Hi my name is Sandra Deacon and I live in Cornwall, 10 years ago my lifelong goal began....
All through my life i have lived with dogs and discovered along the way with lifes ups and downs i always found comfort from the dogs around me. I had always worked with people, but i knew deep down my passion was a need to care for dogs, i didnt know how but i knew i had to do something.....
November 2006, i saw an advert in the local newspaper advertising for people to foster greyhounds, this is where it all started, after a few phonecalls my first greyhound 'Matty' arrived, the lead was put in my hand and away i went. I put him in the car and couldn't take my eyes off him, on arriving home i opened the boot of the car and he took off!! I ran as fast as I could to catch
him, luckily he saw a man ahead and slowed down, he looked really scared
but thankfully he had stopped! As the man approached, Matty
tried to hide behind me, petrified! I had learnt a hard lesson, Matty
was a very scared boy and had to teach ME what to do! I had to take
things slowly from then on, even getting him to get off the sofa for a
walk, the only persuasion would be chicken!
He didnt trust anyone outside of our family. People and dogs would
come and go but Matty would always be hiding under the trees even
for hours after they had gone. A year passed and Matty was still not
happy with other people so him and I decided his forever home was
with me. I had learnt so much from him!
Three years had passed lots of greyhounds came, and in time went to loving homes, but i realised i needed to do more. So one day I came across a bungalow for sale, as soon as I saw it i knew it was perfect, the barn and fields were just right for my vision to materialise. We moved in a few days before christmas and on boxing day we started with the sledge hammers and began to clear the rubble.
Before even the blocks were moved i recieved a phone call asking if I could take 8 dogs in two days time! Mossy and Eli were in the batch of 8 and of course i was on cloud 9! Gradually we managed to lay out the under floor heating in the sleeping areas and build the kennels around the dogs who had already arrived. I then decided a day room would be a brilliant idea so at night the greyhounds could go to bed and during day they could enjoy the socialisation of the dayrooms.
I used to walk along the fields with the dogs running free, i was in heaven and i think you could tell by the dogs faces they were too! The joy i would get and still do when the trailer arrives full of dogs is amazing, unfortunately some of them were, and still come to us scared of being touched and barely eat through fear but with time and patience they gradually improve and it is lovely to see them develop into confident playful, loving, trusting companions.
Over the years it is always surprising how many home offers there are but even more surprisingly is how the dogs adapt to their new family and home enviroment, here at the sanctuary we try to get them used to as much as we can and experience different situations to prepare them for their new homelife but it is also nice to see potential owners understand that some need more time than others
The Greyhound Trust have always been very supportive and continue to stand by me with some of the decisions i have to make along the way.
Volunteers come and go and we were always grateful for any help we can get! Some would come for just a day or like Richard would stick with me throughout! Here at the sanctuary we have evolved and will continue to develop and improve the lives of the dogs that come to the sanctuary. Over the last few years i have been grateful for Greyhound Trust Cornwall support they have kindly helped with things such as materials so i can continue with my inspirational ideas to improve the lives of the greyhounds while they await for their forever homes.
Over the years I have bulit up a good rapport and understanding with the trainers as they trust I have the best interest of the dogs at heart and this can help greatly with rehoming.
Life situations changed for me personally but hand on heart i can truly say if it wasn't for what i do i dont know if i would of been strong enough, I always think when im putting the dogs to bed how many more i could help and this is what keeps me going. Fortunately, last year my daughter Emma has also joined me in helping to take the sanctuary forward.
Sadly this year I lost my Matty but he is always with me and I am so grateful to him and feel so priveledged that in the end he trusted that I would love and care for him. I would like to say a huge thank-you for all the lovely homes and continued support we have recieved in the past, present and long may it continue in the future, I feel totally blessed! Sandra x