outside, spending most of her time hiding in the back room, snapping and snarling whenever the lead was produced. I don’t mind admitting she scared me at times! However, the gentle expression in her eyes belied the outbursts of fear-aggression, and I knew she had the potential to be a sweet-natured girl.
Over the next few weeks, with the help of many treats and my Lurcher Millie, I coaxed her to come out for walks until she was used to it.
That was when GRW tried to home her. I really hoped it would work out, as I wasn’t sure I could take on such a reactive dog long term. But three weeks later she was back. I’m not sure what went wrong, but I’m guessing she freaked out when she found herself in a strange new area and turned back into the Great White Monster when it was time for “walkies”. So the kind people at GRW decided she could stay here for good if I was willing to take her on as a lifetime foster.
I decided then I would commit to giving Pearl a safe and loving home with me and Millie, and she became a Greyhound Rescue sponsor dog, helping to raise money for the charity. I’ve never regretted my decision. During the time she spent with me she changed from a traumatised and desperately defensive dog to a loving and affectionate companion who loved life and jumped for joy at the sight of the lead. I hardly had to do anything; once she knew she was safe, she blossomed of her own accord.
Now she’s gone I can’t believe I was ever unsure about taking her on. She was a very special girl and I would do anything to have her back, healthy and happy.
Photos: header, top and bottom Debra Allen