Monthly Archives: October 2017

When greyhounds get the hump.

Yesterday I had to drop Rassilon of to a stranger (to me), so I could go to hospital for an endoscopy. Because I had have an anaesthetic, I had to have someone with me for 24 hours afterwards. But as I live alone, and I didn’t have anyone near by. the hospital arranged for me to go to a care facility over night, but I had to make sure Rassilon was looked after.

So I asked in the church, and eventually someone was found to look after him over night. So yesterday morning I dropped him off, and apparently, once I drove away he started to get anxious. I was told he was a bit whiney during the evening, but when I got back this morning he was all excited again.

BUT…after the initial, uncontrollable excitement, he got the hump and I got the “You left me on my own’ treatment treatment. He went into the lounge room and went to sleep. When I called him he ignored me, and I had to go and get him.

But when it came time to leave his temporary accommodation, he was all excited and bouncing around. He got straight into the car and lay down, as much as to say, you’r not leaving me this time.

I stayed in a nursing home which has temporary accommodation for cases like me. They gave me dinner and breakfast and coffee was available all the time. The room I was in had it’a own shower and toilet and TV. I was driven there from the hospital in a hire limousine, and then driven home in another limousine, no taxi or community car.

So to thank the staff for looking after me, I volunteered to take Rassilon down and visit the permanent residents, which will be next week.

Anyway, we are home again, the first thing he did was a zoomie around the garden, then he came in and went to bed. He got up when I went into the kitchen to do some cooking, but he is back in bed and not moving.

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I didn’t have a good night because I was worried about Rassilon and how he must be feeling. He may have thought I had given him away and he was probably worried.

On the brighter side, I have had to have 3 dogs put to sleep. It always worried me about what they felt right at the end. I would hate to think they died in pain or unhappy. But I had the anaesthetic for the endoscopy, and right after the injection I was asked to roll over onto my side, and I remember rolling over…and that’s all until I woke up.

So I am guessing that the dogs all feel the same thing. They just fall asleep and don’t know anything. It doesn’t hurt and you don’t think about anything, you don’t have time. The only difference is the dogs get a massive dose of anaesthetic which stops the heart.

But I have to admit, the worst part of the whole experience was taking Rassilon away.

Previously he stayed with my mother and came home to me soon after the test, but no mother means I can’t do that now.

But, on the good news front. I enquired about becoming a READ dog, and what training is required. Well there in no formal training needed, the dog does have to go through a temperament test. Rassilon already passed one of those to become a therapy dog, but next time he has to show he is good with kids.

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So, although I know he is good with kids, he normally meets them outside, where he has a way of escape if he gets uncomfortable. To try to get him used to kids inside, Rassilon is going to the church youth group. There aren’t many kids in it,and it is inside, so that will not be too hard on him.

If he does well there, then it will be clear sailing for his READ work.

Bad boy.

October 31st…Halloween

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Give advanced notice…check.

On November 15th Rassilon and I will be visiting Noarlunga Hospital (NHS) as a therapy dog team. It was thanks to the women in Medical Records (Med Rec) that this is possible, so when I found out I was going to be visiting NHS, I sent a special invitation, carefully crafted to fit on 2 pages, keeping the secret until the last minute. (They guessed anyway).

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He is all South Australian.

While out having coffee last week, someone stopped to pat Rassilon. He was a casual greyhound racer (doing it from home), but he recognised the excellent, if not out of shape, body of Rassilon.

He suggested that Rassilon looked like a New South Wales bred dog, and named the breeder, so I made an enquiry with GAP to see what they could tell me.

It turns out that Rassilon was bred in South Australia. His Sire was El grand Senior who had 43 races, and his Dam was Hayride Bingle who only had 4 races. The strange thing is, they were both black dogs, and Rassilon is a light Fawn Brindle.

Anyway, I can trace the history of racing dogs using the Internet. Unfortunately Rassilon didn’t race, so I couldn’t get him on the lists (even using his kennel name of Casper). But it is great what you can get.

 

 

Rassilons Father

Sire history

Rassilons Mother

Dam history

Although not racing, I am sure his breeders would be happy to know that Rassilon is following a successful career in Therapy Visitation.

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Taking careful note of his surroundings (it was chicks that were making noise and moving)

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Late one night a burglar broke into a house and while he was sneaking around he heard a voice say, “Jesús is watching you.” He looked around and saw nothing. He kept on creeping and again heard, “Jesús is watching you.” In a dark corner, he saw a cage with a parrot inside. The burglar asked the parrot, “Was it you who said Jesús is watching me” The parrot replied, “Yes.” Relieved, the burglar asked, “What is your name?” The parrot said, “Methuselah.” The burglar said, “That’s a stupid name for a parrot. What idiot would name a parrot Methuselah?” The parrot answered, “The same idiot that named their 85Lb rottweiler Jesús.”

He’s back.

We went to Glengowrie today. We didn’t have to go up in the lift, but we were downstairs…in the lock up, mental health, wards.

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Rassilon seems to do well in these places (Ward 5 in RGH and Bedford Industries), and he went and met people and they had a good time patting him and talking. This is one of those times when the dog handler may not be good with therapy work, when you talk to someone and they just repeat the same thing over and over. Rassilon doesn’t understand them, so he doesn’t care, but some people may have trouble dealing with it.

The closest we came to a problem was when Rassilon was reminded of his ceiling fan phobia. We went to talk to a gentleman and there was a mobile hanging from the ceiling.

I recognised his signs, ears forward and eyes looking up at the mobile. But I started talking to Rassilon, and I was patting him and the resident was patting him, so we managed to control his panic. After a couple of minutes he was fine, and when we moved away, he forgot about it.

We finished off in the lock up wards, but the timing was not good. We are supposed to go from 10.30am until 12.00pm, but the residents go to lunch at 11.30am and I can’t take a dog into the dining room, and some of the residents had “Do Not Disturb” signs on their doors.

But we got to see quite a few residents, and most of the staff we met wanted to pat Rassilon, and we found out about the new nursing home that wants Rassilon to visit. It is nice and close, so I will have my 2 visits a week and I will only have to go as far as Woodcroft.

The trouble with the early visits is that I don’t have time for breakfast, so when I came home I dropped off Rassilon and went to the working mans club. I can get a proper meal with salad, bread and butter and a pint of beer, for less than it would cost to go to Hungry Jacks for lunch, and HJs don’t sell beer.

So today turned out to be a good day. A therapy visit, Rassilon dealing with his fear, a cooked dinner and a glass of beer. That has to be a good day in anyone’s books.

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A man went to the doctor feeling sick.

So the doctor ran some tests and said “I will contact you with the results“.

A few days thater the man got a phone call from the doctor.

“I have good news for you” said the doctor.

Great, what is it” The man asked excitedly.

“They are going to name a disease after you”.

It had to happen

Well, it finally happened. We had a bad therapy visit today. And we went all the way to Mitchum, in the heat, to have it too.

The nursing home was okay, they had the paperwork with the list of room numbers we were to go to, and we got to most of them, but something happened that ruined the visit and slowed it all down.

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Ready for work with his TFS bandanna (for identification).

It started off well enough. We got a parking spot right in front of the home, and the weather was terrible, it was well over 33 degrees. I wanted to get as close to the home as possible so Rassilon wouldn’t burn his paws

I got Rassilon out of the car and into the nursing home where I was able to sit and update my calendar with next month’s TDS visits. TDS phoned me earlier as I was driving, so I just had to quickly note the dates on a scrap of paper.

We met some people in the tea room, a resident with her son, so we went and talked with them. When I went to fill in my paperwork, the son came and asked if his mother could have a photo with Rassilon, so I gave him the leash so I could finish my forms and he could get the photos.

Rassilon went with him and got his photo taken, the I got him back and we went to do our visits. That is one good thing, Rassilon will not struggle to stay with me, he will follow his leash, (so I can leave him with someone if I need to go to the toilet or get a drink).

As we walked into the second wing, Rassilon saw Albie, the home’s pet cat. Well that was it. Visitation concentration was lost, and the cat now filled his mind.

We went into rooms and met people, but Rassi was constantly pulling towards the door to get out and find the cat.

When we came out of the home at about 3.30pm, it was 40 Celsius. I had to rush Rassilon to the car so he didn’t burn his paws. Luckily I remembered to take a jug of chilled water, so when he was settled in the car, he polished off a bowl of water.

Before the visit I got a phone call from TDS with next month’s visits. Things are getting good. I have to go to Glengowrie a few more times and Micham one more time, then I have a visit to Bedford Industries (this is the place for people with mental health problems and Rassi loves going there), then on November 15th we start at Noarlunga hospital. Woodcroft nursing home has signed up for TDS visits. They were getting another company, but they weren’t reliable. The only condition is…Rassilon must be the visiting dog.

Of course, you can guess how proud that makes me feel…almost proud enough to forgive Rassilon for STEALING the leg of pork off the kitchen bench, where I had left it to cool… ALMOST

So, we will be getting 2 visits a week, but they will be local. Then we can still fill in occasionally at other places.

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Dogs, cheering people up without question

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My philosophy of life.

The stress of therapy visits?

Rassilon and I went to the Eldercare nursing home at Glengowrie today. We have only been there once before, and Rassilon had to deal with the lift for the first time.
Well, he had to deal with it again today, (and again, no problems), One thing did catch Rassilon’s ear and eye in the home, the budgies. He stood about 3 feet from the cage, but his ears were up and he was having a good look. Then we went and visited patients in their rooms, even getting a request to visit one lady who was not marked on the list.
(It was good there today because I was asked about Rassilon’s racing history, so I was able to tell everyone that he never races and how I was lucky enough to get him from G.A.P.)
He pleased the resident by giving her a doggy kiss and letting her hug him (greyhounds aren’t the hugging type of dog and will normally pull away), then he even spoke. She loved it all and definitely wants to see him next week. Then, as I talked, Rassilon showed how relaxed he was visiting her (that makes the residents feel good too).
Actually, I don’t think Rassilon does stressed.
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I’ve had my exercise, I’ve had a hug and I’ve had your biscuit, now I can relax in the sun.

Just how good is he?

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In his T.D.S. ‘uniform’

We went for a visit ti the Daws Park nursing home today. We got there a bit early so I could have my sandwiches and coffee and Rassilon could have a sausage roll. But, I forgot to take cash, and the cafe doesn’t accept cards. So I sat in the car and had my sandwiches, lamb and sweet gherkin  I found out something today. Greyhounds like lamb and sweet gherkin sandwiches, so at least Rassilon didn’t go hungry.

I checked my phone before I went into the home, and there was a message from Therapy Dog Services.

We went to Eldercare, Glengowrie on Monday. Of course, I was so proud of Rassilon for dealing with the lift, but today I had some more news from that visit.

Apparently there was a visitor from another facility at the nursing home. They saw Rassilon working, he was talking to people, as he does, and kissing people and having a good time. As a result of what they saw, that person has contacted TDS to sign up their facility for pet therapy visits. So Rassilon is certainly doing his bit for greyhound adoption and pet therapy.

Today we had a good visit at the nursing home. We saw a lot of people and cheered some of them up just by visiting. These are the people we want to get to.

Because I saw people in the hospital I worked in never getting visitors, that was what made me want to become a volunteer visitor. It is such a buzz when you get to sit and talk to someone who would not have had a visitor, Even, like today, when the person was Italian, and didn’t speak English. I stayed with him for a while as he talked. I had no idea what he was saying, but he was talking and patting Rassilon, and that is what matters. He felt someone was interested in him.

Of course, if you want to have a therapy dog, it is best to have a calm dog, and get it socialised as much as possible with people. They won’t be meeting many animals on a therapy visit, but lots of people, so the dog needs to be happy meeting lots of people. (Being comfortable around other animals is still important).

Greyhounds are generally good therapy dogs because of their gentle nature, but they can have some faults you need to keep an eye on. I heard of one that saw a rabbit on it’s temperament test, and had to be taken away from that area because it just locked onto the rabbit and refused to listen to commands. Nursing homes can have pets, so this is something to watch out for.

Another greyhound doesn’t like going into confined areas. I think this might be a carry over from the starting box in training. But I was able to pass on some encouragement to that dog’s owner. Rassilon was scared of narrow spaces, even refusing to go into the lounge at home because the chairs were too close together, but working in the hospital, between beds and chairs, he has got over his fear, and in time, I expect the other dog to get over it too.

TDS is good because they will try to pair the dog to a facility that the dog will be comfortable in. One of the TDS rules is…DOG FIRST. If you see the dog getting stressed, uncomfortable or upset, take it outside for a while and let it relax. They would rather cut the visit short than risk the dog’s health. And greyhounds can stress easily

Another greyhound had trouble with elevators, but with more and more experience, he got over his fear and uses the lift like he’s been doing it all his life.

We need to remember what the dog was brought up with in the kennels, and elevators weren’t something a greyhound would have had to deal with. Think of all the things the dog is not used to, and they can be something it will have trouble with when it gets to see it for the first time.

For some reason I was lucky to get Rassilon. He had BIG problems for the first 12 months (and I didn’t feel lucky for that time), and he wasn’t a people person until I started taking him to places he would meet lots of people, but then he changed and things that scared him, didn’t.

So, if you want a therapy dog, patience is a virtue. The dog will get better the more it does, you just have to prepare it for it’s initial visits, when it will all be new. Get it used to all sorts of strange things. You may want to go to a facility and see what you will have to deal with. (Nursing homes and hospitals have lots of strange noises and equipment being pushed around and patients with walking frames, dog’ss aren’t use to that).

But what you end up with is a dog that makes you super proud…Just Like RASSILON does to me.

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It all starts somewhere.