Hawthorn Posted August 7, 2016 Share Posted August 7, 2016 (edited) I think it's fair to say that Sunny had an interesting life. Sunny was born at a greyhound breeding/training establishment in Norfolk, England in 2005. Here's a picture of the litter: Allegedly, Sunny's racing owner picked him out by his tattoo (he was the first dog tattooed) and never actually met him. Sunny stayed in training with his breeder/trainer for a while, and was then transferred to another trainer in Essex, which happens to be the next county to where we live. When he failed to make the grade required for racing, he was transferred to a rehoming kennel in Essex, which is where I first met him and fell head over heels in love. I KNEW he was mine. He hadn't been cat-tested, so I took him home praying that he would get on with the cat, and he did, right from the start. Not long after we took him home, the rehoming centre asked us if we would represent them in the first ever national Retired Greyhound of the Year competition at the Great Greyhound Gathering to be held at Nottingham Racecourse in conjunction with the Retired Greyhound Trust. Of course we agreed and to our huge delight, Sunny won this competition. Here he is being presented with his award by Lt. Col. Duncan Green. He was such a strong, strapping lad in those days. And showing off all his prizes: A few months after that, we were contacted by the BBC to ask if they could interview us at Crufts, as we were planning on showing Sunny in the class for retired racing greyhounds. As it happened, we were delayed in traffic and missed the time spot for this interview, so the BBC asked us if instead they could have Sunny live in the studio that evening. Here he is live in the studio with Ben Fogle and Clare Balding. He was a little anxious but behaved impeccably. After his 15 minutes of fame, Sunny's life returned to normality with myself, husband Greg, his litter sister Sophie, and Mickey the cat. Sunny was a big, bold, confident boy and very exuberant at home. He always ran everywhere, even in the house, adored his soft toys and was often to be found using one as a pillow, and loved to run off with boxes and other things that he found around the house. One of my fondest memories is of his gleeful tail disappearing round a corner with some treasure or other that he'd found. He enjoyed this so much that I used to leave things around for him to “find” and he especially loved it if I pretended to tell him off – he would just run faster and his tail would be even more gleeful. Sunny was irrepressibly cheerful and fun-loving, which is how he got his name. I had originally called him something else, but after a few days I just knew that his name was Sunny so changed it. Sunny was a huge character with a huge heart, who made us laugh out loud many times a day with his hilarious antics. He was also very loving and loved to cuddle, resting his head in my lap, or being my bolster in bed. Another fond memory is of him making a flying leap on to the bed from the doorway, landing perfectly beside me and planting a tiny, perfectly placed butterfly kiss on the end of my nose to boot. For a big, exuberant boy, he gave the sweetest little butterfly kisses. Sunny had a special relationship with my husband Greg. Whenever Greg was around, this is how Sunny looked at him: A man and his dog: Sunny's greatest joy in life was running and we were fortunate to have access to some wonderful countryside where he could run to his heart's content. He really went for it and my heart soared along with his as he ran like the wind. This is when Sunny was most truly alive and joyful. The beach was Sunny's most favourite place to run and we had many wonderful holidays in North Norfolk with him and Sophie. He was so happy when he knew we were going to the beach, and as soon as his feet touched the sand he would prance around and do zoomies on the end of his lead until we reached a safe place to let him go. They say that into every life a little rain must fall, and for Sunny it began when he was 6 years old. We were on holiday in Norfolk and Sunny was running on the beach with Sophie whilst we were taking photos of them. My husband took this picture of them and showed it to me on the camera. As soon as I saw this picture I got a strong feeling/knowing that this would be the last time Sunny ran on the beach. Of course I was horrified, and tried to push this feeling away, and told no-one. A few minutes later, Sunny pulled up suddenly holding up one of his legs. We actually caught it on camera, but I'm not going to post that picture here. We rushed over to him and saw that one of his nails had completely come off. My head tried to tell me that it was just a one-off, that he'd bashed it on a stone, but my heart knew it was more serious than this. Over the next few months many of his nails came off – he had SLO. That was just the beginning, though, and some time after that Sunny suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack that temporarily affected his eyesight, and about 18 months later he developed a very serious case of autoimmune polyarthritis and nearly died from mis-management by the specialist veterinary centre where he was treated. He had a long road back to health from this but did eventually achieve remission for almost 3 years. This is a picture we took of him when he was in remission and when he had become strong enough to get up this hill once again: On top of the world - Summer 2014 When he was 10 he suffered a relapse of the autoimmune polyarthritis and this time the steroids weren't as effective, but we tried a different drug and eventually achieved remission again. However, by this time he was suffering from laryngeal paralysis and associated neurological issues. We kept trying different things and kept him going for a long time. His spirit was strong and he remained his usual cheerful self most of the time. Eventually, however, life became too difficult for him and we had no choice but to help him transition – I knew it was time. He never did run on that beach again. Sunny is not an easy dog to sum up. On the one hand he could be very calm and gentle, but on the other hand he was exuberant and fun-loving and irrepressible and loved to be “naughty” and think that he had got away with something. He was a dog of contrasts and I loved him for that. I love that I cannot adequately describe him, that he was greater than any tribute I am capable of writing for him. He was a dog who one minute was obliviously knocking everything over in his exuberance and joie-de-vivre and the next was giving me the sweetest, tiniest, most heart-breaking kiss that you can imagine. I have no idea what I did to deserve such an amazing dog as Sunny and I am so grateful for all the wonderful experiences I had because of him, and for all the smiles and laughter and love he brought into my life. My heart is filled with so many wonderful memories of Sunny, but I think this is how I will remember him best - running like the wind with body, mind and soul all in perfect harmony: Rest well, Sunny, my sweet boy. We will always love you and miss you. "Some animals...leave a trail of glory behind them.They give their spirit to the place where they have lived,and remain forever a part of the rocks and streams and the wind and sky."- Marguerite Henry “I have lived with you and loved you, and now you are gone. Gone where I cannot follow, until I have finished all of my days.” ~ Victoria Hanley, The Seer and the Sword Edited August 19, 2016 by Hawthorn Quote When a relationship of love is disrupted, the relationship does not cease. The love continues; therefore, the relationship continues. The work of grief is to reconcile and redeem life to a different love relationship. ~ W Scott Lineberry Always Greyhounds Home Boarding and Greyhounds With Love House Sitting Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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