Friday, 16 August 2019

Introducing Pearl

If you follow me over on Instagram you will have noticed we have a new addition to the family, little Pearl. Three weeks ago Pearl came to her forever home with us to enjoy retirement after working as a racing Greyhound for the first few years of her life.

The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind to be honest. I have never had a dog before only a cat and a few small furry creatures as a child. I had absolutely no idea how hard it would be and for the first few days I did really struggle. My husband has had dogs his whole life and so for him it was very normal but everyday he went off to work and I was left alone with Pearl trying to figure out how on earth to teach her how to behave.

Rescue Greyhounds are very different to normal rescue dogs. Most of the time they haven't been hurt or abused they have simply been working dogs that now need a forever home to retire to. That means they don't come with a lot of the issues normal rescue dogs have which is great but it does also mean they have never lived in a home before. Getting a retired Greyhound is basically like adopting an overgrown puppy. You have to teach them everything about home life.

In those first few days I was at a total loss as to what to do. She didn't respond to her name, thought all the food in the house was for her, didn't understand no, would plonk herself in the way and wouldn't budge so I was lifting a 25kg dog around which is very hard for someone with M.E. and chronic pain. She also cried all night when we left her downstairs, scratched at our doors and took all the paint off and kept jumping on furniture in the night to steal hats and place mats off the high shelves to eat.

I ended up becoming quite low about the whole situation. I had desperately wanted a dog my whole life and now I finally had one I felt completely overwhelmed and kept thinking I'd made a huge mistake. I seriously considered giving her back because I thought I simply couldn't cope and maybe I was just a cat person after all.

I shared some of these feelings on my Instagram account feeling like the worst dog owner in the world. I couldn't believe it when I was inundated with a flurry of messages from friends and followers saying they too had had those feelings when they first got their dog. They told me it was totally normal and that it would get better and sticking it out would be the best thing as soon I would have a furry friend I loved more than I ever thought possible.

And they were right. After the first week she had already improved so much. She was responding to her name, to whistling, to the commands of No, Wait, Stay and Off. We've obviously still got a long way to go when it comes to training but all that work I put in in that first week really paid off. We now have a gorgeous cuddly loving dog who wags her tail every time we get ready to go for a walk, climbs on the sofa for daily cuddles whilst I'm knitting up orders and loves being part of our family.

We chose a Greyhound as we had heard from many people and online that they were incredibly relaxed dogs. Everyone thinks because they are racers they have lots of energy and need a lot of exercise but actually it's the opposite. They need about 20 mins walk a day, a little run around in the garden every now and again and a comfy bed to spend the rest of the time on. They are so gentle and calm. She never licks, jumps or barks. She simply stands there being cuddled. She's been amazing with every family member and friend she's met so far and we know in years to come she will make the perfect family dog.

It's been a hard few weeks and we are still having some very early starts which is exhausting on top of M.E but I am so glad we have this gorgeous girl in our family now. We love you Pearl.


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