Wordless Wednesday - Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful

Vinnie McIlveen
Vinnie McIlveen, age 12 yrs


Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me, When I’m 77?

Blue, Bettina and Winslow greyhound
A scrum of greyhounds.
The holidays are supposed to be a time of happiness and a renewal of faith in the innate goodness of humanity.  I have to say that for us it was a mixed bag.  We got a call from someone (we’ll call him Mr. Rescuer) just before Christmas.  He had gotten our number from a friend of his who lives near us and knows we are involved with greyhounds.

The reason he was calling is because he had found a male greyhound and didn’t want to send him to the pound.  He was hoping we could help.  Mr. Rescuer said that he had watched the greyhound sleep in an open field for two nights prior to his taking it in.  A canvass of the houses in the neighborhood of the field turned up no one who was willing to admit to ownership.  For those of you who don’t know much about Maine, it’s pretty cold here in the winter.  Though we’ve been having a “warm spell,” that equates to days in the 40s and nights in the 20s-30s.   If you can’t conceive of that, try
sleeping in your refrigerator for a night with no clothes on.

After speaking with Mr. Rescuer, he said he had no problem keeping the lost greyhound until after Christmas.  The greyhound was warm and safe and being fed.   They had taken a shine to him.  After Christmas we arranged for the kids and I to go and pick up the hound.  We would transport him to the Maine Greyhound Placement Service where he would be identified and cared for. 

Bettina and Winslow greyhound
Things are always a little less scary with a friend.
We arrived on the appointed day and time to meet the wandering grey and got our first shock.  He was a sweet, sweet old grey.  He had cataracts and a white face.  When I was finally able to get a look at his ear tattoo, I discovered he was 11 years old.  He was also clearly underweight with bones and ribs poking out all over.  His nails looked like they hadn’t been tended to for some time.  None the less, he was a happy boy and had taken a liking to Mr. Rescuer and Mr. Rescuer’s father.  I think the liking was mutual but unfortunately Mr. Rescuer had an elderly cat and they did not feel they could disrupt the cat’s world by moving a canine into the house.   They were definitely sorry to see this loving baby leave.

But the greyhound didn’t balk at all about hopping up into my car with Blue and Bettina as company.  That was how Mr. Rescuer got him home.  He opened his truck door and invited the wayward grey to jump in, which he did.  As we were driving to MGPS, Blue, Bettina and our guest got comfortable with each other and soon were curled into one big pile with three heads and three tails.  The folks at MGPS were awaiting us when we arrived. 

In the back of the car
And if 1 friend is good, then 2 friends are better!
The first thing they did was weigh this poor old fellow.  He weighed in at only 60 pounds.  He was slightly smaller than Blue but Blue weighs in at 75 lbs and I keep him on the thin side.  This old guy should have been somewhere between 70-75 lbs.  He was at least 10 lbs lighter than he should have been.  On a greyhound that 10 lbs makes a big difference.

He got his nails clipped and a thorough going over by the medical staff.  In the meantime others checked his ear tattoos and his microchip.  They discovered that he had originally been an MGPS hound.  His name was Winslow and indeed when he was addressed as such, he clearly knew who we were talking about.  Once he was released from his medical check he made a beeline straight to the comfy fluffy bed in the corner of the room.  You could almost hear him groan as he settled
Winslow gets checked over
Winslow gets checked over by everyone, including Cider.
himself into the softness.

Winslow held court from the bed, not moving from it during the time I was still at MGPS.   We learned that not only was Winslow 11 years old, he had raced in Raynham MA and had first been adopted in 2007.  Blue is 11 years old and HE raced at Raynham as well (probably they raced there at the same time).  I adopted my Big Poppy in 2007.  The parallels between this poor skinny neglected hound and my own best boy were so striking.  Since I cannot ever conceive of doing such a thing to any hound in my care let alone an 11 year old who had been nothing but loving, I felt pretty sick to my stomach that anyone else would. 

I imagined Blue out in that field.  My Blue who loves and asks for nothing more than a soft place to lie down and a nice big dinner and some treats.  The first thing Blue does in any new place is greet all the people and then find the softest place available to lie down.  Blue wears a light fleece coat in the
Winslow has his microchip checked
A soft place for old bones.
house in the winter and a coat and snood over that when he goes outside because his old bones get cold so much easier than a younger hound.  He has memory foam bedding to make sure he’s comfortable.  He has an electric blanket in his crate to make sure he stays nice and warm at night.  Any greyhound who reaches the venerable age of 11 deserves to be pampered and loved an extra measure.

How could someone be so cruel and so heartless to put any dog out like that,  let alone one who is more vulnerable because of his breed and age? 

We got a call from MGPS later that day after we had returned home.  They let us know that they had tracked down and spoken with the original adopters and pieced together a story of divorce and the handing off of Winslow to someone else who clearly didn’t care for the dog.  Winslow will stay at MGPS where he’ll be fattened up and spoiled for awhile and then put up for adoption. 

If there is any sort of god, Winslow will spend his last years in a loving home being spoiled rotten.  Good things will come to Mr. Rescuer and his father for saving Winslow from a worse fate.  And there is a special corner of hell reserved for whoever turned that greyhound out into that freezing field.

Post Script:  There has been more contact with the person who took Winslow after the divorce.  He says that Winslow escaped during a visit from the UPS man.  He has offered to pay treatment and dental costs and any other costs to have him returned.  I have some personal doubts about how hard anyone searched for Winslow given at least 2 days having elapsed since his escape and 5 more days elapsing while in the care of Mr. Rescuer and no posters up as well as his being so underweight and teeth and nails neglected.  But it certainly can happen that a moments inattention can result in something terrible like this happening.  I hope for Winslow's sake, and for the sake of my faith in humanity that this is all true and it has a happy ending.  


Like Fine Wine...

On December 10th my Big Poppy turned 11 years old.  We've had a discussion and I've let him know that his goal now is 19 years.  I thought about 20 years but I didn't want to get greedy.  So 19 years it is.  And when we get to 19 years, what's one more year?

We celebrated that evening with a big birthday cookie and some presents including his most favorite of all, Greenies.  In honor of the 11 years Mumma decided to forego a silly birthday hat.  But I make no such promises for his 12th birthday.

The Big Cookie
The Big Cookie

Blue the greyhound enjoys his birthday cookie
About to punch the paparazzo in the face.

Bettina photo bomb
Bettina photo bomb.  "Ummm, where is my cookie?"

Blue the greyhound in his new scarf
It's just a scarf Mumma.  Not a fashion shoot.

Bettina searches for crumbs
What's a girl got to do to get her own Big Cookie?  What?  I had one in October?
I'm QUITE sure I would have remembered that.


A Greyhound Mad-Lib Part II

Adopting a retired racing greyhound can end up__________(active verb ending in ing) your
Blue and Bettina Greyhound-can't miss a minute
life.  Greyhounds are generally very ______________(adjective).  They are frequently found laying on the most comfortable ___________(noun) in your house!  You should always use a _______________(noun) whenever outdoors with your new friend.  Some greyhounds will ______________(verb), _______________(verb) and ________________(verb).  All of these activities are perfectly normal.  If you have a fenced in _____________(noun), it can be breathtaking to watch your greyhound _______________(verb).

Greyhounds can be very ___________________(adjective).  They enjoy playing with ________________(plural noun).  But be sure to monitor your new greyhound to make sure they don’t get it caught in their ____________(body part).


A Greyhound Mad-Lib Part I

Please choose and write down the following (then check back here on Monday):

Active Verb Ending in Ing






Bettina Greyhound and her new fancy collar



Plural Noun

Body Part


A Tale for All Hallows Eve (Well, Really a Brag for All Hallows Eve)

The Petco where Mumma has a part-time job was having their annual Halloween contest this past Saturday.   Since getting this part-time job I haven't been able to do any of the Saturday fun activities that I used to with the kids.  But I was determined to find a way to enter them in this contest.
Petco Halloween Costume Contest Sticker

Luckily Grammy agreed to be bribed into going to my house and picking up the hounds and bringing them to Petco so they could be entered.  As many of you may already have suspected, they were entered as a small flock of sheep thanks to the lovely costumes that we got from Etsy.

There were an awful lot of cute costumes in the contest including a family (mom, dad, kids and two dogs) all dressed as superheroes.  As they started announcing the winners, I was hopeful but nervous.  When most creative costume went to someone else, I thought that we'd missed out.  But then they announced the grand prize winner!

Blue and Bettina Greyhound as Sheep
Was it us?  Did we win something edible?
Blue and Bettina Greyhound take a victory lap around Petco
Victory Lap!
Blue and Bettina with their winnings
And here's the loot (the well-chewed marrow bone was NOT part of our winnings)


Throwback Thursday - In Honor of Marrow Bone Day

Thursdays are marrow bone day in our house.  Instead of the boring old rawhide chew for snack, the kids get a nice raw frozen marrow bone.  In honor of that momentous occasion we post a video of Blue from last Thursday.  Typically they'll work on their bones for an hour or more, but don't worry, this video has been condensed through the magic of the Hyperlapse app and you'll only waste 30 seconds of your life watching it.


It Ain't Like It Used to Be

I had read a blog entry on Tales and Tails recently that talked about the familiar phenomenon (at least for greyhound parents) of being unable to go in public with the hounds without being stopped every few feet by the general public.  Mrs. Taleteller was mentioning how just about everyone she encountered talked about how they had never seen a real live greyhound before. 

Blue and Bettina greyhoundBack when Mumma first got Girly Girl and then Blue, it was mostly that way for us in Maine as well.  No one had seen one and everyone was amazed by them.  Even the questions we encountered about greyhounds were pretty similar to Mrs. Taletellers experience and we really liked her idea about getting a card made up that covers the most common ones.  It’s been more than 7 years now since my first greyhound and I must say that our local rescues are doing a pretty good job with PR because for some time now, we have met far fewer people who have never seen a greyhound. 

Most people we meet have seen and touched a live greyhound.  And more and more, they tell us that they own a greyhound, owned a greyhound, their cousin, sister, mother owns a greyhound, or they live next door to someone who owns a greyhound.  This has been an interesting change for us and certainly brings hope for the future of greyhounds.  I made a comment to this effect on the Tales and Tails blog.

Still I wasn’t prepared for what happened the very next night.  Mumma is refinancing her mortgage thanks to an offer from the mortgage company that was too good to be refused.  Our closing was scheduled for the night after our comment on the blog.  The mortgage company had engaged two notaries to come to my house at 7p in the evening when it was convenient for me and conduct the closing.  That alone blew my mind. 

Blue greyhound gets comfyThe two notaries presented themselves at my door at 7p as advertised.  They stepped inside and both caught sight of Blue and Bettina at the same time.  I heard, “OH LOOK GREYHOUNDS!  We have an Italian greyhound now and we had a full size greyhound a little while ago.  We just love them.  They’re the best breed ever.”  And it went on from there to a full discussion of the merits of greyhounds while I signed 2 pounds worth of documents.  They even mentioned that mine wasn’t the first house they had gone to for a closing where they had encountered greyhounds. 

After the papers were signed, they took their leave absolutely covered in greyhound hair and nose snooshies.  Blue and Bettina, having extracted the maximum amount of attention from our visitors, were both contentedly napping.   I stood there shaking my head in amazement.  I had just lowered my house payment by more than $100 a month and these strangers from out of nowhere were greyhound fanatics like me.  It sure ain’t what it used to be!


The Last Lesson

It has been 4 years today since you left me.  You have now been gone from me longer than you spent with me.  Yet I have thought of you, felt your absence and missed you terribly every one of those 1460 days.  I still marvel at the impact one small brindle hound has had on the life of a most unworthy human.  If it is at all possible that I am a better person now it is due to the things you taught me.

I never dreamt I could love something more than I loved myself.  And I never dreamt that your absence could still hurt so badly.  On our last day together I told you that it was ok to go.  That Mumma would be OK.  I think you knew I was lying.  My sweet girl, I still wait every day to be OK. 
The last lesson you’ve taught me is that true love never dies.

Girly Girl and Blue Greyhound Share a Bed

Girly Girl

Forever Mumma’s Sweet Pea


Six and Sassy

Bettina, the Crown Regent of Fussypants, had a birthday yesterday.  She turned six years old.  While she's calmed down a bit since she joined us at two years old, her Diva skills have increased exponentially.

Bettina greyhound-is that for me?
Say now...could that be for moi?  Enchante!

Bettina greyhound defending her birthday cookie
Oh HELLS no!  That is MINE.  ALL MINE.

Bettina and Blue greyhound in the kitchen
Why is there always a dorky hat involved?

Bettina eating her birthday cookie
First I'm going to deal with this cookie, THEN I'm going to deal with this hat.
Bettina greyhound in her birthday hat
Am I going to get one more cookie to grow on?  That's tradition right?  


It's All Very Funny Until It Bites You in the Face

Yesterday we shared Bettina's safari adventures thinking (hoping) that was the extent of it.  This is amusing given that was mostly only the beginning of it.

After Bettina had declined her dinner and Mumma posted her essay, we all hoped for a better day tomorrow.  Bettina retired to the now vacated office and remained there for the evening.  I occasionally checked up on her in there and noted that each time, the swelling seemed even worse than it had been at dinner time.  By 9:00p Bettina was burning up and her face was truly alarming.  I took her temperature and found it to be at 104.6.  We called the emergency vet who advised we should come in which we promptly did.
Bettina greyhound after the emergency vets
Bettina just after our trip the emergency vet

The vet checked her over and said, "yep, looks like she got bitten."  He took her temperature as well (a fact that she made clear she was not happy about) and found it had risen to 105.5.  He gave her a shot of Metacam and a shot of antibiotic.  He sent us home with oral Metacam and Clavamox.  Mumma expected that we were on the road to recovery.  Indeed when we reached home Bettina seemed a little more lively than before.  She retired immediately to the office and the rest of us went to bed.

In the morning, Bettina came into my bedroom to greet me.  That seemed like a very good sign.  Her swelling looked to have gone down a tiny little bit, but she had developed an odd egg filled with liquid under her jaw.  Mumma began rounds to make sure everything had gone ok.  When we got to the office, poor Bettina had thrown up a number of times all over everything, beds and carpet alike.

When she came in from her potty break she seemed interested in breakfast so I gave her a little bit of yogurt and a tablespoon of kibble mixed in.  She ate it all.  Small victories.  So then I gave her a Clavamox with a little peanut butter.  That went down to.  Except it all came right back up a mere 45 minutes later.

And from there it went downhill with every last drop of bile in her tiny little body finding it's way out the front end.  Now she consecrated the beds, the carpet and the couch cover in the living room.  The last couple times, there was blood in the vomit.  The situation was looking a bit worse and our Spot Bot worked double overtime today.

At this point Mumma was no longer feeling very confident about the emergency vets prognosis of the night before.  Also at this point Mumma realized that our regular vet Dr. Amy doesn't have any office hours on Wednesday.  And the emergency vet wouldn't be open again for another 7 hours.  Panic set in and rational thought left the building.  I'm not to proud to admit I placed a tearful call to Dr. Amy's answering machine in the vain hopes that someone might check it on their day off.  I did finally pull it back together and called the only other local vet whom I would trust any of my babies with.
Bettina greyhound post emergency vet
The only thing missing is the big liquid egg that formed
under her jaw during the night.  

The Androscoggin Animal Hospital in Topsham (bless them) agreed to see Bettina at 11:15a.  We presented ourselves promptly.  Dr. Molly saw us and felt that the NSAID Bettina had been given probably caused "gastric distress" (love that term, Bettina just gastric distressed herself all over the carpet again...).  So Bettina laid in Mumma's lap while they administered subcutaneous fluids to combat dehydration as well as Pepcid to cut down the stomach acid and Cerenia to help with the nausea.  They advised that I give her oral Pepcid for the next few days and gave us Tramadol to use in place of the Metacam.

Bettina again seemed somewhat revived by the time we got home.  She joined us in the newly Spot Botted office and spent much of the afternoon sleeping.  When she got up and came to see me, I noted that her swelling had most definitely gone down.  Her eyes seemed a little brighter as well.  I tried giving her a biscuit which she ate as best she could with one lip that had gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson.  She also agreed to a little bit of chicken broth though kindly left half of it for Blue to finish (who is this dog?).

We're back at dinner time, the same place we were when Mumma posted yesterday.  I'm hoping she eats at least part of a meal and that it stays down along with the Clavamox, Pepcid and Tramadol I will try and give her.  Cross your fingers for us!  If I ever find that damned civet cat (or opossum or barn cat or fisher) I'm going to make a muff out of it's mangy hide after I get the pin number for it's bank account so I can recoup her medical costs.


On Safari (Or What I Did on My Summer Vacation)

Her Highness, the Crown Regent of Fussy Pants, decided to go on safari after dinner yesterday.

Bettina requested an unscheduled potty break around 7:30p.  This wasn’t at all unusual since she is infamous for going out right after dinner, pretending to do her business and then rushing back to be the first one inside.  She then beelines to Blue’s dinner bowl and cleans up anything Blue may have left, missed or dropped.  The tiniest potential that she may score a pea or a piece of dropped kibble will have her gladly neglecting unimportant things like bodily functions.

Bettina greyhound with bites
Bettina with bite or scratch marks just after her bath.
This is especially true when she can demand that Mumma stop what she is doing and let her out again later on.  Since Mumma isn’t always able to tell when the demand for a potty break is legitimate and Mumma doesn’t like to play Russian roulette with loaded bladders, I let her out and went on with my business.

She seemed to be outside for a very long time.  This in and of itself is not unprecedented but it’s more likely to happen at mid-day when she is in the mood for a sun bath in the sand pit.  After a little while longer, I got up to check on her.  Being a worry wart I begin to picture terrible catastrophes like a random trespasser stopping to open the gate to our yard for fun or maybe a tree falling over and knocking my fence down without making a sound.  True, this could only happen if both the tree and the fence were in the forest and no one was around, but we ARE forest adjacent.  What if that is close enough?

I spotted Bettina heading towards the far corner of our yard with a definite purpose.  At the time, it crossed my mind that she appeared to be tracking or hunting as she zigged and zagged with her head low to the ground, sniffing the air occasionally.  Seeing as how there are no real hiding places in our back yard, and I could see the full expanse, there were no visible targets anywhere within the confines of the fence.  So I shut the door and decided I’d let her tell me when she was ready to come back in.

Eventually she turned up at the back door waiting for the door-Mumma to let her in.  Almost immediately I
Bettina greyhound cheek swelling
Bettina's face this morning.
realized that something wasn’t quite right.  Bettina had a distinct odor about her.  I know you’re all thinking skunk, but it wasn’t.  That is an unmistakable smell.  This smell was very pungent, and not at all pleasant, but at least it didn’t make my eyes water.  I have never smelled a civet cat before but I’ve read that they really stink and that they spray everything.  Bettina smelled exactly like what I imagined someone who had been sprayed by a civet cat would smell like.  Of course, civet cats are not native to the backwoods of Maine.  I believe they’re typically found in Africa or the jungles of South America. 

It is not unheard of for Bettina to find a particularly smelly spot and plonk herself down on it straight away and roll with abandon.  This has been the cause of at least two unscheduled baths in the past.  I figured she must have found the mack daddy of smelly spots in our back yard (still being concerned with the possibility of a wild, extremely lost, civet cat). 

At first I thought I could live with the smell until it wore off.  But with each breath the smell wormed it’s way into my brain until it was all I could smell.  I realized that living with it was not going to be an option.  Then picturing Bettina jumping up onto my bed to sleep with me that night spurred me to immediate action.  Not being one to be too rash, I broke out the grooming wipes and wiped her down several times.  She soon stank of civet cat AND Mango Tango.  Worse still, she began trying to rub and roll on the carpet trying to get rid of that horrible mango scent. 

Bettina's swollen face at lunch time
Poor Miss Bean's face at lunch time.
I had no choice but to wrestle her into the bathtub.  There were multiple sessions of soaping and rinsing.  I would have soaped her a few more times but she began to collapse against the side of the tub in a faint.  Now this would be completely like Bettina as dramatic as she can be, but I had actually read about greyhounds who faint in warm water baths.  I had never seen one.  I certainly didn’t know I was living with one.  But then again, I also didn’t know I had a civet cat in my back yard.  One that was very good at hiding.

As I was drying her off, I noticed she had a series of scratches or bite marks on her cheek.  The warm water had caused them to bleed.  And to top it off, I could still catch faint whiffs of Eau de Civet Chaton.  The only thing that fully washed off was the Mango Tango.

After wetting the entire house down after her bath, she lay on the other end of the sofa and gave me the hairy eyeball while wafting the occasional puff of weak civet cat in my direction.  Somewhere in my backyard is a sneaky civet cat desperately trying to rub off the smell of domestic greyhound.  Bettina got to have the adventure and Mumma had to write the essay.

Post Script:  As a result of her wild game hunt, Bettina’s cheek and eye swelled up quite shockingly the following day.  Mumma is treating it with ice packs, anti-inflammatories and Stella and Chewy’s treats.  Bettina is bravely holding her own.  When she declined dinner tonight, Mumma started to really curse civet
Bettina's swollen face at dinner time.
Bettina's face at dinner time.  (We apologize for the quality of these
cell phone photos and Mumma's increasingly shaky, worried

Post Post Script:  We have subsequently discussed this incident with Grammy.  In her youth, Mumma was always told by Grammy that there were fishers in the woods behind our house and that they ate little kids.  We always laughed at her and made fun of her because fishers are not common and they rarely show themselves.  For a long time we didn’t even believe that a fisher was a real animal.  Grammy has conducted a little research and she feels she has now been vindicated and that this unprecedented attack on Bettina was conducted by a fisher.  We’re still laughing at her.  Kind of.


Greyhounds in Sheeps Clothing

Blue the sheep and Bettina greyhound
Blue:  Mumma got our new Halloween costumes today.
Bettina:  Ah ha ha ha ha, ha hahah ah ha ha!  What a dork!

Blue the sheep and Bettina greyhound
Blue:  You think you're so smart, I said she got OUR costumes today.
Bettina:  Wait, whaaa?
Bettina the sheep
Bettina:  BLOODY HELL!!!
Bettina and Blue sheep
Blue:  Look at it this way, you may have discovered your true self.
Bettina:  As a stooge for Mumma's whims?
Blue:  No as the black sheep of the family.
Bettina:  I'm going to go and pee on her bed... and then yours.
Blue:  Baaaah Baaaah Bettina.  See ewe later!


June is Adopt-A-Cat Month

Recently Bettina discovered it was Adopt-A-Cat Month.  Since then there has been a running conversation in our house.

Bettina:  Mumma! Mumma!  Mumma! Mumma!

Mumma:  What Bettina?  Can’t you see that Mumma is trying to eat?

Bettina:  It is Adopt-A-Cat Month.

Mumma:  OK thanks for that information.

Bettina:  We need to adopt a few cats.

Mumma:  I don’t think that is a great idea.

Bettina:  Oh but it is.  Maybe a nice fat juicy one, and a couple older and slower ones.  If you can get them all declawed, I’d appreciate it.
I know I saw one in here once

Mumma:  Did you say juicy?

Bettina:  I meant cute and cuddly.

Mumma:  Bettina remember what happened last time we had a cat around the house?

Bettina:  Yes and I still haven’t forgiven you for that.

Mumma:  Forgiven me?  You’re the one who spent three days trying to eat it.

Bettina:  And that last day I almost had it at the fence.  I can still taste it…  OK if we can’t have three cats how about one?  I’ll settle for fat and juicy, I mean cuddly.

Mumma:  Are you drooling?  Sister, we will never be adopting a cat.  That is the nicest thing we can do for kitties during June.

Bettina:  I wish someone else had adopted me. 

Mumma:  Yes Princess you do have the worst luck.

Bettina:  Mumma! Mumma! Mumma! Mumma!

Mumma:  What Bettina? 

Bettina:  Can I have 10 cookies?


A Dozen is a LOT!

Fox is 12 years old today!
Guess who is almost a teenager?  Happy Birthday 12th Birthday Fox!



Please Not the Dreaded Limp

May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month.  We, like many other greyhound custodians, know very well the hell that comes with a diagnosis of cancer.  Osteosarcoma is a very common cancer in racing greyhounds.  I do specify racing greyhounds because show greyhounds do not get osteosarcoma at anywhere near the rate that racers do.  I once heard a talk given by Dr. Guillermo Couto where he stated that one in three retired racers will get the
dreaded “O.” 

That is why all greyhound owners live in fear of ever finding their greyhound limping.  That is usually the first sign that your life is about to take a big turn for the worse.  Usually you can convince yourself that it’s just a regular limp.  Maybe arthritis.  Maybe he or she hurt themselves playing.  Or running.  Or stretched wrong.  Anything.  Usually the limp goes away and you firmly put it out of your mind.  A couple weeks or even a month later, the limp returns. 

Now you’re sweating.  Can you rationalize it any more as a normal limp?  Sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t.  But either way, by the second or third round of limping you end up at the veterinarians for the x-rays.

This sounds familiar to so many of you I’m sure.  All anyone has to do is post that they are worried because
they found their greyhound limping and immediately everyone knows why.  Sometimes you don’t catch the limp and the first notice you have that something is wrong is when your baby’s leg breaks out of the blue.  Having caught Girly Girl’s cancer fairly early on, I often wonder if it would have been somehow easier if my notice had been a leg fracturing unexpectedly.  Either way it feels like a Sophie’s choice.

Many of us have lost more than one beloved hound to cancer.   Most of us have been touched in some way by cancer.  And lest you think that osteosarcoma is the only type of cancer that can affect greyhounds, that is not the case.  Lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma and a whole other host of “omas” can affect your hound.  And to add insult to injury, I’ve read of hounds who survived one type of cancer only to succumb to another type later on. 

This is why a cancer awareness month is so important.  Research is happening every day that is aimed at curing canine cancer within the next 10 years.  That is the goal.  And along the way they are finding new and better treatments.  I hope to see the day soon where cancer of any sort becomes a manageable chronic disease.  Then ultimately, curable. 

There are all kinds of ways you can join in the fight but I will single out two here.  The Morris Animal Foundation funds research into all sorts of canine diseases.  A major focus of its research is canine cancer.  Your donations go directly to help fund this essential research.  Visit their website (www.morrisanimalfoundation.org) and you can see all the research projects they are funding as well as learn about the results of these studies and the breakthroughs that have been made. 

Blue's Blue Buffalo trading cardThe dog food company Blue Buffalo has a cancer foundation called the Blue Buffalo Foundation for Cancer Research.  They have partnered with Petco to raise funds for this foundation.  Every May you can donate at any Petco checkout counter and of course, donations are always accepted through their website (www.petcancerawareness.org).  Purchasing a bag of Blue Buffalo food sends another dollar to research.  If you visit Blue Buffalo's site and create a trading card in May, another dollar goes to research.  And seriously aren't these trading cards pretty cool?  This foundation also supports organizations that fund cancer treatment for families who can’t afford it. 

I absolutely believe that one day cancer will not be a death sentence for our furry children.  I intend to help wherever I can to make sure that happens in my lifetime.  It’s too late to help my Girly Girl, but not too late to save Blue, or Bettina or the hound laying next you.  Please consider donating to these worthy causes in honor of all the dogs we’ve lost.


Gregor Mendel and the Big What If?

I realize that what I’m about to say is utter heresy in the world of animal adoption, but what if you could get your hound unspayed or unneutered?  I admit that I sometimes wonder about this.  Don’t crack those knuckles to warm up your typing fingers just yet.  I cannot be the only person who has ever had this thought.

Baby Blue
Baby Blue
(thanks to Drew H. for the photoshop assist)
As I sit looking at my sweet, handsome, big goof Blue, it seems a shame that there will never be any baby Blue’s spreading their handsome genes and sweet nature to the world of greyhoundom.  Blue was a decent racer but not fast enough to be a stud dog.  It seems such a loss to the greyhound gene pool.  No one ever
has loved a pillow or a hotel bed like Blue does.  Wouldn’t a tiny Blue or two curled up on a bed pillow melt any adoption activist’s heart?

I also think about my Girly Girl of course.  What I wouldn’t give to have one of her daughters with me now.  To have her live on in a reserved brindle girl who takes after her mom.  Girly Girl had been slated to be a brood mom.  If that actually had happened, I would never have met her.  She would have been diagnosed with cancer before she ever reached the age of brood mom retirement.  Still I know she would have been such a great mom.  The way she hoarded and brooded all her stuffies gave me just a little glimpse into the part of her life that never was.

Baby Bettina
Baby Bettina
(thanks to Drew H. for the photoshop assist)
And then there is Bettina.  Yes, I even wonder what her crazy spirit would look like if it could have been crossed with other hounds we know.  The world is going to be a much poorer place when she isn’t stampeding around in it anymore.  I picture a little herd of black greyhounds running rampant through the house. They’d all be barking and shrieking while chewing on the electrical cords, over-turning the garbage can, learning to counter surf and leaving me a tiny corner at the foot of my own bed to sleep on while they gleefully shred the pillows and comforter. 

More magical thinking for sure.  But haven’t you all thought about what it would have been like to have a puppy or two from one or all of your beloved hounds?  I know at least three people who actually do have that situation but they arrived at it in a much different way from the way I am fantasizing.  If you adopt an older retired brood mom then you can have years of fun tracking down and adopting the puppies once they retire off the track!  And seriously, how cute would Blue and Bettina puppies have been!


Celebration of Spring - First Movement

Blue trotting
It's time to get outside and blow the dust off (and half your hair coat...)


Throwback Thursday-Peanut

Why should Facebook and Instagram have all the fun?  We wanted in on Throwback Thursday to.  Here is a photo of our dog Peanut circa 1983.  She was a rescued beagle/dachsund cross.  At the time my mother was the Town Clerk.  She brought home a list of the names of all the dogs registered in town that year.  We chose Peanut from that list.  Funny I didn't recall it but Peanut is looking a little chubby in this shot.  Maybe it's just the angle...

Each one helps train us for the next one and we're better people now for having cared for them.  Peanut, Blue and Bettina say thank you.