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


Greyhounds Aren't Grey said...

Congratulations. Things always happen for a reason!

Hiking Hounds said...

Congratulations and welcome home to Stutz. He sounds like a perfect fit. I agree, the right time is when you feel it's right.

Shaye Walsh said...

Love your greyhound pics! I'd love to share this fun dog photo campaign with you. Can you email me when you get a chance?

Hazel said...

Sounds like aq perfect time and a perfect match!

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sherry abbink said...

I just came upon your blog after doing some internet searching on my grandfather, Happy Stutz. Yes, the one your dog is named after. He was a kennel owner and one of the originators of dog racing in this country. He has a facinating history and if you would ever be interested in learning about him and seeing pictures with his dogs, e-mail me. Good luck with your dog, it's fun to know my grandfather has a grayhound out there.

Joanne said...

Sherry I am so glad you found Stutz on the blog! Would love to find out more about your grandfather and see the photos! Sorry it took so long for me to see your post.

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