A Day in The Death of "Our Vieri."

It was an overcast, rain in the air Scottish August day when I made my first appearance into the world, one of nine little snub-nosed helpless bundles of greyhound fur whose sole purpose in life was to find their mothers milk, and then a warm place to curl up and sleep. Life was simple.

I don't remember much of my early time in the Lanarkshire countryside with my owner Mr McAllister, but most of it was fun playing with my brothers and sisters. Life seemed good as day after day I become bigger and stronger and my fur, a nice shade of blue made me stand out among the crowd, I felt so handsome and admired..

There were times when we were taken off and allowed to chase things, even though I thought they were not real, it was fun to be able to run like the wind, without a care in the world. I liked this life of fun, excitement and playing with my brothers and sisters. This living sure had a lot going for it and I thought it would never end, but there was one thing that was troubling me, my family were slowly disappearing and I knew not where..

One day I was soaking up the rays of the sun as it wandered across the sky when I became aware I was the centre of some attention, Mr McAllister was talking to two men I didn't recognise but they never stopped looking at me, and somehow I felt uneasy. They all came into the paddock but I kept my distance until Mr McAllister offered me a treat that I couldn't resist. They seemed nice so I stopped worrying and listened as they said nice things about me and I felt on top of the world when I heard one say, "he certainly looks a champion.". I was disappointed when they left but I soon forgot them when I stretched out in the sun again.

A few days passed and three more of my family disappeared, a sister and two brothers, who all went off with a man with a very broad smile and a happy jaunt to his gait as he walked across the yard to his van. I felt sad as I watched them go, there were now only three of us left. Just one brother and one sister. Little did I know, it would soon be me who would be leaving the sanctuary of our home.

My turn came a couple of days later when the two men who had shown so much interest in me returned, and took me away. I looked over my shoulder at my siblings as the men led me off to their car, a feeling of foreboding and a anxious feeling in my heart that I would never ever see them again. The men were nice to me but I wanted to go back home with my family, I felt scared and all alone.

I shouldn't have been because life improved with more and more outings to chase this funny little furry thing that whirred and clanked as it stayed that very annoying distance in front of me, just out of reach, but excitingly so. I then started running with others who were trying to catch this thing too, but no one did, so, so disappointing. I was in a routine and made lots of new friends when tragedy struck, I was taken away, a long way away to the wilds of England and a new beginning, and new owner. Again I was scared of what was to be my fate, what was to become of me, do I not have a say in my life.?

Life became a round of racing, kennelling and paddocking, sometimes a lot of excitement, but mainly boredom as I spent many an hour in my kennel, my kennelmate was sweet, but life was tedious. I heard through the grapevine that my brother, aptly named Titan Grace was living the life of a pet dog (whatever that is) on the Isle of Skye and I wondered if that would ever be me, would I ever be this thing called "A Pet Dog."?

It's hard this chasing around after a mechanical hare and time after time I am buffeted about and I can't get anywhere near the front to try and catch the thing. My body aches and I wince as once again somebody crashes into me and I only just manage to stay on my feet. I want to scream from the pain. My muscles hurt and my ribs are bruised but I have to run, that's all I know.

It's Friday night, and it seems I'm racing again because I haven't had my dinner. So it's another long night ahead, another night of coming home hurt. Another night of being asked to put my body at risk. We arrive at Harlow and I must admit to feeling excited as we go through the entrance and I go on to the scales to be weighed, and then we are checked over by the vet, a nice person that vet. It seems there are a few races until mine so I settle down and try to sleep but the sounds of the hare running past the kennels and the sound of excited greyhounds makes it very hard to get a wink, so patiently I wait for my turn to shine.

My kennel door opens and I know it's time. I have a feeling of trepidation, a strange trepidation as if all is not well, I feel on edge, my excitement muted by this strange fluttering in my stomach. We are on parade and this feeling I have of impending doom will not go away. The excitement of the crowd as we approach the traps is audible and the children are calling out to us as we wait patiently for our turn to go in, but why this fear. My butterflys are increasing as every minute goes by, and then the sound of the hare starting and my nerves are screaming at me to be ready to go when the traps open, and then I'm running. The faces in the stand are just a blur as the wind rushes past my face as I strain to see that infuriating teasing lure rushing along in front of me . I have made a good start but I'm hurt as I go around the first bend, I manage to keep going and again I'm in trouble at the third bend but shake myself clear and go after old Gus ( who told me he would win) but he had got too far in front so I had to settle for second as we flashed across the winning line, not too far apart. And then the pain, the excruciating pain as my leg seemed to explode into a thousend pieces. I try to keep going but I have to stop, my leg a red hot poker of fire as I'm gently carried from the track, and then into the vets room. Help at last is here, I will be O.K.. The vets' kind hands pass over my leg as I look up into his face and I can see he thinks he can save me, he can cure my hurt. I am saved.

He goes over to talk to my owner to discuss the best way to go about mending me. I see them muttering while trying not to look me in the eye, and then the vet returns, he looks sad, and I become very, very scared: He gently lifts my front paw and I feel the needle as it enters my leg, he whispers in my ear "I'm so sorry, " as I gently pass away into another world, where loyalty and an aim to please your owner is not repaid with pain and a premature death.

There is a saying that goes something along the lines of.
"Oh Lord when I die, I hope it's as a pet dog, so there will always be someone who remembers me."

You never made it as a pet dog, but you should have done and would have done if you had been owned by me, I will remember you old boy.

This was the fate of "OUR VIERI" at Harlow Stadium last Friday night 17 August 2007. when to all intents and purposes he could have been saved, but his owner chose to take the cheap alternative and put him down.

Bryan Leach

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