The life of a runner, mother, radiopharmacist and vicar's wife – that's me!
Pretty much since the moment that he was able to talk, Dominic has asked if we can have a dog. Every birthday and Christmas list features a dog, usually at the top of the list. Up until now, we haven’t really been in the position to get a dog and, having a guinea pig for the last five years wasn’t exactly ideal for introducing a new dog to our home.
One of our key considerations when thinking about what type of dog to get was to get one that didn’t shed too much hair. Peter used to have a dog that was some sort of Collie cross. A Collie would be a really good dog to own but they are still pretty furry and there may be a lot of hair to clean up. We did consider a labradoodle, which I believe is the type of dog owned by President Obama. On a visit to a potential parish with Peter a few years ago, we stayed in the house of a lady with a labradoodle. They are excellent dogs especially if they end up with one having the temperament of a labrador and the hair of a poodle. However, this particular dog was not like Obama’s dog, which is a reasonable size, this particular dog was huge! I don’t know how the lady that we stayed with managed because her house was quite small.
After that we considered getting a whippet, which is quite similar to a greyhound but somewhat smaller. We even looked into the possibility of buying some whippet puppies when we came back from China. However, it didn’t work out so we ended up with guinea pigs instead. The guinea pigs weren’t quite as good at going for walks as a dog would have been but also made great pets.
We also discussed getting a rescue dog, but when we investigated further, it seemed that many of the dog rescue centres wouldn’t allow you to have one of their dogs if you had young children. In most cases, the minimum age of the child needs to be 8 years and that would mean another 5 year wait for poor Dominic.
Anyway, when discussing our thoughts about getting a dog with colleagues at work, one suggested adopting a greyhound. I think that they had gone to some event organised by the Retired Greyhound Trust (http://www.adoptagreyhound.co.uk) So, when I got home, I gave them a ring. They said that they would get back to me after Easter. I wasn’t too certain that I would hear from them again but yesterday one of the volunteers rang us to ask if she could come round for a ‘home visit’ to see if we would be suitable to adopt a dog. She also said that she would bring a dog for us to see.
So, this afternoon we were introduced to one of her greyhounds. Dominic was quite excited (although he tried to maintain a cool demeanour – he is 11 now after all). Naomi was slightly uncertain to begin with and stayed on the armchair with Peter and Daniel was more interested in pretending to be The Stig!
We were given a chance to ask questions and to find out more about what was involved in looking after a greyhound. The main problem seems to be that they are likely to chase after things. This may be OK as long as a small child doesn’t happen to be holding the lead at the time! I envisage Naomi flying across the beach desperately trying to hang onto the lead of the greyhound as it chases after a Yorkshire terrier on the other side of the sand. I was also surprised to hear that the bedtime ritual is almost more complicated than that of the average toddler. They need to have their teeth cleaned and often they wear pyjamas! I just hope that they won’t be expecting a bath and a bedtime story too.
We still need to think about whether a greyhound is right for us (or even if a dog is right for us) but it seems that all the children were enthusiastic (to some degree) and I thought the dog was amazing. I’m not a huge dog fan, probably as a result of having one too many chase me or bound up to me when I’m out running, but this dog was really lovely and also rather big! I do fancy taking it for a walk/run on the beach though, it might help with some interval training, and they are very beautiful with a placid temperament.
The next step will to visit the kennels and have a look at the hounds that are available but that probably won’t be until the summer now as we have a few things that will make it difficult to settle a new dog in our house. So, Dominic may finally get his wish to have a dog – I will keep you posted.