Daphne Ledward, Garden Planner, Gardener, Author and Broadcaster

Faune's Blog

28th January 2013 Faune on Ė DAD, MY MATES - NEW AND OLD, GROWING UP AND A VISIT TO JERRY GREEN'S

I had a terrific day yesterday. I haven't had many good days recently - dad hasn't been well and went into that dreadful hospital in Boston (he'd have been better going to our vet, mum said) so mum put us in Fen Bank Greyhound Sanctuary for two weeks while she got things sorted out. It was OK there, but lovely coming home. I also lost my two mates, Tom Barnaby and Sally-Meg, because mum said she couldn't cope with my dad and six dogs as well, so I've nobody to play with now as the other three are all middle-aged and stuffy. Sally-Meg has gone to live near Louth, but Tom B is still at Fen Bank, and I wish mum would re-adopt him, but I don't think she will.

Here I am, much wiser now! (Click on the picture if you want to see a bigger picture of me.)

Faune

Then mum said I needed to go for a little operation to stop me having babies and booked me in for after Christmas with Uncle Alan, the vet who says I'm the Devil's Daughter (how horrid!). I really want to have lots of babies if I could only find the right chap, and I wasn't going anywhere that I would be insulted, so I tried and tried, very hard, and - tee hee! - I got myself into an interesting condition before the date I was due to go, so the op was cancelled. Uncle Alan said it was what he'd expect from the Spawn of Satan, but I didn't care.

It's not all fun being like that, because you get very frustrated for about three weeks, but frustration is better than being chopped about, and it passes eventually. I thought Paddy might be able to help me, but he only went giddy and jumped about all over the place, and mum said he was no good for making babies, so I left him alone. Anyway, to go back to my good day. My mum had an e-mail from Jerry Green's, the dogs' home that took me in when I was abandoned with a broken elbow, asking for doggy gifts for Valentine's Day. Aldi are selling doggy Christmas boxes off cheap, and she thought it would be nice if I took one to them, as I don't see them a lot - usually only in the waiting room at the vet's - and they were very kind to me when I was down on my luck.

In the afternoon, we set off in the snow and slush - it was OK on the main roads but pretty bad in the lane leading to Jerry Green's - what an adventure! I took Discit with me; she's sort of like my sister now and we do a lot of things together, except she doesn't really like energetic games that involve my trying to chew her head off. I expect she used to have a sense of fun, but she will be eight in November, so I suppose it's worn off.

Well, all the staff came out when I arrived - they were so pleased to see me and I was pleased to see them. They took lots of photos and they were very grateful for my box of goodies, and it made me feel all warm inside. Discit said she was rather hurt they didn't make more fuss of her but she's a Fen Bank dog and they fuss her up when she goes there, while practically ignoring me, so I told her it was horses for courses. I'm not really sure what I meant by that, but it sounded good.

Mum wanted to call in on Auntie Julia on the way home with a local paper containing a report on the hospital where my dad had been (sharp intake of breath when she read it - glad our vets only get good publicity!). Auntie Julia, who could, we feel, take dogs or leave them, has recently had a springer spaniel called Oliver wished on her, and do you know, it's made a new woman of her, as, although she possibly won't admit it, I think she's softening towards us.

Auntie Julia was in her paddock with Ollie, and mum thought it would be rather nice if he and I had a run together. She'd completely forgotten I could still be in an interesting condition. Once through the gate, Ollie made a dive towards me. This is rape, I thought, and sat down firmly. Ollie bounced about a bit around me, then wandered off to see what his mum was doing - she was getting firewood out of the shed, which was apparently much more interesting, as it meant there would be a nice log fire soon. I got the impression that Oliver has a very short attention span. I thought, once he'd stopped being so excited to see me, that perhaps he was rather nice, after all, and tried to crank him up a bit, but he wasn't interested. I then attempted to show him how a lurcher could run - fast, and in straight lines, with head up so you can see what you're doing, instead of zigzagging all over the place with nose pressed to the ground - but it appeared it wasn't his thing. Eventually, we went our separate ways in the field, me getting some serious exercise, Ollie pretending to be a gun dog (he has done a job of work in the past, so I guess old habits die hard). Ollie only has one eye, and, as you know, I only have one arm. Auntie Julia laughed and said what a pair of disabled crocks we were. I thought that was unkind, because we might have the odd bit missing, but we're certainly not disabled - or crocks, come to that. I felt he'd have made quite a good (and capable) father for my babies, but mum said they'd come out a bunch of dreadful mongrels. It wouldn't bother me - what's wrong with a bit of hybrid vigour (a plant term mum uses a lot), but I think it's too late for the time being now anyway, so there's no point in getting uptight about it. In the end, dad, mum and Auntie Julia were complaining about being cold, so we went back to the house. Mum put me in the car, and Ollie said perhaps he'd come too, and was about to get onto the back seat with me (there would have been room........) but Discit said, "Over my dead body," and he went off with Auntie Julia.

It was a fantastic afternoon, meeting up with all my new friends and making a special new one. Once the weather's better, I'll get mum to let Ollie run at the Patch with me - I know he'd enjoy it, particularly if the others stay at home. And who knows, perhaps he doesn't mind mongrels, either.

28th September 2012 Faune on Ė HER FAMILY

Hi, Iím Faune and Iím a lurcher. I understand a lurcher is a sighthound (like a whippet or a greyhound or a saluki), crossed with something else. Mum had my DNA profile done (so she could understand me better, she said), and in my case, Iím half greyhound, quarter saluki Ė and quarter miniature poodle, they say, although nobody can see any signs of that. Iím quite small and very beautiful; I always get a rosette in the most beautiful eyes class at dog shows.

Faune

Here I am, sitting on the table, soon after I arrived at mum and dad's house. It was a bit cold - you can see the frost! (Click on the picture if you want to see a bigger picture of me in the garden.)

Iím told Iím about eighteen months old but I donít remember anything before last November, when I woke up in hospital after a deep sleep with a big bandage on my front leg. Apparently Iíd been thrown out of a van near Jerry Green Dogsí Home up the road from here with a broken elbow. The vets had screwed a lot of ironwork in it while I was asleep, but it all came unstuck (they said it was my fault cos I wouldnít stay still Ė well, they would say that, wouldnít they?) so I had another sleep and when I woke up I found theyíd chopped the ruddy thing off. Plus my shoulder on that side. For cosmetic reasons, they said. That was on the Tuesday. On the Thursday evening the vet sent me to my forever home.

Losing my leg was the best thing that ever happened to me. I get lots of fuss and sympathy and I got a real mum and dad for the first time ever. The place where my leg came off took ages to get better, because I hate bandages so I instantly removed them, which meant I was seeing the vet every day for weeks on end, and they fussed me up and gave me treats and told me what an exceptional girl I was, so, all in all, lifeís been great so far. I can run as fast as any greyhound and I donít fall over at all Ė itís quite easy to manage with one arm if you position the other one in the right place.

Someone originally named me Heather, after Heather Mills, but mum said that was sick and called me Faune, which she says means a female woodland sprite, and as I spend a lot of time in mum and dadís wood, I think thatís a pretty good name.

Going to live with mum and dad meant I instantly got two sisters and three brothers. My older sister, Sally, was a poor thing; she had lymphoma and, later on, bone cancer in her back leg, and she went to Rainbow Bridge in May. In June she returned, so we all thought, because there she was again, in the garden; we eventually found out it wasnít her at all, but her double. She was from Fen Bank Greyhound Sanctuary and her name was actually Meg, but she still gets called Sally, so her full name now is Sally-Meg. Sheís quite fun as sheís not much older than I am and she plays with me (when she feels like it), but sheís got some really dirty habits. When she canít get her own way she pees or poos (or both) on the floor. The rest of us tell her this is a bad idea, but she wonít listen to us. Sally became a blood donor last week, and weíve never heard the last of it.

My other sisterís really called Dixie, but sheís known as Discit cos when she e-mails her ex-mummy, her spelling is appalling and she canít even spell her own name. Sheíll be seven in November. Sheís small and black and runs very fast, but sheís got hypothyroidism so sheís on tablets twice a day, otherwise all her hair falls out.

My oldest brother, Paddy, is nine and life just washes over him (always has done, Iím told). He spends most of his time asleep, when he isnít eating; his favourite saying is ďI just donít want no trouble, guv,Ē although Iím told that he and Muffin had a stack-up some years ago over a bowl of food and Paddy exposed his jugular. I find that hard to believe but Mr Mís got the scar to prove it. Ever since, Paddy wonít eat with the rest of us so he gets shut in the bathroom for his meals.

Which brings me to Muffin Ė Mister Muffin, he prefers to be called. Many of you will have read his self-centred, self-pitying blogs. He was born with a deformed back foot, and the other one has grown into a funny shape, too. It doesnít prevent him from running and having a good time, but he has this enormous chip on his shoulder so we have to handle him carefully as he has a very short fuse. Heís also a blood donor, but heís retiring next April as he will be eight, which is when they have to retire.

Then thereís Tom. His real name is Barnaby but mum says it was too much of a mouthful so she calls him Tom (after Midsummer Murders). I suspect Tom came to live here 15 months ago as a replacement for the sainted Bluebell, who apparently died after nearly eighteen monthsí treatment for sarcoma. Tom, like Bluebell, is blue (grey to you), but mum says thatís where the similarity ends and he says heís never really filled her place. Muffin says heís hardly likely to, as he likes the sound of his voice too much and only stops barking when his mouthís full of food. Tom is nearly seven; he raced till he was nearly six and heís rippling with muscles. I fancy him a lot and when I was in an interesting condition earlier this year, I told him I wanted his babies and he said he would see what he could do, but nothing materialised. Discit says itís hardly likely to as heís had the op, but you can always hope. Discit also says I will be going away soon for another sleep and when I wake up, I wonít fancy any boy any more, but I donít know how she knows all these things. I would really like babies. Tomís also a blood donor. I would like to be one too so I could go to his sessions, but I only weigh 21kg and you have to be over 25kg to donate. He does let me have the contents of his goody bag when he comes home, though, which is better than nothing.

The problem with my brothers and sisters is that theyíre proper greyhounds. This means they can run fast with me for a little while, but thatís it for the rest of the day. As a lurcher, I can run just as fast but I never get tired; I try to crank them up for another circuit of our field, but they donít usually respond, so I spend a lot of my time being bored. We did have another lurcher to stay with us for a few weeks recently, but she was only fostered and now sheís got a forever home. Mum says if she hadnít been adopted she would be in a straightjacket by now, whatever that is.

So there you have it. So much has happened to me in the last year, and thereís never a dull moment here. Next time something exciting occurs, Iíll let you know.

September 2012 Part 2

Just found these pictures of me taken in February by my good friend Kath Morgan

I like a good game of ball - if it has a rope on it I can play by myself.
Faune playing

Waiting till my friends recover their breath for another race.
Faune sitting

Me and my friend Jimmy "Jim-Bob" Morgan - Mr Muffin in the background (for once!).
Faune and friends

September 2012

Well. I've been here 9 months, so will write soon about what has been happening. Come back again to see what I have to say!

December 2011

Here I am with my new mum, Daphne.
Faune and Daphne