On Saturday, Ben and I had an early start. We were going to Hersham Hounds to pick up a dog for a day at the beach.
Every year, Hersham Hounds (the Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare Trust) organises a mass exodus to East Head Beach, West Wittering (near Chichester in West Sussex) – volunteers, dog owners, supporters of the trust all take greyhounds in the (quite) long journey down to the coast.
We arrived at HH’s sanctuary in Esher at about 8:30am. We were to get a big boy called Rooster.
“Is there any reason you’re only taking one dog..?”
“Um… Not really. We could take two.”
“Only his girlfriend has been crying. We didn’t think she’d want to go, but as soon as we started getting the other dogs ready to go, she was getting really upset.”
So, two dogs. Big Rooster (9 years) and his tiny, timid girlfriend, Nala (10). Rooster was really friendly, really lively, very cheeky. Nala, by contrast, quiet and just wanted to sit in the back of the car.
Rooster and Nala
Greys travel really, really well. They just sit in the back of the car, quite happy and patient. And it’s quite a trek from London to Chichester.
With on brief stop at a petrol station to get snacks, we got to the beach around 11am. There were photographers to take pictures of everyone and their dogs on the beach itself, but no sign of those yet. I’ll let you know when they’re available.
There were some activities, too. I didn’t partake, but it was fun to watch man&dog 100 yard dash (and there was an equivalent event for the ladies, too). Oh, and a Bonio&spoon race.
As greys have a penchant for running very fast (and taking a negative interest in things that move, but are not greys), it was leashes and muzzles all round. These docile lovelies don’t look like they’d hurt a fly, but things can go wrong, so we prepared for the worst: it would be terrible to damage the reputation of greyhounds.
Nala and I were happy to take a very gentle walk along the beach. Rooster wanted to run, so Ben was in charge of that. Luckily, Ben brought a change of clothes – he ended up in the sea. Brrr.
And finally, the obligatory picnic. Nala was not interested – she hopped right back into the car, and sat there for the remainder. Rooster was VERY interested indeed in our sausage rolls. He had his own punnet of cocktail sausages, but still got jealous of our food. Incorrigible.
And then, at around 2pm, it started to get a bit chilly – we’d been lucky, as the weather had held until that point. So back in the car with the dogs, and back to Esher. Nala went straight to bed, unsurprisingly. What lovely doggies.
If you fancy, you can always ask to borrow a grey for a day, to help with dog walking. HH are always grateful for volunteer dog walkers and the like. And they have LOVELY dogs. Go on – give a dog a walk. Get in touch with Hersham Hounds to find out more.