This article is published in memory of the late Jenny Symmons, who founded and led Southern Lurcher Rescue. The rescue brought hundreds of abandoned sighthounds to safety and found them loving new homes
This is a Christmas tale of a mother about to give birth, in desperate need of help and shelter, and the kindness of strangers. Flossie was the mother, a young lurcher heavily pregnant and abandoned, needing somewhere safe to have her babies, due to arrive just before or after Christmas.
Thankfully a remarkable woman heard about Flossie and offered her a rescue place. Jenny Symmons, the founder of Southern Lurcher Rescue (SLR), was her saviour. Flossie needed to be found a safe foster home for her confinement, someone who would help her deliver her pups, and give them all somewhere safe to live till the pups were ready to leave. So Jenny asked her team for help and another remarkable woman stepped up to the plate. SLR volunteer Laylah Wallis looked at her freshly-finished new dining extension, all ready for the Christmas festivities, and said yes. So Flossie went into foster with Laylah, who helped her deliver and wean the pups, and whose beautiful new extension was not so new or pristine by the time the pups left for their new homes.
I was lucky enough to photograph all the pups before they went on to their forever homes – you can see them all as pups here. And I recently invited a couple of them back for a photoshoot as grown up dogs – what gorgeous creatures they have all grown to be!
Laylah decided to adopt one of the pups she had fostered and now owns beautiful Ava. Her extraordinarily kind deed brought its own reward.
After 11 years as a rescue and rehoming organisation, SLR has now evolved into Southern Lurcher Lifeline, a fundraising and sponsorship charity with the aim of supporting lurchers with medical needs throughout southern England.