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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > No. 151 > What my rescue dog taught me

What my rescue dog taught me

When psychotherapist Hilda Burke adopted a retired racing greyhound, she had no idea how challenging it would be. Magically, training her new pet from scratch gave her insight into how we can train our own minds

Eleven months ago, I adopted a retired racing greyhound. This followed a period of mourning for my beloved dog, Charlie. Through Charlie, I had developed an affinity for greyhounds – a refined and heraldic breed, often referred to as ‘40 mph couch potatoes’.

Initially, Madra was as docile as Charlie. He even had to be woken up in the morning, in contrast to Charlie who would come whimpering to my door at dawn. Madra’s teeth would chatter when you stroked his belly or tickled him under his chin. On busy London streets, he cantered along beautifully at my heel, and not even a discarded fried chicken bone could tempt him o€ course.

A few weeks into our cohabitation, on a quiet Thames-side path, I fastened a muzzle on Madra and unclipped his lead for the first time.

As I heard the ‘clack’ of the fastener, I realised my mistake. He bolted o€ with me in ungainly pursuit. My top speed is around 10 mph, so he was out of sight quickly. I heard him before

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About Psychologies

When we change our minds, we change our lives. This issue explores what happens when we do just this. What if you didn’t resign from a job, but could change the way you feel about it? Or what about finding a new way to open up to love? Or, what happens when we challenge the judgements we make about ourselves and each other? Read the astonishing life-changing effects of what happens when you think differently.   Change doesn’t always feel positive - you're made redundant, or your relationship breaks down, or we lose someone we love. And it's awful. Yes, we don’t always have control over what happens out there, but we always have control over how we react to it. This issue explores how to change our perspective to create the world we want.