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Archive for June 21st, 2012

Dog Blog: Tarsna Poppy 13/8/2001 – 20/6/2012

Posted by indigodream on 21 June, 2012

Wednesday 20th June

These photos were taken 10 days before Poppy died – the weather was sunny, we were all in the garden and she was so so happy…

I am devastated to report that we had to put Poppy to sleep at 4.30am on Wednesday after a brief  but horrible illness over the weekend. Regular readers will know that Poppy suffered a stroke at Easter and had recovered remarkably well; however we knew she was on borrowed time – her brain and kidneys were in poor condition after the privations she’d endured with her previous owners.

At 1am on Sunday we were woken by a huge hound commotion – Poppy was having a severe seizure; she recovered but then had another at 6am and had to be admitted to the vets for treatment. They managed to control the seizures and asked us to take her home for observation on Monday as they weren’t sure to what extent she had recovered. We soon worked out that she had lost part of her vision, was walking erratically and had some other neurological oddities, though she was still enjoying her food and the comfort of her favourite bed. She did rally on Tuesday and was looking happy and much brighter, we were hopeful that we’d be able to control her seizures until we could see her wonderful neurologist. But at 3am on Wednesday, Poppy started having a sequence of partial seizures affecting her face and neck, these were recurring every few minutes, so we took her to our excellent local vet. After a thorough discussion we decided that there was just too much harm happening to her brain.

So we made the decision to have her put to sleep at 430am, she had a merciful and peaceful end, there was this time as the drugs hit that she looked totally at peace then she quietly went to sleep….

Our reasons for giving a home to rescue dogs are complex and owe more to instinct than logic. However one big thing for us is to be able to shout “THIS LIFE MATTERED” – and maybe that’s more true of Poppy than for any of our previous rescues. Poppy was a neglected hound – the kind people who rescued her say that her previous owners were not bad people, they “just didn’t get it”. But the fact that her poor health was caused by their ignorance rather than malice doesn’t make the harm any less.

Poppy had the most engaging grin – I do miss her smiley little face. The bare patches in her fur are from where she had a heart/kidney scan 6 weeks ago.

Poppy was born in Ireland on 13th August 2001, where she started her racing career in 2003; later that year she move to the  track at Harlow in Essex and then to Mildenhall in Suffolk. She ran over 100 races, though her results were such a mixed bag that I can’t work out whether she was good or not! She ran at Mildenhall at the same time as Lou. Although they don’t seem to have raced against each other, they both ran their last races in the meeting held there on 19th June 2006.

Now what happened next is not our story to tell – Poppy was rehomed by Greyhoundhomer and at some point she was joined by Ollie. Something went wrong along the way, and in January 2012, Poppy and Ollie were rescued by Greyhound Homer – they were both dehydrated, unkempt and had severe dental problems; Poppy was also severely underweight. They were rescued by the good folk at Dillymore kennels and spent the next 6 weeks in recovery – they needed intensive feeding, flea treatment and general care. All but two of Poppy’s teeth had to be removed and Ollie had around half of his teeth removed. After this period of intensive care by the dedicated team at Dillymore kennels, they were well enough to move into a foster home for some extra TLC.

We were still suffering from the pain of Lynx’s death at this stage, but we’re such suckers for a sob story 🙂

When we heard about Poppy and Ollie’s plight we offered to foster one of them, not realising at the time that they were a bonded pair. When we found out they were a pair we said “yes” anyway! The kennels were full to the brim, so our offer of a foster place was gratefully received – Poppy and Ollie moved in with us on the 4th March 2012.

Poppy and Ty having a rummage – they spent a lot of time together – Ty likes bossy women!!

When we took Poppy and Ollie on, we knew that there was work to be done to improve their physical health. Their rescuers said that when Poppy came to them they could see by her eyes that she was “waiting to die”. So, given their troubled history, we expected some behavioural problems as well. But from the moment they moved in and found their beds they were home! Neither had lost their spirit and Poppy had the most amazing zest for life.

Lou was NOT impressed to find another top girl in the house but they soon settled; Ty likes bossy women so he immediately became Poppy’s new best friend. Ollie is an amiable sort, so after an initial boys rumble with Ty, he settled into a quiet life!

We had hoped to make fostering work – the plan was to get Poppy and Ollie to good condition then put them up for rehoming – honest! But when Poppy had her stroke at Easter we knew that she’d be staying – her health was just too fragile for her to be rehomed and, of course, we’d totally fallen in love with her by then 🙂

Poppy was a very special hound – I’d have to use a thesaurus to find enough words to describe how joyful she was and how much she relished her life with us. Poppy lived with us for just 15 weeks, but what an impact she made. Her blog says it all – Sarah (aka Greygal) says these posts captured Poppy’s voice perfectly:

I agonised over whether to let Poppy write a blog – knowing her remaining time might be short I didn’t want to suffer the grief that I felt when we lost Lynx and his voice. But I’m glad that I did – her posts will be a lovely reminder of her bubbly personality – best expressed in her words 🙂

The girls love their food…

I won’t pretend that it has been easy to take on two needy oldies BUT it has been such a fulfilling experience – the hard work and emotional roller-coaster of their care has been generously rewarded by Poppy and Ollie’s gratitude, love and joie de vivre. Would I do it again? Yes! But not for a while – we need to recover from our grief and deal with the intensity of looking after Lou and her cancer (not forgetting Ty and Ollie’s more day-to-day care!).

Although Ty, heartbreakingly, searched for Poppy in the garden yesterday, Ollie, her long-time companion, does not seem to be pining for her but he did get to see her in the vets after the blue filled syringes had been emptied. Although Poppy and Ollie remained close, they had become more independent of each other once they were in a secure home. Ollie joined the upstairs pack some weeks ago and has settled into a routine of sleeping and….nope, that’s about it, he just likes to sleep! He will, of course, be staying with us for the rest of his days…

Poppy’s favourite occupation was eating – I hope that she’s at the rainbow bridge with Blue and Lynx, scoffing from some divine eternally refilling bowl of hot chikkin! Rest easy sweet girl…

Spot the chewie…

Ah, there it is….

Poppy in action!

Taking turns….


Patience rewarded 🙂

Watch me…

Watch the chewie…

Sorry hounds, the chewies are all gone….

Poppy looking at the kitchen door – could there be more food???

Ollie is far too dignified (lazy :-)) to beg for food – better be quick though Ollie – Poppy’s on the prowl!

Did I mention that Lou is Miss July in the 2013 Greyhound homer calendar? Fifth year running – what a supermodel!

Busy busy – Poppy the day before she died….

A last photo. Run free sweet Poppy, run free…

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