Sunday, May 31, 2015

For the love of dogs...and sister Jane

My sister's memorial is coming up on June 7th, 2015, and I got to thinking about Jane and her relationship with dogs. She and I have both been fearful of dogs since we were young pups ourselves. I think the fear came from a dog pack that used to roam the streets of our community in our early years. I tried to overcome my fear by dog-sitting as often as I could, but there was always a remnant of fear, even after all these years. Jane never got over that fear, although she came to love all the dogs that Drew and I have adopted. (Click on any photo for a larger view.)

Jane and Aaron meet Kasha in Colorado
Jane and Kasha (our first adopted dog) had a special bond, and Jane was a wonderful aunt. She truly loved Kasha and I think her visits to us were as much about Kasha as they were about us. Kasha was the first dog that Jane had ever bonded with.

Jane and Aaron relax to the max with Kasha
Kasha, in turn, adored Jane and our nephew, Aaron, and looked forward to playing ball and chillaxing with them at every chance she got. She was still a puppy when she first met them.

Jane and Kasha at Caesar Pond on a
particularly cold and windy autumn day.

As Kasha aged, she slowed down more, which suited Jane as she was always nervous around high energy dogs. She preferred cuddly pups. She and Kasha would play ball, walk in the woods, and play in the snow.
Jane entices 14.5 year old Kasha
with a dog biscuit necklace.

Jane walks Lady Flame. This was the
first time Jane had ever walked a
dog on leash all by herself!
After Kasha crossed over the Rainbow Bridge, we adopted Greyhounds. When Jane first met Lady Flame, she was a bit overwhelmed by her size as Lady was a bit taller than our petite Kdog. But, Lady Flame walked well on leash, and Jane was quite proud of herself when out and about with Lady. It helped that Lady Flame is such a reserved and quiet dog.  

Jane and Aaron meet Bettina and Blue
Jane even came to enjoy hanging out with other Greyhounds, like Blue and Bettina. She, hubby David, and Aaron visited over the Christmas holiday, several years ago, and got to bond with these special pups during one of our many play dates.

Jane and David watch as Aaron bonds with Blue
Jane found Blue to be an
incredible gentleman.
For Jane to be comfortable with all the hounds running amuck, in the yard, was simply amazing. Jane came to adore Bettina and Blue, who are both wonderful Greyhound ambassadors. Their love of people, and the way they lean on you when they trust you, helped to put Jane at ease. 

Jane and Toby bond

Then, Toby came into our lives. Jane absolutely adored Toby, but who doesn't! He is a big, lovable pup who likes nothing better than to snuggle, and snuggle, and snuggle. They became fast friends, and I absolutely loved seeing them together...
Toby was fascinated by the sounds
emanating from the French horn.
For Jane to feel comfortable around such a large dog was quite an accomplishment. I know that the pups are going to miss seeing Jane, and will wonder where she is when David and Aaron visit over the coming years...
Jane and Toby relax on New Year's Day.
This is the last photo I took of Jane,
with her beloved Toby, just a mere
 4 months before she
succumbed to cancer.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Much Ado about Rita

While on my vacation in Florida, I met the woman who is assisting my mother each day. We found that we have something in common...Greyhounds! Vikki doesn't own one, but she and her husband were instrumental in capturing a hound, named Rita, who had been on the loose for 2 years. Many attempts had been made to capture this skittish girl, and it took a high speed, remote controlled net to finally do the trick. The capture occurred while I was in Florida. Vikki sent me some photos and a few letters which I will share with you here. 

By the way, Rita's racing name is Craigie I Amrita. She is a black brindle hound, who escaped on her adoption day in the spring of 2013. She has been on the run ever since. But, now she is safe although she has been diagnosed with the dreaded heartworms. We hope that she will survive. It is critical to keep a dog quiet, during the months after treatment as the worms die, because they can cause blockages in the vessels from the heart to the lungs. (Click on the photos for larger views.)

May 23, 2015
Hi Laurie,

Just had to tell you the good news!

We caught Rita this morning at 8:00.  Other than a little cut on her tongue from the net, she is doing fine. She fought the net less than a minute. When my husband got to her, she started calming down; she was shaking like a leaf, but was calm.

She is at the vet to have her tongue looked at, and blood washed out of her mouth.

She is such a sweetheart! It was so nice to finally get to hug the dog I helped take care of for 22 months.

May 24, 2015
Hi Laurie,

Rita is a gentle, sweet dog. Being on the run for two years, and scared every minute, did not change her sweet personality.

After she was caught and two leashes put on her, she did not try to get away; she knew she was safe now. She went right into the crate in the van, and laid down on a soft bed for the first time in over 2 years.

She was taken to the house of the woman who has been feeding her all along, and given a bath which she actually enjoyed. Rita met a couple of the woman's pets.

The man that has adopted Rita lives out of state, so he and Rita stayed in a hotel last night. He let her pick where she wanted to sleep and she chose the spot next to his bed. So he put her blanket there and she got a good night's sleep.

I am so glad she is off the streets and is safe now. I'll keep you updated on Rita's progress.

Take care!

May 24, 2015
Hi. I was so excited for pictures of Rita on a leash, I didn't think about the net. The size of the net is 25' x 25' x 7' tall. It costs $4,000. In this picture, Rita is eating breakfast just outside the net. 

And here, she is eating in the center. 

Got an update on Rita: she leans on the man who adopted her, looking for attention. She is adjusting so quickly.

Thank you,

May 25, 2015
Hi Laurie,

Hope you had a good flight. I wanted to let you know Rita arrived home earlier this evening. She is loving life in Boston. She met her 4 Greyhound siblings, and they get along greyt! (Hope it is ok if I use that word, I don't have a greyhound.)

Her new owner took her leash off so she could walk around and get to know the other dogs and her new yard. When she was ready, she walked right back to him and laid down beside his chair. She knows she is safe, there is no where else she wants to be.


May 27, 2015
Hi Laurie,

I was waiting for some good pictures of Rita with her new brothers and sisters, but her adopter has been very busy. Yesterday, Rita spent the day at the vet. She had to have her tongue stitched up, and she had a bunch of tests done and x-rays. As we feared, she has heart worms.

This picture was taken today, after she ate. He says she stays in the crate, door open, but doesn't want to come out until he shows her the leash. Then she is ready to go for a walk. She likes that soft bed.

When you get to 'Rita overload' just let me know *:) happy

Take care!

May 29, 2015
Hi Laurie,

I was hoping to get a better picture to send to you of Rita and her new pack, her eyes are glowing gold. The white and grey one is the one that immediately took to her as soon as she arrived at the house, he wanted to play. After being on her own, running loose for two years, Rita is still house trained. She never ceases to amaze me.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

"Starbird Corner Walk" or "Toby the Cat Fancier"

Drew and Toby walk down Starbird Corner Rd.
We invited Shannon and the pups to go for a walk with us down Starbird Corner this afternoon. The outdoor temp. was a chilly 60F under a cloudy sky. The blackflies were out and biting, thus we wore our headnets. Trouble, Sugaree, Toby and Lady Flame needed the outing and seemed to enjoy the walk.

Shannon, Trouble and Sugaree

What not to do when you own Greyhounds;-)
As we passed a house that is owned by two Siamese cats, we spied the lighter colored one. Drew decided to entice the cat to come over for a visit because Toby has never actually seen a cat before. We figured our big guy didn't have  much prey drive, and were surprised to find that he is quite the cat fancier!

Toby got a bit too excited!

This cat was one brave kitty. He stood his ground and settled back down onto the road as soon as we passed by.

On the way back down the street, Lady Flame spied the cat again, and you can see it through her perked up ears. She is a known cat fancier... Yummm dinner! (Click on any photo for a larger view.)

Lady Flame is always on the lookout for this cat.
She is a connoisseur of felis domesticus...

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Slow walk on a hot day

One must be patient to live a happy life with Greyhounds. I admit that patience is not a virtue of mine. Thus, there are a few occasions when I get extremely frustrated with our two dogs.

Going for walks with our pups is one of the most excruciatingly, frustrating activities I can think of doing. Today's walk (or shall I say crawl) consisted of us practically dragging our hounds behind us, and it was almost epic in the length of time it took us to walk two miles. Seventy three agonizing minutes dragged on, and on, and on. My internal dialog was not one that can be repeated in polite company. However, I have to keep a positive tone to my voice so that Lady Flame (in particular) doesn't pull a stand-up strike.

My dialog went like this:
After the first 30 minutes of a fairly good walk, things started to slow down...
Me (physical voice): "Oh boy, Lady can make it up this tiny hill. Let's go!"
Me (internal voice): "Holy smokes, if we go any slower up this hill we'll be walking backwards."
Two minutes later...
Me (physical voice): "Good girl, Lady Flame. Let's jog...Yahooo!"
Me (internal voice): "Blankety, Blank, Blank...quit sniffing the side of the road and get a move on..."
Five minutes later as we continue to plod down the road in super hot 63F weather...
Me (physical voice): "Isn't the shade nice! Maybe we can walk a little faster in the cool shade!"
Me (internal voice): "I don't know how much more of this walk I can take. I need a root beer float!"
Six minutes later as we are all panting from the heat...
Me (physical voice): "Who wants water? Are you pups thirsty?"
Me (internal voice): "Good pups...everybody is getting hydrated...maybe now we can walk a bit faster!"
Two minutes later...
Me (physical voice): "Ooohhh...aren't we feeling refreshed! How's about we pick up the pace?"
Me (internal voice): "If Man were meant to walk this slowly, he would have evolved to have shorter legs..."
You get the gist...Repeat, repeat, repeat...

Friday, May 1, 2015

Papermill Trail Walk

I need time to decompress after working with students all day long, so Drew often brings the pups along when he picks me up from school. We then go to the Papermill Trail for a nice walk along either the Sabbattus River or the Androscoggin River.

It was such a beautiful day for walk with the air temp. at 56F under a sunny sky. I must say that we were warm as we walked through sunny patches, and quite chilly as we walked through shady areas of the trail. Refreshing!

Carrot Munching Time

Ahhh... warm afternoons are great for lounging in the backyard and munching on carrots... This is a favorite activity of our hounds. (Click on each photo set for a larger view.)

Lady Flame generally snatches the carrot from Drew's hand and runs away as fast as she can. Then, she settles down to enjoy that sweet, orangey goodness.

Toby, on the other hand, gently takes the carrot from Drew and settles down a few feet away. He is much slower at munching (and may not covet the carrot as much as Flame does.)