January 12, 2021 4 min read
Marmite and Murphy are two gorgeous Greyhounds, who we 'met' through their adventures on Instagram. Being two Leeds locals, we wanted to know more about them! Their trusted servant (AKA mum) shares their story:
Henrietta and Parker, two lurchers, are where the tale begins. We had originally planned to adopt a Jack Russell but, on talking to experienced staff at Dogs Trust Leeds, we soon realised it wasn't the breed for us. Thankfully we adopted our longhaired blonde scruffy Fraggle - Hetti. Handsome longhaired Parker came home after taking Hetti to visit Santa Paws in December the same year. I think we'll be team Sighthound for life.
On New Years Eve 2019 we lost our second Lurcher - Parker. This left us devastated and completely heartbroken. Waking up in 2020 to an empty and echoing house was horrendous, I knew I didn't want to live without dogs. Family and friends advised us to wait for six months and have a break from the responsibility...13 days later Murphy (four and a half year old 'Geelo Murphy') the ex-racing Greyhound came to live with us!
We wanted to adopt more Lurchers, we're team Sighthound, so went back to Dogs Trust Leeds to register our interest. Even though there were a number of Lurchers there, they weren't ready to be re-homed for a number of reasons. So they mentioned Murphy, I'd already noticed him laid in his bed with his legs up the wall, and we were interested to find out more about the Greyhound breed...the rest is history.
Murphy had a few quirks due to his racing upbringing - he didn't know what a TV, radio, kettle or vacuum was. He'd never been up stairs, wouldn't walk on hard surfaces, barked at his own reflection, accept a hug, travel in the car and he wanted to scent in the house.
Murphy enjoys a play at an enclosed dog park (wearing his Ginger Ted fleece!)
We overcame these challenges with patience and lots of reassurance. His training and socialising was going really well, we would often go to dog friendly cafes, pubs and restaurants with him, until the national lockdown stopped us in our tracks. Murphy became anxious, clingy and unsettled so we decided to foster another Greyhound to keep him company.
Along came Marmite from Tia Rescue (three and half year old 'Feonagh Biddy' - Irish racer so had ID tattoos in both ears, English racers like Murphy only have one ear tattooed).
We named her Marmite due to her colour and we've definitely had some 'love and hate' days with her. She's a spirited girl and received a life time ban from racing for nobbling another dog on the track in front of the judges, she's very lucky to have survived.
Marmite enjoying a visit to Harewood House, Leeds
Sadly racing Greyhounds are one of the most persecuted dog breeds, too many are abandoned, abused and destroyed - that's why we are so keen to promote Greyhound adoption. I had no intentions of handing her back after the lockdown so we adopted Marmite in June. They have helped to heal our broken hearts.
It takes between six and eight months for adopted dogs to really settle, in so we had to be very patience with them. Shouting doesn't work, positive encouragement/reinforcement is a better way forward and training with high value treats like hotdogs and cheese works well.
Understanding the breed you adopt is crucial to you and the dog getting on. We previously adopted two beautiful longhaired Lurchers; Henrietta and Parker from Dogs Trust Leeds, so we'd had experience of Sighthounds, which include Whippets, Greyhounds, Deer Hounds, Salukis, Wolf Hounds, Borzois etc.
Bringing the Greyhounds home, we knew they would want to sleep on the sofa and bed rather than on the floor. Greyhounds are tall, so they would counter surf for food. They can jump up to seven feet, so big walls and fences are needed, they often have a high prey drive so wouldn't be off the lead. Greyhounds can run up to 45 miles per hour so you're not going to catch them! The flip side to Greyhounds (and Sighthounds in general) is that they are very lazy and sloth-like and don't need lots of exercise.
Marmite and Murphy are quite happy with short walks and then a snooze. We take them to The Pudsey Dog Park for a run in a safe environment, Marmite belts round the field and Murphy just minces casually...he's fully retired now, bless him. Basically, I'd encourage everyone to adopt by talking to the centre staff and looking into the breed - be prepared, be patient, give it time and don't give up...there's a wonderful pet out there that needs your love!
Murphy is a Mummy's boy and loves to spend his time with me day and night. He has a number of toys; tennis balls, squeaking swan and goose and Cleo the Caterpillar but still prefers a wrestle with me and then a cuddle.
Marmite likes to shred paper out of the office bin, loves her cuddly pheasant, watching TV and chasing ratty in the back garden (all wildlife welcome in my garden...not in the house).
Sighthounds are also called Longdogs because they have long necks, so wearing the thick hound collars is essential. This long neck allows them to make noises other dogs can't, my Lurchers could pretty much talk and the Greyhounds do amazing human sounding burps! Feeding there from raised bowls curbs some of the hilarious sounds...I'll name that tune in one.
We are members of Harewood House so we often walk round the grounds or the estate. They need to be wrapped up against the elements because they have very little fat or fur to protect them - this means I can indulge my passion for fashound with Ginger Ted.