When my mother was preparing to move to Tasmania, I saw her health falling away. And that was with just 3 weeks of stress. Imagine how it is for a racing greyhound, living with the stress for years. When you see a greyhound that is loosing it’s hair, and it’s back legs are bald…that is the result of the stress of racing. You can only imagine how that dog feels once it learns about it’s new home and life of luxury.
Rassilon’s hair has grown back on his legs and the sides of his chest, and sometimes when we are visiting and people are patting him I can see his hair shedding, but he comes home and gets patted and cuddles and goes to bed, and he is relaxed again. And the more he visits, the more he is enjoying it and not stressing. He has 2 bald spots on his back legs, but I am happy to report that they are caused by his wagging tail rubbing his legs.
In the poem, the one line that get’s to me is…
Got a ball and a bone and a bed that’s all mine.
In the kennels greyhounds have very little to call their own, which is why they can be protective of things when they get into a home. I was lucky and Rassilon was never protective of things and I can even put my hand into his dinner bowl and take food out while he is eating, (this is also a requirement for getting his green collar and for the Therapy Dog Service). Now, with that, I am going to cuddle Rassilon.
We have just arrived home from the uni, and we are STUFFED. Who would have thought standing around talking could be so tiring. But time flew by because I was talking about greyhounds.
Rassilon was very well behaved around all the other dogs. Luckily they came up to him in 1s or 2s, so they didn’t overcrowd him. In small doses he is quite happy to give a greyhound greeting sniff, but in groups, he panics.
There were a lot of students there willing to pat the dogs, so Rassilons mind was distracted from the other dogs. And Rassilon was the most popular dog for patting by a few pounds.
There were the black and the fawn dogs and a dark brindle, but the black doesn’t show up as well on the dark background. Then there was the lovely blue greyhound which would have been the most popular, but it was terribly thin. You could see most of the vertebrae, the hip bones stood up almost an inch and you could see all it’s ribs. She was a lovely dog, but so thin. So by default, the fawn Brindle Rassilon became the most popular. On the bright side, Rassilon is 2.6 Kg over weight, but looking at the other dogs today, they all looked about the same. None of them fitted the ‘perfect’ standard, they all had a bit of extra meat on the bones, apart from the blue, which was painfully thin.
From just my conversations, I think we convinced a couple of people to foster and one seemed desperate to adopt. She had heard the usual rumors (attack small animals, need lots of exercise, need lots of room, eat lots), which I was able to correct for her. Rassilon answered the ‘needs lots of exercise’ rumor, by falling asleep on her foot.
The good thing for the university was that even with 12 dogs inside, there was (a) No Mess, and (b) No Barking. Of course that meant when Rassilon did speak, it was appreciated by the student, who got to hear a greyhound bark, and the other owners, who were impressed that Rassilon had learned to speak on command. (A command, I should add, aided quite a bit by the presence of food). Rassilon was doing well today, keeping himself to a quiet bark.
I was so impressed with Rassilon today. there were literally hundreds of people in the hall, (there were other events going on as well), and a dozen dogs, but Rassilon showed NO signs of stress.
So it was good to get to mix with other greyhound owners, and to let Rassilon mix with other dogs. If we can do this often enough, he will soon become as comfortable with other dogs in groups as he is with people now.
A man was trapped on a desert island for 15 years. One day he saw a big black thing coming out of the water and walking up the beach. When it got closer he saw it was a beautiful young woman in a wet-suit.
She stood in front of him and asked “When was the last time you had a cigarette”? He said “About 15 years ago”. So she undid a zip in the wet-suit and took out a pack of his favorite cigarettes.
“When was the last time you had a drink”? “About 15 years ago”. So she undid a zip on the other side on the wet=suit and took out a bottle of his favorite scotch. A tear came to his eye.
The young lady started to undo the main zip of the wet-suit and asked “When is the last time you played around”? He replied “Don’t tell me you’ve got a set of golf clubs in there as well”!
As I was doing some tidying up today I found something I bought just after I got Rassilon to calm him down when he got stressed out. I didn’t want to give him vet prescribed medication, and this was recommended by GAPSA other greyhound owners.
It is called RESCUE REMEDY, and it is all natural and can be used on greyhounds. If that doesn’t work, it can be taken by humans too, and I tried it a few times and it works.
You can get the liquid in the bottle with the dropper, and all you need is 3 drops in their food. I (under suggestion) used to add a few drops to Rassilons’ water, it was very diluted, but it kept a bit in his system all the time. I used to give it to Rassilon when I was going to work, so he didn’t suffer separation anxiety. You can also get it in spray form, which might be handy if you are out and the dog gets anxious about something, just a spray directly into the mouth, (under the tongue if possible), but this goes straight into the body.
You can get a cheaper version, but I didn’t find that as effective.
Unfortunately Rassilon got so hyped up once that I had to resort to the vets medication, but in just over 3 years, he has only had 1 tablet, but that worked FAST and seemed to adjust his system. He seems to be a bit calmer even months after the tablet.
But there is always something around that can help. Medication, (prescription or natural), a thunder shirt can help if you get it on early enough, I even have some dog relaxation CDs that I used to leave on while I went to work, and they actually helped. (They can also help humans).
Rassilon may not have liked the strong vet medication, but I bet after a few minutes he enjoyed the relief from his panic attack. He was able to sleep after quite a few hours of jumping up and down, drooling, panting and trembling.
It is never nice to watch your dog suffering like this, and it stresses owners out too, so there is really a double benefit is calming the dog. But just remember, none of this stuff is exactly cheap, but we are happy to pay to see our hounds un-stressed.
MYTH EIGHT: GREYHOUNDS ARE SUITED TO AN OUTDOOR ENVIRONMENT
With hardly any body fat and a very fine coat, greyhounds are particularly susceptible to the cold. Access to a warm, dry and safe area is vital at all times, and extreme measures (AKA greyhound pajamas) may be required on especially cool days.
Dog pajamas and dog clothing are a matter of choice of the greyhounds owners. As a therapy dog, people like to see Rassilon in holiday costume, and as such he has bunny ears for Easter, reindeer antlers for Christmas and an Australian flag hat for Australia day. BUT that is as far as I am willing to go. I imagine how humiliating it would be for me to wear silly costumes, and I refuse to let Rassilon be humiliated in that way. But that is how I feel, others like to see their dogs dressed up.
On cold days Rassilon stays inside with me and the heater. He is smart, he lets me know if he needs to go out, and when he does, it is quick. In fact, if it is raining, he goes out until his paw touched water (about 18 inches from the back door),then turns right around and comes back in. If we HAVE to go out, I have a wide selection of sensible coats for him to wear.
Some people don’t mind putting their dog in pajamas to keep them warm at night. I have found that recently, on especially cool nights, Rassilon will come INTO my bed. Some people might find it strange that I prefer to have the dog IN bed rather than in pajamas.
Can you see why?
I was lucky on the weekend. My mother has decided that she is no longer capable of driving, and she wouldn’t get much for her car if she sold it, So as I am driving her around all the time, in an effort to keep the mileage down on my car, she gave me her car.
It is a 4 door version of mine, but it is an automatic. Now the automatic bit doesn’t bother Rassilon, (although I tend to keep slamming on the breaks when it is time to change gears). but Rassilon was not too happy about the 4 doors. It has ruined his getting in the car ritual.
He wasn’t very happy at first, and even tried getting in the front door, but he jumped through to the back seat. I quickly shut the back door to keep him in, as I worked out how the radio worked and tuned it in.
Today I went out and opened the car up and got Rassi inside so I could take these photos. But I have had to change the next photo from him standing in the car to what I have, because he hasn’t got out of the car yet (about 45 minutes)
Another challenge faced and overcome.
I have now been back at work for a week.
The weather is still stinking hot, 39 again yesterday. Today is cooler, we had some rain overnight, but now that has caused humidity. Coupled with the fact that there is NO wind whatsoever, it is cool but still uncomfortable. (It was so bad on Wednesday and Thursday that the hospital air conditioner wasn’t cooling down). On the bright side, my sister in Tasmania has opened her house up to all her inlaws that live in Mole Creek area, because they have about 70 bushfires burning around the area and they all live there. She said there is thick smoke covering the town she lives in. (They moved away years ago after a family dispute).
But back to my news. As I said, I have been back at work for a week and would you believe it, Rassilon is fine, even with the heat. I have been leaving his CDs on all day, but I think I have discovered the problem…ME.
I get the feeling that Rassi likes to be on his own during the day, and having me home for 5 weeks was upsetting his system. I got this feeling yesterday when I got home and was relaxing with a coffee and Rassi came up to the chair and gave me a kiss.
So it appears that Rassilon prefers the mostly solitary life.