Tuesday, November 04, 2008

And so into Winter........

I promised to Blog more often didnt I? I really tried but through the Spring into the Summer the Autumn and finally pushing into Winter things have been tough.
This year has probably been the hardest yet in Gap's history. So many dogs, so little time, so few places and so so much to do.
We have had some sad losses, some wonderful happy endings and some beautiful dogs make their way into our care! We have also had a large hand dealt of mischief makers or dogs so badly abused that on goes their rehabilitation and a longer stay with us than envisaged. Due to our ongoing commitment to offer as much rehabilitation work as possible for the hounds in our care as you can imagine we are now stock full of harder to rehome dogs.

If you have sighthound experience and feel you could offer a home to a more difficult dog with full support of course from Greyhound Gap as an organisation please do telephone Lisa on 01782 544728 for an informal chat.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Beautiful Missy Mini Lurcherette

Well.... anyone who knows Gap well will know that every once in a while they put their neck on the line for *borderline sighthounds* and sometimes just plain not sighthounds. When your involved with rescue, especially pound rescue its only natural for other dogs to cross your path not just sighthounds. Occasionally those dogs are also in serious risk and you just cannot ignore the danger and have to step in. This has happened numerous times and again just recently.

On the day that we went to collect Bod and Cookie (yes Cookie one of those accidents) the pound mentioned two other dogs. Littermates around 7mnths old who had been brought in together labelled sheep killers. Due to this label they were due destruction. Meep Meep Meep Meep! You can hear the alarm bells ringing, talk about red rag to a bull. Hmm..... deep breaths and off I toddles asking to be shown the perpertrators.

Bless them, I was led to a kennel where two of the most terrified lurchery *type* dogs I had ever seen in my life were cowering. We will we take them! It was out of my mouth so quickly that I actually remember feeling shocked and almost looking around to see who said it. They were reluctant to release them as of course the worry that when they had done it once they would do it again was there hanging. I took a deep breath before reasoning that half the dogs that came into our care would do the same given the chance, the difference was we find homes with people who understand NOT to give them that chance.

They were granted bail and moved that day to our kennels.

When we got to spend time with them that weekend it was obvious to see that the two of them were virtually semi feral, they had never it seemed known a kind hand, never been shown how to walk on leash and were fearful and reactive with all other dogs. Their first three weeks walks werent walks they spent the whole of their time crawling on their bellies urinating, hiding under parked cars anything they could to get away from the world and the people and noises in it.

We kept them together in kennels for a couple of months whilst they gained confidence, weight and condition. Soon they were learning to walk on the leash and learning how to interact with the other dogs at the kennels, they still showed nerves and at times fearful reactions that half manifested in aggresion to the other dogs but we could see it was all based around the unknown.

Last week after the sad loss of Lady we had a space here to bring in another number 8 short term on a foster basis. Myself and Trish decided that the pups had had long enough in kennels and were now ready to make the transition albeit gently into the big wide world. We decided to pick them up with Chief heading to Trish and Missy coming to stay here with us.

I cannot tell you what a joy these babies are turning into. They are eager to please, loving, both after just a week walking like angels on the leash and adore the company of the other dogs. Both are still wary of men but coming on in leaps and bounds. They are clean in the house, quiet, good to be left for short periods of time with the other dogs (apart from one brain fart from Chief after Trish left him lose and went to carry out a fundraising car boot sale but we wont mention that!) All in all steadier and easier than most well balanced pups of 9mnths who have known nothing but love and kindness.

Today the wonderful Missy had her first run off leash with Scarlett and Tzar. She was beaming. To see that little girls face glow with happiness humbled me more than I can ever explain. The fear I feel in my heart when I think that both of these angels lives could have ended at such a young tender age because of some *story* used to justify being rid of them fills me with fear. I am only glad that they both now have a second chance.

Missy and Chief are both looking for homes with other dogs for company and to allow them to continue building their confidence. They would make fabulous little agility dogs and good all round family companions.

I really hope their forever sofa isnt far away.
For more information or to offer the beautiful Missy and Chief homes please call Lisa on 01782 544728 or Liz on 01473 623343.

Missy enjoying her run.......

and the beautiful Chief

Monday, April 28, 2008

Its time to play the music, its time to light the lights..

Well almost anyway.....
Thanks to Marc Doyle we now have this years official show poster ready to head off to press.

I cant believe its only a month away and look forward to those of you who can make it joining us on the day.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sad Times

Sorry for the lack of blogging but its been a sad time at home.

In the early hours of Sunday 20th April we had the sad task of allowing Lady a nearly 13 year old lurcher to visit the vets for the last time to make her journey to the Bridge.

I hadnt gotten around to introducing Lady to you all through the blog yet and very much hoped we would have more time but sadly it wasnt to be.

Lady came to us on 20th January 2008 a week after I sadly lost another of my own hounds Queenie.

Lady had been found wandering in Sherwood Forest. She was under weight, in poor condition and with a huge goitre in her neck nearing the size of a tennis ball. Her teeth were also in a horrendous state.

We took the call on the Saturday to say she had been found and taken home by a family but had spent the night outside in a holding pen. As there was no dog warden working myself and Trish another volunteer headed over to collect her. On seeing her our hearts broke and we realised that the growth in her neck was most probably cancer. The next day her *owner* I use the term lightly was traced having rung the dog warden regarding her missing status. It turns out that he had been working away for three months so Lady had been living alone with someone coming in to feed her and turning her into the garden lose for a few hours a day, she must have been desperatly unhappy and cold. This had resulted in her escaping 5 times in just a couple of weeks. When told of the condition she had deteriorated into their only worry was whether *they* would be taken to task as my vet felt a prosecution could well be in order. Thankfully the dog warden negotiated a handover without repurcussions to allow us to make Ladys time more comfortable and with a family who loved her. Had a prosecution been drawn she may have been *retained* in holding kennels as evidence. We didnt want her days to end like that.

Lady settled in well here and soon started to rule the roost. So happy was she that she sailed through the surgery to remove the goitre and clean up her teeth and settled into gaining 7kg, condition and muscle tone. Her favourite thing in the world was to run off leash with the others and my god for an old girl could she run. The wind in her ears, bottom tucked under and dropping down into first gear. My heart filled with joy everytime I saw that look on her face, the fact she had been given a second chance and the gratitude in her eyes every single time she looked at me, it said quite clearly "thank you". She adored us and us her.

On 22nd March we took Lady away with us on holiday to Swallows Dance in Pembrokeshire. She went as one of 8 dogs and ran like the wind on the beach, she chased into the sea, danced through the garden chasing squeeky hedgehog toys and frisbees, playing football with the kids. She was so animated every pore of her body was tingling, she had the time of her life.

We already knew that sadly the cancer had spread to her blood capillaries and lymphnodes but found it so hard to accept. Lady wasnt a dog who knew she had cancer and remained so consistantly well gaining weight that we were in awe of her sheer determination. She was an inspiration to everyone who met her or read about her adventures "live every minute as if its your last, make it count, be greatful for those around you and the love they instill on you and offer it back ten fold as you never know when it just may be too late".

Sadly 3mnths to the day of collecting her it was too late. Our hearts are broken. Our beautiful special girl began to swell abdomonally and she gave me "that look". Its a look I know well and one ive seen in all our precious babies eyes when the time has come to say our final goodbye, to share that last kiss, that last hug and that last I love you. An x ray and ultra sound confirmed the worst possible news, a tumour had spread and formed in her liver and ruptured her abdomen swelling was caused by blood. We had no choice but to give our angel eternal sleep. Hard to imagine when just that day she had eaten both meals with gusto, enjoyed her walk and licked me gently on the nose whilst enjoying a cuddle. Id have held her so much tighter had I know it was to be one of the last.

As Lady was already sedated because of the tests we left her be, we said our goodbyes to her whilst she was sleeping gently, im sure she knew we were there, brushed her gently with kisses and allowed the vet to grant her her freedom, allowing her to be whole and young again and free to run like she so loved. She passed away peacefully in our arms.

Our only gratitude through the heartbreak is that our girl went out on a high. She never knew cancer, she didnt linger, or suffer, she left quickly, gently and gracefully like everything she did in life.

Rest easy my girl, true spirit, sheer grit and such an overwhelming teacher I have never had the pleasure to meet before in my life. I hope the 3 months we shared righted all the bad times that came before. You will be eternally loved and missed, walk with us each day until we meet again.

Love and kisses your pack x

Lady on arrival in our care 20th January 2008

and sharing the good times the beautiful fun loving vibrant girl she turned into

Standing proud with the youngsters

Enjoying the sea

One last Sunset

We also said a sad farewell this week to another Gap legend the beautiful Billy.

Billy was another of those hounds who found us into his senior years. Before landing in Greyhound Gaps care Billy hadnt had much of a life and finally between 11-12 years of age found himself in rescue after his owner first dumped him onto a neighbour who then passed him onto us.

It was most definatly there loss. So many people fail to see that these special seniors are just pushing into their prime. They seem to follow the "when I grow old I will wear purple theme". Everything they do is done with such cheekiness, enthusiasm and the odd slight quirk. Billy we affectionatly referred to as *bovvered* because he wasnt much.
Billy was a lucky boy and went on to find the most fantastic home with a wonderful couple Dave and Jo. Neither had had a dog before and sensibly as they worked chose to offer their sofa up to a dog of an older age, I dont think they will ever believe how lucky they were to find Billy in their lives. Billy would run, would play, would misbehave and would love life like any puppy. They gave him many adventures and he in return gave them a few of their own. He qualified for Scrufts where last year they all headed to Earls Court and took part in the countrys biggest National show for crossbreed dogs and came home with his pretty ribbons and an exceptionally proud Mummy and Daddy.

Billy was part of Dave and Jo's family for 3 wonderful years and we know now just how much their hearts are breaking in two. To find the love of a dog like Billy is a legacy that im sure they will take through their life and before long remember every single second with smiles and laughter.

Dave, Jo you are very much in our thoughts.

Billy Bovvered rest easy old boy, although I very much doubt it and im sure you and Lady will be launching your very own Derby and Joan set up at the bridge, chasing, playing and dancing in the sunshine.

Love you lad x

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My Mr Wonderful

Browsing back through the blog today from the start I realised that I hadnt actually introduced you properly to my own pack of hounds. Considering I post so much about the rescue and they are a huge part of it fitting in and around it bless them I felt that quite rude on their behalf.
Over the next few weeks in between other posts I will aim to try and rectify that. So today I thought I would start with Tzar.
Tzar is the first of my current pack to make his home here. He is 6 years old and we know that his Mum was pure greyhound (she was a resident here also but sadly now at the bridge). We think his Dad was probably Shepherd x Collie, we definatly know that the Shepherd is there as he has thrown so strongly to the Shepherd genes. Tzar was actually hand reared from 3 hours old by myself alongside his 1o siblings as Mum was unable to feed them. We never meant to keep a puppy but the others were all confident and bolshy and although the biggest Tzar was always shy and reserved. He stayed because we recognised these qualities in him and knew we could help his confidence to grow
Now he is the most fabulous dog. He is friend to all who pass through the doors, gentle, considerate and loving and the first to make a neglected or upset rescue feel safe and sure that they are in a good place. He is an excellent teaching dog for those with aggresive tendancies as his doggy language is so good, and he will not retaliate even when they unleash their worst. He has taught so many fearful aggresive dogs that its okay, he has also taught many a rude dog how to mind their manners.
Tzar is loving, loyal and can be a bit fretful when he isnt around his humans, he settles when we are out but never really relaxes if anyone is away from the home. He needs to know that ALL his pack is safe and where they should be. The love this boy gives is so hard to explain, he truly is my little big guy.
Even 6 years on he is still a bit of a wuss, his recent booster injection bless him had to be administered through a needle used to treat hamsters. The only time we ever see another side to Tzar is when matters medical are concerned, then we get the collie alien face and a very clear leave me alone. He is such a wimp.

Tzars favourite things in the world are playing, running, eating and sleeping and although he is a fun dog to have around he is just as content snoozing his days away amidst the dog pile that regularly occurs on our sofa.

A True Gentle Giant!

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Good Luck Little Man!

Today is the day that Bod heads down to Leominster Eye Clinic for the initial consultation with his surgeon. Bod will be having surgery to rectify his current blindness caused by cataracts. They feel that behind the cataracts the retina is functioning. The procedure called phaecoemulsification we have to hope is succesful. The procedure means that a 2mm hole will be cut into both eyes and a special machine made to break down the cataracts, a teeny hoover type device will then be used to remove the broken down material before finally two false lenses are inserted and the eyes stitched. The whole process is estimated to cost around £2500 for both eyes. To give this little man who really is a joy the gift of sight back and to make his life so much richer will be worth every penny.

Good luck Bod I will be waiting with baited breath to hear the outcome and get the all clear for the surgery to go ahead as scheduled on 14th May.

Hugs also to your foster Mum Trish. Trish I know how apprehensive you are about tomorrow and im just so so sorry that we couldnt work it so that I had a sitter for this rabble to come along with you. Will be thinking of you both and willing the phone to ring.

We should also get a *definate* costing tomorrow so no doubt my darling treasurer Angela will be heading to work with her paper bag to help with the hyperventilation lol! Im only sorry I havent been able to keep the blog up dated the last few months because you wouldnt believe the amount of scarily expensive special cases we have had in the last few months.

With Bod possibly around £10,000 has been spent on just FOUR dogs since the end of last September!!! Scarlett our little greyhound pup has cost around £3000, Bear our oldie lurcher who had a billateral hernia repair was around another £3000, Lady our oldie girlie with cancer £1000 and after operation costs Bod around £3000.

*Faint* *Thud* when you see it written down like that it really is scary and we have to constantly thank ALL of our supporters for their continued help in raising such vast amounts to allow us to give these very special dogs there lives back. You are LIFE SAVERS literally!
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Good weekend and thanks to many

Well as per usual the Gap weekend was hectic. First up Saturday morning and the usual mammoth kennel dog walking session and then changing of beds, toys, dishing out pigs ear et all. We currently have 14 dogs in kennels so to give them all the individual attention they need we need lots of people on hand.

Jessie the little bedlington whippet girl has now moved into foster care. She has gone as an only dog to assertain her capabilities at being left after having some issues with another female dog in her last home. So far so good she is settling well.

We also welcome a new arrival who came to us via Hope Rescue, Rigsby. Rigsby is a 5 year old deerhound x greyhound probably collie boy who up until the weekend lived alongside an english bull terrier and a cat. Sadly the owners have to move into rented accomodation and are only allowed one dog. They knew that Rigsby would be easier to rehome than the bull terrier hence his arrival. I havent seen him yet but first reports from the kennel staff are he is a happy albeit somewhat bouncy boy and I look forward to seeing him.

Other news.......

On Saturday a group of our volunteers held an off leash socialisation session for hounds down in the Hampshire area. They hire an indoor riding school and its somewhere that those dogs with issues OR unable to run safely off leash elsewhere can stretch their legs and have a good play with dogs of their own kind. The sessions are always a huge success, the dogs are muzzled to ensure no mishaps or overly rough playing.

Aswell as having a fabulous time they managed to raise a wonderful £130 for the rescue. So thank you to everyone who attended and Corinne for arranging it.

Photos courtesy of Ali .......

This weekend also saw a two day Meet & Greet held in York at Pets at Home by other volunteers.
They had a hugely succesful weekend raising awareness of these beautiful dogs, had some interest in homing and also managed to raise a wonderful £300 over the course of their two days.
Thank you so much to Frances for arranging this on our behalf and those who attended for turning out for us on the days.

We also have in our care currently a little blind lurcher boy Bod. Bod came into our care along with Cookie a staffi x labrador a couple of months ago. Cookie has since been succesfully rehomed and Bod has moved into foster care.
Bods sight can be restored but it will need a specialist operation that will cost us £2500. We are currently working on raising this money with seperate fundraisers so as not to take money away from other aspects of the rescue ie money needed for kenneling, neutering and other medical expenses.
Thanks to some very kind people we have already managed to raise £1647 but are still working hard to make up the shortfall before the 14th May when his operation is scheduled for.
Yesterday myself, Trish, Hilary and Tia decided to attend a local car boot sale to try and swell the coiffers. We managed to raise £102.43 which for a mornings booting is a great amount.

We also have to thank Scarlett (who is a new permanant resident here, will save her story for another day for her excellent supervision skills.

Scarlett is an 8mnth old greyhound puppy and as you can see from the pictures below we would never have got anywhere without her organising of us and the day.

Scarlett says that just now and then in life to get to where you want to be (this time her adoring public) that you have no choice but to occasionally walk all over people! She does to me regularly. Auntie Hilary did tell her though that she should be careful because she may just meet this people one day on her way back down!

You can read more about Bod and keep up to date with his fundraising by visiting the link below.
Incase anyone would like to help with a donation all details are listed on his page.
Tired at the end of the day and no where for a Princess to lie other than in a diguarded empty fruitbox! Its no life for a celebrity hound.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Just a quick update on one of our beautiful rehomed hounds Moth. Moth is a young whippet x saluki girl who came into our care after her owners who had used her for working purposes could no longer keep her.
Moth is a delightful girlie who went on to her new home with a wonderful family. Moths new Dad is actually household cavalrey and Moth heads off to work with him everyday alongside her Brother a terrier whom she has settled down with straight away and they get on exceptionally well. Moths Dad Alex says that from the first day she has landed its like she has always lived there. They totally adore her as does their 2 year old daughter.
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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lewis heads to foster.

Let me introduce you to the beautiful Lewis who recently landed in our care from a stray pound environment.
Lewis we think is a Saluki Greyhound Collie cross. Lewis is a beautiful lad with the most wonderful nature and although entire before landing in our care was kenneled with a teeny entire male terrier in the pound and got on with him fabulously well.
Lewis is going to be a wonderful addition to any family and today he starts that journey by moving into foster care.
Huge thanks to Rose Marie his new foster Mum and Ben and Kizzy his current canine companions and also Nicky for collecting him from the kennels and getting him on his journey

Good luck beautiful and im sure you wont be waiting long! In fact if Lewis proves to be as well behaved in the home as he has been at the kennels and around other dogs we may just already have a home in mind!

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The very beautiful Tasha.

Tasha is a Greyhound Collie Bedlington cross who also came in from a home environment for falling out with the other female dogs in the home. Again Tasha is a beautiful girl with all good basic commands and would love a home as an only dog with someone around all or most of the time or with a male companion.
Tasha is currently in the kennels in Stoke on Trent and we are also willing to consider a foster home for her.

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