Not everyone is keen to take on a slightly older hound so I thought I'd tell you a little bit about Pippi and hopefully dispel a few myths along the way.  Pippi is 7 years old and, like many black dogs her age, is going grey round her muzzle and even has cute little white eyebrows. She might looks her age but when it comes to her attitude to life and energy levels she definitely didn't get the memo about being 'mature'.

Pippi came to us for fostering over the Christmas holidays and I had absolutely no intention of adopting a second greyhound but it soon became clear that there was something very special about this girl and by New Years Eve we'd made it official.  She's one of the smartest and quirkiest hounds I've ever had the pleasure to spend time with. When I picked her up she spent the entire journey back from the GAP kennels roaching on the back seat of the car and when I eventually persuaded her to get out she walked in to the house like she'd always lived here.  Freddy, my other hound, is used to foster hounds coming and going and is also quite happy on his own but even he has been won over by Pippi's charms.  He's a few months older than her and seems to have developed a new lease on life since she arrived.

Pippi is obsessed with squeaky toys and, like any small child, she is particularly keen to play with them when you're having a conversation on the telephone! If you accidentally step on a toy and make it squeak it doesn't matter where she is in the house she'll be by your side in seconds. Who needs food treats for recall practice when a squeaker will do!  Fred likes soft squeaky toys too but he doesn't get much of a look in with Pippi around, most of the time he's happy to just sit back and watch all the craziness.

I've never met a greyhound that drops and rolls over at your feet quite like Pippi. Anytime, anywhere.  As if that wasn't endearing enough she's now added a new move to her repertoire - it's called the sneaky toe lick. Pippi loves licking feet but she also knows that no one in our house is very keen on this. The answer? Her new signature move is to do a big 'downward facing dog' yoga like stretch very close to you and 'accidentally' lick your feet mid stretch. Such a cheeky monkey!

Pippi is super inquisitive and absolutely loves life. She definitely likes to be out in front when we're going for a walk and she's fascinated by everything.  When we're getting ready for a walk her teeth chatter and sometimes she can't resist having a quick nibble at your clothes.  She has twice as much energy as Freddy, she watches TV, gets in to mischief, loves going in the car and has picked up commands really quickly.  It took her no time at all to learn the sit command and will now do a perfect sit at the mere sight of a treat. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?  She even loves having her teeth brushed and I bet there aren't many dog owners who can say that!

Pippi was very much loved by her trainers and I imagine it was hard for them to let such a quirky and endearing dog go (perhaps that's why they kept her so long).  She might be 8 this year but most of the time she behaves more like a 3 year old!  At the weekend we met an owner who's greyhound is now 15 and still in good health, my girl is a mere youngster by comparison.  Here's to all the 'senior' hounds and the endless joy they bring to our lives!

Clare Ward

Auckland Regional Coordinator

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