Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kamikaze cat

The tale of the Kamikaze Cat. We live with a kamikaze cat. My black cat, Enzo, is an 8 year old male with an apparent death wish. For the past few months, we have had trouble with him and Anna, but just at night. We have never been able to figure out exactly what is going on, but we have had several instances where the cat was in our bedroom at night and Anna goes after him. I think that most issues, at least in the beginning, we started by the cat. Now, the dog has the mindset that if that cat comes in the bedroom at night, she must get it. She generally leaves the other cat alone. We got to the point where we were putting up two stacked baby-gates at night, instead of the normal one, just to keep both cats out of our room at night. This has also helped with some cat-iffy fosters we have recently had. Well, a few days ago, before we went to bed, the cat jumped both gates. We put him back out and shut the door slightly. You may ask why we don't just close the door. Well, ask yourself how hot your bedroom would get with a closed door, two people and three or four large dogs? The answer is much hotter than we can handle.

So, we had become aware Enzo could, if he wanted to, clear both gates. I did not think about this when I went to bed last night. I'd like to not that Tim is out of town, so it's me, two cats and 4 greyhounds home alone. So, I go through my normal bed routine and put up both gates. I laid down in bed, with Berry White and Dax and watched TV as I dozed off. I talked to Tim once on the phone and then we half awake, waiting for him to call again, and that's when it happened. I see Anna stalking across the room. There were a few toys in the room, so I thought she might have just decided to play. I could not see the floor by the bedroom door. Apparently, Enzo had jumped the gate, without making a sound, and was sitting on the floor by the door, and Anna saw him. By the time I sat up and could see the cat, she lunged. By the time I could make my way over there, Anna and Jupiter (who happened to be muzzled because she kept trying to chew on our cable line coming from the wall) had the cat pinned with their feet and were barking madly. I pulled the girls back and the cat seemed okay, but he wouldn't leave. Then Berry White comes off the bed and wants to join in. So, here I am, Anna & Jupiter behind my left arm, barking, Berry White behind my right arm, trying to get at the cat, and the cat in front of my just sitting there. So, I push Berry White back and grab the cat with my right arm, while holding the girls back, and chuck him over the baby-gates. Once he is over, I can let the hounds go and turn on the light to the living room to take a look at the cat who appears to be fine. I close our door some, so he can't get another clear jump in and go back to bed. This cat is killing me, well trying to kill himself technically, but you get the point.

Anyone want a slightly suicidal, 8 year old, neutered, male, inside cat? I'm open to all offers :)

She's baaaaaccckkkk!

So, our latest foster is a "repeat offender", but not in a bad way. We fostered Jupiter a few weeks ago. Now she is back. She was not fond of the small kids visiting in her other foster home, so we decided to give the cats a try again. After having Lily, who was crazy into the cats, I thought Jupiter might be workable. So far, I have been correct. I made a minor modification to the way that I introduce a new dog to the cats and it seems to have had better results. Most of our fosters have been just fine with the cats from the get-go, except for the last few girls we have had. I think that led me to lax from the way I had done it before. More leash time seems to be the key. That definitely led to a different reaction this time. She is not perfect with the cats yet, and may never be, but she is much improved. Right now, I would not leave her alone for any amount of time unsupervised and unmuzzled with a cat, but I can, with confidence, leaver her muzzled, not crated, with my pack with no worries. That's a big step. Last time she was here, she was crated when we left and muzzled a lot. Not so this time around. In the end, she will probably be deemed cat correctable and it will all depend on the owner and the cat, as she reacts differently to each of ours. I think she will get there where we can comfortably place her in a home with an attentive owner and some kitties, if that's the place for her. For now, she is here and doing very well.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dairyland Greyhound Racetrack is Closing

Dairyland Greyhound Racetrack is closing. There are a lot of false e-mails circulating saying, 400, 500, 900! dogs will be put down if people don't jump and do whatever. Well, it's not true. My understanding is that Wisconsin is 100% committed to adoption and the dogs will be safe. Some will race other places, some will be bred, some will move into adoption programs. Other tracks are also closing soon, so more e-mails will be coming around. Know that its fair to say that those dogs will be taken care of as well.

Below is the official response of GPA National to the closing of Dairyland.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dairyland Greyhound Racetrack Closing
An e-mail has been circulating recently with some figures and statements that to the best of our knowledge contain outright bogus or misleading information about the closing of Dairyland.This is the information I can share with you all regarding this tracks closure from our volunteers heavily involved in assisting these greyhounds:
1) Currently the number of dogs at Dairyland (DGP) is unknown. A State official indicated they would have a list ready in 2 weeks. 900 was the number given in a recent newspaper article, but we anticipate that number is high and the realistic number is somewhere between 300-500 dogs.
2) There is confirmation from the track veterinarian, who is a State of Wisconsin employee, that no dogs will be left behind. The facility will stay open as long as it takes to find adoption groups for all the dogs that are left at DGP.
3) Hauls are being organized to move the pet dogs out of the track prior to the closing to relieve some of the burden. This is going smoothly. Racers can't be moved until January 1st, since racing will continue until Dec. 31st. A haul going east through Ohio is scheduled to leave Dec. 5th. Another haul is leaving for Canada around the same time. Both of these hauls are going to groups that are approved to accept dogs by the State of Wisconsin.
4) All of the regional adoption groups are all ready in communication with each other and are strategizing how to move the dogs and increase adoptions. Its a good team and confidence is high in their abilities to get the job done. The groups are from WI, IL, MI, MN, IN, OH and IA (the neighboring states), but we anticipate support from well behind that perimeter.

Rory Goree
Greyhound Pets of America - National

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What is your new adoptive greyhound thinking?

I have seen this passed around the greyhound community in multiple places many times. I thought I'd share it here as well, in case anyone missed it. It's great advice for any new adopter, and some old ones who missed the memo :)

This is an excerpt from a 1998 seminar given by Kathleen Gilley. It bears remembering.

"What is your new adoptive greyhound thinking?

This breed has never been asked to do anything for itself, make any decisions or answer any questions. It has been waited on, paw and tail. The only prohibition in a racing Greyhound's life is not to get into a fight----------------or eat certain stuff in the turn out pen.

Let us review a little. From weaning until you go away for schooling, at probably a year and a half, you eat, grow and run around with your siblings. When you go away to begin your racing career, you get your own "apartment," in a large housing development. No one is allowed in your bed but you, and when you are in there, no one can touch you,
without plenty of warning.

Someone hears a vehicle drive up, or the kennel door being unlocked. The light switches are flipped on. The loud mouths in residence, and there always are some, begin to bark or howl. You are wide awake by the time the human opens your door to turn you out. A Greyhound has
never been touched while he was asleep.

You eat when you are fed, usually on a strict schedule. No one asks if you are hungry or what you want to eat. You are never told not to eat any food within your reach. No one ever touches your bowl while you are eating. You are not to be disturbed because it is important
you clean your plate.

You are not asked if you have to "go outside." You are placed in a turn out pen and it isn't long before you get the idea of what you are supposed to do while you are out there. Unless you really get out of hand, you may chase, rough house and put your feet on everyone and every thing else. The only humans you know are the "waiters" who feed you, and the "restroom attendants" who turn you out to go to the bathroom. Respect people? Surely you jest.

No one comes into or goes out of your kennel without your knowledge. You are all seeing; all knowing. There are no surprises, day in and day out. The only thing it is ever hoped you will do is win, place or show, and that you don't have much control over. It is in your blood, it is in your heart, it is in your fate-- or it is not.

And when it is not, then suddenly you are expected to be a civilized person in a fur coat. But people don't realize you may not even speak English. Some of you don't even know your names, because you didn't need to. You were not asked or told to do anything as an individual; you were always part of the "condo association"; the sorority or fraternity and everyone did everything together, as a group or pack. The only time you did anything as an individual is when you schooled or raced, and even then, You Were Not Alone.

Suddenly, he is expected to behave himself in places he's never been taught how to act. He is expected to take responsibility for saying when he needs to go outside, to come when he is called, not to get on some or all of the furniture, and to not eat food off counters and tables. He is dropped in a world that is not his, and totally without warning, at that.

Almost everything he does is wrong. Suddenly he is a minority. Now he is just a pet. He is unemployed, in a place where people expect him to know the rules and the schedule, even when there aren't any. (How many times have you heard someone say, "He won't tell me when he has to go out." What kind of schedule is that?) Have you heard the joke about the dog who says, "My name is No-No Bad Dog. What's yours?" To me that is not even funny. All the protective barriers are gone. There is no more warning before something happens. There is no more
strength in numbers. He wakes up with a monster human face two inches from his. (With some people's breath, this could scare Godzilla.) Why should he not, believe that this "someone," who has crept up on him, isn't going to eat him for lunch? (I really do have to ask you ladies to consider how you would react if someone you barely knew crawled up on you while you were asleep?) No, I will not ask for any male input.

Now he is left alone, for the first time in his life, in a strange place, with no idea of what will happen or how long it will be before someone comes to him again. If he is not crated, he may go though walls, windows or over fences, desperately seeking something familiar, something with which to reconnect his life. If he does get free, he will find the familiarity, within himself: the adrenaline high, the wind in his ears, the blood pulsing and racing though his heart once again--until he crashes into a car.

Often, the first contact with his new family is punishment, something he's never had before, something he doesn't understand now, especially in the middle of the rest of the chaos. And worst of all, what are the most common human reactions to misbehavior? We live in a violent society, where the answer to any irritation is a slap, punch, kick, whip, or rub your nose in it. Under these circumstances, sometimes I think any successful adoption is a miracle.

He is, in effect, expected to have all the manners of at least a six- year old child. But, how many of you would leave an unfamiliar six- year old human alone and loose in your home for hours at a time and not expect to find who knows what when you got back? Consider that if you did, you could be brought up on charges of child abuse, neglect and endangerment. Yet, people do this to Greyhounds and this is often the reason for so many returns.

How many dogs have been returned because they did not know how to tell the adopter when they had to go out? How many for jumping on people, getting on furniture, counter surfing, separation anxiety, or defensive actions due to being startled or hurt (aka growling or biting)? So, let's understand: Sometimes it is the dog's "fault" he cannot fit in. He is not equipped with the social skills of a six- year old human. But you can help him." from people who will never have the joy in their lives of knowing they are loved unconditionally by someone as close to an angel as they will ever get. How EMPTY my life would be!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Foster #14 - Jupiter

So, when we passed Fox on to his next foster home at the Play Day this past Sunday, we came home with another instead. Now we have FF Jupiter, aka Jupiter. She is a sweet and sassy, cute little girl who has not proven to be cat safe as she was said to be when tested at the track, by the other group or whoever. I am not really sure, but she walked in here and wanted to eat the cats. So, she is crated when we are not home, which we would not normally do with a girl after the first day or so, if all was going well. She wears a muzzle while out and about in the house. We keep the cats out of our bedroom at night, so she is muzzle-free then and is right now, baby-gated in the office with Dax, Anna and I. She just is still way too interested in the cats. She whines, she chases, but the snapping has subsided, so that's good. She responds to correction, but is very focused. We'll see how she does in the next week or two. Hopefully we can get her to come around. She's the "worst" we have had. Luckily, we know how to deal with her and are very careful. I guess that's kind of what fostering should be about. So, without further ado, here is our resident cat eater in training :)

Foster # 13 - Fox

Once again, I am way behind. I may post a few separate blogs tonight. I hate to mix too many topics in one post. Too complicated when you look back on it that way.

So, we had foster #13 for about two weeks. His name is Lago Fox aka Fox, and he is Dax's brother. He and another greyhound were returned by their previous owner due to a change in circumstances. No details coming from me. It really doesn't matter. He's safe and we will find him another home.

He is sweet, handsome, quiet, well-behaved, playful, doesn't get on the furniture (not that it matters to us), just an all-around greyt greyhound. This handsome boy would have no trouble finding a home, except for one little thing., he has SLO. If you don't know about SLO, you can find an article about it here. He is fine, except he sometimes loses toenails. He is not on any medication, just supplements. He has been doing well for a while now.

I really enjoyed having Fox around. He is such a love. A lot like his brother. We all kept saying that he is a blue dog in a black dog's body. If we only had two, he could have stayed. We "traded" Fox for another foster on Sunday night (11/8). He is doing well in his new foster home as well. Hopefully he will have a forever home before we need to move him again. Love you Foxy.

Here is Fox:

Monday, October 12, 2009

One of my side-projects

I have been meaning to post about this for a while, but just have not gotten around to it. I am a woman of many hobbies. I have my hounds, I do genealogy, I sometimes sew, I sometimes paint, I also play around on photoshop and do some graphic and web design. One of my graphic side projects if Greyhaus. (click on the word, and it will take you to the store). Greyhaus is one of my 2 stores on My other one is car, particularly Alfa Romeo, related. Greyhaus is my greyhound project. It started last Christmas as a way for me to label my greyhound-related Christmas gifts, but has turned into more. I only have a few designs now, but with the new camera, it should expand when I have more time, and ideas :). So, check it out. Let me know what you think. I have 2 of the shirts, and the quality is greyt! I was really impressed. It was neat to see my design on a shirt :).

So here is the main design logo (which you can see used many ways at the Greyhaus store:

I love my new camera!

Before I get to that, Birdie got a home. Paddy is still at Lesley's waiting. He is a very stubborn boy. He may be there a while. That's okay. We will find him the right home. :)

It's true, I love my new camera! I had planned on using it at the Play Day this weekend, but we got rained out, but it will be rescheduled. Hopefully, the weather will be better then.

I have been taking pictures in the meantime. They have mostly been the hounds out in the yard. I'll share some here:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Birdie & the camera

We were real busy the last few weeks, hence the lack of posts. Oh well, it happens. Well, Paddywack has finished his few weeks stint at our house and has gone back to Lesley's. We made a swap last Sunday and now we have Birdie, whose race name was Myredfirebird. She is a tiny, barely two year old girl. She turned 2 back on September 11, so she is a youngin'! She is a sweet girl. She plays fetch and likes to play with our hounds. She follows us around the house and will even lay down in the kitchen while we cook. It's kind of cute. She is a good girl. The only issue we are really having with her is her not wanting to go outside without one of us going as well, but we are working on that. She is also learning about keeping her nose off the table and her feet off the counters, typical adjustment stuff. No big deal. So here is a pic of Birdie!

On a side note, this picture was one of the first few I have taken with my new camera. I recently got a Nikon D3000. I am very excited and waited a while to get it. I am looking forward to more, better, hound pictures!

Monday, August 31, 2009


Yesterday, we picked up our latest foster, FF Peppermint, otherwise known as Paddywack. He is an 80 pound black boy, about Dax's size. He is big, sweet, funny, silly, goofball. He is terrible in the car. He just tried to get in the front seat of the car a good bit of the trip. In the house, he is okay with the cats. Just a little, pushy interested, but he'll be fine. He is always on the furniture, which is fine with us. He loves the couch and slept with us last night. He is still learning to work the couch, and has fallen off twice :) He is unhurt. He actually just slept right there on the floor where he fell! He has gotten in Tim's lap a few times and mine as well. This dog is a ton of fun, stubborn, but fun! He's learning some manners and figuring out how things work off the track. Here are a few pictures of Paddywack.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dax update #3, this weekend, and a photo

Last night, Dax and I did not sleep. Some how Tim slept through the pacing. Dax's wrap had come off, and I don't know if he was just freaked out by the stitches, they itched, or hurt when they touched stuff or what, but he would not stop pacing. No panting, just pacing. I ended up wrapping it after I let him go potty, and that settled him some. Ugh, what a long night.

Stitches were removed this morning. That was relatively uneventful. We did get to see our vet this time. She took them out and said his tail looked good. Hopefull, we are on our way to recovery!

We get foster #11 tomorrow. We are not sure who it will be yet, as some one is coming to look at the two possibilities as I type, but someone is coming tomorrow. We are meeting Lesley at the Howerton's. They are fostering a brother to their dog Rita, and we get whoever the other person does not chose.

Lastly, a photo. A little while back, we had a photo made of Dax and his 3 brothers for the GPA-LA/MS 2010 Calendar. It was quite a shoot. Sorry I missed blogging about it. A lot was going on at the time. Anywho, the shoot was chaotic, but went well and we all got some good shots. All I was worried about was a picture of all 4, and that's what I got. So, without further ado, the "Lago' boys! From left to right: Dax (Lago Dave), Andrew (Lago Andrew), Fox (Lago Fox) and Bud (Lago Bud).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dax Update #2

Dax is handling life with a shorter tail pretty well. On Monday afternoon, I took him in to have his bandage changed. They took him to the back and changed it. I returned the e-collar, as we never put it on him. The vet who did the surgery complimented us on the condition of his bandage. It looked just as it did when they put it on. We made sure he left it alone by muzzling him with his poo-guard muzzle whenever he was unsupervised. He really has not even noticed it.

Then tonight happened. We had to go help our neighbor set-up her new computer. When Tim came back to grab something from the house, he let the dogs out. He said that as Dax went out the back door, he whimpered and then the wrap fell of. He did not hit it on anything, it pretty much just slid off. He watched him outside, then brought him back in, muzzled him and came back to tell me what happened. Tim then went back to the house to watch him until I came home. I came home and we decided to wrap it again, as Dax began to be interested in it, wanting to lick it and such. I did get to take a look at his tail. The stitches look okay. They only shaved about 2 inches. It is a little crusty, but everything was dry.

Now he is a little fidgety, like he was when he was in pain. I don't think he is in any pain. I think he is just re-aware of his wound and more cautious of it now. I think Tim is going to take him in first thing tomorrow morning and make the vet wrap it again, since they did not use the same tape this time and it obviously did not work as it should have. We kept the other wrap on for 7 days with no issues at all. This one, with a different kind of tape, barely lasted 24 hours.

Now he lays down for a minute and then paces some. I think I am about to give him a Benedryl just to relax him some. Hopefully he calms down soon...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dax update

We were able to stop Dax's pain meds by Wednesday. He probably did not need them Tuesday night, but we gave him one last pill just to be safe. Since Wednesday he has become more and more his usual, goofy, silly self. He is pretty much back to normal now. His tail is still wrapped. After a little confusion over instructions, we were told to not take the wrap off. We have to bring him in on Monday so they can change it and look at it. The Vet who did his surgery thinks Dax chewed on his tail and that's how it got so bad, except for the fact he was muzzled any time we were not around once we started wrapping the tail. I could go on, but I am frustrated by the whole thing in that respect. Anyway, that's why we think they want us to keep it wrapped. Whatever. It's still wrapped. I just worry about keeping it dry, as it is rainy today. We will do our best.

So, Monday I will be able to update again, since we will have seen what we are dealing with then. Hopefully, it will be all good.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dax is home

Dax's surgery happened a little before 3 p.m. CST. The vet's office called just around 3:45 p.m. to say all had gone well and he could still come home about 4:30 p.m. I left work and went to pick him up.

He was remarkably not groggy when they brought him to me. He seemed glad to see a familiar face. We went home.

I got him home and he seems okay. He's still pacing and panting some, but I think it's more nervousness now than pain. He doesn't get anymore meds until tomorrow. They did a full blood panel, gave him fluids (he was a little dehydrated), and gave him some antibiotics and pain meds during and after the surgery. They had given him a heavy sedative and a local anesthetic. I expected him to be more loopy than he is. I think he will lay down once we let him in the bedroom in a bit.

We gave him a small dinner, which he ate with no issue. He is peeing a lot, due to all the fluids he was given. The tail is wrapped nicely. Overall, I think everything is definitely better than yesterday and surely will continue to improve. I'll be sure to post his progress on here. I do have some pics of when we got home to share now.

Oh, and thanks again to everyone who has been concerned about our boy and wishing him well! We really appreciate it!

Dax's Surgery

Dax's surgery is scheduled for 2 p.m. I dropped him off around 9:30 a.m. They will call when he is done. We asked them to only take off about 6-8 inches. Just to make sure we got all the infection. I'll update once the surgery is over.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dax's Tail

As usual, it has been way too long since my last post, but I have an excuse for at least some of the delay... Dax's tail.

So, like 2 weeks or so ago Dax got a case of "happy tail". As far as I can tell, he hit it on the brick wall outside in the back. I washed it with water and put some neosporin on it and we moved on. It seemed just fine. Life went on.

Well, Thursday before last, Tim came home early to what looked like a crime scene. Dax has knocked his tail open. We rinsed it and wrapped it. The next day, he got the wrap off while we were away and did it again. We re-wrapped it. At this point, it seemed a little tender, but we didn't think much of it, knowing he had hit it on something.

Saturday comes. We wrap it up before we head to New Orleans. My Mom came over to feed the hounds and Dax got the bandage off. Mom muzzles him and tries to re-wrap it with mild success and much attitude from him. It's obviously starting to hurt more. We give him some baby aspirin when we get home and wrap it again.

The next few days are just on and off wrapping, letting it dry out, and so on. Last Wednesday, we take him to the vet. We tell her what's going on and everything we had done. She said we were doing basically what she would have suggested, but it looks infected and obviously hurts him. She gives him some antibiotic and pain pills and tells us to try to let it dry out.

Over the next two days (Thursday and Friday) we talk to different people, including the vet again and start doing some wet to dry wraps where you mix up 8 parts water to 1 part vinegar and soak a gauze pad in the solution, put it on with a dry pad on the outside and wrap it up for a few hours. You also do a 10 minute "soak" where you put a washcloth in the solution and put it on the wound for that time period. These things lead to a change in the tail, but we aren't sure if it's better or worse.

Saturday morning we decide we need to see the vet again, so we do. She is mixed about it being better or worse. It is drier and not draining, but there was a fluid build-up above the wound. We also indicated the pain is still pretty good and she prescribed him more pain meds.

Saturday night was a disaster. Before bed, we gave Dax some Benedryl to calm him a little, as the vet said we could, and we did an Epsom Salts soak, also as suggested by the vet. This went okay. We decide to leave the wound open to let it dry some over night. This was fine until about 2 a.m. when Dax began to pace the room. He paced for about an hour. Tim took him out to see if he had to potty, and he did poo and pee. He came back in and still paced. I tried bringing him into the living room, we tried more dog beds in our bedroom, nothing worked. Finally, close to 4 a.m. we decide to try a wet to dry wrap again, as it seems to calm him some. That worked and within 30 minutes, he was asleep and slept until 8:30 a.m.

Once we got up, he went out, ate, got his meds and then just paced. When he finally laid down, we did another Epsom Salts soak, which was okay until the last 2 minutes when he started getting fussy about it. After that, he just paced and paced and paced and panted and whined (which he has done more and more and more). He finally laid down again after I gave him another dose of Benedryl. He licked it a little at that point and that was when the matted mess that was his tail was moved about to expose raw flesh. It's not pretty. I e-mailed the vet, and I think we are at the point where we will be amputating part of his tail. He is just in too much pain and the infection is not subsiding. The vet brought this up as a potential occurrence when we first brought him in, and we think we are there. We have sought the advice of all our greyhound "family" and everyone agrees it's the right thing to do now.

So, now we wait on the vet to contact us so we can set up a time to do the docking. I will miss his long tail, but I want him to feel better and in the end, it's just cosmetic. We are also going to have the vet do a culture of the wound to see what is going on with it really, partially just to be sure he is okay otherwise.

I apologize for not posting anything while this was going on, but no offense to anyone, but we were getting enough advice and this was a decision we needed to make and I didn't want too many people involved. Now that we are making a move, I am ready to talk about it. I just want my big blue boy to feel better and if this is what it takes, so be in.

I have some pictures of his tail, but I don't want to post them. They are kind of graphic.

I'll post again once we have a date and time. For now, I think he is finally a little settled again. There is no whining at the moment and I think he is napping. It's time to feed and for him to get more meds, Fingers crossed for a good evening.

Take care of your tails.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kiowa Sweet Trey

Kiowa Sweet Trey, son of Oswald Cobblepot, half-brother to our Berry White (Kiowa Gal Berry), passed away last week. I won't even try to summarize his life and career, as others already have done better than I could. One such post is below.

His lineage on greyhound-data:

Kiowa Sweet Trey
7 Jan 2000 - 15 July 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tags, Collars and Identification

Everyone deals with the issues of tags, collars and identification differently.

Some people attach the tags to the martingale and the greyhound wears a martingale all the time. I, personally, don't like this idea because I worry that the hound could get caught on something and hurt or choke themselves while no one is around. I particularly worry about this when a greyhound is crated. When we crate fosters when we leave, I remove their collar.

Some people just let their hounds run around naked when they don't need a martingale, such and in the house or in their fenced yard. I rarely let my hounds be "naked". It just makes me nervous for them to have no visible identification on.

Then there is the option we chose and recommend to those who ask. This is also a variation of the method many of people who I seek my advice from use.

First, there is the "around the house" collar. When a martingale is unnecessary, my greyhounds wear a plain dog collar. We currently use just plain buckle dog collars. I know other people who use the plastic clip kind. That doesn't reall matter. What matters is, it is a looser collar that the greyhound more easily could get out of is he or she got hung up on something. Yes, there is a chance that this collar would come off of your greyhound if they got out, but, they will not choke themselves.

Second, there is identification. Some people have gotten collars that have the dog's name and their phone number embroidered on the collar (if you want to know where to get one of these collars, post a comment or e-mail me). These work just fine. They also have tags as well. We have tags, but not the embroidered collars. Our greyhounds are also microchipped. Personally, I recommend it. If you dog ever does get out and loses it's collar, if it gets picked up, you always have a back-up.

Third, there is the martingale. Okay, so you have all your hound's identification on another collar, so what do you do when you need to use a martingale. There are a few options here. We used to leave the plain collar, with tags attached, on whenever we left the house. Our dogs wore both the plain collar and the martingale. This works just fine, but eventually we decided it looked funy for them to have 2 collars on. It really doesn't matter, as we know others who do this, but we chose to go another route. Instead of 2 collars, we put all our hound's tags on a single ket-ring and then we put that key-ring on a carabiner, though you could use any type of "clip" device you wanted. Then we move the tags from the plain collar to the martingale with ease. The carabiner also serves another purpose, as a back-up to the leash clip. We actually clip the leash and the d-ring on the carabiner so that if the clip let go for some reason, there was a back-up. We've never had a leash failure, but we have heard of a few people who have.

Below are some pictures to, hopefully, make sense of everything I talked about above.

Here is Anna in her "plain"collar with her tags on the carabiner. This lose collar is less of a choking hazard than a martingale when she if left home alone or in a crate.

Here is a close-up of Anna's tags on the carabiner.

Here is a martingale, leash, and tags on a carabiner.

This shows the carabiner attached to the collar, not at the d-ring. If you are not using a carabiner or are not attaching the carabiner back to the leash, this is the preferred location of the tags. If the tags got caught on something, they are less likely tobe a choking hazard for your dog if they are on one of the others rings, rather than the d-ring that pulls the martingale tighter.

This shows the carabiner, with tags, attached to the d-ring of the collar and back to the swivel part of the leash. If there was a problem with the clip on the leash, this carabiner acts as a back up.

So those are my thoughts, and images, on tags, collars and identification. I hope this information is helpful. If you have any questions or comments about anything I talked about or showed or where you can get anything I talk about or show in my pictures, just send me an e-mail or post a comment here.

Lesley's New Website

Many of you around here are probably aware the GPA-LA/MS Transitional Kennel Director, Lesley, does greyhound boarding in her home near Slidell, LA. It is her personal business and is not connected to GPA-LA/MS. Well, she recently created a new website for her greyhound boarding business. If you are in South Louisiana, nearby or just passing through and you need to board your hounds, I highly recommend bringing them to Lesley. Our hounds stay with her for 8 days while we were in Chicago, and they were just fine. All reports were that they had a lot of fun.

So here is the link:

Sunday, July 5, 2009

a quick post...

I just wanted to make a quick post to say that we had a relatively uneventful holiday weekend, as far as the dogs are concerned. The fireworks were very limited, as they should be since they are illegal in our city AND we are under a statewide burn-ban. So, there were only one or two times where Dax looked up or anything like that in reactions to the sounds.

Dax had a knitting fest on Hudson (cat) yesterday morning. Hudson was standing at the foot of our bed and Dax was pacing around, as we were all in the process of getting up, and he just decided to knit the cat. We have to watch him, as he is quite pushy about this. He was basically holding the cat down and knitting his back at first, then he moved to his side and was done. It only lasted about a minute. The cat doesn't seem to care. It's kinda funny. We just watch them carefully.

The only other thing that happened was Berry White stepping on Hudson's tail and making him cry. It was quite funny. The cat was fine. He shouldn't have been begging by the bathroom door and he wouldn't have gotten stepped on :)

That's all for now. I have a few more blog posts lined up. I just have to find the time to write some of them out. I hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th of July!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Heat Stroke in Greyhounds

This was passed on to me through one of my greyhound groups recently. It's VERY hot this time of year, particularly down South right now. We have been in the mid-90's with no rain for weeks now. We have to keep a close eye on our hounds and make sure they stay safe and don't over-heat. Keep your hounds safe and cool this summer!

"Heatstroke in Greyhounds: What You Need to Know"
By Judy Kody Paulsen, Founder
(Excerpt from Spring/Summer 2007 issue of GCNM News)

"I am grateful for the help of Suzanne Stack, DVM, in preparing this article. Dr. Stack is a 1985 Ohio State graduate currently practicing near her home in Yuma, Arizona. Previously, she served as a State Racing Board Veterinarian in Wisconsin and as a track vet in Texas at Valley Greyhound Park. Dr. Stack worked closely with Arizona Adopt a Greyhound (AAGI) for a number of years and still volunteers with that group.

The relative lack of information on canine heat-related and exertional ailments is alarming, considering how common the occurrence is among dogs of all breeds, particularly greyhounds. Not surprisingly, there is contradictory information on how to handle these sometimes fatal catastrophes.

Racing greyhounds are finely-tuned athletes and are usually conditioned by professional trainers. A racer’s performance while training and racing is (or should be) closely monitored. The onset of heatstroke or another debilitating and potentially life-threatening muscle disorder called hyperacute exertional rhabdomyolysis (HER) are two things no trainer wants to see.

Varying degrees of heat/exertional illness require specific treatment approaches to avoid permanent damage to muscle fibers, kidneys, and other organs. An experienced greyhound trainer has the expertise to recognize when a greyhound has been afflicted with one of these medical crises and knows the urgency in administering appropriate treatment.

Once the greyhound has left the racing environment and is lucky enough to be adopted, there are still numerous perils to which the dog may be exposed. One of the most common, yet least considered dangers, is that of over-exertion.

Well-meaning adopters want to give their greyhounds freedom to run and exercise, but it must be understood that unlike humans, dogs do not possess the ability to gauge their fitness and adjust their level of effort accordingly. Retired racers, depending on how long they’ve been off the track and how compromised their physical health might be, are at serious risk for experiencing critical problems when allowed to over-exert themselves.

Both hyperacute exertional rhabdomyolysis and heatstroke can kill a greyhound, particularly an unfit one. Physical effects can vary, but these two urgent conditions can show similar signs, including heavy panting; generalized muscle pain as evidenced by showing sensitivity to touch; muscle tremors; cardiac arrhythmia; a tendency to drag the hind legs or collapse; and extreme difficulty in changing position from standing to lying or vice versa. Treatment for both these maladies is basically the same, but the key is to administer it quickly.

Immediate, appropriate therapy is vital to the dog’s recovery. The body temperature must be brought down as quickly as possible. Rapid cooling can be accomplished with hosing down the dog, applying cool wet towels over the body, and exposure to a fan or air conditioning in house or car. Try to avoid producing a shivering response as this can create more heat in the body.

Transport the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible and be sure to inform the vet’s office you are on the way with a dog in severe distress from apparent heatstroke. They can then prepare the necessary items for treatment.

The possibility of resulting bleeding disorders will require appropriate medications and, if available, frozen plasma. Not all vet’s offices will have plasma, although an emergency vet clinic is more likely to have this on hand.

IV fluids should be administered as soon as possible to prevent the onset of shock and to aid in flushing the kidneys of harmful byproducts leaking from damaged muscles. In researching this article, it is evident there is some disagreement over what solution is best for the IV. Some veterinarians feel .9% sodium chloride (normal saline) is adequate, while others feel it is prudent to use an electrolyte combination solution.

The effects of heatstroke or HER are not corrected in one day at the vet’s office. In-patient care is necessary for proper treatment and recovery. Several weeks of rest at home may be required for convalescence. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication should help reduce muscle inflammation and subdue the pain. Antibiotics may be recommended by your veterinarian to prevent secondary infection.

Given the greyhound’s purpose as a performance dog and the conditions under which they are trained, raced, confined, and transported, it is safe to assume many racers have experienced one or more episodes of heat/exertional ailments. These dogs may then have a predisposition for future episodes of similar illnesses and likely will have compromised kidneys and other organs. Consequently, great care should be taken to protect them from over-exertion and heat-related illness.

The following are some of the risk factors for heatstroke published in The 5-minute Veterinary Consult by Larry Tilley, DVM and Francis W.K. Smith, Jr., DVM: Previous history of heat-related disease; age extremes; heat intolerance due to poor acclimatization; obesity; poor cardiopulmonary conditioning; hyperthyroidism; underlying cardiopulmonary disease; dehydration.

Anecdotal reports from adopters whose greyhounds have experienced heat- or exertion-related episodes suggest that adopters need to be better informed of the dangers of allowing their retired racers free reign to run, particularly in hot, humid conditions. Obese greyhounds will be especially susceptible to the effects of over-exertion. Even on cold days, given the right conditions, a greyhound can collapse from over-exertion.

Extreme excitability in greyhounds, even while on a leash or in a fenced yard, can produce a combination of life-threatening factors which require immediate intervention by at least cooling the dog down and eliminating the stimulus (think high-prey-drive greyhound on a leash as a rabbit runs by!).

People who report coming home to a dead or dying dog should take into consideration the environment when evaluating the cause. Broken air conditioners on hot days, lack of shade outdoors, excessive excitement or exertion (possibly running the fence line with another dog), absence of water to drink – these factors can kill a dog or take them to the brink of death. Hot, humid conditions are by far the most deadly.

The frequency with which adopters report greyhounds “dropped dead from a heart attack,” when no previous indications of heart problems existed, suggests that death by heatstroke or HER may not be so uncommon. Only necropsy can identify the likely cause of death.

Close supervision of retired racing greyhounds’ exercise routines, particularly those new to their homes, should be recommended to all adopters. Greyhounds who appear to tire quickly, pant excessively, and/or appear to be reluctant to move after exercise, should be limited to mild or moderate exercise and then, only under supervision.

Close attention to heat and humidity in the environment is paramount in protecting a vulnerable greyhound from heatstroke or HER. A conditioning program similar to that of a human athlete (gradual increase in intensity of workouts) should be implemented before allowing retired racers to engage in physical activities which substantially increase heart rate and respiration.

Greyhounds lucky enough to have been placed in a loving adoptive home deserve to have more than food, shelter, and attention. Responsible guardianship of retired racers includes being armed with the knowledge to protect them from the hidden dangers that await these athletes once they leave the tracks and training farms. A few precautions and observations can save your greyhound’s life."

Monday, June 15, 2009

The pictures are in!!!

These are the pics we had taken, by Sisters Pet Pics, for the 2010 GPA-LA/MS Calendar. It's not all the shots we took, just the ones we chose to purchase. If you haven't scheduled a shoot for your hound(s), you should! Enjoy!

Oh, be sure to check out the Sisters blog and subscribe. They have lots of greyt pet pics, including more greyhounds, as well as lots of good photography advice and insight. There blog can be found in my "Greyt Reads" list to the right or here.

Without further ado... here are the pictures!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

To muzzle, or not to muzzle...

Ah, the muzzle. The question of whether to use or not use a muzzle is often a complex one. Should you or shouldn't you? When should you if you do? Many of these questions are often answered for you by someone in your group or just by how you"feel" about the muzzle. Many people feel bad about muzzling there dogs and outside of the greyhound community there is often quite a negative stigma about muzzling.

Personally, I am pro-muzzle. We use the muzzle as a tool of sorts to keep our hounds and others safe. No, none of my dogs are aggressive, but they are dogs. With dogs, stuff happens. These dogs have had muzzles on and off for quite a while. No, they are not always thrilled about it. We have 2 champion muzzle rubbers. Anna and Dax will rub their heads on whahever they can to show they want them off, but it's for their safety. I am not into taking any chances with the safety of my hounds.

We generally muzzle in only a few situations:
1-When we are not home or are outside for a prolonged period of time. Basically, when the dogs are unsupervised.
2-When the dogs go out in the yard, unless we are outside with them.
3-Whenever a new dog is brought into our home. All hounds are muzzled and remain so until everyone seems cool and the foster is okay with the cats.
4-In the car.
5-In public if other people are being irresponsible about their dogs.

Those are, in a nut-shell, when we use the muzzle. Now, you may ask why. Let's start with when he hounds are unsupervised. My greys have lived together, as a trio, for almost 2 years now. Everyone is generally civil. BUT, Dax is a bit of a growly face. It is just how he is. We had a food incident, with both of us present, between Berry White and Dax a few months after Dax arrived. Dogs will be dogs, and you just never know what they will do. We also muzzle when they are alone to protect them from stuff in the house. Our home is very greyhound friendly, but you never know what they might decide they want to chew on. I live with 3 reformed chewers, but they have lots of toys and they can be destructive. The muzzle keeps them from getting into trouble, or at the least, makes it less likely. We also muzzle in this situation to protect the cats. Berry White was cat correctable, and actually gives us the least trouble despite his prey-drive outside of our home. Dax was also correctable and took some work. I am still not 100% that he would not get one of the cats, as he will still occassionally go for a chase and stalk them. And then there is Anna, who, at her first group, tested totally cat safe and she is 99% of the time. She is also silent 99% of the time. Well, we were reminded 2 nights ago why we muzzle when they are home alone. We were in bed. Berry White was in the bed and the other two were on the floor on dog beds. I don't know what happened, but, all of the sudden, Anna starts barking aggressively and has one of our cats cornered under stool in our room. We diffuse the situation before Dax got involved. Everyone was fine, but I don't want to know what could have happened if we weren't there.

Next, is muzzling out in the yard. Sometimes we let them go unmuzzled if we are with them, but generally muzzles go one before the back door opens. They even wait for them to be put on. My hounds play hard. Berry White and Dax are both quite mouthy. They run, they chase and they nip, all a perfect mix for someone to get mad and for their to be a fight. We take no chances. It also allows us to minimize the poop and grass eating by using muzzles with stool guards. This concept extends over to situations like play days. Any time there is a group of greyhounds running and playing together, there is always the chance for rough-housing, and I would use a muzzle.

The third muzzle situation is with new dogs in our home. We have a foster introduction routine. My hounds are muzzled and put outside. The new hound is muzzle and showed around the house. Then we bring the new hound outside and they see the yard and meet our hounds. It is not totally uncommon for their to be some grumbling amongst the furious sniffing that comes with meeting a new dog. Everyone is muzzled, so there is very little concern of an incident. Once everyone has calmed, we all go in. Muzzles stay on until it is clear the new hound and ours have settled and that the new hound does not see the cats as food. This time period can vary from a few minutes to a day or so. It mostly depends on the foster hound.

The next muzzle situation is in the car. The dogs are in a confined space, sometimes for a long period of time. They step on eachother, bump eachother, roll on eachother and are not always thrilled about that, so grumbling becomes inevitable. I do not want a scuffle to start while we are driving down the road.

The final muzzle situation is out in public around irresponsible dog owners. This actually mostly depends on which hound I have. Berry White is really the only one we have an issue with other dogs. He thinks every other breed is something to be mouthed. He is not aggressive, he just wants to use his mouth instead of his nose to meet them. We do a good job of keeping him under control, but that have been instances where it has become difficult due to the behavior of others, and we put the muzzle on.

So, I hope I have not made it sound like I have these 3 bully, aggressive greyhounds, because we do not. We are just very cautious. Our first group was very much in support of using the muzzle as a training and safety tool and that stuck with us and works for us. It may not be what is the best for everyone, but it is for us. The muzzle is not a bad thing. The hound might not be thrilled, but it isn't going to kill them and it is way better, and cheaper, than a trip to the e-vet and stitches!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

We took pictures!

Well, we did not TAKE pictures, but had our pictures taken. This past Saturday, we drove to Covington to the wonderful ladies of Sisters Pet Pics. They are taking the photos for the 2010 GPA-LA/MS Calendar. You go and have pictures taken of your hounds with the hope your pictures will be selected for the calendar. We were December last year!

With all the fan-fare we got last year, we had to take some good shots this year as well, and I believe we did. I do not have the photos to post yet, but one is up on the blog of the photographers. It's a great picture of Berry White. It is possibly the best picture of the entire shoot!

Here's the link to the photo:

Here is the link to their blog:

The Sisters are FANTASTIC to work with! We had fun last year and this year! If you are in our area, go on out. Have your hounds pictures taken. It is well worth it!

I will post the rest of the shots we purchased (Dax alone, Anna alone, all 3 hounds, and Tim & I with all 3 hounds) as soon as I have them.

On a side note, I hope you people out there are enjoying the little informative posts I am putting up every once in a while. I also plan on posting similars posts, but more from my experiences. The first one I have come up with has to do with leashes, collars & tages. I hope to post it soon. Just have to sit down and write it :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

If I Didn't Have a Dog

This has been circulated via e-mail many times. To me, the original source is unknown, and I couldn't find it with some research...

If I Didn't Have a Dog....

I could walk around the yard barefoot in safety.
My house could be carpeted instead of tiled and laminated.
All flat surfaces, clothing, furniture, and cars would be free of hair.
When the doorbell rings, it wouldn't sound like a kennel.
When the doorbell rings, I could get to the door without wading through fuzzy bodies who beat me there.
I could sit on the couch and my bed the way I wanted, without taking into consideration how much space several fur bodies would need to get comfortable.
I would have money ....and no guilt to go on a real vacation.
I would not be on a first-name basis with 6 veterinarians, as I put their yet unborn grand kids through college.
The most used words in my vocabulary would not be: out, sit, down, come, no, stay, and leave him/her/it ALONE.
My house would not be cordoned off into zones with baby gates or barriers.
My house would not look like a day care center, toys everywhere.
My pockets would not contain things like poop bags, treats and an extra leash.
I would no longer have to Spell the words B-A-L-L, F-R-I-S-B-E- E, W-A-L-K, T-R-E-A-T, B-I-K-E, G-O, R-I-D-E
I would not have as many leaves INSIDE my house as outside.
I would not look strangely at people who think having ONE dog/cat ties them down too much.
I'd look forward to spring and the rainy season instead of dreading 'mud' season.
I would not have to answer the question 'Why do you have so many animals?'

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Dog's Purpose

This is from an e-mail forward of unknown origin...

A Dog's Purpose, (from a 6-year-old)

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, 'I know why.'
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.
He said, 'People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?' The six-year-old continued, 'Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.'

Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle
them gently.
Being always grateful for each new day and for the blessing you have.
That's what dogs teach us...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Blood Level Averages

Here is some interesting info pulled from "Platelete Concentration and Hemoglobin Function in Greyhounds", Patrick Sullivan, DVM.

This research paper dealt with a comparison of blood level average s between greyhounds and non greyhounds. Here are the averages for the 36 greyhounds that they pulled blood on. All of these greyhounds were free from any tick diseases. These can be compared to the results that are found in a CBC (Complete Blood Count) run by your Vet).

Value Average

HGB 19.86 +/1.56

PCV 53.6 +/- 3.8
Packed Cell Volume

RBC 6.66 +/-0.4
Red Blood Cells

Protein Totals 6.2 +/0.4

MCV 81.2 +/-8.2
Mean Corpuscular Volume

MCH 30.03 +/3.09
Mean Cellular Hemoglobin

MCHC 37.10 +/1.51
Mean Cellular Hemoglobin Concentration

WBC 7,886 +/-2,285
White Blood Cells

Segmented Neutrophils 5,867 +/-2,285

Band Neutrophils 22 +/51

Lymphocytes 1,735 +/836

Monocytes 194 +/-147

Eosinophils 74 +/-93

Basophils 5 +/-19

Platelet Count 154 +/43

MPV 8.81 +/1.46
Mean Platelet Volume

Reverse Sneezing

I am not sure where Julie got this information from, but I am re-posting it here...

"The exact reasons for these episodes are unknown but may be related to allergies, nasal irritants or nasal inflammation. A reverse sneeze may look disturbing - many people fear that their dog is not breathing during these episodes - but it is not a harmful condition and there are no ill effects.

Reverse sneezing attacks are generally quite brief and not life threatening. An episode can be stopped if the dog is stimulated to swallow by either massaging the throat or briefly pinching off the nasal openings. Some dogs have reverse sneezing episodes so frequently that various medications may be needed to reduce the number of episodes.

Reverse sneeze syndrome is characterized by a series of rapid, loud, forced inhalations through the nostrils, lasting anywhere from 10 seconds to 2 minutes. Attacks occur on a sporadic, unpredictable basis. Dogs usually have the head extended forward and stand still during the episode with elbows turned out and sometimes with the back arched. Affected dogs appear completely normal before and after the attack. There is no loss of consciousness or collapse, though some times the appearance of the dog and the noise is upsetting to owners.

Many dogs have these attacks throughout their lives. The exact cause of reverse sneezing is unknown, but it may be associated with sinusitis, incomplete closure of naso-pharynx, and other upper respiratory disorders. Whatever, the cause, the condition is usually not serious.

Treatment is not necessary when episodes occur infrequently or on a random basis. To help your dog you may wish to try any of the following ideas: holding off both nostrils so the dog takes a breath through the mouth, blowing in the nose, or massaging the throat. All of these techniques are designed to stimulate a swallow reflex, which will help to stop the episode."

Dax's Birthday

It was back on May 10th. They all had a greyt day. Their Uncle Billy brought new toys from Chicago, so there was playing. We got McDonald's Hamburgers for them, so there was eating. We also got Dax a new martingale, which came a day late, but better late then never.

Happy Birthday Blue Boy! Mom & Dad love you!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I've often intended for this blog to serve as more than a place for me to write about my dogs. I also wanted it to be a place to share information with others about greyhounds. A resource of sorts. Because of this, every once in a while, I am going to try to post some valuable information about greys here. Something people can use. Nothing has happened to prompt this particular post, but it's something that goes around in the greyhound world. It has come around to me again recently and it's important. This is why I am posting it here.

On a side note, Dax's Birthday was Sunday. I have pics to post and stuff to write, but I'll do that when I have some more time - this will be a quick post.

"Trust - A Deadly Disease", by Sharon Mathers

There is a deadly disease stalking your dog. A hideous, stealthy thing just waiting its chance to steal your beloved friend. It is not a new disease, or one for which there inoculations. The disease is called trust.
You knew before you ever took your Greyhound home that it could not be trusted. The people who provided you with this precious animal warned you, drummed it into your head. A newly rescued racer may steal off counters, destroy something expensive, chase cats, and must never be allowed off his lead!
When the big day finally arrived, heeding the sage advice, you escorted your dog to his new home, properly collared and tagged, the lead held tightly in your hand. At home the house was "doggie proofed." Everything of value was stored in the spare bedroom, garbage stowed on top of the refrigerator, cats separated, and a gate placed across the door to the living room. All windows and doors had been properly secured and signs placed in strategic points reminding all to "CLOSE THE DOOR"
Soon it becomes second nature to make sure the door closes a second after it was opened and that it really latched. "DON'T LET THE DOG OUT" is your second most verbalized expression. (The first is NO!) You worry and fuss constantly, terrified that your darling will get out and a disaster will surely follow. Your friends comment about who you love most, your family or the dog. You know that to relax your vigil for a moment might lose him to you forever.
And so the weeks and months pass, with your Greyhound becoming more civilized every day, and the seeds of trust are planted. It seems that each new day brings less mischief, less breakage. Almost before you know it your racer has turned into an elegant, dignified friend.
Now that he is a more reliable, sedate companion, you take him more places. No longer does he chew the steering wheel when left in the car. And darned if that cake wasn't still on the counter this morning. And, oh yes, wasn't that the cat he was sleeping with so cozily on your pillow last night? At this point you are beginning to become infected, the disease is spreading its roots deep into your mind.
And then one of your friends suggests obedience. You shake your head and remind her that your dog might run away if allowed off the lead, but you are reassured when she promises the events are held in a fenced area. And, wonder of wonders, he did not run away, but came every time you called him!
All winter long you go to weekly obedience classes. After a time you even let him run loose from the car to the house when you get home. Why not, he always runs straight to the door, dancing a frenzy of joy and waits to be let in. Remember, he comes every time he is called. You know he is the exception that proves the rule. (And sometimes, late at night, you even let him slip out the front door to go potty and then right back in.) At this point the disease has taken hold, waiting only for the right time and place to rear its ugly head.
Years pass--it is hard to remember why you ever worried so much when he was new. He would never think of running out the door left open while you bring in the packages from the car. It would be beneath his dignity to jump out the window of the car while you run into the convenience store. And when you take him for those wonderful long walks at dawn, it only takes one whistle to send him racing back to you in a burst of speed when the walk comes too close to the highway. (He still gets into the garbage, but nobody is perfect.)
This is the time the disease has waited for so patiently. Sometimes it only has to wait a year or two, but often it takes much longer.
He spies the neighbor dog across the street, and suddenly forgets everything he ever knew about not slipping outdoors, jumping out windows, or coming when called due to traffic. Perhaps it was only a paper fluttering in the breeze, or even just the sheer joy of running--
Stopped in an instant. Stilled forever--your heart is broken at the sight of his still beautiful body. The disease is trust. The final outcome, hit by a car.
Every morning my dog Shah bounced around off his lead exploring. Every morning for seven years he came back when he was called. He was perfectly obedient, perfectly trustworthy. He died fourteen hours after being hit by a car.
Please do not risk your friend and your heart. Save the trust for things that do not matter.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Some fun stuff.....

So, once again, I delay posting for a while. I mean the best, life just gets in the way of blogging. It happens....

Well, foster #9 has come and gone. We only had little miss Savy for 4 days I believe. She has moved on to what will hopefully be her forever home. She had been in a home for almost 2 years, and was returned because of a change in the family. She is currently be fostered with a family that adopted her sister. Last I heard, all was well, so let's keep our fingers and paws crossed that they decide to adopt her!

As for my hounds, they are all doing well. I was on a training kick for a little bit and actually managed to teach Anna to lie down on command, at least to a sphinx position. That works for me. She is even getting to where she will even do it if she is excited. The boys haven't learned much yet. Anna kind of already had the idea about down, so I just brought it up more and she caught on. I would love to teach them all more commands, I just have to make the time.

I bought a big rabbit stuffie from the sale bin at Petsmart last weekend. It's about 32 inches long. The hounds, particularly Dax, love it. He has tried twice to bring it outside with him in the morning. It's quite cute. He stands there waiting for me to put on muzzles and open the door and he just holds it in his mouth. The first time, he dropped it when I got his muzzle ready. The second time, I had to put the other two out and take it from him. Silly boy.

Berry White got a new toy as well. Berry loves his soccer ball, but we have seen these things called a "Jolly Ball." It's actually a horse toy. They make some small ones for dogs too. Anyhow, when we went to tractor supply last night (Anna came along) we picked up their food and bought a medium horse Jolly Ball for Berry. It's just a blue rubber ball with a handle on it. It's not inflated, so he can't pop it. It's just a heavier rubber ball so it's stays round without air in it. He loves it. I will have to try to get some video of him playing with it this weekend. He loves playing with the balls outside. He throws them around, chews on them, chases them when we kick or throw them, and so on. He just loves to play!

One last note is that we have scheduled our photo shoot for the GPA-LA/MS 2010 calendar. I hope we can make it in again this year. Not only that, but come up with something as cool as last year - the hinie shot! It was the December photo and everyone loved it! Their butts were famous in the group! I have a few ideas and the photo ladies are on board, so we will see what we can come up with!