Sunday, October 5, 2014

I haven't updated in a long time! Happy Stutz has been a great addition to our home. He and Miles get along together very well. We have had another addition too now! Another Italian Greyhound named Logo's Holy Ghost. We got him in January almost exactly a year after Pinky died.

He was born in November of 2013 and came from the same breeder as Pinky. This is the first photo I saw of him. When she saw that all white puppy, she took it as a sign that he might be the one for my family. He did have one small black spot on the side of his face. Pinky was deaf because of being all white so we hoped that this little boy wouldn't be. We would definitely have taken him either way though.

We ended up calling him Peanut. Here he is at 9 weeks when we picked him up at the Clemson Dog Show. He can hear!

Peanut is a VERY active and hyper, even for an Italian Greyhound. Miles and Stutz love him and play gently with him. Miles is more active and plays more than Stutz. Having someone to play with helps wear out Miles too. Miles is pretty hyper for a greyhound. Miles does most of the playing and Stutz does most of the snuggling and keeping Peanut warm. Stutz likes to snuggle with other dogs and Miles really doesn't like another dog to touch him when he is sleeping. At night Peanut sleeps under the covers with us but during the day he naps with Stutz.


Peanut as he grew. He was a stocky big puppy for an Italian Greyhound. 



It doesn't really show well in the pictures taken outside but as he grew he got a lot of dark freckles under his fur that show through. I have already been asked if he is a "dalmation puppy". Pinky didn't have the freckling and was much whiter.

Peanut is very hard to potty train, which is an Italian Greyhound trait. He seems to have only a few minutes of warning from the time he first realizes that he needs to go potty and the time he goes. Like Pinky before him, it is very hard for him to hold it. 

He has such a short attention span that I have to watch him to be sure he remembers to go potty when he is outside. He will go outside with Miles and Stutz, watch them go, sniff and play around, then follow them back into the house completely forgetting to do his business. He is getting better but we still have a lot of accidents even though he is approaching a year old. Italian greyhounds are very cute and sweet, but anyone that wants to buy or adopt one should understand that you WILL have accidents and be OK with cleaning up after them. Some owners teach their Iggys to go in cat litter boxes or on puppy pads since they can't always wait to get outside. 

Peanut is very outgoing for an Italian Greyhound, no shivering or timid behavior at all. He throws himself at people and tends to be overly excited to see everyone. He gives hugs and kisses. We haven't found anything he is afraid of, not even the dremel tool, we use to do his nails. He is very confident with all of our foster greyhounds. 

Peanut went to the GA Renaissance Festival in the spring as part of the Hounds of East Fairhaven when he was pretty small and did great. Since, he has done the Greenville Renaissance Festival and is now entertaining the crowd at the Carolina Renaissance Festival. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Happy Stutz

Shortly after I adopted Moose, I saw a big, gorgeous red brindle boy with a big white blaze that had just started racing at 96lbs at Derby Lane, Happy Stutz. He was named for a greyhound racing pioneer that was in the Greyhound Hall of Fame. His trainer posted photos of him and info on his races and I followed his race career. Because he was only a month older than Miles he wasn't a dog that I was seriously interested in - I had my big guy Moose. Moose was young and even if Stutz raced successfully for a very long time I wouldn't be in the market for another big boy by the time he retired. I did think he was the most gorgeous guy I had ever seen though. He ended up gaining a couple of lbs and raced as high as 98lbs. Love those big guys and just couldn't help but become a fan of Happy Stutz.
The first photo I saw of Stutz- taken at the track

Stutz had another family that planned on adopting him from the start so wasn't actually available. Because he was the biggest greyhound racing in the country at the time, he ended up developing quite the following. His racing kennel put out a calendar of their most popular racers and Happy Stutz was #1. When people went to visit the kennel he was one that they brought out for people to meet. He was a very friendly guy that loved the attention. I didn't go down to Derby Lane to visit while he was racing there but a couple of my friends had gotten their photos taken with Stutz and told me what a great personality he had. Everyone knows how much a like the big guys so they would come back and tell me about this huge guy they had met that was even bigger than Moose. Moose was the biggest greyhound any of us had ever met until Stutz.

My friend Becky visiting Stutz at track kennel
A few hours before Moose died a friend sent me an email about Stutz. He had retired due to a toe injury and had been moved from the track in Florida to Kansas. The family that had wanted him had decided not to adopt him. The timing was bad for them and they weren't sure he would fit in with their pack since he had been a little pushy in turnout with some other males. My friend thought that because I had lost Pinky I might be interested in Stutz.

If I had opened that email that day I would have said that it was tempting but I had a big guy and didn't need another. I opened that email the next day though, on my birthday and right after losing Moose. It was one of those crazy moments where you get cold chills and think that this is too much of a coincidence to have just "happened". A dog that I had had a crush on but knew I couldn't have, suddenly became available the DAY that my big dog died! It had to be fate!

The same thing had happened when I heard about Miles back when he was 3 days old. I was looking for a greyhound puppy because my greyhound JD had died of bone cancer. I was trying to find the right dog to fill his spot when I got the call about Miles and his litter of pups. When I looked at the calendar and saw that they had been born on JD's birthday, I knew Miles had to be the right one. That was the beginning of this blog.

Stutz in turnout pen at the track - another early photo I saw of him
For me I don't think there is a "too soon" after losing a dog to start looking for the next one. Everyone is different but it helps me to stay busy and have something to look forward to. Working with Greyhound Crossroads, I have people that call me years after loosing a dog, finally ready to adopt another one. I have also had people call me on the drive home from the vets after putting a greyhound to sleep wanting another one as soon as possible. Whatever makes you feel better.

So the day after Moose died I called the friend that was handling Stutz's placement and told her I was definitely interested in getting him. Looking forward to getting Stutz really helped me get through the pain of losing Moose. She recommended me as a home to his trainer and owner. While I was still in Florida another of my friends and Greyhound Crossroads coworkers, Carl, started working on getting Stutz transported out of Kansas to a track closer to me. He found a hauler coming from Kansas to Tri-State track in West Virginia that would leave in a week. He arranged to get Stutz and a brood that someone in our group wanted to adopt on that hauler and was going up to pick them up himself. He was going to do it as a surprise but decided he probably should tell me about it a few days before he picked them up. Stutz was supposed to arrive on Friday February 15th! Just a little over a week after Moose died and a few days after I returned from Florida.

Stutz with his trainer at the track
Things sure moved fast. I ended up driving up to West Virginia with Carl pick up the dogs. We planned on picking them up and driving straight back. We were also going to drop off a dog I had picked up in Florida that was going to an owner in Illinois. She was driving down to pick her up. We checked the weather at our end and at the track and it was good. We forgot to check the mountains that we would be crossing in the middle.

When we got to the mountains in NC and WV, they were in the beginning of a 3 day snowstorm. The snow was already piling up on the trip up in the higher elevations. We knew it would be worse on the trip back. We arrived at the track a couple hours ahead of when we were supposed to meet the hauler and had to wait an hour for the folks picking up the dog we transported. They were also driving down from Illinois in a snow storm. Then we got a call telling us that the hauler from Kansas wasn't going to be there for another 8 hours and instead of meeting us at 10pm would meet us at 6am.

We could only imagine the snow piling up for those 8 hours and it was even starting to snow at the track at that point. Not good. We went to the track adoption kennel to kill time and got to meet a kennel full of huge boys. They must breed them big up there. There was only one average sized boy in the whole kennel and only a few smaller girls.

At 6am we were back at the track kennel waiting for a hauler. There was an adoption group hauler in the parking lot that was dark and turned off. No one was around so we headed out to look for coffee. We came back and the other hauler was still there. We sat and waited and eventually around 7:30am a light came on in the hauler and someone opened the door and climbed out. We had called the hauler a couple times to see when they were arriving but got no answer. We got out to ask him if he had heard when they were arriving since they were now 9.5 hours late. He said he WAS the hauler and had been sleeping. ARGH!

We finally got our 2 dogs. Stutz was so tall and skinny and didn't look like the photos I had seen of him. Maybe it is true that photos add 10 lbs even on dogs. He was very friendly and sweet and didn't seem to be phased by the trip. He got out and peed and pooped on leash right away. He was clean so hadn't had an accident in the hauler during the trip. Excellent signs for a dog I would be traveling with. Big Stutz hopped right in the car with the brood. Before the car started he was already making momma dog mad by trying to climb on her. She quickly put him in his place and wouldn't let him look at her or even lift his head for the rest of the trip. He seemed pretty bright and didn't push his luck. Cowering in the back of the car he sure didn't look like the dominant, confident dog I had expected. Those broods know what they are doing! Love them and I try to learn from them. She could control him with a look, a growl or a raised lip. She was wearing a muzzle so never hurt him or even put her teeth on him.

We did make it back safely through all the snow that Saturday. It was more than a little scary though. The dogs traveled well Stutz hardly moved. It was hard to guess how much was due to the brood's influence on him and. He was at my house until he went in for his neuter on Monday then came back on Wednesday. He was a little push with us when he first arrived demanding attention but I took my cue from the brood mom that had successfully made him behave and firmly let him know that wasn't they way to get the attention he wanted. He was a bit of a marker at first and needed a lot of supervision but he only had 2 or 3 pee accidents and one poop accident because we supervised him and didn't give him his freedom too soon. He only put his nose on the counters a couple of times. He responds very well to correction.

He ended up being a complete surprise and is more like my sweet snugly Moose than I thought he would be. He loves to snuggle and wants to have his head or a paw on you. He doesn't seem to have any space issues with people and loves to touch and be touched when laying down. We can scoot him over or put our arms over him without any grumpiness. He has growled at Miles a few times over his spot on the bed but never over food, bones or toys but no growling at all with humans.

Stutz and Miles are starting to play together and seem to get along well. Miles is more pushy than Stutz is and tries to correct Stutz for running around rather than the other way around. Stutz roaches and has been very comfortable since the beginning. He is silly and so friendly. He has been to 2 meet and greets so far and is very good with kids and adults and goes from person to person for love. He is much calmer than Miles definitely more of a laid back guy like Moose was.

Happy Stutz shortly after he arrived making tall Miles Per Hour look like a tiny girl







Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Moose (Kickin Kevin)

Kickin Kevin when he arrived from the track
We lost another one. It has taken me a month to be able to write this. Moose died the night of February 5th right before my birthday which is Feb 6th. I was in Florida with Miles visiting the tracks to pick up 11 retired race greyhounds. I hadn't even been gone from home 24 hours when I got a call from a stranger saying my dog was hit by a car.

So many things rush though your head in a few seconds. Can't be my dog! I have one on a leash standing beside me and the other is safely at home with my husband in South Carolina. Can't possibly be MY dog. I asked him what color the dog was and he said "white and brown". Moose is white and red. Everything started swirling around then. I remember asking him if he was alive and he said "No lady, I am afraid he isn't". Then I asked him what street he was on - it WAS my street! I had to accept it at that point that it was my Moose.

To make it more confusing, suddenly I heard my husband's voice on the phone telling me it was Moose. He had pulled up and taken the guy's phone. It is all a blur but later that night he called back to  explain that the realtor showed the house and left the gate open earlier in the day. He had put Moose out for his final potty break and he didn't come back in. He went out to see where he was and saw the open gate about the time he heard the horn honk on the street. I found out later that Moose was killed instantly.

I have actually had nightmares about this happening several of them. I check and recheck the gates and doors because we do live on a busy road. Moose had wanted to come on this trip so badly. I almost brought him but wouldn't have had room to bring back as many fosters since he is was so big. I decided to leave him home this time. I was staying with people and didn't want to crash at their homes with two large dogs. I so wish I could go back and do it over. I had no idea when I told him goodbye that day that that was the last time I would ever see him.

It was all so strange, earlier that day I had been to the farm that Moose was raised on and met his racing owners for the first time. I had promised to bring him back for a visit. I had been to the training track where he had actually learned to race and let Miles run a lap behind the lure there. Just didn't seem possible that the dog that I had been talking about all day could be dead. And so closely behind Pinky.
Moose on an earlier trip happy to see his race trainer again after retiring


I suddenly had only ONE dog. Just Miles Per Hour! I don't remember ever having just one pet before. We always had cats and dogs, sometimes horses, cows, chickens, ferrets and even a pet raccoon. Never just one animal.

I thought about leaving Florida and driving home, but there was nothing I could really do. Roy brought Moose's body back home for the night and wrapped him in a blanket. Our vet had the place that does the cremations come pick him up in the morning from our house because Roy wasn't sure he could get a 100lb dog in his vehicle by himself. I had friends that said they would come help if that wasn't possible.

The next day is a bit blurry. I didn't have any waterproof mascara with me and couldn't keep makeup on. I couldn't go anywhere until I could quit crying because I looked like a raccoon. I was supposed to be at the Orlando track helping out in one of the racing kennels but didn't even make it there until after noon. I went out to get some coffee and ended up sitting in a parking lot nearby on the phone for hours. Friends called, people I didn't even know sent messages on Facebook. I had lots of emails too. Lots of birthday messages but most were about Moose because my friends understood there was no way I could have a "Happy Birthday". I hadn't even had Moose two years, but he had touched a lot of people though the meet and greets, Renaissance Festival, home visits for adopters and all the people that came here to adopt dogs and met him. He was such a big guy and so sweet that you just couldn't forget him once you had met him - a real gentle giant.

I was furious with the realtor. It is bad enough when you lose a dog to illness like Pinky. This was so much worse though because it was senseless and could have been prevented so easily. Moose was a healthy young dog one second and gone the next just because someone forgot or was too lazy to latch the gate. Someone that knew we had dogs and knew their names. The family looking at the house had met Moose that day. Their little daughter had opened his crate and went in to pet him. My husband had crated him like we always do while they were looking at the house just in case anyone left a door open. He had gone outside with them and made sure the gates were closed when they went through like he always does. The realtor had gone in and come outside again and must have gone back through the gate rather than around the house though because that gate was open again.

Moose and Miles at the Renaissance Festival

Moose and his favorite pirate Spy Glass
Moose was a special boy. Raced at 92lbs so was a big gentle giant. He was the perfect boy to raise a greyhound puppy and was so tolerant and sweet with Miles. Moose was actually a pretty good racer in spite of his size and didn't retire until he was nearly four and a half years old.
Moose racing
This giant dog that was so friendly and seemed so unafraid most of the time was more timid than he appeared on the surface. He was afraid of kids and wet himself the first few times he was around more than a few of them at a time. It took a couple of days of treats at Renaissance Festival before he was comfortable around little kids and decided that they came bearing gifts. After that he was great and had just passed his Therapy Dog test before he died. 

Moose was a calm guy that loved napping on the bed and had his own twin bed at the foot of our bed to sleep on at night. He would stretch out and take up the whole thing. Moose never really got used to the wood floors at our house and never liked walking through the kitchen unless treats were involved - then he would brave the floors. He loved his crate and loved to travel though. Most of all he loved to chase a lure. It could be a lure at the race track, on the lure pole in the yard or lure coursing. That was about the only time this quiet guy got excited enough to bark. His bark sounded much like Pinky's. A high pitched, ear splitting yip that didn't sound like it could possibly come out of a giant dog. He did have a deep scary bark that I heard only a few times when he thought something was in the yard that 
shouldn't be there or when Miles had annoyed him one time too many. When he would get excited enough to bark it would often be accompanied by a leap straight up in the air - often above my head. He wouldn't pull on the leash so much to get a lure but would leap up and down in place like a toy poodle bouncing at a door. 
The normally perfectly behaved Moose got a little excited while watching a lure coursing competition

Moose was a gentle giant that I could completely trust at meet and greets with kids and adults. He would stand and lean against them and soak up all the attention he could. When they walked away he would walk up to the next closest person and lean on them. He loved to curl up in bed with us and wanted his head and a paw to be on us so that he was as close as possible. Never ever any issue with space. A dog or human could lay on him and he would never even move. He loved to be close to other dogs and people. He was such a love. 

One of Mooses quirks was that if he ever got afraid he would run. If he slipped on the wood floors he would bolt. He wouldn't think and would run into glass doors or walls. Just would go into panic mode and I know that is what caused him to run into traffic. I am sure he went outside and initially was just sniffing around. Once he realized he was in an unfamiliar place and alone in the woods he panicked and ran. He was running when he got hit according to the guy that stopped to help. My sweet boy will sure be missed and I can only think that Pinky needed a buddy up there worse than I did down here. 

Miles and Moose Christmas of 2011


Moose wasn't big on swimming but he loved to lay on the top step of the pool even in cold weather

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Therapy Dogs!

Seems like a lot of bad news recently with Pinky and Sara. I do have some good news, Miles and Moose took their Therapy Dog Tests on Saturday. They passed!

My last two greyhounds JD and Streak were Therapy Dogs with Therapy Dogs Inc and Pinky was too. I had meant to test both of the boys a year or more ago but there aren't a lot of tests in the area and whenever one came up it was always on a weekend when I had other dog events. I am so glad we finally got it done.

My biggest concern was that Miles would get too excited and go up to one of the dogs during the test and pop it with a paw trying to get it to play instead of staying 2 feet away like he was supposed to. I was especially worried when I saw that one of the other dogs used in the test was another greyhound and one that he had played with before. He was a good boy and minded his manners. It helped that he had done a meet and greet already at PetSmart that morning then walked a mile or so right before the test. He was already pretty tired.

They aren't officially therapy dogs yet. They still have to complete 3 supervised visits with tester observers before they are official but with all the work they do at the Renaissance Festivals with people already these should be easy.

A new Angel.

We lost Pinky my Italian Greyhound on January 17th. What had started out as just drinking a little too much and peeing a lot at the beginning of December quickly got much worse. We ran lots of tests on him trying to find a cause checking for kidney problems, diabetes and finally Cushings. Then repeated them several times. Sometimes numbers were concerning sometimes normal.

We were sent to a specialist who believed it was either a brain tumor on his pituitary or a tumor on his adrenals and scheduled us for an ultrasound of his abdomen to check for that first since the brain scan was $1500. Before we got that done he started having trouble with staggering sometimes one week, to having pain in his head preventing him from being able to shake it the next. He would barely shake when he got up just barely moving his head then would act like he was in pain right after. He started dropping food out of his mouth when he ate one day and chewing weird. The following day he couldn't eat at all because of the pain when chewing. I made liquid food that he could lap up but could only do that for about another day before the pain was too bad to even do that. So within about a month we lost him to what most likely was a fast growing brain tumor.

Always so cute when he slept
Pinky was such a special little guy his official name was Logo's Pearly Gates. He was a Therapy Dog, Earned his Rally Obedience Novice title and had two legs towards his Advanced title and was a Canine Good Citizen. He was a performer with the Hounds of East Fairhaven promoting sighthound adoption at the GA and Carolina Renaissance Festivals. He was the Greyhound Crossroads small dog tester and helped fosters learn respect for small white dogs that looked like bunnies. He also raised a litter of greyhound puppies and was a great doorbell and best buddy. Pretty amazing for a little deaf dog. 


He was the 2007 Laurelwood Plate Italian Greyhound. Only one  dog of each breed is chosen per year.


He loved to chase the lure but not too far. He would come running back to mom if he got too far away.

He loved to ride in his carrier on the motorcycle with Roy. He was safely hooked in his carrier so he couldn't jump out. They rode from Greenville to Myrtle Beach together one year.

A media photo of Pinky and I used to advertise the Carolina Renaissance Festival



Not many little dogs have Kings and Queens come to visit him

Kiss from a Queen at the Carolina Renaissance Festival

At the Georgia Renaissance Festival Pinky usurped the throne from the King and took part of his court.
We sure miss him a lot and plan to adopt another deaf Italian Greyhound in his honor. If you hear of one please let me know.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy Birthday Miles, Otto and Kohle!

Today is the boys 3rd birthday. They are officially grown up now even though they don't always act like it. Miles has slowed down some finally. He runs some in the yard but not every day. Still pretty high energy in comparison to most of my fosters, although many are younger than he is now.

On Miles birthday I found out that he finished in the NOTRA's (National Oval Track Racing Association) Top 10 for 2012! He was tied for 8th place! It was a huge surprise that he ended up in the top 10 at all after not being able to run much because of an injury. He also finished in the top 20 in LGRA (Large Gazehound Racing Association)These are not professional track racing. They are "for fun" racing organizations for all sighthound breeds. They get to have the fun of chasing the lure and do what they were bred to do and pick up a few trophies or ribbons while they are at it. It is great exercise and the dogs love it! A lot of the greyhounds that compete in it are retired track dogs that still love to run and aren't ready to be couch potatoes yet. NOTRA is oval racing and LGRA is straight track racing.

Miles seems to have recovered and doesn't seem to have soreness left in his back. It was never an injury that I would even notice if he was only a pet, running in the backyard. It is something that prevents him from fully extending in a full run and slows him down when really running hard. It only seemed to be painful when he was really pushing to run fast like when he was trying to keep up with or pass another dog or when really trying hard to catch a lure. All things he loves to do.

It initially happened in February. He healed up after being off for a couple of months and was competing and running great. He pulled it again in October at the Nationals, pulled up and was out of competition the rest of the year.

We leash walked him for a long time and didn't let him run around. That was worse on us than him. He has been bouncing around wanting to run and play and really doesn't understand why he isn't allowed to. We started letting him run around in the yard, where he couldn't really get up to full speed, a few weeks ago. I waited until to take him out to a larger area to run by himself and let him really kick it in. No sign of any trouble though in December so we started letting him run with other greyhounds. We are starting him on the lure again and straight sprints to get him in shape for competitions in February.

Sara



We lost Miles mother Sara (racing name Sarandon) just before Christmas. My thoughts and prayers are with her family. She was their only greyhound and their best friend.

She went very fast. She went down on a short walk and was not able to be revived 10 minutes later when she got to the vet. Waiting on the necropsy results. She was so young and in such great shape. She ran at a dog park nearly every day and was one of the most active greyhounds for her age I have ever seen. Not many greyhound moms can play all day with their pups. She seemed to be in such good health.

We were planning to get the family together again this fall but couldn't find a time that was good for her and all her pups. So sad that weren't able to do that one last time.

Here are some photos of her that I took during the 5 months she lived at my house with her pups. She was a fantastic mom as you can see from her pictures. She loved playing with her pups and never forgot them. We will all miss you beautiful girl!