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Have you got a rescue dog? Especially a greyhound, lurcher or whippet? Advice please....

(64 Posts)
copperstrike76 Mon 25-Nov-19 16:37:17

I'm hoping for some advice on my situation, so apologies if this turns out to be a bit long.

I desperately want a dog. I grew up with one, a lurcher. We got him from the RSPCA when he was about 12 weeks old. I was 7 and we had him until I was 20. I always imagined that one day, I would get another.

I spent the decade from 20 to 30 mostly single and not in a position to get a dog. Then I met my husband when I was 28 and we spent a lot of time enjoying ourselves, travelling, not having any responsibilities. Then, when we had settled down, we spent a couple of years doing IVF and now we have a daughter, who is nearly 7. Sorry for all this detail, but I hope it's useful background.

I have always loved dogs, and especially sighthounds. But because I was busy with all those other things, I guess I wasn't yearning for one as much as I am now. My sister got a puppy 2 years ago and that really intensified my yearning - I miss my dog such a lot and would be desperately sad if he turned out to be my only ever dog. My sister's dog is nice, but he is quite intense. He is not a sighthound and he has a totally different character to my old dog, who I think about a lot. Quite often, I dream about him. Or I dream that I have another dog. Then when I wake up, I'm so disappointed!

I work from home part-time right now and last year we got a secure, 6-foot high fence for our large garden. We live in a detached house, and have a mortgage, so don't need to ask anyone permission to have a dog. DD is used to a bouncy dog (my sister's) and we have been on holiday with him, spent Christmases with him and so on, so I think she would do well around a dog. She knows what to do and what not to do.

The thing is, my husband doesn't love dogs. He did not grow up with any pets. He will tolerate my sister's dog but I don't think he is over-keen...he is a labradoodle, very bouncy, hairy, a bit smelly and very in your face. You know he is there!

I have tried to tell him greyhounds are totally different but I am not sure if this dog (lovely as he is) is the best PR!

Anyway, we both agreed that for various reasons now might be a good time to get a family pet. We both agree it would be good for our daughter, who has some anxiety and self-confidence issues at the moment. She is also desperate for a pet.

Not wanting to push the dog angle, I looked at rats, because I understand them to be quite affectionate (I'm not interested in other rodents: I had a hamster as a child and it didn't really like me and was a pain in the backside). I want a pet that will give some love back. I know that rats do this.

DH was up for getting rats but then I learnt about hantavirus and their very short lifespan - a breeder suggested I should get 3 rats and put aside £150 for vets' bills for each of them. It's rare to have a rat that makes it to 3 years old so it seems like a lot of emotional and financial investment in something that will be so short-lived. You have to play with rats for an hour outside their cage each day as well, which I'm fine with, but I would not want to take that job on without DH also being hands-on. I think he might have imagined that rats would be an "easy" option compared to dogs.

DH was also up for getting a cat, but we didn't want to put a cat flap in the front door and putting one in the back door (French patio doors) would be costly because we would have to replace a pane of glass, I think. We were also not too sure about litter trays (I will be honest and say I don't really want one in the house!). Cats aren't my favourites, but I don't dislike them, and I sort of figured that any pet is better than none at all (is that wrong?).

When DD was 5, we had a chat about dogs and DH said he would "think about" getting a dog when our DD was 6 and a bit more grown-up. He even came to an open day at a greyhound rescue that I used to volunteer with, and conceded that they hounds were "very calm", and that a blue one we saw at the kennels "looked okay".

But the age of 6 came and went and he basically just said "I've thought about it and I don't want to". Which I guess is fair enough and I would never force the issue (which is why I've considered rats and cats), but I felt as though he'd led me on a bit.

He has since said it is "unlikely" he would ever want a dog but that "the door is not closed".

But I said to DH at the weekend I really wanted to have a proper chat about pets. DD is an only child, not through choice, and I feel like she would get so much out of it. I went through the pros and cons of rats and cats and explained why I wanted him to consider dogs and he did not disagree. I'm not sure either of us want a cat flap, really, and I am not sure how cats 'work' without one. Also, I'm hugely nervous about getting a cat because it would seriously restrict the type of dog we could potentially have. Anyway, I said to him I wanted to talk about rats, cats and dogs and he said okay.

Then he said that if we did get a dog, he might be hands-off with it. I'm fine with this (but would not accept it for any other pet) and I think maybe he would grow to love a dog anyway, if we got the right one. Every time I think about dogs I get quite emotional so it is a highly-charged topic for me, and basically I'm looking for advice on how to handle the chat?

Sorry this is so long. If having a dog was something he really, really didn't want to do then that would be that - we wouldn't do it. It would make me really sad but at the end of the day I wouldn't force it on anyone as that's not fair on DH or on the dog. But at the same time I feel like he's given vague hints and just maybe hasn't felt ready in the past, or if this isn't the case then he has led me on and should have said no, not ever!

I would love to hear your thoughts. I think DH would prefer a small dog and I know greyhounds can be pretty big so I am not sure how I would handle that one. I volunteered at a greyhound rescue, walking the dogs, so I'm used to them. I like whippets too but hardly ever seem them at rescue centres. And I have always liked lurchers but of course they come in all different shapes and sizes.

OP’s posts: |
fluffygal Mon 25-Nov-19 16:43:10

My OH moved in with me and I have a lurcher (and had a greyhound at the time too but he died last year). He does not want dogs- it stresses him out, which stresses me out. He moans about the hair, about the naughty things my lurcher does (she is very naughty as lurchers can be!) and generally causes angst in the house. I won't be getting another dog.

Could you consider fostering greyhounds as a tester? I used to foster greyhounds for the local rescue and had children aged 2-7 at the time. It would give you both a taste of what life with a dog would be like without the commitment. And if he then fell Inn love with the dog, you could join me in the failed fosterer club!

MajorFaffington Mon 25-Nov-19 16:53:38

I had never had pets growing up, and was very much not a “dog person”.

Then I met my husband, who had had sighthounds in the past, and I came round to the idea of having a dog. We had a lurcher and then a greyhound (both elderly rescues and sadly not around for long) before we had children and decided to wait until they were older before having another dog.

In my experience, sighthounds (particularly older ones!) are very unlike any other sort of dog in their lifestyle and temperament and I couldn’t ever see myself having any other kind of dog.

Your husband may realise like me that, although he isn’t a “dog person”, he might be a “sighthound person”!!

Could you take him and your daughter to the kennels where you volunteered on a regular basis, just to walk some of the dogs and see how they get on?

Spied Mon 25-Nov-19 17:03:28

I'd not be thinking all sighthounds are if the same temperament.
Ours is crazy and far from chilled.
Wouldn't want your DH to be mislead.
We've had a cat in the past. Found it all much easier- and we had no cat flap. Not needed imo.
Unsure about rats.

Shambolical1 Mon 25-Nov-19 17:04:38

To be honest most decent rescues require everybody in the family to be on board with the idea of having a dog. They don't want to home a dog which is likely to bounce back, possibly having acquired more issues than it started with. Of course you could buy a dog or puppy but then there's no rescue back-up and if the dog needs to be moved on you've got to do it yourself (and who knows where it will end up then - lurchers and greyhounds often get passed from pillar to post) or hope a rescue organisation will take it in.

Perhaps you could try fostering a dog and see how that works out for you? If he can't be doing with it at least you'll know, or it might worm its way into his affections and the problem will be solved.

talia66 Mon 25-Nov-19 17:10:10

When I got my first puppy 12 years ago DH wasn't keen. But I really wanted a dog, so he relented as long as I picked up the poo grin
Although that dog was very attached to me, he did grow a nice relationship with my husband, although a bit reserved. Anyway, we lost that dog in August. Shortly after we got my puppy Max and he has totally won over DH to a degree I never thought I would see! He absolutely dotes on him and it's really nice to see. So although your husband doesn't seem keen it's such a strange thing, he might just ending going all soppy like my DH!!

CMOTDibbler Mon 25-Nov-19 17:11:15

The rescue I foster for absolutely wouldn't rehome to you if your dh wasn't totally onboard. OK if one person is the main carer, but dogs come back to us because 'they couldn't cope with the mess' quite enough as it is (and the million other excuses).

Could you find a friendly lurcher owner (if you are near Worcs I'm totally up for it being me!) that you and dh can visit and spend some time with the dogs? See if a different vibe is more him - ddog1 is a saluki x grey type of lurcher and very different from a lab in the gentle and understated affection he gives

Flippetydip Mon 25-Nov-19 17:15:58

My DH did grow up with dogs but was similarly reticent about getting a dog. We have a greyhound who now, 3 years down the line, he is totally besotted with. However, because I knew that he loved dogs and because I know the type of person he is, I kind of knew that's how it would turn out. It's a BIG risk if one of you is not totally on board.

Where are you? Lots of greyhound rescues do foster out their dogs. If you could do this, then it's almost like a trial run. Or you could see if you could look after one for someone else for them going on holiday. Do you know anyone with a hound?

Not all sighthounds are the same granted as a PP said, however, most retired racers are fairly laid back. My friend doesn't believe we have a dog, she says we have a cat in a dog suit.

I don't know how you could persuade him - he will have to grow to love them himself. I would try and get him to read up on greyhounds and see how lovely they are.

Good luck - I was you 3 years ago - I yearned for a dog like other people had apparently yearned for children (we had ours accidently!).

Don't, whatever you do, get a puppy - they are crazy and would put anyone, even the most hardened dog-lover off for life!

Dapplegrey Mon 25-Nov-19 17:16:29

Whippets are gorgeous dogs - I’m sure your husband would quickly become attached to one.
My dh gad never had or known a whippet and now he worships our two.

Pipandmum Mon 25-Nov-19 17:21:11

A friend was terrified of dogs and compromised on outdoor rabbits ut didn't have anything to do with them. Shes ways been terrified of my dogs and also hates cats. So I was shocked when they got a rescue beagle. She is now converted though I would not say she lo as the dog, she at least accepts it. It's very naughty though which amazes me even more *they run a pretty tight ship normally). So he may come round.
As for cats you just get up and let them in or out and have a window open in the warmer months. I ne er had a letter tray with mine. But if you are worried about the small expense of putting g a cat flap in French doors then pet ownership is not for you because they cost quite a bit (annual vaccines, worming etc; boarding if you go away and any health issues or accidents).

ThisIsSunrise Mon 25-Nov-19 17:23:01

A word which is always useful when describing living with sighthounds to non dog lovers is ‘discrete’. That is the difference really and their main selling point to me. It doesn’t really matter how big they are, they are just so quiet and peaceful to live with. There would be absolutely no comparison with a ‘doodle.

pullingmyhairout2 Mon 25-Nov-19 17:41:04

I have a whippet cross greyhound (a long dog ). She was from a rescue but was born there so we took her home when she was 8 weeks. For the first 6 months I wondered what the heck I'd done!! She's now 2 and has really calmed down. Went for a walk this morning at 9, she was asleep by half 10 and has literally just woken up, albeit to bark at me because she is demanding to go for a walk. Once we are back from a walk that's her done til tomorrow, she will watch me get the kids organised but will not move out of her bed til 9AM 😂.
My husband wasn't as keen on having a dog, but as he was outnumbered he did come round to it. He works away during the week and he gets the best greeting from her on a Friday. He loves the bones of her.
It's done us all the world of good, we get more exercise now, we do more as a family, we all laugh at her antics. And she got me through my dad dying on New years eve, as no matter what you are going through they are still there and you still need to go out with them and face the world.
It sounds very much like you would be doing the majority of the care, maybe put that to him, that it would be your dog and your responsibility, that you wouldn't expect him to do anything for the dog. And I bet once you have got the dog he will fall in love. Though he may not admit it 😂

copperstrike76 Mon 25-Nov-19 17:45:34

Thank you for all the helpful replies - I really appreciate it smile.

I should have clarified that I definitely wouldn't even dream of getting a rescue (or any other dog) if he wasn't 100% on board. Not fair on anyone. I think I'm hoping I can come up with a way to get him to become 100% on board!

Great suggestions about fostering, though, and I will look into that. @CMOTDibbler I would have loved for DH to meet your dog if only we were closer to Worcestershire (south east, alas!).

Unfortunately, the doodle, although he is very affectionate, is basically everything DH thinks he does not like about dogs, all rolled into one (in)convenient package! I have tried to tell him that not all dogs are like that, and instead of being in your face my dog used to just lean on you to show affection, but I wonder if it is a bit of a hard sell with the massive doodle!

@Flippetydip our dog was like a cat in a dog suit as well.

Interesting to know that you don't need a cat flap for a cat. I would however worry about getting one and then totally limiting the sort of dogs we might be able to get in the for puppies, no, not ever would I want one although hats off to those of you who have done that and survived!!!!

OP’s posts: |
fluffygal Mon 25-Nov-19 19:22:37

South East you say? Don't suppose you are in Kent? I used to foster for Kent Greyhound Rescue and where I rescued my lurcher and greyhound from- they are always looking for fosters.

Vicliz24 Mon 25-Nov-19 19:31:39

When my kids grew up I asked my DH if we could have a whippet . He was dead set against it . Eventually we did get a whippet puppy and within a few weeks DH was completely in love . We are now on our second one and he wouldn't have any other kind of dog ever . We have had both of our from pups and while they're crazy when young both have turned into the calmest laziest most fabulous pets . Whippets are wonderful dogs and I hope you will one day get to own one . Or a grey they are so beautiful too but if space is an issue I wholeheartedly recommend whippets

Bmc67 Mon 25-Nov-19 19:32:10

Get a whippet hands down best thing you'll ever do

Winterdaysarehere Mon 25-Nov-19 19:33:13

My dc has an absolutely amazing relationship with our Lurchers.
Dh isn't a Lurcher fan (well wasn't but def is now).
We have had one from a puppy and one from 7 yo.
Omg they are a delight...
They aren't our only ddogs but they are my favourite!!
The rescue one has a particular bond with dh. Not one he pushed for - her doing tbh!!

copperstrike76 Mon 25-Nov-19 21:52:14

@fluffygal I'm in Surrey, so a bit too far from Kent. I volunteered at Celia Cross Greyhound Trust and they mostly have the dogs in kennels, I think. I could be wrong. I would love to get a dog from there as the lady who runs it has a sensible view about which dogs would fit which families, and (unlike some rescues) she will rehome to families that have children under the age of 10. There is another rescue not too far from me that does foster so perhaps I will look into that. I did also register on borrowmydoggy but it looks like I have to pay money to be able to send anyone a message!

I will pick a moment to try to have a chat with DH again. We won't do it if he really isn't keen...I just hope that perhaps he changes his mind!

@Winterdaysarehere your dogs are gorgeous. The one on the right looks a little bit like my old dog, although he had a black face and dark brown ears.

OP’s posts: |
Liz123abc Tue 26-Nov-19 08:03:55

I got a lurcher from The Dogs Trust. He is the love of my life. So loyal and loving. My husband initially said he couldn't sleep on the settee or bed. Guess what...He curls up next to him every night smile. The Dogs Trust give free behavioural specialists for life. Highly recommended. Loads of lurchers and greyhounds looking for loving home. Will definitely get another one some day.

Tillygetsit Tue 26-Nov-19 08:10:49

We have 2 sighthounds, 1 chilled out food obsessed lurcher and 1 slightly neurotic but adorable Bedlington whippet. I would never have another breed.

Veryluckycat6 Tue 26-Nov-19 09:04:47

I grew up with a rescue whippet.
When I was in a position to have my own home my partner and I had two retired racing greyhounds. All were just lovely, very lazy, very affectionate and very calm, good with children - although I'm well aware that there are some that can be different! We currently have a 4 year old whippet who is delightful and exactly like the others were and a 4 month old whippet/saluki cross who is just a bundle of bounce at the moment. Like anyone who favours a particular type of dog, I would never have anything else!

OrlandoTheMarmaladeCat Tue 26-Nov-19 09:14:44

You are very close to me then as all our dogs bar one have come through Celia Cross. The thing is that dogs are a lot of work and with a young child as well you have to know that you can share the walking/feeding/vet trip duties otherwise it's quite a lot on your shoulders. We have a deerhound cross lurcher who is now 12 but has always been full on, and we also currently have a pure greyhound who is delightful but frequently injures herself and has cost a fortune in policy excess fees. They are good dogs to have in as much as they generally don't bark and tend to sleep a lot. If you can't foster, and I'm not sure Jane does much fostering, have you thought about the Cinnamon Trust or Walk My Dog? This is where you walk/share someone else's dog and it's quite a good way to dip your joint toes into dog ownership. A family member does this in London and their children absolutely love it, but they avoid the full-time commitment of owning their own dog.

kelper Tue 26-Nov-19 09:15:40

I've got a whippet cross, having grown up with guide dog puppies, so Lab crosses, german shepherds, that sort of big dog.
She's awesome, the most placid dog, if I could clone her for the rest of my life I would.
Id love a greyhound but dh isn't keen, some muppet told him they need loads of exercise and he won't believe me or my greyhound owning friend that they really don't!
I hope your DH comes round, sighthounds are fabulous

TheNinkiestNonk Tue 26-Nov-19 09:26:21

No experience with the breed you want but just to say i was brought up with dogs, love them but our circumstances for years meant we could never have them plus my OH wasn't a dog person, didn't get them and always said if we ever did get one it would be mine and kids responsibility.
One day we have the opportunity. He wavered slightly which was my green light and I went and got the dog I had always wanted and brought her home.
He loves her and she loves him. It's so sweet to see. I always knew he would be like this but he didn't believe! I'm a very strict no sofa no bed rule when it comes to dogs but OH would let her do anything!

Bunbunbunny Tue 26-Nov-19 09:29:51

My DF works at a dogs rescue and he adores greyhounds and whippets, he was amazed how calm they were and says they have the most beautiful temperament. We're a Jack Russell family but if my df had the space he would get whippet.

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