I am devastated to be writing a "memoriam" of Bomber. Bomber was not yet seven when he died and it was a massive shock with very little time to process that he was terminally ill, as we had had no idea he was ill until early that morning.
Bomber came to us on 7 December 2013. We had had Lottie for nine months and felt we had room for another greyhound, and that Lottie would enjoy the company. They bonded very quickly (over the discovery that next door had just acquired chooks which were visible through the hedge) and became the best of friends, sharing sofas, dog beds, our bed, walks, treat missions, cat pursuits and hedgehog captures. Lottie used to bark at hedgehogs - until the first time she saw Bomber pick one up in his mouth and carry it around. After that if one was caught it would be brought inside alive, lucky us - we found one curled up in a ball placed on a cushion. We would refer to them as "two dogs, one brain" as they could immediately seize upon the same idea simultaneously and demonstrate an absolutely united front. They were very comfortable together with no aggression; we could give them each a bone or pig's ear and they would both go down to the lawn together and sit right beside each other to eat them.
Bomber became part of our family very quickly. He was on the sofa on the second day. He took to steps, learned how to go to the door to ask to go out (with a little wag of the tail to say yes if you asked "you want to go out?") and learned and fitted into our routine speedily. He respected and looked after Lottie who doesn't like being home alone. He was always with you if you were upset and he had a routine of coming up to my office to hang out with me while I worked, he would always come over for a pat and a cuddle before lying down.
Bomber absolutely adored walks, treats, and trips. We had the "treat cupboard dance?, the "vege market dance" on a Saturday morning and the absolutely ecstatic bouncing up and down the hallway, leaping and charging, before each walk. We saw all of those right up to the day before he died. Initially he would follow where we and Lottie went on a walk, but in the last 18 months we had him, he started "leading walks€ himself, indicating firmly (but always politely) where he would like to go today. He got into a water trough when having a run on a farm earlier this year and lay down in the water, and would do the same in an outdoor bath, filled for cows to drink from, on one of our regular walks - earning him the name "Bombie the fish".
Bomber did not have a long life, but I think he had a successful and happy one.
He was a racing dog for more than half of his life. When I got in touch with his trainer, Denis Schofield, to tell him we had adopted Bomber, he said he was a terrific race dog and never stopped trying when he reached the top. This was so much what Bomber was like, he never stopped trying.
We took Bomber to obedience classes, and once he realised what we wanted, he immediately got it - Bomber, the master of the pre-emptive sit to indicate that he would like a treat, getting up again and sitting with even more of a flourish if the first sit didn't work.
We took Bomber and Lottie to a lot of GAP events to raise awareness of greyhounds as pets and Bomber was an absolute star, he wanted to meet everyone, would happily spend hours leaning on or being with people he didn't know, and would stand for ages despite having a sore foot due to a corn. We think he was responsible along with Lottie for a number of other greyhounds getting their retirement homes, people he met on the streets or at the market or at GAP events. We think that was one of his best achievements, showing people what good pets greyhounds are.
I think Bomber adjusted to his retirement life very successfully, whether it was roaching on the sofa, sunbathing on the back lawn, a road trip up to my parents' house which he loved, new walks, his habit of getting on the sofa with you, insisting on lying closely by you along the back and putting his paw around you and his head on you. He was a really responsible dog who always tried to do what was expected, and he adjusted to whatever life threw at him, and made the absolute best of it, right to the end. We miss him so much. RIP our marvellous Bomber boy, run free, shine brightly. You made such a difference.