Today (30 October 2014) marks 1 year since the passing of my beautiful “baby girl”, Ally.
Ally moved to her forever home, away from kennels, on Sunday 19 October, 2003. She, along with Dylan – 19 months her senior – came to live in Farnborough with my friend and I.
We had been to see her once previously, before bringing her home, and Dylan we’d seen twice before. Dylan was already settled upon as a prospect; Ally was a “bonus”. My friend Claire, with who I shared the happy experience of Greyhound ownership, affirmed that “yep…they [the kennel staff] saw us coming”.
And so they did: we were lucky enough to inherit not only Dylan who was basically a human-loving, cat-hating psycho, but Ally, who was introverted, terrified of children, and even more terrified of long sticks or bars of a similar length (think cro-bar). She was clearly abused as a young, Irish pup.
“Ally had a curious preference for resting her head at very uncomfortable-looking angles”
I renamed the Grey formerly known as “Ferbane Alice” (of Ferbane, Ireland) to “Ally” (pron. “Aa-lee”), as I wanted to symbolise the friendship I wanted with her. It would not be a straightforward thing to accomplish, partly due to her timidity and partly due also to the demands work placed upon me.
Claire and I returned home with our two dogs in the back of an old Ford Escort (with the seats down and a couple of old duvets spread out for their comfort), and soon discovered along the way that Ally had a curious preference for resting her head at very uncomfortable-looking angles against… anything really.
Nb. better quality images will be added to site in time.
Returning home, we then followed the first “wise” advice that we were to later to question. Namely, “when you return home, let your dog straight into the back garden so they don’t feel trapped”. As we soon discovered, to Ally this meant only one thing: a chance to escape!
We had recently erected new, 6ft fencing around 2 of 3 sides of our back garden, with the last side still to do. The current fencing, at about 4 1/2 feet at its lowest, was (we knew) probably not quite sufficient protection against an enthusiastic dog – let alone a credible escapee!
To our horror, Ally left the back door and headed straight for that corner of the garden, and upon reaching it bound upwards to scale the lower fence. With what I can only describe as palpably good fortune, she failed to achieve the necessary height to clear the fence, and landed back down in her new prison, now convinced she would never, ever again set foot in the house through which she’d just been escorted.
“To our horror, Ally left the back door and headed straight for that corner of the garden, and upon reaching it bound upwards to scale the lower fence.”
When she eventually came to her senses, and – luckily – before it got dark, she agreed to embrace her fate and returned inside.
I can’t recall what she had for dinner that night. I can recall, however, that it would not be a sleep-filled night. Our new companions, partners in crime that they were, felt they should keep the house awake through their whining distate of their new quarters (our dining room).
After three nights of this, and nearing complete meltdown, the humans gave in to the dogs and agreed to share their bedrooms with them. Life would never be the same.
During the course of that first week, everyone’s learning curve was steep. The dogs had a new home! Not the draughty kennels where they had to cuddle for any warmth. They now had a house, and separate beds! They now had their own sofa! They had two doting owners who were enjoying their own youth and all the energy and vitality that Greyhound ownership brought along, for the ride.
And at the end of that first week, I finally had something which I’d been working on carefully since the day they arrived: Ally’s trust.
This was to be a great friendship.
In memorium – Alice Dowe, b. 25 August 2000, d. 30 October 2013. Forever in our hearts.