Cassandra has fostered Greyhounds for years. And while she loved every single one, she always knew that she was meant to be their ‘stepping stone’ — the person who looked after them until their forever families arrived.
But one day during lockdown, she was struck by a feeling that maybe she was finally ready to introduce a dog to her life permanently.
And that’s when she saw Mila on Lort Smith’s website. “I loved all my Greyhound boys but none of them have taken my heart the way Mila has,” she says. “When I met Mila, I knew very quickly that the reason I fostered for so long was that I was making space for her. As soon as I brought her home, I knew that I was her forever home. And I’ve never felt that before.”
At 10 years old, Mila had been surrendered to Lort Smith with a variety of health issues: dental disease, a mild fever, luxated patellas and some deformity in her front legs, an irregular mass in her spleen, excessive weight and Cushing’s disease — a syndrome that causes her body to make too much of a hormone called cortisol and can impact her ability to fight infection, control her weight and respond to stress.
“Lort Smith asked me to have a think about whether I was willing and able to take that on and support her with her health issues,” says Cassandra. “To be honest, it was totally fine for me. Fostering greyhounds meant helping dogs settle in to a new life, so I’m used to considering additional needs for pets. It wasn’t a concern for me but I’m glad they checked because I think if people are going to adopt an older dog, they need to be receptive to their changing needs.”
While it was love at first sight for Cassandra, she says that it took Mila a bit longer to open up to her. “She was quite aloof to start with. It wasn’t that she was well behaved, she was very polite — like she was too afraid to touch anything that wasn’t hers,” Cassandra says.
“During the first six weeks or so, anytime that she wasn’t being fed or actively engaged with, she would go and sit under the dining room table. I have a feeling it was a habit from her past.” Slowly, with Cassandra’s encouragement, Mila learned that she was safe and loved in her new home. “The first time she went and grabbed a new toy and brought it to me was massive,” Cassandra says.
“I think it’s a real honour to be loved by an older dog. They’ve been through things; there’s no guarantee that they will be comfortable with you, unlike puppies who don’t know any better. Mila has seen some things; she’s got her own baggage and it’s such a delight to watch her unpack that around me.
“There’s something really special about obtaining that love because it’s not a given. You have to earn it and it’s really special when you get it.”
And if you’re looking for your own Mila, jump onto lortsmith.com/adoptions — you never know who might win your heart!