As dogs who each had their specific rehab needs, they've both taken time to settle in their own way. But Bessie now knows how to play, run and be a pet who actually asks (albeit very subtly) to be cwtched (Welsh for cuddle). She is also gradually enjoying a few 'firsts' like paddling in the water, which she really loves. She's very quiet, very beautiful and has got the world's softest fur. As for Bran...well, Bran is just one of those hapless boy-dogs whose secret weapons for getting him out of the trouble he regularly gets himself into are, in no particular order - big sad brown puppy eyes, a tail that loops itself round and round like a helicopter and a very long bendy nose that's more elephant's trunk than greyhound body part. He is also a very big soppy dog who likes to try to make himself as small as possible so that he can get as much of himself cwtched on the sofa at once. Bessie is much more confident out and about than Bran - no trouble to take to the park/beach/vets, even off lead, whereas Bran still tends to turn to jelly and jump into people's vans/the back of the car/any hiding place he can when it all gets too much (which it does quite often, the big daft lummock.). More socialisation needed, clearly.
So there has been, to be fair, a certain amount of mayhem and mishap along the way...we are working on Bran's tendancy to get over-excited, which can be cute when he brings you a cushion to say hello but can also be very dodgy for any dogs he might be trying to play with, and Bessie still gets a bit shutdown from time to time (unsurprisingly when that dodgy boy dog Bran tries to 'encourage' her to play) and occasionally still gives a hysterical shriek if she feels that anyone might be even looking like they might be thinking about, in any way, doing anything that might be even slightly unfriendly to her. But more and more, as she realises nothing bad happens to her (apart from Bran trying to 'play' with her or being told off for nicking food), she is turning into a very well-behaved loyal and loving pet. Oh and for a greyhound who wouldn't run, she can now outrun her former racing boy friend any day of the week. She's also earned herself the nickname of 'Scampy Squirrel' when she's out in the woods as she tends to do this madcap scampering dance of joy if her Dad unexpectedly turns up on a walk. Both of them are in utter bliss and joy most days down in the woods - constantly belting up steep forest paths after rabbits and generally do what coursing type dogs do best (though the bunny population is completely safe so far - however the numbers of vole in the garden have sharply decreased in recent months...blame Betty-the-Butcher).
On the stealing front..well, I'd like to say that they've calmed down about that but...I'd be wrong. Well, not completely wrong - they have got far better table manners these days so at least we can eat a meal in relative peace, but really all that's happened is their food-nicking tendancies have merely been driven underground. Whilst Bran is your regular smash-and-grab opportunist type criminal (dashing through the kitchen and making a desparate passing swipe at butter, chicken breasts, bread crusts etc etc) Bess is more the stealthy-pawed cat-burglar type - waiting until the dead of night or being left unattended to carry out clever heists...like the time she worked out how to open the other door to the cereal cupboard, the one without a chair in front of it, in order to hook a sly paw in and around to the other side and inching out the prize of a box of cereal and eating the lot. She also has to be watched closely around feeding time - she eats her own food extra quickly and then hangs around waiting for Bran to give her an inch, moving in for the kill and polishing off his food before he even knows what's happening, hapless hound that he is. Despite all his big-boy boisterousness outdoors, he just tends to look on bewildered whenever this happens, which is a bit tragic. We still have to work hard to maintain Bran's weight (not surprising when Bess is nicking his food) whilst Bess has really filled out and gained a lot of muscle. Both of them are looking much more sleek and shiny these days, even Bran's patchy fur and baldy bits are looking a bit more plush these days.
Bess likes doing a bit of guard-dog work in her spare time and has a very unusual growly way of talking to you to tell you what she's barking at. Bran would more than likely show a burglar in and ask for a cwtch. He'd also probably do the big toothy grin he does when he's pleased to see you.
But despite all these ups and downs, Bess and Bran are really settled now. They're entertaining, loving, mildly annoying, chaotic and all-round great dogs. They even put up with wearing party hats recently (rescue is not all good you know) - mind you, they were completely distracted from their indignity by the cake that was just out of shot in the picture...its a tough life being a rescued greyhound.