Greyhound Bleu standing on her doorstep with owner Amy sitting beside her, smiling

Rescued racer turned miracle pet

“She has given me a reason to smile every day, a reason to get up and leave my four walls. She just gets me,” says Amy Johnson, of her beloved rescue dog Bleu.

The inseparable pair found each other after Amy’s therapist suggested that a dog may help her to overcome depression. And Bleu has done this, along with so much more. 

As well as transforming Amy’s mental health, the ex-racer has miraculously learnt to detect when her owner is on the cusp of an MS attack – before she knows it herself.

This intuition is even more remarkable given that, for the first five years of her life, Bleu wasn’t a pet, but a racer living in kennels, with limited human affection.

Bleu arrived at our rehoming centre in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, in 2019 just as Amy began her search for a dog.

Amy recalls: “I suffered really badly with my mental health and it got to the point that I was like: ‘I can’t do this anymore’. I just needed something to keep me getting up each day.

Bleu and Amy out walking in the field near their home

“I had pet rats, and they were my everything. They sort of kept me going, but they didn’t get me out of the house. 

“So, my therapist suggested getting a dog. But then, because I’ve got MS, I needed a dog that would, when I’m on my bad days, be OK with just a short walk.” 

Amy, who was diagnosed with the autoimmune condition in 2016, started looking into which dog breeds would be a good match, and her sister suggested a greyhound.

Bleu being hugged by Amy
Bleu and Amy have an unbreakable bond

She says: “Even though people think they need loads of exercise, they can sleep up to 18 hours a day. So, they’re happy with two 20-minute walks a day.”

Soon enough, Amy had found Bleu on the Blue Cross website and the pair struck up an immediate connection when they met.

Days later, Amy welcomed her new companion home in Leeds, with her mum donating the adoption fee, knowing how much having Bleu would mean to her beloved daughter.

Bleu lying on the sofa on lots of comfy blankets, looking happy and relaxed

Despite never living in a home environment, Bleu settled in well and slowly started to come out of her shell, getting used to novel things like the television and washing machine.

“She quickly became the queen of the house,” Amy laughs.

Bleu had found a happiness she had never known before, just as the sweet greyhound had changed her new owner’s life beyond recognition – with friends, family and even her doctors amazed at the transformation.

Bleu out on a walk with her ears up, looking into the distance, wearing an orange harness
Bleu has developed a remarkable ability to sense when Amy is on the cusp of an MS attack

Amy says: “On days when I’m really struggling with my MS, which means you’re struggling mentally, Bleu’s the reason I get up. And sometimes it’s scary to say that, but she is. 

“She makes me smile and people say: ‘Amy, you seem so happy, and we can tell it’s because of Bleu’.”

Most remarkably, heroic Bleu has learnt to support Amy with her health condition in ways nobody imagined.

Amy says: “When my MS is really playing up, when my muscles are failing me. And even when I don’t know what’s going to happen, if we’re out on a walk, it’s like she can sense it and she’ll start to pull us home.

Bleu out on a walk with Amy on lead, wearing an orange harness

“When we get home that’s when my muscles collapse. And she’s guided me sometimes if my eyes are playing up with my optic neuritis, she’ll be there.”

The pair take it easy on walks when Amy’s MS is holding her back but will also venture out for long walks when they can. They recently tackled a five-mile walk to celebrate Bleu’s second ‘Gotcha Day’.

“I’m in pain all the time, it’s not stopping,” Amy continues. “But I’ve never been fitter. We’re getting out walking every day. And that’s the thing, greyhounds can have a short walk, or they can have big walks, it’s just the building up to it.”

And Amy finds giving Bleu back the love and support her pet has given her hugely rewarding, especially given what the greyhound went through in her previous life.

Bleu lying on the sofa looking to camera
Bleu has found a happiness she has never known before

Recalling her first trip with Bleu to the beach, she says: “That first day I took her onto the beach, and her feet hit that sand – the joy on her face was just amazing. And her smile… it literally brought tears to my eyes.”

Amy and Bleu have an unbreakable bond and are living proof of the incredible transformative power of having pets, for both animal and owner.

Amy adds: “She has become so much more to me than I had ever expected. I didn’t think I could love an animal as much as I do Bleu. I say to her: ‘I will always be here supporting you like you’re supporting me’.

“She is my world, 100 per cent.”

— Page last updated 28/03/2022