Then Along Came J.P
A Friend In Need, A Friend Indeed.
Good morning everybody, let me introduce myself, my name is J.P to my friends. Mr. John Perry to the racing fraternity. I am told I am 5 years old, and I was born in Co. Wicklow, Eire. I say I am told, because I don't really remember my youngest days. My earliest recollection of my past started when I was three. The master used to take me on very long walks, over the common and in the woods. I had to wear a muzzle, for which at the time I could not understand why. You see I am very friendly and like nothing more than to sit on the bed with the new master or go for walks with the new mistress, both of whom are very kind to me.
I can remember the wind blowing through my ears and the stretch on my jowls as I had to race my kennel companions. The muzzle would be taken off and then we ran. The prize was a rabbit. Lovely furry, hopping rabbit. In and out of the trees we would race, barking with excitement, running faster and faster until one of us caught the rabbit. I won sometimes. I can remember how pleased the old master would be and I would receive plenty of praise, and a lovely refreshingly cool drink of water. How we tore that rabbit apart, blood trickling into our mouths, spitting out the fur because it would make us cough. The taste and sound of ripping flesh in my mouth. I think those where the good old days.
On other days, I used to have a bath and I knew that on this occasion we were being taken out. We were put into a cage in the back of the van, usually only two of us, we had to leave the rest of the kennel behind. AS the miles passed the countryside would change. Lovely rolling hills turning into bog land and then over the mountains. It was so exciting.
Often we would be taken out of the van and into another kennel for some time. In the background I could hear shouting, voices reaching up towards the sky, screaming hysterically. The master would eventually come and take me by the lead, the muzzle would be put on and I could hear' Who let the dog's out', being played in the background. On went my red coat, very fetching against my shiny black hair, and usually the number one or five and then I was lead through the gates from the kennels to the race track. The master walking very proud next to me, and I knew I had to run, run as fast as my legs would carry me, run faster than the wind, and then I would be treated to steak for supper instead of the usual chicken.
Oh that last race was terrible. I ran like the wind and knew I was in the lead as I could only see the rabbit ahead of me. And then it happened, this terrible ripping sound and the pain like a hot sword being pushed through my stomach. I tried to slow down but just remember tumbling over and over until I hit the ground with such force as it knocked the wind out of me. The shouting and screaming faded away and a darkness fell over me.
I woke in my familar kennel at home, there was no steak, no water to cool my thirst, not even my old fluffy blanket. I knew it was my kennel by the familar smell and I could hear the howling of my kennel mates. The master came and lifted four other greyhounds, bitches, and myself into the back of the van and started to drive. We drove many hours and eventually the daylight turned to a dark star lit sky before we stopped. We were all taken out of the van, leads on and tied to a great iron gate. I cried as the master drove away and couldn't understand what was happening to me. I could hear the frenzy of unknown dogs in the background behind me. As daylight came, I could hear human voices approaching. They sounded female, and very anxious. One of the ladies picked me up and carried me to a kennel. Inside the kennel was a bed with a huge pillow and fluffy blanket to sleep on, to the right and near the doorway was a bowl of delicious fresh water to quench my thirst and shortly after a much welcomed bowl of food arrived. During the afternoon I was taken to a small room with a table in the middle. The kindly looking man with the huge hands said I had a hernia and would need surgery. I remember the needle stinging my flesh when it was inserted under the skin and then the darkness came once more.
I lived for a long time with those females. Every day someone new came and took me for a walk and before long I got used to the routine. Friends came and went, people came to look at me and walked on and I felt very sad. But, then one day was different. A man and a woman came to visit. They looked at me for a long time, talking amongst themselves. They looked a kindly couple with a very calm air about them and they took me for a walk. I was then taken into the garden and allowed off the lead to explore. The man played with me and the lady sat on the wall and stroked my ears every time I went to see her.
The next day the same couple came again, but with them they brought a liver and white spaniel who went by the name of Bouncer. He was ok I guess, a little excitable and not able to walk very fast, and strangely, he carried this thing that I later knew as a ball. We went into the fields and Bouncer stayed next to the lady who was very kind to him. The man and I walked faster and investigated the shrubbery alongside. I could smell rabbits again and almost forgot where I was. The man wouldn't let me off the lead so I had to be content in just soaking up the smells.
A couple of days passed and the couple did not return and my hopes began to fade. I missed them. And then suddenly I was taken from my kennel to see the man waiting at the gate, "Come on son you are going home". Home, I had never had one of those. I was helped on to the back seat of his car and away we went. I was trying not to get excited. I could smell Bouncer on the blanket and his white hairs where on the back of the seat.
Looking through the car window, we pulled up in front of a little house with a garden and the lady stood alongside Bouncer in the doorway. This was very strange, where was the kennel, I could not see one. The man led me into the garden took off my lead and ushered me into the house. Warm sofas, comfy rugs, and a lovely new red basket. I explored my confines with Bouncer at my side, very nice, but I felt so insecure.
I received lots of love and cuddles that day and the couple told me they were my new master and mistress and Bouncer was my companion for as long as his illness, cardio myopathy, would allow him. I was bought a new collar and finer muzzle to go for walks. And somehow I knew I would not be able to chase rabbits. But hey, there was still lovely furry creatures, which I was later told where cats running around the neighbourhood. I was not allowed to chase them either.
As days became weeks and weeks became months my memories of my racing days began to fade. Today I am a much loved member of a family. I live in the house, despite the few odd puddles I have left for the mistress to clean. I am fed twice a day and fresh water is always left for me. I seldom sleep in my basket as Bouncer and I squeeze onto the sofa together and I am much loved. I hate it when the master and mistress go to work and leave the house, but Bouncer is good company in a strange way. I don't understand his strange breathing and it annoys me when I am trying to sleep, but somehow, I know I have to look after him. The days are rolling on and the winter is turning to spring. We walk around the castle and through the fields to the beach. Occasionally I am allowed off the lead now to run free with the wind in my hair once more. But I have learned not to chase rabbits or cats and running in the surf lapping along the shore is kind of nice.
Warning!! Please watch, but may be disturbing for some viewers
JP came to live with us the year we lost our baby Lady. Being used to living with a lurcher, the greyhound was so familiar. Bouncer lived on his own with us for several months after Lady's death, and although he coped, we knew he was not happy. We took a gamble with JP coming from a racing background in case he would fight with Bouncer. I am pleased to say that he has settled in well and is the life and soul of the household now. He loves Bouncer and protects him where ever we go. His nature is beautiful, and he is full of fun, we believe he is about five years old and we would not part with him for the world.