14 June 2008

Ranger dog

Ranger is dog no.5, the last of the bunch but by no means the least. Definitely by no means the least as he is a chunky little herbert who could easily impersonate a Labrador. However, he was very underweight when he arrived at Croftview so they fed him up and he’s now a very cuddly size without being fat. In fact, the starvation he obviously endured is just one part of his sad story. He raced 111 times and then broke his hock, which we doubt was ever attended to properly because it set very awkwardly. He was left for about 2 years, presumably at this trainer’s kennels, pretty much alone and unloved until he got his chance with the RGT.

But once at Croftview, no-one took a blind bit of notice of him – there was no serious interest shown by anyone and he had to watch as month after month other dogs were happily led away to their new homes. Maybe it was his picture on the website (what we call his ‘flying ears’ pose which made him look very naughty) or maybe the fact that he barked ‘take me, take me’ whenever anyone came near him so eager was he to find a sofa of his own. We, of course, had four dogs and that was our limit, there was no more room, we couldn’t walk five, no, no, no, no, no, we’re not having another dog. We were absolutely adamant. Adamant, you hear?

Thus there was no danger in going down to the kennels at Christmas 2006 to hand over our annual donation. No danger....Things started to go wrong as soon as I opened my mouth really. There was one dog standing outside his kennel, only one in the whole of this huge kennel block (It was as if Fate was holding a big neon arrow at his head). Before I knew it, I could hear these words being said by someone who sounded like me. Is that Ranger? Yes. Can we take him for a walk? Yes. Then A chipped in. (Crikey, we’re as bad as each other.) Doesn’t he walk nicely? Yes. We can’t leave him here. No. We should take him. Yes. No. What are we doing? Yes please, we’ll have a lead and a bowl and can you pick him out a nice coat while you’re at it?

As we drove home, we were a bit worried about going through the whole ‘inducting new dog into house’ routine. We were out of practice and, let’s face it, were also slightly insane, but there was no going back. And Ranger, bless him, made it all so easy for us. It was as if he’d been in a house all his life, shooting up and down the stairs, sniffing out the kitchen, jumping onto the sofa and switching on the remote. And he is the most loving and demonstrative of all the dogs, continually trying to prove that greyhounds can be lapdogs and never letting his mistress go to the bathroom unaccompanied. Even his canal initiation topped all the others. Rather than hopping back onto the boat with the others after his first walk round the marina, he padded to the end of the pontoon and jumped in for a swim, complete with winter coat. He looked happy as Larry paddling around while his mum fretted on the sidelines, wondering whether she’d have to go in after him. Thankfully, the cold water cooled his natational ardour and he was pulled out for a good rub down. I think the label said he was drip-dry, no tumbling, so we led him back to the Squirrel for a gentle singe.

Ranger really epitomises what greyhound rescue is all about. A 7 year old dog, abandoned by pretty much everyone, at last finds what he’s always wanted – love, food, a soft bed, walks – and returns what he’s always wanted to give – love, licks and loyalty. It doesn’t get better than that for him – or for us.


Nb Yarwood said...

Another elegant chap - I have two labs that sleep like that - come to think of it, and a husband!
Lesley NB.Caxton

Dogsontour by Greygal said...

Hi Lesley

Yes, he has absolutely no problem with showing off all his bits! I love the pics of your two shipmates - bet they keep you nice and warm in the winter!