Monday, December 31, 2007

Welcome Greyhound Lovers to my Blog about
Gorgeous Greyhounds


We have adopted two gorgeous greyhounds from ex racing backgrounds although neither one was suitable for racing. Dezzie, Desmond who we are calling Dizzy is a confident if a little over exuberant dog and Lily is a very nervous bitch, wary of men and is hand shy. But since meeting her, she has improved by the hour.


This blog is their story, this welcome post will always appear on top (postdated) and you will find the most recent post just beneath it, do come here often. You may have a nervous dog yourself and find my tales inspirational but please, be sensible as what works for our dogs may not work for yours. I am not an expert by any means, and here I just explain my techniques and describe the progress the dogs have made.

Most greyhounds are very laid back and do not have the behaviour of our dogs so don't be put off either! We have specifically chosen a dog with lack of confidence and a dog with overconfidence as we welcomed a challenge of this kind and you may not, so talk to people who know your dog best before making a decision about committing yourself. I was 25 when I got my last dog and 42 when I lost him and that is nearly all of my adult life with one dog, so I am grateful I didn't make a hasty choice.


However, if you do choose a greyhound or greyhound cross, do visit this blog often as you may find that you are not alone if you are experiencing the same challenges as ourselves and you may find our dogs' stories supportive and useful. Of course, I will try to make sure this blog is very photo heavy with gorgeous greyhounds and try to write it from their point of view.

I will also introduce dogs who are looking for a home who have either been rescued by the RGT or by Essex Greyhound Rescue. Occasionally there will be dogs who are not ready to rehome and who are not improving in kennels and these dogs will be looking for a temporary foster home either with or without other pets present. These dogs may have challenging behaviour that needs to be addressed in order that they can compete with all the other dogs in finding a forever home. They could be nervous

All rescue organisations will want to meet you, match you with an appropriate hound and then check your home and all members of the family including other pets.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Comedy Duos separated at birth


Who does the pair on the left remind you of?
Dizzy and Lily?

Well no, the big blue brindle is actually a girl, and her name is Bella.
The blue and white hound is Bully.

Both ex racing greyhounds are looking for a permanent home, You can find their details here. I have it on good authority these dogs are very cuddly, especially Bully who likes to jump up for a cuddle!

Even if you can't offer dogs like this a home, giving anything you can will help them have good food and get their vets bills paid. You can find out how to donate on the Castledon Kennels website, or if you prefer I can collect a donation from you for Essex Greyhound Rescue (where my babies come from)

I the meantime, marvel at the likeness between these two hounds and our own two. Uncanny isn't it?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pics of the hounds in their new collars, coats and PJs.
Very cute, need I say more?





Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dizzy Lily
A Snood for a Hound


Pezdiva with her snood for Maggie is the first pic I have seen of my pattern for rescue hounds. I won't tell you where Maggie is, it could be anywhere in the world, as I don't want to advertise the whereabouts of dogs for security reasons.

If you would like a free pattern for your own rescue dog, then email me telling about your hound. If you don't have a rescue hound, tha pattern is for sale at $3/£1.50. Even if you have a rescue dog, donations are most welcome as Julie from Essex greyhound rescue says she is going to make sure that all the dogs in the rescue kennels and the ones fostered at her home will get a special Christmas dinner made from some fresh meat. The remainder of donations is needed for food, collars and leads and the most biggest expense the vets bills as some dogs arrive with broken limbs and all sorts of conditions that need treatment before they can be put up for rehoming.

Doesn't she look cute and snuggly and warm? I will be keeping pics of all the rescue hounds who get one of these, that is if their owners send me a pic. Then I am going to stick up a gallery of them on Flickr.




Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Knitting Patterns for Charity

Dizzy Lily
A Snood For a Hound



I used to think that clothes for dogs was a silly idea. Until we got greys and I realised just how much they feel the cold (just feel their icy ears and nose on a cold day!). I noticed that the indoor kennel coats just didn't keep Lily warm and she kept burrowing her head under pillows or behind Dizzy. Poor Lily though has a bald neck, so it was time to cover it. I came up with this shaped snood knitting pattern. I didn't adopt greys just so I could knit for them, I promise! I think Dizzy will only need his snood when it is really icy outside as he is a warm boy.
I am selling it for £2.00 GBP and donating 100% to the Essex Greyhound Rescue service (or Lurcher Link if you are a lurcher owner). The Dizzy Lily/Snood Pattern can be downloaded from the sidebar via PayPal which will convert to any currency.




Can anyone give a temporary foster home to Macy?

Talking of Essex Greyhound Rescue, they have just had a dog come into their kennels called Macy who hates kennel life and is not eating due to anxiety. Julie feels that if this hound was given a chance in a foster home, she would be able to put weight on and become more rehomeable because at the moment she is a bit thin. I would so love to give a temporary home myself, but last time we thought of doing that we had decided on one dog and would foster another, and what happened? We ended up adopting both dogs anyway. Now our plans for fostering are over as 2 is the max amount of dogs who will fit into this home.

If you think you can give little Macy a foster home, I think she gets on OK with other dogs, then do contact me and i will put you in touch with Julie. Obviously you would need to be in the UK and being in the Essex area is going to help greatly.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lily is going Bald

Alopecia is quite common in rescued greyhounds. Sometimes it is because they have been lying on hard surfaces in kennels, sometimes it is due to diet, and other times due to thyroid, stress or hormones.

Lily had a tiny patch of fur missing and bald legs when we got her. The le
gs have a much better covering of hair now but the patch on her neck has got worse.

The vet's opinion is that she has a mineral deficiency and that she has seasonal hormonal inbalance. The cure, is to try taking PetTabs as a vitamin and mineral deficiency so that is what we are doing.

Dizzy's paw update

Last night was Dizzy's last chance, to see if the ulcer on his pad had healed (it has been there for 4 mths now!) whilst taking the extraordinarily expensive antibiotic Marbocyl. The verdict was to let him have another course of these antibiotics, this is his 5th course (or more) and 3rd or 4th of Marbocyl, I can't bear to look at all the bills in total, it costs £116 for each packet for 2-3weeks.
Our bill last night was £230.


Dizzy relaxing in my knitting boudoir..ahem some rules have been relaxed

Someone somewhere made a silly mistake allowing that to develop in the way that it did and now we are paying the awful cost. However, I decided to make a decision with regards to treatment without taking finance into the equation, just to see what is the best way forward. So, we could have opted for 4 days on 4 days off to see if that would be just enough to control any infection but having skin ulcers myself, that take years to heal, I just wanted to give him the best chance of healing, he deserves it.

The paw has cost us at least £500, if not more and he may eventually have to have another operation to debride it. Apparently, when he was returned from his first owner, who said she 'it's not him, its me, I just can't share my space with him', he had a wound and we were told that it was because she had walked him so much, didn;t have a car and so it was a blister from pads on the hard surfaces. The vet was not sure about this, he thought it was unlikely to have been a blister from walking and more likely to be a wound where a foreign object penetrated, he did find a stone lodged in there during surgery.

Well, we just have to press on, and it doesn;t look anywhere as bad as it was, but it is quite deep and makes him limp.

Poor Dizzy Rascal!


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who Says That Greyhounds Can't Sit?.............

The greys have been going to obedience classes. To our amazement, we have both managed to get our dogs to sit. Not on a command, but we are able to put them into a sit position and they stay like that looking very shocked whilst we praise them for doing a "Good Sit". Poor Lily is sometimes startled and lets of a bit of pongy greyhound gas when I handle her back end to get her legs to bend into the sit position.

They also managed to walk to heel quite nicely. We also surprised the trainers when they said we could skip the bit where we pick up our dogs (for handling at the vets etc) and despite the size of our greys, we do regularly pick them up and they seem to like it!

Now, we just have to refine that recall. Lily's recall is quite good and we can let her off the lead, but Dizzy just shoots off for miles and miles and miles! Last time I tried in a park, he ran so far, it took me half an hour to walk to the place ran to in about 5 mins. Luckily for me, he loves people so much, he ran up to some builders and they managed to tie him up. I was looking for him for ages, calling his name and I could here a puppy sort of yap in the distance, but as he was tied up he couldn't run back to me.

Since then, we haven't even chanced letting him off unless the area is totally enclosed.

I will try to get some photos of the hounds sitting, they look so confused, I am sure they thought they couldn't do it either!

UPDATE: After weeks of going to obedience class, we realised that we had not passed anything that useful on to the hounds. I tried to get Dizzy to sit myself after one of the classes, and he went into blind panic and nipped my head. Not a serious bite but a panic snap. After consulting the vet, he said the hounds could sit but that they do not like to sit because of the way their back legs are made. We asked if there was any advantage in perservering, and he said no. We also asked him about training classes, and he felt that even after training, he was yet to meet an owner who could get a perfect recall with their dog, and even those who got good results had 'accidents' where their dogs had run into things. He quoted a case he treated where the dog had been let out on a sandy flat surface with nothing around for miles and miles except one post, and the dog...you guessed it...ran into that one post and knocked himself out and suffered fractures!


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Holiday Privileges

The hounds were so cute on hols. Here they are outisde our little blacksmith's cottage in a private valley with a stream running by and fields with a footpath to the beach.
We thought poor Lily was going to get a burst bladder as she wouldn't wee away from her garden at home and we thought she would be a total nervebox for most of the 2 weeks. What a cutie, she managed to wee in public, in a field next to the main route to Tintagel castle with people within hearing distance as well.

How we loved bonding with our dogs. Physically as well. no words can describe how cuddly greyhounds are, and yes, we weakened and we let the hounds come and cuddle us on our bed after breakfast. Needless to say that all stopped when we got home here.

Lily's confidence
just grew and grew on holiday. I was swelling with pride for her progress. They loved getting in and out of the car and going for drives, short walks (because Dizzy has an ulcer on his paw) and lots of lounging around in the garden too.

It was a bit nippy at night so the hounds wore their towelling sun coats to keep warm, and naughty Lily was caught climbing up into the living room chair.

We turned a blind eye, well; holiday privileges again!



She also got up and cuddled her Dad, and considering how terrified o
f men she normally is, that was an amazing thing to see. She is such a little Daddy's girl that I feel a pang of jealousy at their closeness.

Dizzy is still the big baby he ever was. His walking on the lead has improved loads a
nd we didn;t really have any trouble walking around with the dogs, or taking them to pubs, eating fish and chips at Tintagel or any other activity.

Now we are back in London things are a bit different. Lily went back in her shell to begin with but is coming out again and has done a few toilet activities in the local park. We can take her off the lead as well for very short bouts and she will walk near us. A couple of times at the cottage she escaped and always came back.

Embarrassingly, after a welcome cuddle with Steve and I and my Dad and his parrtner Jeannie, Lily and Dizzy bolted off and Dizzy did his usual trick of running into the nearest open door and finding a person to love.


We love these dogs too too much! It feels so special to have rescued these hounds, and given them what they need and a little bit more.


















Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Hope is Looking for a New Home

Poppy and Todd as well as Valdi previously mentioned on this blog have found good homes, they were all special dogs and have found happiness with the right owners. This is greyhound who is looking for a home in the North East after being rescued from severe cruelty.


'My name is Hope and I am an ex-racing greyhound. After a very bad start to my life, I am now looking for a special home. My doggie companions are great as they have helped me on the road to recovery. I am looking for a new home in the North East'


PLEASE READ HOPE'S STORY.


On Friday 6th April 2007, a motorist was driving in Dalton Piercy and thought she saw a dead fox lying at the side of the road. She stopped to investigate and found that it was not a fox but a brindle female
Greyhound who was still alive, but had collapsed in a heap. The lady took the dog straight to a local vets. Our rescue received a call the following day to ask if we could take her in as she was due to go to the local dog pound that day. What a shock we got! This dog was skin and bone and she could hardly lift her head up. We took her straight to Steven Duncan (head of our Rescue), who told us that she had 95% wastage to her body, covered in fleas and she could have possible liver and kidney damage. Steven then took the dog to his vet where they administered a drip to try and re-hydrate her. At the time of writing this article, she is still at the vets getting treatment. She has been tested for kidney and liver damage and we are waiting for the results. She has also put on a little weight but still needs to be hooked up on a drip for a few more days. The Greyhound who was given the name of HOPE weighed only 15 kilo�s and her perfect weight is 30+ as she is a big female, so she has a long way to go before she is 100%. This is the worst case of cruelty that we have ever seen at our rescue. If she had not have been found that day�well who knows what might have happened. There is a ongoing investigation with the R.S.P.C.A and hopefully the owner will be prosecuted, and banned from keeping dogs. Even though Hope was in a bad condition that night when we picked her up from the vets, she lifted her head and even managed to give a slight wag of her tail, this giving us as a rescuer, HOPE that she will survive.

If you think you can give Hope or another greyhound a home contact
info@greyhoundrescue.net

Can you offer a home to a very nervous dog? Essex Greyhound rescue have a dog called Magic who is shy and timid and would like a home, possibly with other greyhounds, where he can come out of his shell. As you can see my Lily was an extremely nervous dog but we managed to bond in days and despite hating men, has become a real Daddy's girl and very cuddly. Patience is required but setting a routine the dog can trust and being careful about introducing new situations can bring the gretest rewards. Contact me if you are interested in meeting Magic with a view to rehoming him.

Monday, August 6, 2007


Dehydration, Copraphagia, Agoraphobia

Dizzy was ill with diarrhoea, then he ate it to clean it up, and started vomiting. Anyway, we found two useful tips to help us out. Diarolyte given in a dogs water bowl, mixed up as for a child, quickly helps to stabilise any electrolyte inbalance. And, eating their own poo, copraphagia as it is medically known, is quite a common greyhound trait. We think thay Dizzy did this either because he was losing weight due to diarrhoea following penicillin treatment and was lacking in nutrients OR it was a guilty attempt to clean up because he kept having little accidents indoors Well, giving a dog either fresh pineapple or pineapple juice breaks down to a foul tasting element in their poo which quickly discourages them from continuing that habit.

Lily is doing well with her desensitising programme but seems to have a real block in the pet shop where she quivers and shakes like a jelly whilst digging her claws in to the ground. Strangely, she does not have this reaction at the vets where we would expect it. Also, it is sad but Lily does not really enjoy going on walks outside the house at all. She has become so happy and comfortable here that she either pulls to drag us back to the house or turns into a statue before she leaves the house and lies down on her bed. We take her regardless and try to make it as enjoyable an experience as possible but she would really rather not go. One of the things that makes her unwilling to continue a walk, is that due to her nervousness she won't pee anywhere except our own garden. Taking her on holiday will be interesting, she will have to go then.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Poppy and Bailey Need Homes - POPPY HAS FOUND A FOREVER HOME

Hi, remember I mentioned these two before in a previous post?

I know these two dogs and can recommend them as being very affectionate and loving pets.

Bailey on the left is very shy, has a sad face even when he is happy, but would enjoy having a permanent home. He came to this country with my Lily, and he is about 2 yrs old and would make a splendid pet.


He is friendly with other animals, but I would always advise caution as a matter of course anyway.

Poppy
is 4 and she came from a very good home but sadly her 'parents' split up and as she stayed with the one who needed to work away from home, was spending a lot of time with dog minders so her owner wanted her to have a permanent home where someone can be there for most of the time. She has been vaccinated, micro chipped and spayed.

If you can give either of these dogs a home, do contact me.













Cat Friendly Greyhounds....Is There Such a thing?

Both our greys have lived with cats, been tested with cats and have been found not to react. We have had a few cats sitting on the shed roof and still they haven't reacted. One of these cats sat there provocatively growling and swishing its tail and staring at the dogs, and they appeared not to be bothered by this. This has been a huge relief and so although I have never let the dogs go out into the garden unsupervised, I have let them go out into our very small back yard which you see here unmuzzled and off the lead.
On Monday afternoon this week, the dogs wanted to go out and shot downstairs, the kitchen door was open and I followed close on their heels, then before I had turned the corner and had a view of the whole garden I heard some terrible yelping and thought that perhaps one of the greys had injured themselves or something had fallen on them.

I looked to the corner of the garden and a cat had shot out of the bushes, it was the one who had been taunting them for a while, and it lashed out and got Lily's nose (hence the yelping) and later Dizzy's ear. I ran towards the dogs by which time they had got hold of the cat in an almighty fight. Most of the noise was Lily yapping and snarling at the cat, Dizzy picked up the cat in his mouth by the fur and shook it and dropped it and by that time I had screamed "LEAVE" and he dropped the cat as I hooked both collars and pulled the manic dogs into the house, all of us covered in blood and cat wee (the cat had let out its bladder at us) and I locked the dogs in the bathroom.


I then went into the garden where the cat had run into the corner under our table and was still growling and snarling so I couldn't get a good look at the underside of it but I could see a bit of fur missing from its back, it had ripped out when Dizzy picked it up but I could find no bite marks on the cat.

I then rushed in and examined the dogs, they had torn ears, scratches and Lily had a bite mark on the back of her leg.
I immediately called the emergency vet around who came in twenty minutes and picked the cat up. I was distraught because these two greyhounds do not normally chase animals and have been friends and lived happily with cats before.

LESSON LEARNED - There can be no such thing as a cat friendly greyhound if the cat surprises them or attacks them they will most definitely get hold of it. Whereas a normal dog is vocal and will chase a cat barking but not be fast enough to get it, a greyhound of course will silently go for a cat and catch it. My greyhounds were actually having a wee on the bush the cat came out of and of course, their instincts were to fight back and the cat came off worse.

I really don't feel this should be called a dog attack on a cat, I do feel it was a fight that broke out and obviously the cat had less defences.
I did the right thing and registered the cat under my name with the vet as it was not chipped and had no collar. I printed out over 50 posters and put them up and around the neighbourhood as well as through peoples doors. I paid £500 to the vet, to cover initial costs, although my dogs were not insured they are newly insured they were not covered for this (the policy doesn't take effect for 14 days anyway). the vet said that the incident was not entirely our responsibility and that paying the majority of the bill was a kind gesture and the right thing to do. Eventually the owner came forward, she didn't seem surprised or bothered, not half as much as I was but perhaps it was embarrassment.

The injuries to the cat were nil as far as biting goes, a bit of skin came off with the fur where it was picked up but it had a badly broken back leg. I didn't see the dogs touch the leg, and I was there and had hold of them within seconds, but perhaps the cat landed badly after Dizzy dropped it. The vet said it seemed strange that the cat did fight and didn't run away, she said it is possible that the cat was unwell or had a break already. She said not to blame myself, that these things happen even with cat friendly dogs. Dogs will not put up with a hissing, biting scratching cat that has been accidentally cornered and these attacks are nearly always associated with being trapped and hidden in bushes or undergrowth.


So, we are very shaken by this, found it hard to forgive the dogs and we have muzzled them every time they go outdoors, which seems such a shame in their own garden in summer. They are already restricted outdoors by being muzzled and on a short lead a lot of the time, rarely we let them off in a totally enclosed area with 2 or 3 other greyhound owners to guard the gate and help if there is trouble.
Lily got over the shock, despite being the most spooky greyhound but poor Dizzy, was too afraid to go in the garden after this and kept weeing in the house. now, he will go in the garden but keeps staring at the corners and jumping. In the house, something slid off the sofa after he went to bed and he yowled and yelped like he was badly injured as he was frightened. I think as well, they couldn't cope because my partner and I were upset about the incident and they could pick up that we were not pleased and greyhounds love to please. he is being a big baby and needs cuddles and reassurances which is he is getting.

They were just being dogs, that's all, and we have to learn and trust their instincts to guard against this, they can't be blamed.
We did our best to get over it, and lesson learned, we can't really trust them as such and precautions will have to be taken at all times. I have been told by another greyhound owner that if they had meant business, they would have bitten the cat, or torn it apart and I am grateful they didn't and the cat has gone home with a pinned leg, which we hope will mend.

However, it is really upsetting to think that the greys might live for another 10 yrs and will never be able to enjoy their own very small garden off the lead and out of a muzzle.
We are also going to try the following. We will cut back all undergrowth, bushes or anything which could hide a small animal. We will try to find some trellis that goes on the top of fences at an angle to stop animals jumping in, difficult though if they still get in and then can't get out so we will consider that too. We are also going to spray the bushes with a mist of water, or a gentle jet, and the vet said we could spray the cats gently if they come near the garden to try and discourage them. However, the Tom who fought with our dogs, was a real bruiser and totally fearless as we had tried to shoo him away before without success.

We are also trying to find a leather crafter who can make an extra strong collar especially for Lily, as the normal one she has still gives me the feeling she is going to slip out and she is very good at wiggling backwards to get out of it. We did find a fantastic leatherworker, but sadly, she took my requests about precautions with rivets and stitching and type of leather as an insult, in that I didn't trust her to get it right or do the job properly, so she has declined to take on the job. That is really sad because her Celtic work was spectacular and I was going to feature it on this blog. I apologised but she was really offended by my detailed instructions and won't reconsider, so if anyone has any recommendations of a similiar craftsman I would be most grateful.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Todd is looking for a home
TODD MIGHT HAVE A HOME NOW

My partner and I met Todd, and he was a strong contender to come with us but we did want 2 greyhounds and Todd really deserves a home on his own. This is what Julie from Essex Greyhound Rescue told us. Do contact her if you can consider giving Todd a permanent home.

The Dog shown here is similar looking to Todd, we have no photo at the moment. Todd is a young 3 yr old black greyhound with some white patches. He is very affectionate, has quite a playful character and a bit of spirit which is lovely to see in a young dog. Todd is a retired racing greyhound and has been in kennels for a long time. He needs some tender loving care and will settle well once he is in his forever home and met other animals and seen the outside world. However, he does need a home to himself without other dogs as he does feel happier with all the attention
.
He has met children and we have observed that he is well behaved with them but as he is not used to them, we would recommend that if he does go to a home with children it would be better if they are aged from 6yrs upwards.

If you wish to know more about Todd or other greyhounds tel 01702 460631 and ask for Julie, of Essex Greyhound Rescue. You can also click on the label 'Dogs Needing A Home' at the bottom of this post or in the sidebar to see all dogs needing homes or news on dogs who have found a home

Previosly we featured Valdi, he has found a home!
He has gone to a lovely forever home with a lady who has fields and horses and where he will be the only dog. We have heard he is settling in well and is soaking up all the love and attention.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cruel Lampshades!

I will be very happy when these silly collars can safely be left off the hounds. They have both been neutered so have stitches, and poor old Dizzy actually had a stone wedged up inside his paw. They get over excited in the middle of the night if I nip to the loo and keep getting their lampshades wedged in silly places and need rescuing. Lily likes to lie behind Dizzy and then she bashes her head again and again clashing collars with him until she has managed to squash it into a shape that she can comfortably wedge down the back of the sofa.

These poor hounds probably think they have been rescued and subjected to more cruelty in their new homes than in their previous racing lives!

Dizzy much prefers to be covered up and pampered with my hippy scarf. It might be Glastonbury festival weekend
, but this hound is not camping outdoors!


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Lily Pinched my Alpaca Hummingbird!

No sooner had I been singing the praises of the greyhounds and their distinct lack of interest in my yarns when I discovered a pile of tangled mess and a half finished sock on the living room floor. Nooooooo!

I only went to the toilet for a few seconds, and Lily even poked her head round the door whilst I was there before Dizzy barged her out of the way and she ran off and secretly pulled out the very centre of my neatly wounded ball and obviously kept on doing it and doing it until my ball was inside out. What an unholy mess I found about 20 seconds later!

I had to get that ball rewound and so the socks which should have been finished today are not and a lot of my knitting work is b
ehind as a result (I am write knitting books and patterns for a living)

I thought I had constantly watched these two for weeks now, locking away bins, moving my yarns upstairs, putting lamp shade collars on their heads to stop them chewing their stitches. I am exhausted with my own vigilance, like a mother with two toddlers and when my partner comes home after being away I am going to be doing the old "It's your turn to watch them now, I've been doing it constantly..." routine just like a real
Mum.

Lily is a Tea Leaf (rhyming slang for thief if you didn't know), the little Minx! Is she part lurcher then? Or does the lurching of a lurcher come from the greyhound element? She has stolen so far; Piece of toast, half a banana, my yarn, biscuits as she leapt into a huge arc from standing, my slippers and covered them in drool, my sock, my knitting case....all in the space of a few days. I would guess that her confidence is coming out and this is what people mean when they say she is 'cheeky' i.e. 'naughty'! Look, she is even mocking me with those grinning lips and snaggly teeth. Very funny.



Saturday, June 23, 2007

Smooth Design
My new dog Dizzy was once called Smooth Design, and he ran 10 races bless him. His last race in December 2006 he won, and I wonder why he was retired. I was told he had a dodgy gait but actually, he had an ulcer on his pad and the vet has removed a stone wedged into his paw under anaesthetic so I wonder if Dizzy will be whizzing around the
enclosure next time we take him out. However fast he is, he is never going to race again and we will just have a private viewing of his speed.

You can find out more about Dizzy and your greyhounds from this database:

http://www.greyhound-data.com/db.php?i=1182349&time=1182615609

We even found a picture of his father, here he is, his name is Cool Performance.

Please note that I am interested in my own dog's history and what made his character like it is or led to his 'strange gait' and I hope you don't think I am condoning what goes on in the racing industry in any way by putting up this information.
Finally Nervebox Lily is beginning to Relax

This is our little nervebox, who used to either bolt or eye you suspiciously even whilst lying down. Last night we heard lots of grunts and groans and when we looked behind the sofa, this is what we found; Lily hogging the whole dog bed.

Just look at her toothy grin. I think she might be happy at last.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Poppy and Bailey Need Homes

Poppy

Poppy is a 4yr old fawn bitch greyhound, the same colour as Mick in the post below. She has been well trained and is loving affectionate and very playful. She is a retired racer from the Essex Greyhound Rescue service who has been returned from her permanent home due to her new owners divorcing and not having the time to look after her. She was being well cared for but walked and fed by outside helpers and as the one owner left thought this was not fair, they returned her to Julie to see if she could find her another permanent home with people that could spend more time with her. She has been vaccinated and micro chipped and is due to be spayed next week. She is available following a meeting, home check and if passed a donation to the Essex Greyhound Rescue. Bear in mind the costs of all of the vets bills when giving a donation.

Bailey

Bailey is the friend of Lily my greyhound. they came over from Ireland together as pups, they could be siblings as they are similar in stature and the same age and due to either neglect or ill treatment, they are mistrustful of strangers, especially men, and so are very nervous. However, as you can see from this blog Lily was able to come out of her shell and has started approaching men and absolutely adores my partner. She is easily handled, intelligent and easy to train now and it has been rewarding. Therefore, 22 mth old Bailey who is less nervous than Lily would benefit from having a loving patient home and perhaps would benefit from being homed with a more confident bitch or dog. |I can vouch that it is very rewarding if you have the patience when these dogs come up for a cuddle or a kiss and it is well worth the wait when they do! Bailey is a white, black and tan dog and has a sad and appealing face.

Although both of these dogs are looking for permanent homes, Julie is also open to the idea of fostering because it will help them adjust to the outside world and make them easier to rehome.

If you are interested, both these dogs are being kept in the Essex area and I can put you in touch with Julie if you leave your details here.

Lurcher Link Auction

Help Save Mick's Leg


Lurcher Link are raising money to fix Mick the lurcher's leg. The vet's bills are mounting up a bit, so go and look at the auction here and bid for some of the lovely doggie things that are going. http://www.lurcher.org/llink/forum This will help raise money for the bills.

Also, if you wanted to make a donation to this worthy charity, you can do so via PayPal if you wish. Kaye who runs the Lurcher Link service rescues lurchers all over the country, many of whom are on death row, and she tries to find them loving forever homes as well as sorting out all their behavioural and medical needs.The forum itself has a wealth of advice on living with lurchers and a lot of this advice is obviously relevant to greyhounds and other sight hounds too. It was through Lurcher Link that the lovely Sibs and Ian came to check our home and this reference was supplied to the greyhound rescue services through which we found our two doggies.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Holidays with Dogs

Holidays Booked At Last!


We have plans to take them on holiday, a cottage nr Bude on a wooded valley estate (www.mineshop.co.uk) running down to the beach at Crackington Haven (although beach is a no dogs beach from April-Oct). This is going to be our little cottage which sleeps 4, dogs are allowed at a cost of £15/week.
Then we are taking them to an inland valley farm called Little Comfort Farm
on a Christmas holiday in a little cotta
ge with a wood burning stove and then again for Sep next year.

We were lucky to find the cottage for Aug/Sep, these places get
booked up well in advance. If you have greys, and msot people have more than one, I would thoroughly recommend booking for next year now.

Going to the Vet

Doggie Hospital


Our greys are in Doggie Hospital today. They are being neutered, having nails clipped, vaccinations done, microchips and blood tests all under anaesthetic. dizzy is a little bit lame as he has an ulcer on his paw so he is having that looked at too.

The vet confirmed my suspicions that greyhounds are big babies and cry and shriek with the least bit of discomfort so it was best to get these things done whilst they are under.

The price for everything is going ot be £300 - £400 and I think that is very good considering it is a complete overhaul. This is a link to The Animal Ark.

Our vet Lyndon Basha was understanding of Lily's nerves and her hatred of men, although she is improving. She couldn't bear Dizzy getting all the attention and went in for a quick brush of her nose against our male vet's hands. He is going to give her time to come round to him, and avoid any traumatising events that might set her behaviour pattern in stone. Lily did not backflip, try to pull out of her collar or show any outward signs of nerves other than wariness to approach. I could feel her little heart pounding in her rib cage though. She does seem to settle well when with the pack (the two humans and two dogs).

Poor Lily despite having been treated f
or it, still has worms and I was horrified to see big flat pink things squirming about in her poo! I guess these are tape worms, although they had a curious hourglass type shape, must look into that. They have received more treatment for these today as a double up to treatment given by Essex Greyhound Rescue a few weeks ago.

We pick t
hem up later although have heard both have come out of anaesthesia and are perky. What a relief! My biggest worry is that they might think that this home was just another one of their many fostering places and so I can't wait to bring them here again and reassure them this is their forever home whatever happens.

Photos of Our Greyhounds

You can see more photos of our greyhounds here:


http://www.flickr.com/photos/steviesbigadventure/

Sunday, June 17, 2007

7 days later, Lily's Hardest Day Yet
Today we took my nervous hound Lily along with Dizzy Rascal to our local country park which was hosting the Race For Life event in which approx 2,500 women were running.
Of course, as we approached the edges of the park, we made sure that Lily slowly crept up on the crowded areas and we stopped at each point for a little rest until she had acclimatised. I was like a proud Mum, she was fantastic on the lead. Her face looked wary but she was looking at everything and taking it in. As the morning progressed, it got more and more busy but as the majority of people attending this event were women, then I think Lily had less reason to be nervous. I never once had to grab her by a very short lead. I did take the precaution of muzzling her because anything could have spooked her in a crowd and she might have snapped. Also, I know that her wearing the muzzle is more of a message to onlookers to be careful with this dog which is no bad thing.

What a gorgeous little star she was! We took her to the pub with us and she was calm but wary. Her confidence is growing, we are definitely progressing by going out as a pack, and the 2 of us and Dizzy acting as if there is nothing to fear so that she gets the message.

Now, I read an interesting thing in the RRG's for Dummies and it suggests using a safe word for loud noises and crashes. If something ends up being a bit noisy and it startles the hound, she will look at me for reassurance and I can either pretend I haven't noticed or I can make it known I have heard and that it doesn't bother me. So, when I opened my new tape measure and it made a ratchet-like noise, I said "Oh what a racket Lily isn't it" in a happy voice. This had the effect of her creeping further and further to the source of the noise and investigating rather than cowering or bolting. I used the safe words "What a racket" for most noises, and she seems to take this in. Her little brain is thinking "Mum told me that this loud noise is OK, even though I never heard it before". however, there was a lady in the pub car park talking to her friends, obviously having a good old bitch about someone and as it sounded venomous, no amount of encouragement would make Lily come forward to jump out the car. I did want to go over and complain about the disturbance of the peace, but thought never mind, Lils has to get used to this sort of thing. So I just kept saying "What a racket" until we were out of earshot. Lily had her hardest day yet, and was so tired and snoozy she slept through me massaging her pads and grooming her paws and claws. Bless her!



Dizzy Rascal gets more well...... rascally!

This boy has caught on to the fact that if he squeaks as if someone is murdering him, a person will stop from either embarrassment or real concern that they are injuring him. So, at the moment he is using it to delay going out for a late night bit of business in the garden, or sometimes he is just using it on our friends and continuing to cry like a baby until the cuddle him. However, I am fully aware that what is happening is firstly he is getting the better of us at home by not budging when we ask and secondly getting huge rewards for behaving like that from people who don't speak 'dog'. If I try to put a lead on him and drag him and he is having none of it, he makes a terrible gurgling coughing noise as if I am choking him. I thought I was! So I gently slipped a hand inside a very loose collar in the house and left it there, not even touching his throat or pulling and he started making fake choking noises. He has even done this before anyone has touched him! Whereas Lily's new confidence is progress, with this hound it is regress, to a puppy baby! An expert in handling greyhounds from the kennels where we got him said some greyhounds are like that,big babbies and they yelp and squeak before you have even touched them. It must be learned behaviour from a puppy which worked on humans and was rewarded.

It is very hard to train him out of habits already learned and prevention would have been key but he is 3 yrs old now and has been doing this for a while. Greyhounds do not respond as well to correction as other breeds would. They are sensitive so raising a voice makes them freeze, even a stern low voice can upset them. They also turn into statues if you try to push or pull them to encourage them and this is one of the reasons it is difficult to get them to do basic
obedience exercises. Everything becomes lure based but I feel like it is a bribe.

All I can do for the moment is completely ignore his yelps, but not touch him and when he does respond give him lots and lots of praise. I am not looking forward to obedience classes in that respect because last time we had a collie who was easy to push into a 'sit' or a 'down' and other positions and greyhounds just freeze under pressure. They can't really sit either, they just don't do that and they are stiff and awkward when plonking themselves into a down position. I do hope that the training instructor we get can understand a greyhound's special needs without thinking we are making excuses. Iam certainly not going to let a class instructor ruin the progress I h
ave made with Lily by making her do things she really is not comfortable with such as pushing her around rather than encourage her.


These gorgeous dogs just want to please, they do want to know what is expected of them, of course they can give you a bit of cheek but on the whole, they do love getting praise. My little Lily yelps with delight when she has done a poo or a wee and hops around whilst she is doing it because I am saying "Good girl" in a squeaky voice to her and she is so proud! Sometimes she will come back into the house to get me to follow her, just so I can see her doing the wee and praise her for doing it outside on command.