let there be lurcher

We went to see dogs at the RSPCA
but they didn’t have much to show us that day
just a couple of wild-eyed terriers
barking round their barred interiors
two intimidating staffie brothers
smouldering, shoulder to shoulder
then a lurcher
called Storm
slumped in a basket at the far end on his own
like a cyclone
of the purest depression
or a lifer in prison
whose only ambition
was to own a harmonica and play the blues
as people passed by in orderly queues

he looked a mess
and I have to confess
I expressed
some hesitation
especially when I read the information
written on the card
tied to the bars
describing his hard
and cruelly neglected past

he’d been rescued with a Patterdale called Biscuit
who’d been taken the day before our visit
(unless TAKEN was some kind of shelter euphemism
for the way some dogs end up leaving the prison)

so it was just Storm
forsaken and forlorn
waiting for someone to perform
an unlikely miracle
the chances against it were considerable
for something so ribby and miserable

and I must admit I had my doubts
especially how a dog that size would get out
through the flap we had in the kitchen door
other than breech birth paw over paw

but the others were insistent
so we found an assistant
told her we were interested in adopting Storm
she took us to the office to fill out a form

there were certain procedures to follow of course
we had to come back a few times for walks
to see if any of us had second thoughts
including whether he’d get on with Lola
our beautiful, elderly and elegant lurcher
who acted the martyr
but then quickly adapted because she’s smarter
and saw the benefits in having a partner

so everything seemed to go pretty well
Lola behaved like a true professional
and Storm was happy as far as we could tell
being generally as inscrutable as baby Yoda
in the end we said fine and he jumped in the Toyota
(and yes – I KNOW Skoda
would’ve sounded better
but – y’know – whatever
at least you can see I’m always striving
to be honest about stuff, including what I’m driving)

Three years later
and it’s hard to remember
a time before we ever had Stanley
(we changed the name from Storm incidentally
because essentially
we didn’t think he looked like a Storm
more like a Terry, an Eric or a Norm
in a neckerchief and cap
like a Victorian bargee or something like that
but it had to be a name that started with STUH
so he wouldn’t think we were calling some other lurcher
anyway – you get the picture)

and just like all those other decisions
when fate intervenes in unlikely conditions
we extended by one this vagabond family
with a lolloping, long-legged lurcher called Stanley

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