Last month an Animal Friends Insurance stand-out employee, Natasha North, decided to help the Greyhound Rescue West of England (GRWE) with a donation. GRWE is the largest independent greyhound rescue organisation in the UK working specifically to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home abandoned or abused greyhounds and lurchers.
They have provided us with an excellent rescue story to highlight how Natasha’s donation will be helping Greyhounds in need.
Orla is a bull lurcher, that means she is half greyhound and half Staffordshire Bull Terrier – a cross which is popular with some unscrupulous members of society who use them for hunting wild animals such as badgers.
Of course, Orla doesn’t know that is why she was bred and from birth she must have possessed all the best attributes passed on from her parents – the laid back nature of the greyhound and the loyalty and tenacity of a Staffy. She just wanted to please her owners but that wasn’t enough for them.
At some point, when she was about two years old Orla had a run in with a wild animal which she lost. She was left with a broken front left leg, a broken lower jaw, cuts all over her face and most of her teeth missing. Now of little use to her owners and with the prospect of a vets bill to either fix her up or put her to sleep, she was left in the field where she was attacked, injured and defenceless.
No-one knows how long Orla lived wild but when she was found wandering in a town near Limerick, Eire, in Autumn 2010 she was still in a very bad way, she was emaciated and had lost much of her fur; she weighed just 13kg. Fortunately she was taken to one of the rescue centres that send dogs to GRWE and in December 2010 she arrived at the charity’s Dorset kennels where her rehabilitation began.
After extensive help from a friendly vet and a spell in foster care, Orla – who remained a sweet dog throughout the process – was ready for re-homing but all bull breeds are difficult for charities to find families for thanks to a very negative image created by the media. Orla had the added misfortune of having a pronounced limp from the untreated broken leg and it is true to say that new owners were not queuing up to take her.
Then in August 2011 GRWE volunteers Andrew and Linda Kirchin, from Dawlish in Devon were looking for a new friend for their ex-racer Grace and, having experience of working with staffy crosses before, offered Orla, now weighing a healthy 27 kilos, a place on their sofa – she has been there ever since and has flourished into the amazing companion that most of these dogs can become.
She has also become a star attraction at GRWE street collections and greets all comers of all ages with a waggy tail and a snuggle when they come to see her.