Some of you might know that I’m fostering a dog for Greyhound Rescue Wales. He’s a bull lurcher, which means he’s a greyhound crossed with some kind of bull breed – most probably a Staffy.
Bull breeds get a bad press because they’re often kept by stupid people who use them for fighting. They are well-muscled with powerful jaws, which can make them look intimidating, so some people think they’re nasty dogs. But in reality they’re no more nasty than any other dog – it’s bad owners who are nasty and train them to be aggressive.
Keith wasn’t used for fighting but for hunting. He has a high prey drive when it comes to rabbits, and he can sometimes be over-enthusiastic when greeting other dogs, bouncing and barking around them. For this reason he has to wear a muzzle when we go for a walk. All GRW foster dogs have to be muzzled in public anyway, because GRW would be liable if one of their dogs did bite someone.
The muzzle can make people think Keith is aggressive, but he’s actually the softest, gentlest, most affectionate dog I’ve ever known. He doesn’t look intimidating to me at all; he has the most beautiful eyes, a mixture of brown and blue, like moonlit rock pools.
Keith loves people and just wants to cuddle everyone he meets. He’s a perfect companion for anyone working at home, because once he’s had his walk he just sleeps all day. And once he’s been introduced to another dog, he just wants to be friends.
Keith is full of energy and hurls himself into life with great enthusiasm. Recently we went out with his friends Snip the lurcher and Frieda the greyhound, and when he found a dog-free spot, we took off his muzzle so they could all chase sticks and balls. Keith was so excited, he tried to jump over Snip to get the ball and landed half on top of him. Snip, understandably, wasn’t happy about this; they had a bit of a spat, and Snip’s human had to separate them. Keith had a cut behind his ear which required stitches. Snip didn’t mean to hurt him – these things happen sometimes – but I found it reassuring that Keith didn’t bite Snip. If he’d been an aggressive dog, things might have been very different.
There are people coming to see Keith on Saturday with a view to adopting him. I’ve got my fingers crossed for him; at the same time, I’m going to miss him. I’ve loved fostering him, and it’ll be hard parting with him when he finally leaves for his forever home.