Stripey was named Stripey by the rescue kennels from whence he came.
He lived in two homes before we had him. At least he was found on the streets and then adopted by an elderly gentleman who found him a bit too big and a bit too much to handle. So apart from his two homes and then twice in the rescue kennels he had moved about quite a bit.
Stripey was a Lurcher and the size of a small donkey. In fact we often said he thought he was a donkey.
He was about eighteen months old when we first had him. After he had settled in I let him off the lead in a large field but he did not run or go anywhere. I think he was not used to being off the lead or running.
Stripey was quite scared of things. Scared of bollards and street furniture. Scared of lampshades and light bulbs and scared of other dogs at first. Whenever he saw another dog he would hide in the bushes and then come out when he thought it was safe once more. If a dog played with him or chased him then he would hobble about on three legs screaming his head off. I would run over to him and the dog owner would keep on saying sorry, however I think this was how Stripey used his safety mechanism. It must have worked once and so he used it all the time. I would rub his leg and shoulder and within seconds he would be right as rain once more. He was one great big softy.
We took him to the woods one day and he went in amongst the trees and began to bark. We went in after him and he had found a baby hedgehog. He was so excited. He was barking and wagging his tail, ‘look mum, look what I have found.’
Stripey would not harm a flea, not even a rabbit. This may be why he was found on the streets, abandoned. He may have been used for hunting and as he did not have any killer instinct then he may have been turfed out.
He was always after food. I took him over our local park one day, and this backs onto a school playground. Somehow he managed to squirm under the school railings and he spent ten minuets devouring all the kids leftovers that were scattered about the playground. He looked very fat when he came back! And, luckily he was still able to wriggle through the hole beneath the fence.
We took Stripey on holiday to Kielder Forest with our daughter and son in law and their lovely dog. Stripey was merrily running down the path that led to the lake. The only thing is that he forgot to stop and had not got a clue what water was. He carried on running and went straight into the lake and went under. He completely disappeared. Luckily I did not see what happened or else I would have been screaming with dread. The rest of the group did see Stripey submerge and my daughter was about to panic when Stripey’s head popped up followed by the rest of his floating and floundering body.
Luckily he stayed on the surface and that is when I saw him thrashing and splashing his front paws in the air. Thank goodness too that he safely made it to the bank and then with great excitement at his adventure he chased his pal, the other dog, amongst the trees and eventually this exercise dried him out.
Later on we had a small job of getting him used to water again and swimming but in the end he loved it and retrieved well in water.
Once I took him to a lake for a swim and he saw a swan in the middle of the lake and he just kept on swimming after it. I really thought that was the last I would see of him, however he did turn back and then had a mad five minutes running round the field.
Stripey enjoyed spending time up the allotment with us. One day I was picking the raspberries and Stripey watched me intently and then he too began to pick them. The only thing is that he ate the ones he picked!
Stripey barked a great deal when we first had him. Actually he was quiet for the first night and you would not have known he was there. He lay on the hall floor in the morning as if he had landed in paradise. He looked so content!
He began to bark at the back door and other things and we managed to train him not to do this. However we tried endless ways of stopping him from barking in the car. About the only thing to stop him barking was if he sat on the back seat with someone stroking him. However this was not at all practical as he was such a large dog and it was dangerous. He would froth and foam at the mouth when in his cage or when he had his harness on.
Later on we bought an old Land Rover and you could wind the back window down a little bit and this seemed to lessen the sound of his barking whilst in the car.
At the end of his walk in the woods, one day, I put him back in the car with his harness on and collar and lead and was about to close the window up when suddenly, and in a flash he escaped and ran over the road chasing a rabbit. How he got out of his collar, lead and harness in seconds and over the road I shall never know! The car was parked on a sharp bend and another car was coming round the bend. Luckily I was able to run across the road and get hold of Stripey and keep him safe.
Stripey also appeared to be able to squirm through tiny gaps when the back or front door was held ajar. He was your typical escape artist! He would not let me rest and have a cup of tea either if he thought it was his dinner time. He would keep plonking his enormous paw on my lap and when I told him to behave he would prick up his ears and look at me as if to say, ‘oh, she speaks.’ He had such a funny look on his face.
Like many Lurchers Stripey also loved his bed, or any other dog’s bed for that matter, even if the bed were too small for him. I used to say to him, ‘don’t bother to get up Stripey’, and he would just lay there.
However if food was about then so was Stripey.
Barbara Burgess © 08/03/2015