I’d like to tell you a true story of hope and love. My name is Millie and the story started 4 years ago when I was born. Thankfully I can’t remember the first few months because by the time my lovely adopted mum Annette found me when I was 4 months old I was severely undernourished (so tiny I could sit in the palm of her hand), had no undercoat (only little wisps of hair all over my body) and was filthy dirty. It doesn’t sound like a very happy story so far, I admit, but from the day mum saved me, we’ve never looked back.
When I arrived, the house was already quite full of other creatures mum had rescued (she has such a good heart) – there was a big dog, a Hungarian Viszla cross, called Annie; a very timid Chihuahua called Ruby; two cats – a Himalayan blue colour point called Summaglow Blue Belle (mum likes giving her rescues fancy names! or Bella) and the other cat was an exotic called Osmosis (he’s a black cat with big orange eyes); and wait for it, a turtle rescued from a petshop called E.T! Wow, I wondered what I’d stubbled across here, but I soon learnt what a wonderful household it was.
Annette nursed me back to health; fed me lovely food (including egg yolks to improve my coat), washed me, brushed me and gave me more love and cuddles than I ever knew could be possible. I blossomed under mum’s care and became quite the glamour puss!
I played a bit with Annie the big dog, but sadly she was in the final stages of cancer and 12 months after I arrived, she passed away. Little Ruby had had a very sad start to her life and had been badly abused so she was afraid of everything – even our lovely mum for the first 2 years, so we didn’t play games at all. Of course there were the cats, but, being cats, they were only interested in themselves, so after Annie left us, I didn’t have any furry playmates. As it tends to do, fate intervened and from here the story takes a wonderful turn – for everyone!
Mum heard about a greyhound that was is a precarious situation – she was only 4 and had just finished her racing ‘career’. The person who had her was not a nice trainer and he didn’t seem to care about what happened to her after she finished racing so she was going to be shot. Mum, being the kind person she is, decided to take her on but was pretty nervous because she had the cats and we two small dogs (not to mention ET) and she had never even seen a grey up close far less owned one. However, her heart went out to this unseen dog that was going to be shot for no other reason than she wasn’t running fast enough. So, this greyhound called Gracie was dropped off at our house and the story of Millee and Gracie was born!
So, how was mum going to get a greyhound almost straight off the track to live in harmony in the same house as two cats, two dogs and a turtle? Our mum is a smart lady, so what she did was to get Gracie to stay outside when she first arrived and she got Ruby and me and we went for a long walk to create a “pack”, and by the time we got home I had started to bond with Gracie (even though she was REALLY big) but Ruby is frightened of her own shadow and took a while before she realised Gracie wasn’t going to hurt her. What about the cats, I hear you say? Well, it took mum three full months to teach Gracie that the cats were not prey! She actually got Gracie to accept the cats as her sisters by taking Osmosis for a walk round the block with Gracie and me and that was the turning point. Bella was easier because she smacked Gracie a couple of times!!
So, now we’re a fully functioning pack of girls (Osmosis is a he but I reckon he’s gay or wants to be a girl like all of us!) with mum as our leader and she can leave the cats and all the dogs inside quite safely – a huge achievement, don’t you think?
Gracie and I have developed our friendship and we have the best time together. We share our beds and our toys – Gracie sits on her bed on the floor and I tease her a bit – pretty brave of me at first! – and then we just run around playing tug of war and chasey.
We support Oscar’s Law and have our bandanas on when we go walking, with our matching tartan Royal Stewart coats (’cause Mum is from Scotland!). A couple of months ago, we started visiting the local aged care facility once a month, and the oldies make such a fuss of us! They love me because I’m little and they can cuddle me and they adore Gracie because a lot of them raced greys when they were young (this is a greyhound racing town with its own track). I love the cuddles I get but I get squeezed a bit too hard sometimes and mum has to watch very carefully. Gracie stands quietly by their side so that they can pat her silky soft coat and looks peacefully into their eyes with her big brown ones. We are all exhausted when we get home as the home has over 60 residents and we try to do as many as we can. We feel such a sense of purpose by bringing a little joy into the lives of our town’s older residents.
Gracie is such a smart and gentle girl that mum thought she would pass her ‘green collar’ test (so that she doesn’t have to wear her muzzle in public). So, we all piled in the car and headed off to Adelaide where Gracie was put through her paces – she was tested to make sure she wasn’t interested in small dogs and even cats that were not part of her ‘pack’. Of course she passed with flying colours, as we knew she would, and we can all go out walking together without her wearing a muzzle.
A funny little story I have to share with you though happened not long after Gracie came to our household. Mum took us both to the greyhound track which is fully enclosed and we can be let off lead in the middle of it for a run. Well, off Gracie went like the speed of light. I thought I’d follow her on my short little legs but only got halfway when I realised it was too far for me. So I turned around and headed back towards mum at a little jog. By this time Gracie was on her way back at full pelt, and of course all she could see in front of her was a little white fluffy thing that looked remarkably like the lures she used to chase around a track! Oh my, when it dawned on me, I just made a bee-line to mum’s legs, but before I got there, Gracie caught up with me and bowled me over. You can imagine mine and mum’s shock and horror about what might happen next……… Gracie just turned around and came to see if I was alright! Phew, that was a close call, but thankfully Gracie realised it was me and just looked at us to say, “what’s all the fuss about?”.
From that day on, we have been the best little buddies you could imagine. Gracie has had a poorly eye recently which has been of great concern to us all, with lots of trips to the vet, and even a button sewed to her lid to keep it closed until it healed! When she was feeling so unwell and sad she hopped on the couch so I couldn’t accidentally knock her eye when trying to cuddle her. It was so upsetting to see her like that and I couldn’t comfort her. However, with lots of love, attention (and money) it’s finally coming good and we are back to cuddling up (Gracie puts her big long arms around me) and playing and being the oddest and funniest pair you’ve ever seen!
Who would have thought – an unbreakable bond between a fluffy and a grey! LOL!!