Sunday 13th November 2016
Alex soon after he arrived – he was exhausted but couldn’t let go of his fear enough to fall asleep…
A few weeks ago, our favourite greyhound charity emailed us with a cri de couer – they needed a foster home for an 18 month old greyhound called Alex who had been injured mentally and physically during his time as a pup in Ireland. It’s remarkable that he ended up in a rescue charity rather than dead in a ditch, but we’ll be grateful for small mercies.
When we met Alex at the rescue kennels in October he was a terrified puppy, encased in terror and unable to make any sense of the world; he didn’t have the mental equipment to realise that he was safe now. The rescue felt that he would never progress unless he had the one-to-one attention that a home could offer. His from paw had been mangled in a racing accident and he has four broken bones (one broken in three places) that have been allowed to heal all crooked and although he was reluctant to stand on that foot, his pain was hard to judge through his terror.
We couldn’t take him that day as he had a vet appointment on the Tuesday, and as we drove away we were equally excited and daunted by the challenge of helping to rehabilitate such a damaged pup.
We picked him up on Wednesday 12th October with a mission to increase his confidence and seek a specialist vet’s opinion on his foot. We’ve taken him on as foster because it wouldn’t be fair to impose our boating lifestyle on a stressed hound – having done that to Ty, we couldn’t do it to Alex.
Well. a month on, and I’m pleased to report great progress – Alex’ confidence is increasing by tiny steps every day. Sadly there is nothing that can be done for his foot – the injury is too old, and corrective surgery would be very risky. However, we can keep him comfortable with anti-inflammatories and his foot is far more functional than the horrible x-rays would suggest and seems to be getting better.
But a week later he’d established his safe nest and mastered the art of roaching (sleeping upside-down like a dead cockroach!)…
Last weekend was emotional – Alex became the 60th greyhound Indigo Dreamer. He was the first greyhound on board after Indigo Dream’s relaunch in her new colours so he follows in Blue the blue greyhound’s steps as the first greyhound on board after her original launch 10 years ago….
Alex has come such a long way in his first month and coped far better with the weekend’s challenges than we could have hoped for. These included:
- Long car trips to and from the boat, including a stop off a motorway service station (bit of drama there as he tried to jump back into the boot before it was actually open – oops!)….
- The boat itself, including mastering the pontoon walk, having the engine running, being in very close proximity to us, and having some visiting boaters and their dog on board…
- Lunch in a canalside cafe with other people and their dogs….
and all this on the weekend of Guy Fawkes, with fireworks going off all around – though he is strangely not bothered by them! Although he was nervous, he didn’t have the panting dread that previous wuss boy Ty suffered – it’s a great start 🙂
Alex on Indigo Dream – he travels with his doughnut bed – that establishes his safe place – whether in the car, the boat or the cafe!
This weekend we had another breakthrough as Archie Beanz came to stay for a while and be Alex’ older bruvva and all-round therapist. The difference is Alex is remarkable – we were able to let him off-lead in the garden for his first zoomies and he had a wonderful time. We took some photos of him running but sadly a bit late in the day so a bit dark for action photos. When he got back in he was then faced with challenges like Richard hoovering, Alex cuddled up to his new bruv – wonderful 🙂
There is a long way to go and we have committed to fostering Alex until the start of the boating season at the end of March. We will take him cruising in January to see how he copes with the boat moving (he did well on the boat moored up). If he can take to boating then he can stay forever, but either way, Alex will have a wonderful life from now on whether with us or a non-boating family.
Breakfast at the cafe in Nantwich Canal Centre – lots of other dogs and people but he wasn’t panicked 🙂
He travels well in the car 🙂
Three weeks in and Alex had totally perfected the art of snoozing in his safe nest…
Today, Archie came to stay – Alex trusted him immediately and is cuddling up for comfort..
(As far as Richard has admitted) This is the first time we’ve felt confident enough to let Alex off-lead in the garden – he loved his first zoomies and I think he ran off a lot of tension…
A month on and Alex is doing well – fingers crossed that he can shake off his cruel early life and make the best of all the joys that a loving home can provide 🙂