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: