Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Beach Bound Hounds

Photo BBH Photographer Bronnie Fisher
 Beach Bound Hounds is the greyhound event that our adoption group puts on at the end of September every year. We had 450 greyhounds in attendance with their owners this year. We take over the Sea Mist Resort and have vendors, dinners, beach walks, contests, seminars and fun for 4 days. I did a seminar for new owners and foster homes. Miles won the best trick contest there by doing 20 tricks in a minute.  Moose and I won the best owner dog costume contest by dressing up as a very small but notorious motorcycle gang.

Photo BBH Photographer Bronnie Fisher
Photo BBH Photographer Bronnie Fisher

 Miles learned how to curl up really small to sleep in an arm chair in the suite I share with several others. We don't have any arm chairs he can fit into at our house so this was a first for him. He also was filmed and photographed for Myrtle Beach Online

Photo Myrtle Beach Online
Big Moose got to meet little Moose the tiny star of the Birmingham Race Track commercials and her owner Mel that is the head of the adoption kennel at the race track. Here is another commercial. Mel did a seminar for us and talked about going from greyhound trainer into adoption and how she and her small group of volunteers move more than a 1000 greyhounds a year to adoption groups as far away as Canada.

The Moosekateers


 In addition to my own greyhounds, I took my foster LW's Fats to Beach Bound Hounds in hopes he would find a home. I wouldn't take many of my fosters on vacation with me but Fats is about as perfect as they come. He was well behaved in a hotel room and was not stressed in that type of crazy environment. He is so unique with his crooked nose and deformed face that I was sure that the greyhound people at BBH would appreciate him. I was not disappointed, by the end of the weekend a couple of people wanted him. He ended up going home to live with a BBH regular, Bettie, that lives in Florida. I am sure I will get to see him next year. I ended up not seeing much of Fats during the weekend. One of the speakers, Shelley Lake, a vet from Kansas that had flown in with no dogs, borrowed him for the weekend and helped show him off. Fat's new name is Max. Have a great life little boy!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Miles and the Chicken

This is a video of Miles with his favorite new toy. A rubber chicken that squawks as it inflates rather than the other way around like most toys. Probably the loudest most obnoxious toy around but one that the dogs LOVE! We got it from Carl at Crazy Collars who is a great guy that supports greyhound adoption and fosters for Greyhound Crossroads. I don't think the toy is up on his website yet because he sold out of them so fast. He is reordering and you can get on the list by email.

We are still working on dock diving. We have been to a couple of competitions to practice in the pools they set up. They seem to be harder for him than just jumping off a dock into a lake - he does that with no problem. The first one we went to was a competition in Anderson. He didn't jump into the pool from the dock that time but did get in the pool and swam around. The second competition was in Woodruff and he did jump in a bunch of times off the dock. Still not at speed. He would pause at the edge of the dock before jumping in but at least we made progress and actually got some jumps.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Miles did an ASFA lure coursing competition on the 4th of July in Georgia. There was a heat wave going on at the time and temps were around 100 degrees. It was a wonderful field with plenty of shade. They had misters and baby pools and I had fans in my van. By staying wet and keeping the air blowing on us all day we stayed very cool. Miles got his first ASFA Ribbons - a nice blue one and Best of Breed and won a stuffed rabbit and a champagne flute with a greyhound on it.

In August my brothers were in town for my parents 50th Anniversary Party and everyone stayed at my house. Miles had CHILDREN to play with - 6 of them. He was in heaven- until his fur got nearly brushed off by over zealous grooming. We had to limit the grooming to once per day. He really enjoyed the leash walks around and around through the house and having kids to throw his toys for him and swim with him. I came in one day to Miles sitting in his crate WITH two little boys. He was squeezed as far back as he could get to make room for them. Moose wasn't as sure about the kids but decided they were OK after I gave them all treats to give the dogs. The kids passed out treats to the dogs several times a day and were very fair making sure everyone got equal amounts. Pinky the tiny Italian Greyhound got the same amount as the big dogs and is still on a diet to lose all the weight he gained. I came in one day to find Pinky sound asleep in his crate with a pair of kids swimming goggles on. I ran to get the camera but he had moved by the time I got back. My sister in law did get a picture of Moose wearing a swim mask though.
Miles and Jasmine

Moose ready for a swim
Miles and Jayli - she was the main dog groomer and dog walker

Miles newest sport is dock diving. He has been to two different docks on two different lakes and will jump off of them. Still working on getting a big jump with speed. He started out going to the edge, looking over at me in the water then carefully jumping in. Gradually he started leaping out into the water pretty far to get to me but that still isn't really far from a standstill. If I run and jump with him he will run and leap in but there is a huge downside to that - he tries his best to land ON me. If we can get that greyhound speed AND a big leap he will fly. We have lots of work ahead of us.




Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Miles and I went up to Midway Tennessee last weekend for his first competition since his injury in March.  This was a NOTRA race that is popular with owners of sighthounds. All sighthounds can compete and we had whippets, borzoi, basenjis and greyhounds at this competition. This is not professional racing - no betting. Dogs win titles, ribbons and dog toys and just have fun. The dogs love the chance to chase the lure and do what they were bred to do. It is a great way to keep dogs in exercised and in shape.

Miles had been sore after a collision with another dog back in March. For the first week or two he was too sore to run fast but we did acupuncture, massage and other therapies on him and gradually the soreness went away. His stride was a little off for awhile after that so I didn't let him run after a lure or with other dogs for a couple of months. Then I had to get him back in shape again before I could let him run hard.

 I wasn't nearly as careful about my first greyhound and wondered why the other owners at lure coursing events checked the dog over after every run and worried so much about them. If they even thought the dog might have soreness they would drop them out of the competition even if I could see absolutely nothing wrong with the dog's stride. A dog could change its stride one time in a course and the owner would take them out of the competition just in case there was a reason for it. I had no idea back then how they will run through an injury and make it worse because they love to run so much. The owner has to be really cautious to make sure they are fine to run because they will give it 100 percent no matter what. It is like having an airplane. You better be sure you take care of it and that nothing is wrong with it before you think about running it. At the competitions you have to trot your dog in front of the judges before they are even allowed to run so experts can make sure they look sound to avoid injuries. It is all about fun for the dogs and keeping it safe.

When we arrived Miles spotted the boxes and the track right away and tried to drag me over there before the lure even was hooked up. He was ready to go. The first race I was nervous to see how he did and watched his stride to see if he showed any sign of the old soreness. I was also hoping he wouldn't be timid passing or running with another greyhound after having one fall on him. I didn't see any sign of soreness and he ran with a lot of drive. He did end up behind the other greyhound and had to get by her which took some doing. He tried hard to get to the inside rail but she wouldn't let him through so he went around her on the outside. She caught him and passed him when he did that. At the straight at the end he pulled ahead of her for the win though.

The first two races were close and exciting. The last one was a box to wire win for Miles though. He really turned on the speed and looked really good. He always seem to do better in the later races or maybe the older dogs just start to slow down in the later races and make him look faster. He is only two and most of the dogs he runs against are older dogs that are retired racers so he should be faster and have more endurance.
Miles in #2 Willow in #1. Willow has the rail and the lead as Miles tries to pass on the outside - Photo Jennifer Ng



Miles pulls ahead for the win. It was an exciting race several lead changes and he pulled ahead at the last second in the home stretch - Photo Jennifer Ng.

Here is a video of the last of 3 races. Miles seemed to do better with each race This one he stayed in the front from box to wire. I was very happy and relieved that he seems to be OK after his injury and will still be able to do this. He loves to chase a lure so much that I would hate to have to retire him because of an injury.




video











Thursday, May 31, 2012

Greyhound Agility






Miles and I have been taking agility lessons for awhile now from Rhea Jacobus. She is the same trainer that my previous greyhounds JD and Streak and Pinky my Italian Greyhound took Rally Obedience from. Miles loves it and gets so excited when we pull onto the agility field. We go to classes twice a week but he would love to go every day.
Miles rarely touches a bar on the jumps which is why I thought this photo that captured him knocking one down was pretty cool. Dean Lake Photography
Unlike my previous greyhounds, Miles loves to jump. Dean Lake Photography

Miles is really tall for the tunnel but crouches down and gets through it fast. Dean Lake Photography

Dean Lake Photography



Friday, May 11, 2012

Greyhound Models

Miles and Moose Model!
Miles and Moose did some modeling awhile back for a plastic surgeon. Here is their ad. I think the gorgeous thin greyhounds were the "after" and the wrinkled chubby shar peis were the "before". They were very good during the photo shoot and stood next to the doctor and for the most part faced the right way and did what they were supposed to. I was very proud of Miles that he was able to resist playing with the other puppy that was jumping on him and the doctor. I was surprised that they ended up using a photo with none of the dogs looking at the camera. The greyhounds were looking at the camera most of the time. The other dogs weren't and we were lucky if we could get them to face the right direction. The pup was really wild and probably was a blur in some of the photos. Boy she was cute though with all those wrinkles. Here is a link to the online Look Book that this is in. Our ad is on page 7.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Front Page of the Paper!

Left to right - Pinky (My IG), Tom Dooley (Foster), Moose, Jawa Rye (foster), Miles Per Hour, and Miles brother Ottobahn


The article inside Moose and Miles in the photo at the top and my bridge boys Streak and JD in the back and a friend's dogs Stormy and Lakota at a for fun event where we let retired greyhounds have a chance to chase the lure again. Boy do they love that!!


Somehow the dogs and I ended up on the front page of the paper without committing a crime or running for office!! I was asked to do an interview about breed rescue vs. shelters, the differences between the two and why we choose to be breed specific. The writer did such a great job on the article and it ended up being more promoting greyhound adoption. Only the last couple paragraphs was about breed specific vs shelters. Here is a link to the article that is easier to read.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

GA Renaissance Festival

Miles and Moose will be performing this April 21st and 22nd, April 28th and 29th and May 20th at the GA Renaissance Festival as members of the Kings Court. Look for us in the Royal Pavilion and on stage at the Joust. GA Renaissance Festival Link We are members of the Hounds of East Fairhaven. Miles this will be Miles 3rd year performing here. He was first here when he was a few months old.


Sorry pets are not allowed at this event.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Updating

Have gotten pretty far behind in posts so will do a bunch of quick updates.

Miles and Moose had their first modeling gig for a local plastic surgeon. They were the "after" dogs and two Shar pei dogs were the wrinkly, "before models".  The photo shoot was done in a beautiful local park. The dogs just needed to stand next to the plastic surgeon who was holding their leashes - all 4 dogs. Easy for the greyhounds, not so easy for the Shar peis. One was a puppy and was jumping up on the surgeon and the other dogs most of the time. They took her out for some of the photos so I am not sure if she will be in the final ones or not. It was a miracle that Miles didn't start playing with her since he is young too. I could tell he really wanted to. I kept telling him to "leave it" and he did. I was very proud of my boys. Will post photos when I get them.

Miles spent some time in a real racing greyhound kennel while we were doing a dog haul. We left Miles and Moose there for a couple of hours while we went to have lunch and watch the matinee races. I took a couple of photos but it was in low light and taken on a cell phone so they were blurry. We brought back nine fosters for our greyhound adoption group, Greyhound Crossroads, to place. We used the dog hauler and my van on that trip so we could bring back a lot of dogs.
Our vintage dog hauler

Miles continues his agility and obedience classes with his trainer Rhea. He LOVES Rhea! She trained my first greyhounds JD and Streak for Rally Obedience and they both earned their Rally Excellent Titles. Miles had to take a little break from training after his muscle pull because sitting seemed to hurt him. We also didn't want to take any chances with jumping or anything that might hurt his back. He will be starting classes again next week.

Miles won his first LGRA straight racing competition right before he ran in his first NOTRA competition. LGRA races are very short 200 yard straight races so he really has to be quick out of the box. He won't have time to catch up over such a short course if he has a bad break. Four greyhounds at a time run and they chase a fuzzy lure with a squawker. It is more exciting for the dogs than other types of lure coursing where they just chase a plastic bag. Because of the short distance it is perfect for retired racers that might not be as fit as they once were but still want to have the fun of chasing the lure.

A greyhound that lives on the same street that we do won Best of Breed at Westminster! His name is Duncan and he is the most beautiful greyhound I have ever seen. Before I got Miles I looked at his brother who was available as a pet. He was a very big, young guy but he was not able to lure course because of an injury to one of his legs from what I remember. I really wanted a dog that I could course or I would have been very interested in him. The breeder is a really nice lady that has coursed some of her greyhounds so they are bred for form and function.

Front Page of the Woodruff Paper! A photo I took of Miles with Streak

Miles and Moose have gone to several schools this year with me to do talks on greyhounds. We have a powerpoint with photos of greyhounds from birth through their life on the farm, training, racing then retirement that we show. We talk about why the breed is special and what we do as an adoption group to find them homes. We adjust the talk for all ages from kindergarten through high school. Moose has gotten over his fear of children and is fine now doing these pretty intense visits. Miles loves them and I always take Miles with Moose for moral support. Not sure how Moose would do without enthusiastic Miles beside him.

We did a similar presentation on greyhounds for the Woodruff Rotary club and ended up on the front page of the Woodruff Paper. Miles and Moose went along so the Rotary Club could actually meet greyhounds. My friends that set it up - Wayne and Kerin brought their greyhound Tequila along. The greyhounds were the stars as always and perfectly behaved even during the meal that they served before the presentation.




Thursday, March 29, 2012

Miles First NOTRA Race Competition

We went back to the greyhound training track in Jacksonville, FL for Miles first NOTRA competition on February 18th. My friends Ellen and Ken drove down with me to be part of Team MPH. Patrick and Sheen are friends in Jacksonville that set up their motorhome for us at the training track. Jennifer brought her greyhounds over from Columbia, SC to run so we even had a vet in our group. I think we need to have T-shirts made for our next outing.

This was a NOTRA Derby only for greyhounds and whippets. Most NOTRA meets are open to any sighthound but this was a special competition. Miles was the only greyhound running in the competition that wasn't a retired racer.  NOTRA racing is a fun way to encourage our dogs to stay in shape and allow them to do what they have been bred to do for centuries. They LOVE it more than anything else - even more than chasing squirrels in the backyard.
Moose(2) is a professional and raced around 150 races before he retired. You can see Miles (1) lack of experience in comparison in his slower break from the box in his first competition.

Moose and Miles started out in the low point race since they hadn't accumulated any points yet. The low point race is a race for the slower dogs with the lowest number of points coming into the race. The winner moves up to the high point in subsequent races. The loser in the high point moves down to the low point.
Moose still in the lead
Moose is serious about racing. I wrapped his front toe that he has had problems with in the past to give it extra support
 Moose finished 1st and Miles got a 2nd in this race. That was Moose's only race of the weekend. His toe didn't look good after the first run so I didn't let him run any other races. After the dogs rested for awhile and all the whippets ran Miles got a second run. Since he hadn't won the first race he didn't move up to run against the faster dogs and stayed in low point again. There was a huge difference in his start and his speed in his second race. He was much better and won that race by quite a few lengths.
Miles in the white number (3) coat finishes way out front in his second race
In NOTRA racing the dogs run 3 short runs in a day. The third race Miles moved up to run against the top dogs. These were serious competitors - the top 3 NOTRA dogs in the country! By the first turn Miles was in second place and held onto that placement at the finish line. I was so thrilled that he could even keep up with these dogs!! I was on cloud nine that he had actually finished ahead of two of them in his first competition!
Miles in red on the inside breaks better in his 3rd race but is still last out of the box


Miles inexperience shows as he doesn't stay as close to the rail as the top dogs. He held on to 2nd place even running a bit wide
Miles first NOTRA Ribbons!!
 The NOTRA Derby was a big competition and the prizes were great! Miles and Moose both got some pretty fancy ribbons. Miles took 3rd over all the first day and High Scoring First Time Entered Greyhound. Moose got a thank you for coming ribbon since he only ran one time. The head of the Jacksonville Race Track (tall guy in baseball cap) and the lady that runs the adoption kennel there come out to present the ribbons. The guy in the cowboy hat was one of the professionals that was hired to run the lure during this competition. He is a trainer at the Jacksonville greyhound track too.


Sunday was day two of NOTRA racing. Miles started out in the high point race. He still broke last out of the box but just barely. In a few strides, before they even hit the first turn, he had passed the top dogs. He wasn't far enough in the lead though. The dog in second bumped him. They didn't go all the way down but he slid, slowed dramatically and obviously had something wrong with his stride. Miles came in last and I pulled him out of the rest of the competition.
Miles in red passes the rest of the dogs coming out of the box

Miles in red gets bumped and starts to go down. At the speeds these guys run a bump or a crash can be bad.
 Miles ended being OK but had pulled a muscle in his back when he got hit. We have done some chiropractic adjustments, Alpha Sim, massage and acupuncture therapy on him to get him back into top form. In these for fun type races for retired racers we only run 4 dogs at a time instead of the 8 that they run in professional races just to prevent this from happening. Occasionally the dogs still bump into each other but I have never seen a serious injury in the 10 or so years I have been doing this. The worst my dogs have had are toe injuries, nail injuries and sore muscles. Greyhound get those and worse just from playing in the back yard at the speeds they run. One of the hazards of having a dog that can run 45 mph.

We finished up the weekend by heading to the Orlando Race Track to pick up 4 racers to bring back for Greyhound Crossroads to adopt out. We had towed our greyhound hauler down so on the way back up through Jacksonville we picked up 3 retired racers from that track and 2 broods from a farm for a total of 9 dogs. It was a great trip!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Day At The Races

Moose with his former trainer
 I took Moose and Miles to Jacksonville, Florida to a greyhound training track where they were running a NOTRA race. This is a "for fun" type of racing that a lot of retired racers do to stay in shape and to still have the opportunity to do what they love to do most - chase a lure. NOTRA is open to all sighthounds and Italian Greyhounds so there were other breeds there running - lots of whippets, borzoi, and silken windhounds. There were also show greyhounds running - not just retired racers. It is run like any other performance dog event. The dogs win trophies, ribbons, toys and occasionally a title if they are really fast.

In most cases the NOTRA courses are set up in a field with a lure on a string. This is the only one that I know of where they use an actual racing lure on a sand greyhound training track. The manicured sand track is soft and gentler on their feet than the grass and helps prevent toe and pad injuries. When you have a dog that runs 40+ miles per hour you end up with a lot of those injuries just from them running in the backyard. They love to run and sliding to stop on grass or rocky surface at that speed can take a pad off. I wish I could fill my whole backyard with sand so they wouldn't have that happen as often.

When we got to the track for the competition a former greyhound trainer that was there to run his retired racer pets came up and asked to see Moose. He recognized his racing name on his entry and had actually trained Moose to race! He remembered big Moose, then called Kevin, and was thrilled to see him again. Moose seemed happy to see him again too as you can see from the photo of them together. 

I entered Moose in the competition because he is an old pro at racing. After racing 140 something races he would know what he was doing. I didn't enter Miles because he had never run on a track. I wanted him to learn to run alone before letting him run with 3 other dogs. I let him do 4 practices in the 2 days I was there. I was really curious to see if Miles would even chase the rail lure since it kind of floats in the air and didn't seem as interesting as the one bouncing around on the ground that he was used to chasing. The lure itself is silent but the machinery makes a high pitched metal on metal squeaking as it comes around. The dogs that have raced before know that as the sound of the lure and go nuts when they hear it. But would Miles respond to that sound?

I didn't need to worry. Miles responded just like the racers to the first squeak of the machinery. He went nuts flipping and pulling and jumping around trying to get through the fence to get to the lure. I have no idea how he associated that sound with the lure, maybe it is in their DNA somehow? Maybe that high pitched sound just automatically sets off that prey drive that Miles has so much of. Whatever it was, he and Moose went crazy at the first squeak.

Moose ran his first race but came off limping a little. One of his toes he had had a problem with before was hurting him a little so I only let him run that one race. He had a dog pass him right before the finish line so didn't win the race but he was ahead for most of the race. I wanted to watch his first race and photograph his later races, so ended up not getting any photos at all of him running. Hate I missed that opportunity but we will definitely go back.

There are a lot of things that Miles needed to learn before racing with other dogs on the track. Race training doesn't teach them to chase. That is a drive that they are born with or not. If they don't have the drive to run and chase and push themselves to get the lure that isn't something that can really be taught. Miles definitely has that drive. What is learned in training is that they need to stay near the rail or they have to cover a lot more ground and will be slower than the dogs that do. They have to learn how to break out of a box - Miles has already worked on that quite a few times. Races are so close sometimes that the race is won or lost just by the speed that they break out of the box. Sometimes even the fastest dog just can't recover from a bad break. The dogs have to learn to break out of each box.

The dogs also have to learn the timing of the lure and how long it takes to get from where it starts behind them to where it is when the box opens. They learn not to turn around in the box when they hear the lure coming up from behind. They must wait for it to get in front of them and stay facing the front. It is good if they keep their head down low and their back end up to give them the most power coming out of the box. Then they have to learn how to take the turn at speed. I could see Miles slow a bit the first few times the lure turned because it surprised him. They have to learn how to control their front and back end in a long turn running at a bit of an angle. When you are a long dog that takes a little practice. Once they learn all those things running alone, then they have to learn how to run with other dogs around them and stay totally focused on the lure. We will tackle that in a race meet that is coming up on a grass track that is closer.

Here are some photos of Miles breaking out of the box on his 3rd run. Moose's trainer boxed him and is in the photo. He gave me some good training pointers so I guess I can say that Miles and Moose have had the same trainer now. He said Miles did great and just needs some practice on the track to figure everything out and build up his speed. Miles had good breaks out of the box and was absolutely crazed wanting to get the lure.
You can just see Miles white racing muzzle in the 3rd box right in front of the man.

Here comes the lure between Miles and the camera. He is facing frontwards

The break out of the box. His head is down butt up!!

Close up of him gaining speed. Head is still down and he is digging in.
And there he goes

 This is Miles fourth run. Since he was practicing I could put him in any jacket I wanted so I put him in a different number jacket each time so I would know which run it was. We started him in the 4 hole this time on the outside so he could learn to make his way to the rail. In NOTRA racing there are only 4 greyhounds running at a time so the 4 box is the farthest one from the rail and the lure. The day before these were shot we started out by hand slipping him the first time without using the box. Once we knew he was going to chase the lure around we put him in the first box closest to the rail and the lure. If you look back in the blog he has done box practices before several times so knows to stay facing frontwards and to keep his head down. 

These are frame by frame taken with a Nikon D80. I just held my finger on the button so the camera was taking photos as fast as possible. Pretty amazing how much ground Miles covers between frames.


Still in the straight getting ready for the first turn


 His head is down where it should be. That is important.

Beginning the turn

Head pops up a bit at beginning of turn

I can't believe that this stuffed bone causes this much excitement

Head back down in the turn

Digging in and headed for the rail

Flying

Still flying

Coming out of the first turn

All you can see is the very tip of his tail on the far right and the dirt he threw up.
We had SO much fun!! The boys actually had too much fun and got so excited by the sound and sight of the lure that they both had blow outs. When Moose was racing his race I came back to a van FULL of poop. Miles never has accidents. Obviously he did it while watching the race because the poop was spread all over the van and then he had run back and forth in it smearing it around. I had their crates set up but it was still chilly in the AM so had Miles in the van to stay warm. Big mistake I won't make again.

After that I moved them both to the crates. For the most part it was all on the blankets I have covering the floor and seat - except for the pile he had left ON the drivers seat. I shook out the blankets and put them in the box on my hitch carrier so I wouldn't have to smell them. I used most of the roll of paper towels but got the mess cleaned up. About the time I finished cleaning up Miles mess, Moose blew out in his crate and it went all the way across the other crate. I had no more clean blankets so had to shake those out and flip them over so the dogs had something soft to lay on in the crates. I used the rest of the roll of paper towels and had to hose both dogs off. Moose doesn't have accidents either but in the excitement they just couldn't hold it. They haven't even done that at lure coursing before. I took them out every few minutes for the rest of the day so we wouldn't have any more accidents and went straight to the nearest laundromat when we finished for the day. It was a huge pile of blankets and cost a small fortune to wash at the laundromat.

We stayed over night and came back on Sunday so Miles could practice a couple more times. I didn't let Moose run on Sunday either because I didn't want him to hurt his toe more. He was NOT happy with me and let me know he had plenty of other toes and really didn't need that one. He REALLY wanted to chase that lure and did a high pitched, excited bark whenever the lure was running ALL DAY! He is a very, quiet, low key guy normally but not when a lure is running.

I am planning to go back in February for a big greyhound and whippet only competition.