That’s a LONG day

Wednesday is double visit day. We start our first visit at 10.00 am, so we have to be up early to get breakfast and get ready. Today I got home at 3.30 pm. So it’s a long day for the dogs, considering greyhounds are happy with about a 30 minute walk each day

Because she has been getting back into her nervous state again, I tried Evie with Rassilon’s old ‘Thundershirt‘. It’s not as tight as it was on Rassilon, but he had a much bigger chest to wrap around, but it does the job a bit, and it seemed to help.

They are supposed to help relieve anxiety by compression, and Evie was noticeable better, but still noticeable anxious, however, she went up to people for a pat, even if she didn’t stay too long, and when we went into the room for a visit, rather than pacing around like she did, she settled down behind the bed (on the chaps blanket).

Evie in a Thunder Shirt.

I have some special dog relaxation music that worked for Rassilon, who was very nervous when I first got him, so I will put that on a hard drive and put it in the car for when we are going to the homes. I will also put the Thundershirt on her in the morning before the visit, or for our Wednesday morning visit.

Today our morning visit was restricted to the downstairs area, due to a Covid outbreak upstairs, but we have one person to visit there, and once we started talking, time flew.

He had owned a greyhound and he had been in the RAAF. I own greyhounds and was in the RAAF, so we had plenty to talk about, and before I knew it, the carer was coming in to make his bed, and we had been there for 90 minutes.

When we went upstairs to sign out, we got caught up with the staff in the room. Swagger certainly made an impression!!!

He was pushing her over, trying to get to rest his belly on her shoulder.

I wasn’t far from home, so I came back and gave the dogs their breakfast that I forgot to take out of the freezer last night, so it was frozen this morning. They made quick work of that, while I had my egg, cheese and tomato sandwiches that I made last night and just had to grill before eating.

I had made 3, but only ate 2, so I cut the 3rd one in half and offered it to the dogs. That lasted about 10 seconds.

Then it was off to Flagstaff Hill, where Swagger knows where to go on a Wednesday. I don’t know if it is the day he remembers or having to go down in the lift, or the fact that he gets treats, but whatever it is, it is fun to watch him speeding off with his tail wagging straight into the room. The woman there also remembers the dogs visit on a Wednesday and saves some of her lunch for them.

After his snacks, Swagger likes to get up close and personal…in case there is more.

So now it is time for an afternoon nap before tea, then watch the world cup (if it’s worth it).

Tomorrow I have to phone up the nursing home first, because they had a Covid outbreak last week and I couldn’t go to where I was supposed to. If they say it is okay, I will put the Thundershirt on Evie until we go and I will play her music in the car. Or, we might have a nice day off.

Until then, I have to find the music on one of the hard drives on my computer and put it on the big hard drive I put in the car. (Endless hours of music, better than a CD).

In the meantime, my favourite choir has released a new song. I hope you enjoy it.(Remember, the oldest boy is still only 16)

What a week.

I went visiting on Monday, but the person I am supposed to see was asleep, so I had to wander around and see who else I could visit. Fortunately there were people in the dining room that I was able to spend time with, so the drive there wasn’t a waste of time.

Wednesday went well. We had our 2 visits, and I booked in for lunch at Flagstaff Hill. 2 meals, 1 for me and 1 for Evie and Swagger. I had a chicken burger while the dogs had pizza, chips and coleslaw. I didn’t think they would eat the coleslaw, but in true greyhound fashion, that was the first thing to go.

Lucky for me our Thursday visit is only 4 Km away, because when I got there I was told that the 2 people I visit had both tested positive for Covid, so I couldn’t go into their rooms. The Memory Support Unit (MSU), the other area I visit, had 14 more Covid positive residents, and even the other side, where I could have gone, had 12 positive cases.

So, it was go in, sign in, get told all about how I couldn’t go into certain rooms, and just come home again. Of course I phoned up the volunteers and let them know so they could let anyone else that visits there know, so they wouldn’t have a wasted drive.

Then today we did our regular visits (2 people), plus a stop in the dining room where people were gathering for a concert. We were asked to visit a resident in her room, then before we left we went to see our Monday client that we had missed. We stayed there for about another hour.

But there is something about her, because Evie, who has been a bundle of nerves all week, sat down beside the chair and let the woman pat her. Swagger fell asleep out of the way.

Evie was relaxed and happy to be patted.

When I got home it was quite warm, so I had a cool drink and a lay down, with the dogs sharing the bed of course. Later I got up and had something to eat then watched the football replay on TV before getting hungry again. So I cooked up some chips with melted cheese over them.

Of course I had to cook up extra, because I knew I would have to share. What I learned is, if you want to listen to the TV, DON’T feed the dogs in bed.

Swagger enjoyed his chips and cheese, even if he drowned out the TV.

Sunday is party day. It is Swagger’s 4th birthday, so I will have to get him something nice to eat. I will get him something special. I will get Evie something as well, but probably just some Devon. Swagger can have the luxury meat for the special occasion. I could get him a toy, but he has some on order, and I know how greyhounds love their food.

Swagger, 27/11 Birthday Boy. 4 Years Old (and already retired).

Evie has to wait until February 23 for her special day, when she will be 3.

I was lucky this year as well. I have been getting calendars, dedicated to the dogs, for the past few years, but when I looked earlier in the year they were about $28.00 each. It doesn’t take many at that price for that bill to get to be too big, so I decided that I wouldn’t bother.

But good news for those that regularly get a calendar, Vistaprint had a Christmas sale and the prices dropped by about 80%, meaning that the number of calendars I needed was now affordable. So there will be Evie and Swagger calendars this year for the select few.

Next week visiting should be normal except for Thursday, when I have to phone up before I go, just to see if they are open for visitors.

The following week I have 2 Christmas dinners to attend. One for the volunteers and the other for the housing association. I have made arrangements for the dogs to stay with Ralph and Ella while I am out. I can’t leave them at home, and it is too long to leave them in the car, especially with the temperature rising. And greyhounds are prone to separation anxiety. I know Evie certainly is.

Evie doesn’t like being left alone!!

But for now, it is another cool drink and go to bed.

It pays to shop around!!

As Swagger’s 4th birthday draws ever closer, (27/11), I was thinking about what present to get him, (come on, what greyhound owner doesn’t get their hound a birthday present?)

I don’t want to get him food, because Evie will get jealous, so I decided that a toy would be best, because he enjoys playing with his toys, (and Evie doesn’t play with toys, she just chases Swagger).

I thought about tennis balls, but they get lost when the grass gets a bit long, or chopped up when the grass gets mowed, but Swagger loves running and chasing, so I decided that a FRISBEE would be good, because of the distance and ‘hang time’ when they are thrown, plus they are big enough to see before they get mowed.

So it was onto Ebay to see what is available. What I found really annoyed me so much, that I am writing this warning to pet owners. Not everything that is branded ‘DOG’ or ‘PET’ is good for the animal. Sometimes it’s just good for the seller.

This is what I found.

One item is sold as a DOG/PUPPY TOY, while the second one isn’t. Can you tell the difference in items…other than the price? Both listings are direct from Ebay.

Clearly aimed at the PET market.

Aimed at the HUMAN fun market.

Simply by labeling something as a PET toy, they added $3.15. to the price, so you could buy the PET frisbee or 2.7 people frisbees.

When I first got him I bought Rassilon some PET shampoo once, it was $15.00 for 100ml, (that’s a disgusting $150.00 per 1000 ml), but he was new to me and I wanted to make sure everything was safe for him.

Meanwhile I was using shampoo that cost $3.00 per 1000 ml. And guess what…it didn’t irritate Rassilon, so I was able to use that when I bathed him. And people always commented on how soft and shiney he was, just like they do now with Evie and Swagger.

So next time you want to treat your pet, consider what you are buying and remember,


A new/old visit.

Today I took Evie and Swagger to Cottage Grove nursing home for the first time, and they did really well considering it was new to them. The last time I went there I had Rassilon, but most of the senior staff remembered me, and while they were sad to hear about Rassilon, they were thrilled to think that a relative of his was taking his place. (Rassilon’s father, El Grand Senor, was Swagger’s grandfather).

El Grand Senor.

Because the staff know me, and I have been to the home before, I didn’t need much of an induction, but I did remind them that now I am a CVS visitor, and not Therapy Dogs. So they showed me to the 2 people I am supposed to visit, and was told that I can go wherever I want and meet whoever wants to pat the dogs, if I have time left.

It is quite a big place with wings in all directions, so I will do the 2 booked visits, then go to different areas each week. That way I will get to spend a bit more time with everyone, rather that just a few minutes like I did with Rassilon. And the staff are quite happy with that plan.

I have some fancy outfits for the dogs, but for our first visit they didn’t wear them. Instead they wore their green collars and harness with their names on them. Next week, however, it will be full transformation from Evie and Swagger to Leo and Leoni.

Leo…AKA Swagger
Leoni…AKA Evie

In the afternoon we went to visit Norma who had saved some treats for the hounds, but after a busy day, she was falling asleep, but she stayed awake long enough to feed the dogs.

But that didn’t stop Swagger trying to push her daughter through the window. When you have a 30+ Kg dog leaning on your chest, he has a good chance of winning the pushing contest.

Swagger trying to put Jenny through the window.

Meanwhile, Evie finally settled down and stopped pacing around the place. Next week it will be lions visiting, but they will still have to put up with sausages or chicken. (I don’t think the nursing home serve antelope that often).

Evie even had a nap between 2 people, very unusual.

I am just waiting for their Christmas antlers to arrive, and we will be all ready for Christmas, and I am sure they will brighten peoples day, but unlike the shops, I will wait until closer to get their decorations out. I did have some big antlers for Rassilon, but I soon learned about the problems with them, so this year I have ordered some smaller ones that won’t be top heavy and keep falling off.

Tomorrow is our Kalyra visit, so I might put them in their lion manes’. I have to take in my computer again and I am going to visit Geoff first and set up the computer and put on a full concert video, and I can go around the rest of the home while they watch the video. We also have someone new to visit there, so that will be interesting. Let’s hope we don’t encounter the cat, or Swagger will be hopeless visiting.

But for now, after a double visit with a private visit in between, we are off to bed.

Rassilon never worked out the Christmas hat. That’s why he got antlers.

What a rigmarole!

Visiting day at Flagstaff Hill. It was ruined straight away because one of the managers brought in her little (yapping) dog. As soon as it saw Evie and Swagger it started, on and on and on, meanwhile Evie and Swagger didn’t mutter a woof.

Of course, Swagger now cannot think of anything but that dog. Even if he let someone pat him, he was looking for the dog. We went into visit our Monday resident and took her in a DVD that she absolutely loved. While I set it up, Swagger just stared at the door in case that dog should decide to come in. Evie, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about other dogs.

And that’s how he stayed all the time I was in the room.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Evie had to get in on the act.

Nurses put down rubber mats with a sensor in it, and if the resident gets out of bed, it sets off the alarm. Well, Evie has taken a liking to these mats, so I have to stay next to the switch so I can keep turning the alarm off. (If I unplug it, it also sets off an alarm).

She has the whole room to sleep in, but she chooses the alarmed mat.

After that we went to the dining room and let the people in there pat the dogs, although Swagger spent his time looking for the other dog and Evie is back to being nervous again so just paced around the room. I think it’s time for another anti-anxiety collar, she came good with the last one, and I have a couple of spares because Swagger doesn’t need one.

It was a short visit because the chap I went to visit was asleep, and the woman I visit has dementia, so it is difficult getting any conversation going, but she likes to pat the dogs, so I still go in to see her.

On the way out I stopped for a cup of coffee and put the dogs outside, but Swagger just stood at the door looking for the little dog.

He really gets infatuated with other dogs.

Next week we start at Cottage Grove, that has been approved. Personally, I think Rassilon’s name might have influenced them a bit. He was so popular there, and walked around without a leash, just going into rooms to say hello to everyone, even if they weren’t on our list. And I always have to talking point of Swagger’s grandfather being Rassilon’s father.

On the bright side, they don’t have live in pets, so maybe Swagger can concentrate on visiting, and I will put Evie’s anti-anxiety collar on now, so it has a few days to work.

I have just weighed out and packed up 59 containers of dog meals and rearranged and packed the freezer. There was 60 but I dropped one and Evie was on it like a rocket. At least I don’t have a mess on the floor to clean up.

Healthy Hounds: The Most ‘Common’ Greyhound Health Concerns

When I first became a greyhound dad, I spent most of my days fretting about my hound’s health. Every single hop, sniffle, or slightly weird blink had me calling the vet for advice. But I needn’t have worried as much as I did – hounds are pretty hardy!

Modern purebred dogs are often victims of several health ailments, many of which have been bred to accentuate certain features that are ‘desirable’ in show dogs. For example, German Shepherds often suffer hip issues because of their slanted backs, and Pugs often suffer sinus issues due to their squat noses. Greyhounds, however, have been bred to be prime athletes – strong, healthy, and fit – and this means they have fewer health issues than many other breeds!

There are a few things to look out for that are comparatively ‘common’ in greyhounds. I use the word common loosely – it’s all relative, and many issues can be avoided with good care and proactivity. However please note, I am not a vet, and your vet should always be the first point of call for health concerns!

Some studies have shown that up to 40% of greyhounds suffer from dental problems, which is a lot more than any other dog breed. When you adopt a GAP greyhound, they have just had a full scale and polish clean done – and GAP recommends getting one of these done about once a year. Some dogs (my Rhythm, for example) need it slightly more often. Keeping on top of dental care with regular cleans, as well as nice crunchy food and home brushing, is imperative in avoiding extractions as your hound ages. The biggest sign of dog teeth needing a professional clean is bad breath – but also look out for loss of appetite and blood in the mouth, which are more urgent symptoms.

Pannus, also known as chronic superficial keratitis, is a condition that affects the cornea (the clear part) of the eye. It is most common in large breed dogs, and sadly greyhounds are no exception. My oldest hound, Rhythm, was diagnosed at age seven. Symptoms of pannus include changes in colour to the eye(s), white fatty growths in the eye, visual impairment, and excess eye gunk. Unless pannus is advanced, it is usually painless for your dog – and therefore it is so important to get on top of it early. It can be treated with topical eye drops including steroids and anti-inflammatories, which you can get from your vet easily. My Rhythm is completely fine – one eye is cloudy now, four years on from diagnosis, but she has no issues with her drops and feels no discomfort at all!

Of all greyhound ailments, osteosarcoma is the one that scares me the most – but it is not at all a given, and there isn’t any point losing sleep over it. Osteosarcoma is an aggressive bone cancer, which generally starts in the leg, and is very hard to fight. Sadly, new studies are showing that greyhounds are slightly more likely to get rare cancer than other breeds. Osteo almost always starts as a limp – and that’s why it is always important to get a sore leg checked out right away! It could be something simple such as a corn or a sprained muscle, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Osteo calls for radical treatment such as amputation and chemotherapy if it is still treatable when it is caught.

This is one of the scariest of the things I warn new hound owners about, as the condition is fatal when not treated quickly. Bloat is a condition that affects deep-chested breeds (such as greyhounds) – it occurs when the dog’s stomach flips and twists on itself. Some key signs are a swollen, hard belly, retching without being able to vomit, restlessness and panting, and drooling. Bloat is a medical emergency, and if you suspect your hound may have it, you should be getting to the closest open vet without hesitation. Some tips to avoid bloat include feeding from raised bowls, which limits gulping, and not exercising your hound directly before or after a meal. I know in my family, we keep an eye on our hounds after dinner as they tend to try and get the happy zoomies, which is not a great idea on a full stomach.

This article might feel daunting, but I promise you, it’s not. I have worked with dozens of breeds in my time, and greyhounds have been the healthiest across the board. They don’t cost me the world in vet bills, and I very rarely must worry about their health. And remember when in doubt, talk to your vet.

Author: Charlie Jayde
Greyhound Owner for 4 years / GAP Volunteer
Experienced Dog Trainer

(From the GAPSA website)

History repeats itself.

I used to take Rassilon here as a Therapy Dog.

It’s time for a change. Aberfoyle Park nursing home is not worth our visiting anymore. Unlike Therapy Dogs, that wander around and visit lots of people for a short time, Evie and Swagger are Visitation Dogs. They are supposed to visit a smaller number of people but for a longer time. We do that, plus, because I know residents love the dogs, in whatever time I can afford, we will wander around and meet whoever wants to pat the dogs. But that is purely a goodwill gesture on my part, it is not part of the duties. It also gives you a good idea why our supposed 60 minute visits take so much longer.

The 2 people we are supposed to see at Aberfoyle Park are getting less interested in the visits, so I am having to do more wandering than visiting. Also, the lifestyle coordinator regularly takes her dog into the home, so Evie and Swagger won’t really be missed.

So today I went to see CVS (Community Visitors Scheme), and asked if there was anywhere else I could go instead, and there were a few places. But one was fairly local, (at least closer than Aberfoyle Park), and it is a home that I used to take Rassilon to visit when he was a Therapy Dog. The benefit of that home is, the lifestyle staff all know me, and I know my way around the home, which is a total rabbit warren.

Still with a leash, but not with anyone holding it. (Evie doesn’t even have the leash).

The CVS coordinator is going to get in touch with the staff at Eldercare, Cottage Grove, so I said to remind them about Rassilon having been to visit there. I hope his reputation will be remembered.

Another good thing about Cottage Grove is that it is a lot closer than Aberfoyle Park. It is only about 7 km each way. That means I will be able to come home for dinner before going to Flagstaff Hill, so another plus for me. I am not going to have to spend time on my day off preparing meals for between the visits.

I went to visit someone on Monday at Flagstaff Hill, and took her in a DVD player. She wanted some of the music I had played put onto DVD so she could enjoy it again, and said her daughter was going to bring in a player, but having had a long talk with her, I think she gets a bit confused about family and time.

Anyway, I connected up the DVD and put on a Helena Fischer concert DVD. When it was time to leave, she was so engrossed in the DVD, I doubt she even noticed I had gone. But I am certainly finding out the power of music when visiting, and I am going to try to use it more.

I took some videos into Kalyra to play to someone. And while they were sitting in their chair like they were asleep, I noticed the reaction to the music. And when I played Abbott and Costello’s ‘Who’s of First’, he couldn’t hold back the grin. Honestly, this could bring you out of a coma!

Just try NOT to laugh. Many have tried to copy this, and many have failed.

Next week is a volunteers meeting at Flagstaff Hill, so I have to go in early for that (10.30am). I am going to stay and have lunch at the home, then I can go to do my normal visit.

Of course I will probably have to buy 2 dinners. Well Evie and Swagger won’t like it if I am eating and they aren’t!

I have another DVD for the woman who loves Barbra Streisand. It is mostly Barbra with a few extras thrown in as well.

Her favourite, Barbra Streisand and my favourite, Celine Dion.

I don’t know if it is good or sad, but depending on the level of dementia, the memory can go a bit or a lot. I can talk to a woman and she will ask the same questions over and over, because she has no short term memory. She remembers she has 2 dogs at home, but she forgets she hasn’t been home for 2 years.

The guy I visit on Friday has gone downhill very quickly, and the really sad part is, he is only 50 years old. He can put a DVD on and watch it, then it will automatically replay after a few minutes, and he can watch it again. One DVD will last him all day.

Anyway, it is not long now for the big day. November 27th is Swaggers 4th birthday, and November 14th is King Charles’ 74th birthday. Having watched the Horrible Histories Monarchy Song, I believe the correct title is King Charles III.

The more you play it, the better you remember it.

Midnight Snack

It was my day off today, so I went and did some shopping for dog food. I had to go to Aldi at Woodcroft because they have an underground parking area, which is out of the sun, so the dogs stay cooler. I can’t leave them at home alone. Evie doesn’t like being alone, even for a few minutes.

And this wasn’t the first time I came home to this.

I haven’t prepared any meals yet, I want the freezer to empty out before I refill it with at least 56 containers of food just to give them 2 meals per day for the next 2 weeks, although I should get 60 meals out of the 6 packs of meat I bought.

They get 50g of meat plus vegetables and pasta and some *TVP. Next time it will be rice with vegetables and *TVP. They get dry biscuits as well for each meal, plus they get snacks during the day.

50g rice & Veg on the bottom + 50g of meat on top. Perfect size and easy store.

Tomorrow, while we are out for 2 visits, they will be getting some fresh chicken wings and feet, and I am having ham and egg wraps. Of course Wednesday is visiting Norma day, so there will be more treats for Evie and Swagger when they get to her room.

However, tonight I got hungry, so I had a banana sandwich with peanut butter. After getting GLARED at, I had to make Evie and Swagger one as well.

Banana sandwiches with peanut butter. Don’t all greyhounds eat that?

As you can see, Evie is a foodaholic and gets really desperate when food is around, while Swagger just sits there and waits. Luckily for me they actually eat fresh bananas, and I know Swagger even likes rock melon. Evie can not settle at night if she thinks there might be biscuits left in Swaggers bowl. Only when she has cleared the bowl and floor will she finally come to bed and sleep.

Swagger (bottom) relaxed; Evie (top) really relaxed.

Now my sandwich has had a chance to go down and digest, so hopefully I won’t wake up with a reflux attack, so I will leave everyone with a sight most greyhound owners would be well acquainted with…

(*Textured or texturized vegetable protein, also known as textured soy protein, soy meat, or soya chunks is a defatted soy flour product, a by-product of extracting soybean oil. It is often used as a meat analogue or meat extender. It is quick to cook, with a protein content comparable to certain meats. Wikipedia)

Another week done

What a week it was too.

It started off with my dishwasher stopping mid cycle and refusing to clear it’s memory or restart.

It was only on Friday, when I moved it to make room for a dish rack for hand washing the dishes (which I HATE), that I found the problem. The water hose had a kink in it and the water wasn’t getting through. The question is, how did it get a kink in it?

The hose was under the dishwasher, and that has not been moved for at least 3 years, so how it managed to get a kink in it I have no Idea.. Anyway, I am back to machine washing my dishes again. That’s the trouble with having a kinky hose!!

And of course, we had our visits. Kalyra home, (on Thursday), was finally mask free, so I signed in and we went in to the MSU, a lock up area. There weren’t a lot of people around, so it was not uncomfortable for Evie. And Swagger showed he has the Rassilon gene’s.

We went to the lounge and there was a resident there watching Andre Rieu. She is non verbal, but she was singing along with the songs, and not just the popular songs, she was joining in with the opera.

She was alone there with no one nearby, so Swagger went over to her and she patted him, so his did his side stem, perched his belly on her knee and let her pat him for as long as she wanted. That’s the same empathy gene Rassilon had.

Belly on the knee and getting patted. Greyhound luxury.

After that we went to visit Geoff, who rarely comes out of his room. He hadn’t been too well for a few weeks and was sleeping all the time, but on Thursday he was awake and talking.

I told him and his wife about the music I played on Monday, and how the resident had wanted copies of it, but they had never heard of the singers, so I had a clip of Amira on my phone, so I played it to them. And Geoff was literally moved to tears.

Amira Willeghagen is Dutch, and in this clip she was 9 years old.

Then I was able to get another song they liked from YouTube, and Geoff was all smiles. I also got them another song, and the two were songs they had not heard for a long time, so they were both very happy.

Unfortunately…while I was in there someone tested positive for Covid, so masks are back on again. I think there are a few now that are positive. Of course, when I got the email from them, the first thing I did was test myself, but I was in a different section that is locked up, so I was all clear.

Anyway, today has been shopping day for dog treats, which I had to make up and freeze.

I finally got the good injection for the diabetes and appetite suppression, so I haven’t had a lot to eat today, because I don’t feel like it. We will see what my weight is tomorrow, weigh in day. So far, since seeing the new doctor, I have lost about 18Kg. It’s not fast, but I can feel the difference in places. It’s just a pity my stomach isn’t one of those places. But it will come (or go).

Now, it is get ready for next week’s visits, and more people want to listen to the music, so load up a hard drive, charge up the computer and external speaker, and we are all set.

But for now, it is off to bed with my stand over merchant Evie. (and Swagger)

Swagger was in Evie’s spot.