As I lie in bed on this Friday night, I remember that Saturday is the third anniversary of the day I went to pick Rassilon up. As I am still awake, I remember that three years ago I was also still awake. Then it was anticipation of getting a dog that I knew nothing about, and had never even seen. Today it is just my reflux in overdrive producing stomach acid and keeping me awake. (Because of the acid making me vomit, I have got up and am writing this…Rassilon is still in bed!)
What a day it was three years ago. The thing I remember most is that on that day, I had NEVER seen a greyhound. And, thanks to Sue from work, here I was, going to pick one up.
I went to get my mother so she could enjoy the moment too, then we drove to GAP. We got there really early because I left early, (as I had never been there, and wanted some extra time in case I got lost).
As it turned out, I didn’t get lost and I got there really early, so I went into the GAP office to let them know I was there. As I got to the door, someone was taking in a small female greyhound, and she was grey (blue). I looked at her and thought she was perfect. I loved the colour, and her size was just right.
Once in the office I was told that ‘Casper‘ was still in the vets surgery and I should come back in a couple of hours. So I took my mother to a shopping centre we used to go to when we lived at Salisbury East many years before. After the 2 hours we went back to GAP where I was told to drive my car around the back of the building to just outside the vets office.
So to the vets office I drove, and went inside to wait for a few minutes while ‘Casper‘ woke up. When he was awake the nurse brought him out to meet us.
The thought that passed through my mind was “Goodness gracious” (or words to that effect). I had only seen 1 greyhound before, and ‘Casper‘ was different in EVERY way. First, he was a male. Second, he didn’t appear to have a forehead and looked strange, third, he was a brindle colour (I liked the blue), and finally, he was probably 9 inches taller than the other dog I saw.
They handed over his leash, and the girl from GAP said I had him for 8 weeks foster period, after which I could adopt him, but if things didn’t work out, I could give him back. I took him out to the car, where, once inside ‘Casper‘ became ‘Rassilon‘, and he settled down on the back seat. All the way home I kept calling him Rassilon, so by the time we got home, he knew his new name.
I let him out of the car to investigate the back yard. Then when I wanted him to come inside I had to put his leash on and lead him in. That was the first and last time he had to be led into the house. I showed him his big settee, which was just for him, but he didn’t use for a while.
Sadly, he got an infection from his neutering operation, and for 2 days I didn’t know if he was going to survive. I even phoned GAP for help and they told me how to treat him. But things were grim for a while. He didn’t move around a lot and slept on the vinyl floor because it was cool, and that’s why he didn’t use his settee.
Now, some people may not believe in God, or prayer, but Rassilon was so sick I prayed for him one night. The next day the swelling had COMPLETELY gone (it was about the size of my fist), and Rassilon had something to eat and went out into the garden for the first time since he got home.
Although I didn’t know about greyhounds (I had had Dobermans for 30 years), for some time I felt that Rassilon was not completely well, even though he had been to have his stitches out and the vet was happy with him, I wasn’t. So it was back to the vet, where I asked if a course of antibiotics would do him any harm. The vet said he didn’t think Rassilon needed them but they wouldn’t and at my request, prescribed a course.
About two thirds of the way through the course, Rassilon picked up and was how I thought he should be, and since then, apart from one visit for something for his nerves (which we didn’t take until a long time later) we have only been to the vet for his vaccinations.
Tonight as I lie in bed, I think of what it must have been like for Rassilon back in those days. He would have been kept in a kennel, only allowed out when his trainer let him out. A strict diet and not much socialising, (a problem I would have to help him overcome).
I don’t know if dogs remember things like that, but today Rassilon has had his chickens feet treats and his fresh mince for breakfast plus assorted biscuits. We went for a walk around Reynella where he met lots of people, and was now in bed, yes IN bed.
As blog readers would know, although I had Rassilon for an 8 week foster period. I sent gap an email saying ‘You’re not getting your dog back’ after 3 days, and I have had him ever since, with many years to come.
I just hope more people will adopt a greyhound and create their own memories of seeing their dog change and grow. The first 12 months is the hard part, after that it is fun. (and it’s not that hard)