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The Story of Bess and Bran…..19th May 2009.


This was the greyhound formally known as Raquel. When she arrived to meet her foster owner she was very scared of the outside world. As if to prove this she decided to make a break for freedom, she slipped her collar and jumped into the canal! Luckily for her, her foster Dad was on hand to rescue her, and despite not smelling like a lady should still took her home. As this was a new start for her it was decided to name her Bess after the black horse that Dick Turpin rode. This was due to her foster Dad being assured by older and wiser greyhound folk that she would go black, and also because of her tendency to be a crafty food thief! But as can be seen this was a dog that was fearful of life and she took 4 days to find the courage to leave the house, but a trip to “pets at home” showed her that outside walks could be a very pleasurable and rewarding experience!

It was around this time that it was decided to move all the greyhounds to a new set of kennels, and little did Bess’s foster dad realise the significance of this. During this exercise a nervous greyhound called Mikey escaped and he made like Steve Mc Queen over the fields. Over 2 hours later after being chased over many a field and setting a new greyhound speed record on the A57 he finally ran out of steam. He was lifted out of a muddy drainage ditch by Bess’s foster dad and other MRGT volunteers. It turned out that Mikey was extremely unwell, and it was touch and go for a few days, but with the care and devotion shown by the kennel hands and members of the MRGT team he was nursed back to health. However despite now showing more interest in life, he was still nervous of the outside world.

Whilst Mikey was recovering, Bess was going from strength to strength. She was starting to come out of her shell and each day brought out a new side of her personality.


As can be seen, like most greyhounds she had her lazy moments and liked nothing better than to lie in the sun and eat dandelions! She started to enjoy her walks, and was allowed to go off lead to explore her world. Despite this though she still clung onto her foster dad and was happy to just trot along behind him, only occasionally having a mad moment! These moments started to get longer and longer, but she would soon retreat into her shell.

Bess and Bran

Now Mikey entered Bess’s life as a lovely couple came along and decided to give them both a “for life” home. However, they could not take them straight away so Mikey came to live with Bess, and at the request of their soon to be new owners Mikey became Bran. This appeared from the start to be a match made in heaven and both dogs soon got on well with each other, and could often be found cuddled up together. In fact they were getting on so well that after seeing their new owners one day on the beach they decided to have a late night party! This consisted of raiding the freezer, fridge, oven and anything else they could get into! As time went on they took confidence from each other and both realised that there was nothing to really fear out there. Then their foster family decided to have a weekend away, so they went to the home of another of the MRGT team and spent the weekend with 4 greyhounds and 2 lurchers. This really sealed their transformation as it was sink or swim time!

Bess and Bran 2

After this experience Bess and Bran were much more confident and now really enjoyed their walks. Bess’s mad moments were much longer and she has a real turn of speed. Also she started to take part in the agility classes that Willow (the honorary white and black greyhound in the picture does) and could do small jumps and walk up a plank! Both seemed to have good recall skills and appeared to be small dog friendly as you can see. Or was this just because Willow was “top dog” who was always out in front showing them the way? Well Bran decided to close this chapter in both their lives by finishing it as it started, with a dog going in the canal to escape something horrible. Except it was not him or Bess, but two Jack Russells he decided to toss in using his plastic muzzle as a bat. If he had been playing cricket it would have been two perfect sixes! Luckily his foster dad was on hand to bravely get two snarling Jack Russells out of the canal, and their owner saw the funny side of it.

So now Bess and Bran start a new life in Wales surrounded by 600 plus sheep and are going to be trained by the local farmer to be sheep friendly. Will we see them on “One man and his dog”? Lets hope so, because they will be the fastest sheepdogs known to man!

The MRGT team wish to thank Andy , Rachel & Callum for all their hard work and dedication with Bess & Bran.