To paraphrase the Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, this, for me, is A Hard Day’s Morning’s Work, not in working ‘like a dog’, as the words of the song go, but in writing about our beloved greyhound, Dylan, who, after bravely recovering from a fractured ulna in his right foreleg (pictured in an earlier post) died after suffering a stroke.
Dylan was a few months off his fifteenth birthday, which is a great age for a greyhound, and he had been with us for nine years, coming to us when his first experience of being rehomed, after his racing career had come to an end, had floundered. He was very laid-back, enjoyed his daily walk, appearing in the doorway of my writing workroom around midday to remind me that it was time for a walk, and then regularly at four o’clock in the afternoon, likewise informing me that it was time to quit work at the computer for the day and give him his favourite biscuit treat.
With one major exception, Dylan enjoyed every moment of his retirement from his career as a racer. He was terrified of loud noises – fireworks, thunder and lightning, and particularly shotguns which can be a hazard for anyone living in the countryside, as we do, who are frightened by repetitive loud bangs. The panic attacks that would set off these alarming episodes for him would last for many hours. All the calming medication we tried failed. He simply had to work through each terrible attack. Until the next time. Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve were a nightmare for us all.
Gez – Dylan’s seven-year-old devoted companion – has taken his loss equally badly, suffering these past few weeks with what can only best be described as depression at not having him around any more to boss and love. Gez, another ex-racer, came to us two years ago and it was she who alerted us to the possibility that all was not well with him. She was exceptionally attentive and loving to Dylan during the week before we lost him. She sensed, as dogs can, that his time was growing short.
We have been rehoming ex-racers for over fifteen years, all of whom have been our very great pleasure and joy to welcome into our home. Dylan’s nine years with us were a blessing. He will always be missed. Always remembered.