Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas-y Walkies

We should have been shopping, preparing for Christmas...but what could be more festive than a walk in the ice and snow? We normally don't get this sort of weather until about February, so perhaps we might have a White Christmas after all. We met Dixie and Dolly and their Mum and Dad. I met their Mum through Ravelry, the social networking site for Knitters and Crocheters. By sheer chance, they went to meet family who were only 10 mins away from one of our favourite parks. This is one of few times, I have met with an online friend I didn't really know in the real world, and its wonderful that you can just carry on discussions as if you'd met years ago, especially if it is with an owner of sight hounds and somebody who likes to craft with yarn.

Dixie is a boy lurcher, and is similar to Dizzy but perhaps a little bit tougher, as Dizzy is still very baby and puppy-like whereas Dixie is a real man. Dolly was quite similar to Lily in some ways, but Lily is much more nervous. She was doing really well with nerves and new people, until a family decided to stick their kiddies on a sledge and pull it around the table where we were having tea in the cafeteria.

It made a scary noise and Lily jumped in the air taking the table with her.
I did say something to the lady. I tried to be polite and said 'I don't think it is entirely safe pulling the sledge around between the dogs. Of course, my two would not be agressive towards children, just frightened. But I do think parents should think about trying to keep their kids away from big dogs they don't know, just in case.

Another type of dog, who was fearful, and heard a sledge being dragged across concrete with screaming kids, very near them, might have snapped. I would rather say something to a parent before an accident happens, and it might not go down too well but much better than having to tell them the dogs have snapped at them.

We were in a position of having Lily overturning the table as the sledge went round the table several times. Knocking tea everywhere. There were other places to sledge than just around the cafe tables, there was a whole park to do that in. I didn't want to be a spoilsport, but wanted really for the parents just to think about kids and dogs in combination. We can do our bit, and keep them on the lead and under control so parents should think about their kids coming so close.

Dolly and Dixie were very well behaved. Not quite as nervy as ours with strange noises etc. Lily and Dizzy though, are getting better all the time. They hadn't even done much car travelling when we got them and now they love it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Animal Ark Christmas Do

I am so proud of Lily
The vets had a Christmas party weekend before last, and it got so packed we were squahse shoulder to shoulder and poor Lils all she could see were legs. She is very nervous of people and there was shouting, banging, music and lots of men. Some people walking by put their hands out and touched her head or grabbed her nose, and she didn't flinch a bit.

A few years back, she would have bucked, bitten, kicked and thrown herself against the walls if someone tried to corner her, trap her or touch her. She was calm as anything.
They had a Santa and his elf in the vet, there to take pics of your pet to raise funds for charity.
Well here are the boy and girl with father Christmas looking quite excited and wound up by the queue of people watching and the party going on outside the room.
Steve is in it, because of course Lily was calm because she was with him.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

He is feeling better.......

I think he is feeling better…..well his body language tells me he is almost back to normal.

Actually, he is in less pain now the dew claw and infection has been incised than he was when it was just hanging and swollen.

alt text

He just seems totally normal today

If a claw splits down to the quick, or even if it falls out altogether and it bleeds it (there is a rich capillary supply there) it can leave a gap at the base through which infections easily gets in. So Dizzy is taking a broad spectrum antibiotic as well as a cleaning regime. We had been cleaning and dressing Dizzy’s foot for a few days days since the tear with salt water, antiseptics and styptics/antibiotic powder, but it did not stop infection forming.


Remember it used to be the case, that anaesthesia was very dangerous for greyhounds due to breed traits and inability to clear it quickly.

However, the vet says this is not necessarily as bad these days. This year a new anaesthetic is available on the market, which is used for humans but is perfect for greyhounds or for other ageing pets. It is many many times more effective than any previous anaesthetics and that means they can use much less of it therefore is not so toxic for the liver and kidneys to clear from the bloodstream.

However, the drawback is that these new anaesthetics are expensive. He says a good vet will aborb that cost and spread it over all treatments. Why? Because a customer should not have to be told, that if they have this anaesthetic they have to pay more, because that could lead to people making a decision not to use it based on expense. Unscrupulous vets may not stock this drug or use it because of its expense, so if you have a greyhound, check that they have definitely updated their anaesthetics to modern ones. Dizzy came round and was completely normal whereas in the past, dogs used to be dopey and drugged for hours afterwards. Being under, does make them a little bit thirsty for a day afterwards but as you can see, Dizzy is fine now.

Dew Claws

Our boy has had a problem with his dew claw, he caught it a few days ago and it split. However, Dizzy licked it and bit it and it was half hanging off. We put some kiddies numbing ointment on it. Then we wrapped a solid barrier around it, taped up his paw, and the vet said he would see him next morning.

He went straight into surgery to have the twisted ripped claw taken off, ie Dew Claw amputation and disarticulation and has part of his bone taken away too. He has also had the same done on other legs to avoid this happening again. I am not exactly sure why they have to cut a bit of bone at the base of the claw, he said partly infection and partly ‘disarticulating the toe’.

He is in recovery at the moment, and we pick him up later no doubt with a ruddy great lampshade on his head. My girl here was distraught, she has never been on her own really without Dizzy there and although he finds here a nuisance and often changes rooms to get away from her, she clearly relies on him.

Dizzy looks as if he has had problems with toes before, and his claws/toe bones do seem to jut out at really odd angles even after clipped. My suspicion, is that he might have suffered a broken toe before or has joint problems. Then he runs in a strange way, so we always have had to tape down the dew claws if we let him off the lead because the way he bounces forward he catches the claws on his other legs. So he is better off without them.
He has infection in that leg/toe apparently so we need to treat him with antibiotics.

While he was under anaesthetic, we got them to do his teeth which were badly scaled, and apparently they have come up spotless. He should be waking up round about now, and we pick him up in a few hours.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hounds Calendar 2010

The doggies' grandmother (human one) loves to get products with the hounds on and likes a yearly calendar so we've made the new Hounds 2010 calendar which is on sale at Zazzle, with all profits (i.e. the royalties that get sent to me) going to Essex Greyhound Rescue service.

make custom gifts at Zazzle

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Christmas Cards For Charity

I have just put a couple of Christmas cards up for sale on Zazzle with pics of Dizzy and Lily taken in the snow last year. We are going to use them for our cards this year but they have a neutral greeting of ''Happy Christmas'' so that anyone can buy them and we will donate all profits from the sale of these cards to Essex Greyhound Rescue. Find them here at my Zazzle Store

create & buy custom products at Zazzle

You can find these in the normal Zazzle panel in the sidebar.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dilemmas of Dog Food

What to feed our hounds has been a bit of an issue with us. When we first got the hounds, they did have bad skin and a lot of gas and we knew we wanted them to have a good quality food for life to keep them as healthy as possible. We knew we wanted a dried dog food especially as greyhounds do have bad teeth that get covered in plaque quite quickly compared with other breeds.

We started them off on James Well Beloved and that worked well for a while, especially as they had a large breed version with big chunks they couldn't inhale and choke on (which Lily had done previously) and containing organic ingredients.

Our girl developed alopecia and lichenoid tissue with ulceration in her vulva...extremely painful for her and gets worse obviously when she is weeing through that tissue. So, on the advice of the vets we changed their food to Nutro Choice and went for an Adult sensitive.
It was very costly getting it from the vets and our local pet food store only stocked it occasionally. Then there was a scare. Some of the US imports of this food contained a silicon like ingredient, that had also been used on furniture (sofas) and had caused burning in humans. In pets it was causing fatalities and so there was a voluntary recall from the manufacturers. The problem with dried food is that many manufacturers are really only compiling the food and not making it as such, and it consists of raw ingredients that are mainly imported from China, where the laws concerning what is fit for consumption by animals is not as rigorous. They had been using a particular type of vegetable protein, and mixing in a poisonous ingredient to Nutro had to recall stock and also had to reassure the public and use different suppliers. Well, when we went into pet food shops in the UK, no-one had heard of this recall or had actually returned the food. Only our vet knew about it and had restocked but no-one could say whether the UK had imported the same stock etc. So we lost confidence and what with the expense of it, and the irregularity of the stocking in our local big shop we dropped it. I cannot really say that it made an awful lot of difference to the condition of Lily's vulva either.

We went back to the old faithful James Well Beloved, but this time, we had a problem. Their manufacturers had changed, or they had been taken over and their formula was different. Even I could tell that it smelt bad. It smelt like horse manure and boiled cabbage and the hounds normally greedy and ravenous and who would eat anything, started leaving the food. They tried hard to eat it, picked it up, sucked it a bit and then spat it out on the floor.

We changed to a new food that was widely available, Purina. But then my confidence was affected by some bad reports online with regard to illness and deaths caused by the food. There were too many things to read or report here, but just Google Purina and problems and there is a list with claims of deaths. This was supposedly connected to afloxatins forming on mouldy grain. It worried me a bit, because sometimes I can tell that dog food has been stored in a damp place anyway, and to me, many brands do smell mouldy and I wouldn't eat it. The problem with pet foods, is that they are for cheapness sake made from waste food that is unfit for human consumption. You can read one of the reports on the composition of dog foods here and the brands that use certain types of food.

Then we heard about a new dog food called Burgess Greyhound and Lurcher and I could find few bad reports on them, and they were not listed. We did try to order this through a small local pet food shop, and as usual, they messed up our order by not putting it in at all the first week and then the following week, we were just about to dig in and feed the dogs when we noticed the pellets were really small, and smelt like lawn clippings. It was rabbit food of course!

So now, we decided to change to Burgess dog foods. Especially a s I could not find any particularly bad reports on their dog food lines, and they have a variety called Greyhound and Lurcher.
It isn't organic, and I suppose it is going to have some of the problems with any manufactured dog food, i.e. it will have been made cheaply. They did however give us a free pack to try and they are contributing to rescue services for greys and lurchers from their sales profits for the life of the product. We will see how it goes.

Well, I suppose the alternative is to feed a dog only food cooked by their owners but this for us isn't good because home cooked food tends to be soft, and our dogs are not safe with bones. They do have home cooked food as supplements, like roast meat, vegetables, some fruit and of course fish to help their coats.But we do want a dry dog food as it is better for their teeth. Also I do not cook, and cannot cook for myself. I don't mean I am bad....but it is impossible and dangerous for me to try to lift pans or go near hot things with my arm disabilities. It would not be practical to feed two dogs twice a day and for Steve to cook for them each time.

Anyway, this is the general recommendation by one organisation if you must use dried products:

API recommends that if you must use dry commercial pet foods, change brands and flavors every three to four months. Change gradually, mixing the old and new so that your dog has a chance to get used to the new food. Also, try to feed canned food, too, because it contains more meat protein than dry dog food. You should also try to supplement commercial pet foods with organic meats and steamed vegetables. Dr. Jeff Feinman, Certified Veterinary Homeopath, recommends that pet owners feed the freshest food available to their pets, offer a variety, and serve it in moderation. Feinman says that his advice certainly "sounds like how we should eat."

The pet food companies are living in a lawless land where pets become pet food. Cusick writes, "We are not being truthfully informed as to what is going into a food and are unable to read a pet food label to know what is in the food."


I have put a post up on the Greyhound forum on Ravelry, asking for advice about food and teeth just to see what people actually do. No-one has replied yet though or commented.

Most of us are told to brush the dogs teeth at least once a day, but I wonder in reality if everyone does this. We have been keeping up with this now for about a month and the dogs teeth are still forming really hard plaque that goes over the gum line and causes bleeding, I have never known a dog for developing such teeth, our border collie had an occasional brush but never had teeth this bad in about 17 yrs of his life. Greyhounds are known obviously for their dental problems, which are a breed trait.

Not my dogs teeth......but an example of little black dots
which are not decay but actually exposed dentine
from the tooth being worn down

I panicked recently thinking that Lily was getting black bad teeth at the front. Each one is like a little stump with black dots on it. Actually, it isn't decay, it is where the teeth are worn and the middle part, the dentine, has become exposed and discolours when in contact with the air.

This all looked very familiar and sure enough, I visited the dentist recently and was told that my front teeth were a bit worn and the dentine is exposed and getting discoloured. The discolouration goes right down through the tooth and so eventually, it needs the whole top being sawn off (painful!) and then a filling put on top that is white....I am not ready to face that yet being a total dental phobic. This was my first visit in about 10 yrs.

Dog Dental products

We use a dual ended toothbrush. it has a long handle and a small head, with an even smaller head the other end. We have one for each dog, and really this makes it a lot easier with the needle noses who have long jaws.

We also use Logic toothpaste prescribed by the vet. You can buy it elsewhere though.
We did switch to a cheaper brand bought from a pet shop, and really it was useless and sticky and the dogs didn't like the taste (smelt like butterscotch and not meat). The Logic toothpaste is enzymatic which means that even if you can just get it into the mouth, and cannot reach certain teeth if your pet is being difficult (especially cats) then the enzymes in the product are supposed to break down plaque
. We do see a difference if we stop using it for a few days.

When we were on holiday, we noticed that Lily who was really a pup when we got her and always had really white teeth, to our horror was also developing scaly teeth and bad breath. So in addition to the normal regime, we gave Plaque Off a go. It is supposedly a natural product (contains seaweed products) and is supposed to break down tartar as well as cure bad breath.
You sprinkle it on to their foods and they do love it because it smells a bit fishy and sea weedy.
As for fresh breath it did not seem to make it fragrant, it sort of neutralised the bad smells and replaced it with a faint whiff of the that worse? Maybe not. As for breaking down the tartar, it did appear to be helping in Lily's case but did not see a huge difference with Dizzy after about 3-4 weeks. However, I have heard that you need to use it for much longer to get a good result.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Knits For Lily

OK this is a cross post, but this is relevant to both greyhound and knitting so needs to be on both blogs. Lily has 2 new sweaters. Sadly, I didn't make or design these sweaters although I would have been very proud if I had. The sweaters were designed and beautifully knitted by Laney Chubb, from Greyt Sweaters.

She was originally a hand knitter but was so successful in getting orders for these, that she started to knit them on a machine and the work can be done swiftly and still to a high standard and I would still consider it handcrafting.

She had a special offer during the summer when orders are a little lower so for £50 you get two sweaters which is a bargain. You got to choose the colours of the multicoloured sweater and then she used one of the colours to knit a plain spare sweater. Dizzy is modelling the plain one, it goes on him but is a little too short and tight for him because it is designed especially to Lily's measurements and they are spot on. If you measure accurately as explained on Laney's website, then you will get a perfect fit.

Lily is such a fusspot
when it is cold, and I have become her blankie slave getting up in the night to cover her up if she gets cold. The consequences of not doing that are that she scrapes at the bed until she has nearly dug holes in the carpet and then yaps to tell me her bed is a complete mess and she wants someone to sort it out! ''Look what you made me do'' she says, she is just like a moody teenage daughter.

The pics I took are awful but it is 25 deg C here today, and too hot to let them wear them for long and the batteries on the camera ran out. Better pics will be done when it is cooler. But have a look at these hounds from the Greyt Sweaters gallery.

Laney is currently only making ready-made sweaters for her sweater shop. Most of the ready-made ones have fitted so well, and the orders have been so high that it makes sense for her to build up shop stock and not take custom orders at the moment.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Pillows for the Boys and Girls

We went to IKEA on Saturday night, what a wild time we had looking at curtains and eating Swedish Meatballs. Going out (to IKEA) is the new staying in (which was the new going out) don't you know?

We bought these two pillows for our hounds as they are cheap and cheerful and machine washable. Steve tried out his new camera skills and wanted to capture the pair before they got hairy (cushions of course), but as you can see he didn't manage that. However, the quality of this different camera in terms of depth and colour are apparent immediately. We are still novices though, and Stevie is learning to get better and better pics all the time.

Yesterday Lily collided into Dizzy and what a palaver. Stevie had to bend down and cuddle Dizzy to stop him screeching and shutting his eyes and he said it was exactly like having a 2yr old who had bashed his knee, he needed comforting although there was nothing wrong with him. And madam Lily, arrived home with poo splattered over her back end and was most ashamed at her lack of ladylike hygiene. It seems that the force of the impact (whilst running) made her release a little bit in the bowel region, and it just went flying. So Stevie needed wet wipes (just like a toddler too) and we had to put her in the shower and scrub with Sanex.
Next time someone asks me if I have kids, I will probably have to stop and think about that, and might say ''Yes, sort of, except mine are never going to grow up!''

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A walk with 51 dogs!

After last week's disaster with Lily in the pond, it was nice to go for a successful walk.
We met up with Southern Lurcher Link who had organised a walk in Trent Park.
51 dogs and their owners attended.

Lily was really confident and enjoyed her walk and even did a little run. She was wary, but not psychotically terrified like she might have been in the past.

Dizzy was his normal confident self, hassling people for cuddles and singing at them if they didn't give him a cuddle. We let him off the lead, thinking he might stay with the group. He did for about 5 minutes, and did a little dance to try and shake his muzzle off.

Shortly after that, he just ran away, not interested in the group or us calling him and Steve went off and found his head in a pram hassling a baby. It was all terrifying for the father holding the pram, as Dizzy looks like a monster with a muzzle on. He was not amused. We put Dizzy back on the lead, decided the experiment was a disaster so we will have to keep him on the lead next time. A shame, if only he realised how his behaviour was restricting his freedom.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day

As is traditional, the pups gave Daddy a Valentine's Card especially from them, and had a few word to add in a little ditty to try and compete for Daddy's love.

Here is what they said

Lily: "I know Daddy Loves me more
You see we have a special bond
He saved me from an icy pond!"

Dizzy: "Yeah but I know Daddy loves me too
Cos it makes his heart swell when I roo"

Lily: "But Daddy smacks my baldy tum
And I love him loads more than Mum"

Dizzy: "No, Daddy smacks my rib cage too
We have more sofa cuddles than you"

Both Lily & Dizzy: "We don't care who Daddy loves more
'Cos we both love 'im back times four!!"

PS: "Sorry we can't use scissors
And we didn't have any glue
But it really doesn't mean
That we don't love you!"

(this is re the 'homemade' qualities of this particular card, as I didn't have the right year I will leave it to Zazzle and get some professional ones done!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Poor Lily! & Poor Stevie
This post is on my other blog too and I don't normally cross post, but thought this might be a warning to any other dog walkers in this icy weather we are having in the UK at the moment.

You have probably heard some awful stories this week about people falling into freezing water, mainly ponds and some poor families who have lost both children and pets to hypothermia. We have a sad tale of our own, but luckily with a happy ending.

Yesterday we were walking around a local fishing lake/pond and giving it a wide berth as it is deep in places and although the ice looks thick, there was a thaw going on at the edges. There was also a fair amount of debris around the edges and a dog might not know what is land and what is water. However, that was not our problem. Around one of the edges the path goes over some banks with a small bridge. The banks are not terribly steep however Lily went too near the edge and lost her footing and slipped into the pond with an almight splash and then floundered around trying to stand on the debris or walk on water (she has never been swimming before).

She was in difficulty as the wool lined coat she was wearing was absorbing a lot of water and she wasn't going anywhere near a bank to be able to get out. We were worried she was going to get hypothermia however without any discussion within seconds Steve had gone to help her and just dived into the water regardless for his own safety. What a hero, he did get water right up to his neck and swam Lily to the bank and hoisted her out.

Then there was soggy walk to the car followed by blasts from the heaters and we were home within a short drive. Steve was fine, Lily got away with a few bruises and scratches. Dizzy was a complete anti-hero, he saw the two of them splashing in the freezing water and though, I'm not having any of that and started to sprint backwards pulling me on his lead. He loves a bit of self preservation and wanted to be as far away from cold water as possible!

Here is little Lillipegs snoozing in her blankets, without a care in the World. She would expect nothing less from her Royal subjects and she already assumed her Daddy was a hero.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Spring is in the air. I can tell because we have some naughty behaviour developing and this May the hounds will have been with us for 2 yrs, so their paws are well and truly under the table.

This morning, before Breakfast I found my copy of Wind in the Willows that I have had since a child (and that was long ago!) shredded to bits on one bed, and a notepad shredded on the other.
Not knowing which hound did it though means discipline is difficult, and once the event has been done, too late for any telling off! Yesterday they had a leather diary (this year's!)

I tried a 'Who did this?' low voice and Dizzy looked guilty but Lily just flew around the room at top speed spinningn and barking and snapping at the air like a maniac. This means "I am happy, and in the mood for a game, and I am going to be very naughty and see if I get away with it"

I got them together by breakfast, and the atmosphere was calm. Eerily quiet it was even for an after breakfast mood so I had a look to see what was going on, and there was Dizzy on the sofa in the best sun patch in the house. He knows he is only allowed up on 'Daddy's' sofa if he is being very good and he has to be invited. We don't have hounds on furniture without the pack leader's invitation, if they go up there by choice we found it leads to them snapping or getting a bit above themselves if we want to sit down too. So, invitation only and he had NOT been invited.

I asked him off, which he did, then turned my back and he was up. This happened three times.
We decided the dogs are being spoilt with extra sofa and food, and instead of making them happy and loyal it is making them naughty and challenging.

You should see Lily on a Saturday night she barks at the door and the window and us, before we have ordered our Chinese or Indian takeaway...she decides when it should be here and is most disgruntled if we have not picked up the phone. Once ordered, and she knows whenn we have (more to do with the leaflet we are holding which must smell of food) she parks herself at the front door and gets positively over confident and pushy once those takeaway bags get deposited on the table. Then she whines the whole evening for a prawn cracker and pretends she needs a wee, just to see if she gets rewarded by a cracker. We have to tie up the leftovers and treble wrap them and put in the bin outside, but the smell wafting through the window often triggers a hound to do rising and falling siren type whines.

So, we have to stop all these little extras for a while, feed them just twice a day and not give them leftovers and too many treats and be a bit strict about beds and furniture. Shame, cos we do love it when they are happy but there seems to be a limit and going over that means a dog doesn't know where she stands.

Friday, January 23, 2009

New Cards on Sale

I have one card for each of my two beautiful greyhounds, one is called Is My Nose ABig and the other is called Camouflage Boy. All card profits/royalties are going to Essex Greyhound Rescue, I will be making more cards as I go along but it is very distracting!

your donation goes to the hounds for food and vets bills.

Thank you to those who have donated by buying knitting patterns for snoods for their dogs. Dizzy Lily A Snood For a Hound has sold 55 times, and I have just written another cheque to Essex Greyhound Rescue for £57.

I have given out free patterns to around 200 rescued dogs so far (possibly more)
It all helps to raise awareness and we have cute photos of hounds in their snoods in the Hound Snood Gallery

Here are a few favourites. As you can see, some Italian greyhounds (minuature) and a Daschund have crept into the gallery.

I love this one above, who is little Froggy in his Italian greyhound adaptation (they are tiny)
If you have knitted an item for your hound, including the snood do send your picture to me
The galleries not only provide amusement but they help raise awareness for adopted dogs.
What else could show how soft and adaptable these lovely dogs are when adopted than them modelling a piece of clothing? What other dog would put up with it?