Sunday, 13 May 2012


I like that title. It could be the name of a pub-rock band (if such a thing still exists), or, and even more interesting to me as someone who's been known to write fiction, the title of a children's novel. In this case, however, it's a title which connects two different aspects of the animal rescuing business.

Here's Tommy.

Technically this isn't even rescuing as Tommy has a home. He's owned by a lady who's taken in him and a few other unwanted cats. She's of limited means and has no transport so, using the neutering vouchers provided to us by Cats Protection, Tommy is the latest of her cats I've taken to the vets to be neutered. He's actually the father of the fluffy young tabby whose photo was in a recent post.

I'd never seen him before when I went to pick him up and was expecting a rough tough old tom which, to be fair, is what he looks like. What you can't tell is that he's a very friendly and affectionate old tom who was more than happy for me to pick him up and stroke him. When I took him to Wendy's I asked if they could give him a good checking over and do anything that was necessary. Which they did, finding fleas and removing some tats in his fur. He also had the sniffles so Wendy kept him in for a couple of days to improve before going ahead with the operation. Wendy reckoned that he was even old than we expected, being around 15-16. Poor old soul, to go all those years and finally being debollocked as senior feline citizen. 

The greyhounds (which also includes lurchers, and salukis) are being looked after by a rescue charity based in Wingate, County Durham and we've recently been helping them by passing on stuff for their charity shop to them and also by supplying them with large tins of donated dog food I've collected from the food bins at our local Asda, Sainburys and Morrisons stores. Usually they come and collect it from our garage but last week their van was off the road so Susan and I drove down to drop it off. 

While I was their I took the opportunity to take some photos. They aren't all that good because I was using the camera in my phone which takes several seconds to actually take the photo and these dogs don't usually stay that still when they see someone. The rescue has a lot of these dogs and, appearances to the contrary, the environment they're in is comfortable and they are well looked after. Without exception every dog I met I was friendly and delighted at the prospect of contact with a human being, jumping up to lick my hands through the bars. I spent a few minutes in an outside pen with one and it leaped up and down, running away and then darting back to me, just wanting to play.

Most, if not all of these dogs, have been rescued when they've come to the end of their racing lives and they are the lucky ones. Many are either dumped or brutally killed because it's cheaper than taking them to a vet who may well be reluctant to put a healthy animal to sleep. Despite being big dogs they're surprisingly easy to keep and don't require much exercise because they aren't built for stamina. They are friendly and affectionate and no trouble at all, though I'd keep them well away from cats because they're trained to chase small animals.

Post Script.

Tommy & The Greyhounds self-produced CD Race For Your Lives is on sale at all their gigs and features standards such as (You Aint Nothin But A) Hound Dog, I'll Be Doggone, Walkin' The Dog, Salty Dog, Back Seat Of A Greyhound Bus, and many more.

Ian Williams new children's novel Tommy and the Greyhounds will be available some time in the future as Kindle e-book available from Amazon for an extremely reasonable price. In it, ten-year old Tommy and his father's pub-rock band The Greyhounds get involved with trying to stop a gang responsible for dog-fighting, badger-baiting, and racing fixing.

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