Blog #2 Patience is a virtue

Getting a dog, whether a puppy or an adult, is a huge commitment but bringing a canine companion into your home can be incredibly rewarding: dogs are loyal, loving, and constantly by your side whether you have had a good or bad day. In return for their faithful companionship, dogs need their owners to carry out a care of duty from the day they collect him or her through to their twilight years. In short, an elderly dog who requires extra care should be loved by the family just as much as the adorable ten week old puppy you picked up fifteen years ago. If you feel that you can offer a lifetime of love and care to a dog, then a four-legged friend will make a wonderful addition to your household.

When the decision to get a dog is made, the research into which dog will be most suitable must begin. When considering which breed to choose, you must evaluate your home and lifestyle. Some breeds will be better suited than others. For example, the increasingly popular Siberian Husky is a beautiful dog but they require considerable exercise (and not just an hour here and then when you can fit it in) which, when not delivered, leaves these incredibly intelligent dogs looking for other ways to be entertained. Conversely, a retired ex-racing Greyhound will be incredibly happy with a couple of twenty minute walks a day and then occupy the sofa! All dogs require their due exercise, but some need it in larger doses so their owners must work this into their daily routine.

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Our faithful canine companions require complete commitment from their owners

Other considerations that must be evaluated include: small or large breed? Puppy or adult? Dog or bitch? Rescue dog? Short coated breed with minimal grooming or a coated breed requiring regular grooming? Once you have decided on the breed, the next step is to learn as much as you can about them. What are their temperaments like? Are there any known health concerns within the breed? Would a male or a female dog be more appropriate?

So, who do you to turn to for this breed specific knowledge? In the online, instantaneous world that we live in today, it is incredibly tempting to log onto the Internet, carry out a search on your chosen breed, and follow the first website you come across. While there are a host of useful websites available online, the Internet is also home to the advertising of hundreds of puppies from unscrupulous breeders so prospective owners must be incredibly cautious not to be drawn in quickly to buying a puppy.

The Internet can be a good place to start your research, but meeting breeders face to face is the best way for you to ask all the questions you may have about a breed. For example, if you were interested in Italian Greyhounds, you would probably contact the Rescue Charity along with the Italian Greyhound Club. The next point of call could be attending an event where established breeders are known to be. The IGC hosts three shows a year where you can meet lots of IGs and talk to their owners. In addition, Crufts and Discover Dogs are two major canine events where breed booths are manned by specialists who can provide further advice about the breed.

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Don’t be fooled… IGs are not always this chilled!

By attending one or more of these events, you can hopefully get to know a couple of breeders and maybe register your interest in a puppy or older dog. They will probably invite you to visit their home, to see their dogs relaxed in their domestic environment. This opportunity allows prospective owners to see the dogs’ natural behaviour – are they a very relaxed breed or overexcitable? How is the breeder looking after their dogs? Will similar adaptions need to be made to your property to make it a suitable environment for a new dog? Is the breed what you expected it to be like? Any second thoughts? If any doubts arise in your mind, this investigative stage is the best time for them to be listened to. Getting a dog and then discovering you are not compatible leads to heartache for both the dog and the family.

Similarly, when visiting a breeder, they will ask you several questions about your home and what you could offer as a prospective owner to one of their dogs. It is essential that a good relationship establishes between a breeder and the owners of their dogs: the breeder is entrusting the new owner with one of their precious puppies, and likewise the owner needs to know that the breeder is a dependable source of advice and information should, at any stage in their dog’s life, they require assistance. Breeders should not cut off new owners as soon as they receive the money for their puppy.

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The first few months of a puppy’s life are crucial

So, you’ve decided that Italian Greyhounds are the right breed for you, and you want a puppy – what next? You will need to be patient. Established IG breeders in the UK do not breed frequently so you will need to wait for the right litter to be produced. Once born, you may like to visit the puppies when they are about six weeks old so that you can see your puppy with his mother and litter mates. Then, the collection date can be arranged. Puppies should not leave their dam until they are at least eight weeks old – this is a legal requirement. Most IG breeders prefer to wait until their puppies are slightly older: for IGs it is recommended that puppies remain with their dam until twelve weeks old allowing them to fully interact with their mother which can make training them later on easier. Therefore, if a breeder offers you to take a puppy before he or she is eight weeks old, you should be alarmed. Similarly, if the breeder is money focused, demanding deposits and pre-payments, this should also be a source for concern. And if a breeder refuses to let you visit their home, preferring to meet at a third party location, alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear.

As a new owner, you should see your puppy with their mother and litter mates, you should never feel pressurised to purchase, and you should not ignore any negative gut feelings you may have. Choosing the right puppy or dog, from the right breeder, at the right time, is central to both your dog’s happiness and your own.

Blog #1 Whisper’s tale: an IG, some sheep & the authorities!

Our first blog is told by a 10 month old IG who joined the Charity last year and who is now happily settled in their new home. Here is Whisper’s tale of running rings around the authorities!

Whisper-centre-and-friends RESCUE BLOG

Here is Whisper, pictured in the centre with the green collar… butter wouldn’t melt!

“Hello everyone! My name is Whisper and I am an IG puppy who was rescued through the IG Rescue Charity in 2015. I am now very happy with my new owners and my four-legged companions. The story I am going to tell is that from an innocent walk that we went on recently which involves me, my four friends, sheep, and the police.

“My owners and I, joined by my furry friends, all went out for a walk on the moors where we all love to run and chase one another, while also investigating lots of interesting scents on the ground. Because livestock animals graze local to our walks, my owners are very proactive in training us how to behave properly around other animals. On this walk, we were all learning how to behave around sheep… My owners were clear with their instructions: dogs must not chase nor frighten sheep. While they were teaching this to us, my eye was caught by a white object some distance away. It had legs and was moving and it had friends, as my eyes soon spotted lots of white things. Right, time to investigate!

“Italian Greyhounds are rather inquisitive by nature. Whether it’s tasting the contents within your favourite mug or finding out more about white obscure objects, we want to know what’s going on! So I started off running towards the white objects that had captured my attention. My owners were calling my name I think, but my canine companions have taught me something called ‘selective hearing’ and I decided to try this out. As I got nearer to the white objects, they started to run and scatter in all directions. I tried to introduce myself to them all but none of them would listen to me – so rude.

“I soon gave up trying to make friends with the white objects and as my owners were still calling my name, I decided to return to them. I ran back, tail wagging and panting, but it soon became clear that they were rather unimpressed with me! One of them said, ‘Whisper, what were we just explaining to you? Do not chase sheep!’ The penny dropped. Those white objects were sheep!! Oooops.

“I quickly realised that I had been naughty and I’ve made a note (… somewhere…) and have vowed not to do it again. All forgiven you’d think? No, the drama was only just beginning…

“Soon after I had returned to my owners, some flashing blue lights could be seen approaching. Like my fellow four-legged friends, we were rather perplexed why the police had joined us on our walk. I am not sure what or who they were expecting, but when the police (including an armed policeman and a dog catcher) came to talk to my owners, they seemed somewhat surprised to be presented with five small dogs. Obviously the description given by the person who reported me for chasing the white things did not quite tally with the real situation. It soon became clear to the police that no harm had been caused to the livestock and they chatted and laughed with my owners while their report and assessment was completed.

“When the police left and we headed home, I was ready for a large nap! The excitement of the afternoon had been quite exhausting. I had learnt a big lesson – one must never, ever chase white things. I finished the day with a new title too – because my actions had been reported to the police and a report completed, I was given a police record. I’ve not heard of any of contemporaries getting a police record … Quite an achievement wouldn’t you say?”

Thank you Whisper for sharing one of your adventures with your new family. Mischievous but still loveable!