Three times a lady

Publication: Wag! magazine

Lady’s racing days were over, her owner had passed away and her future looked bleak. But thanks to the NCDL’s Fostering Scheme, Lady is now a winner for life.

Winter 1999

Ask any of our Rehoming Centre staff and they will probably tell you the same thing: some dogs almost rehome themselves. One look from their soulful eyes is enough to win the hearts of a family looking to fill a dog-shaped hole in their lives. But others are not so fortunate.

People often pass by older dogs that look their age and avoid ones with long-term medical problems. Other dogs are simply not cute enough to tug passing heartstrings.

That doesn’t mean they don’t deserve loving homes, but it does create a problem – which is where the NCDL’s Fostering Scheme comes in.

The scheme, which offers assistance with vet fees for older or infirm dogs that we rehome, is part of our commitment to find loving homes for all dogs in need.

It provides financial help for new owners who might otherwise be unable to take on one of these special dogs, and gives some difficult to rehome dogs the chance of finding a permanent home.

Our Fostering Scheme particularly benefits older people who fear they can’t make a long-term commitment to a dog or cope with hefty vet bills.

Take Lady, a 10-year-old greyhound who came into the NCDL’s care after her devoted owner died. Lady hadn’t always had a loving home: she had already been rescued by an animal shelter after years of racing.

Because of her venerable age she was put on the Fostering Scheme at NCDL Dumfries to find her a new home – this time for life.

A new home in the Borders

Ted and Barbara Percy fell in love with her quiet dignity and decided Lady was the perfect addition to their household, which already included a collie-cross called Sandy.

Ted, a retired children’s librarian, had been considering adopting an ex-racing greyhound for some time after seeing publicity from the NCDL about their plight. It is estimated that every year thousands of racing dogs are simply abandoned once they fail to earn their keep.

“We knew we would be looking after Lady for as long as she or we lasted but, because she’s a foster dog, should there be any veterinary bills, the NCDL will pay them,” said Ted.

“People seem to be reluctant to rehome older dogs and one of the reasons seems to be that people think they will cost a lot at the vet.”

Fortunately, Lady has required only minor attention during the months she has settled into the Percys’ cottage in the idyllic Scottish Borders. After a slightly subdued start, Lady has made herself well and truly at home.

“We have a couple of small fields, a little bit of woodland, and four sheep,” said Mr Percy. “Lady’s fitted in extremely well and we haven’t had any problems. She’s become very friendly with our other dog Sandy – they romp about with each other a lot and it’s a joyful thing to see.

“She’s done wonders for us.”

Help for young and old

The Fostering Scheme is not restricted to elderly dogs like Lady. It also applies to younger dogs with ongoing medical problems, although in these cases the financial support given is restricted to treatment for the specific condition.

As with all dogs rehomed by the NCDL, foster dogs are microchipped, neutered and vaccinated, and their new family is given the same support and behavioural advice as if adopting a dog from us.

The benefits to both dog and foster family are many.

As Barbara Percy says: “It’s been a tonic to our household to have Lady here – and to see her getting younger every day!”

For more information on fostering or adopting a dog, contact your local Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre (Dogs Trust is the new name for the NCDL). Details on the Dogs Trust website here.