Wednesday, January 30, 2008

10 Things that Scare Me At My New House

Life with Roxy is fun. She is a doll and makes us laugh a lot with her nutty ways. But she's not 100% settled in yet. We know this will take awhile, but it is amazing to compare the things that won't even phase Seka, freak Roxy out to the extreme. So I've compiled a list of things that seem to scare her the most at her new home, so far:
  1. Basketballs: While walking on Sunday we stopped to get some love from the kids across the street. When they went back to their game, Seka wanted to steal the ball from them. Roxy wanted to run and hide from it. I too want to run and hide from sports that require hand-eye coordination.
  2. Loud Trucks: we live with a pretty busy road within eye and ear shot from our back yard this time of year. Roxy has decided that when large trucks go by the safest place you can be is by the back door.
  3. Creepy Noises Mom Can't Hear But I Can: I can somewhat identify with her on this one. When I used to spend the night at my friend Marcy's house in the seventh grade, I used to hear weird noises that kept me awake and that no one else seemed to hear or at least be bothered by.
  4. Birds at the Windows: Maybe its that she gets so excited that she can't contain herself instead of getting scared, but she runs from the window and has to lay down. Maybe she gets the vapors.
  5. When Mom Goes into the Kitchen: well, everyone should be scared when that happens. She doesn't like it when I start banging pans together. Come to think of it, neither do I.
  6. When Mom or Dad Comes Home: it scares her at first, then confuses her, then excites her. So many emotions in such little time.
  7. The Siamese Cat Sam: our 10 year old Siamese cat, Samantha, takes great pleasure in terrorizing all new animals, four- or two-legged, that come into our home. It is no shock that she is scared of her. Everyone should fear her.
  8. Knocking Over the Baby Gate: it also scares mom when she does it at 3am.
  9. Sonic Booms: we live near an Air Force Base and these happen pretty much every day. She goes from a dead sleep to all fours in .2 seconds when a sonic boom occurs. Almost as fast as the speed of sound itself.
  10. The Doorbell on the Pizza Commercial: no really, it drives her nuts. Seka, just rolls over in her cockroach so not to be disturbed by all the commotion.
All of these things will be overcome in time. She's already picking up on Seka's cues on some of these things. Others - like the sonic booms - I'm not sure she'll get over. But who knows, Seka just looks up from her nap after six months of sonic booms and looks at me as if to say, "could you keep it down?" and then goes back to sleep.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Life with Roxy: Day 1

I'm a person that will do anything not to vomit. At the first twinge of feeling sick, I assume the tried and true fetal position and try not to move until the feeling passes. I can count on one hand the number of times I've gotten sick in the past 10 years (drinking included). I'm not a puker.

The last time I got sick I was in the car with my in-laws on the way to the airport to fly home from our Christmas visit. Kevin had to get his dad to hurry up and pull over on the side of the highway so I could puke on in a snow bank. Wonderful. Nothing like flying with the stomach flu. I was horribly embarrassed.

I think I have something in common with our new daughter, Roxy. She did great in the car yesterday - for about an hour and a half. I'm sure she was nervous. All the change. Not knowing where she was going. Not knowing what was going on. Plus all the motion of the car. She tried to keep as still as she could to avoid to projectile liquid that inevitably came 40 minutes from home. And boy did it ever come. I couldn't believe that much stuff was in this tiny dog's stomach!

We stopped, let her get out and walk, potty, and recover, while we assessed the damage. Thank goodness for floor mats. After the break she slept the rest of the way home.

She spent the rest of the day/evening exploring her new forever home which includes (in no particular order):
  • Sniffing every corner
  • Practicing the stairs 100 times for no reason
  • Figuring out which door to go to when she needed to go outside
  • Smelling the cats (Boo has even slept on her bed with her already)
  • Watching mom act like a fool as she tries to keep her from falling in the pool
  • Chasing Seka around the yard
  • Checking out her crate
  • Breaking in her new fuzzy bed
So 2008 will be the year of the Roxy. Day 1 has been good, in spite of the dog vomit. Note to mom and dad. When we make our first road trip in two weeks, Roxy gets motion sickness pills. Or I need to teach her how to do the puke-prevention fetal position that seems to work 95% of the time for me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

We're Expecting

At my age, I get baby shower invitations and birth announcements all the time. I even got an invitation to a baby "sprinkle" a while back for someone who was having her second child. I guess my husband might be right that women look for any occasion to have a party.

Personally, I think it's just a great excuse to go to a store that allows us to use one of those cool wands to register for gifts. I get a little jealous when I see a happy couple in Target on a weekend afternoon with registry wand in hand, bar-coding away to their hearts desire. You can literally see the little cartoon bubble over the top of their heads envisioning the items going into their imaginary shopping cart. However, it is a little annoying when you are the one showing up to the store and having to print out the registry and it uses so much paper the customer service attendant has to refill the printer at least once and you're forced to walk around the store with a small catalog of your co-worker's virtual nursery.

The thought immediately came to mind tonight as I was making my list in preparation of the arrival of the newest addition to our family. Yes, we are expecting a new little girl, Flat Out Isha, who will come into our home on Saturday. And while I began shopping for supplies in advance of our newest grey, I wished I had one of those wands so I could magically click on some bar codes and have all of these wonderful things show up with all of our friends in tow, beautifully wrapped, served up along side some awesome petifores and pineapple punch (you know the kind with the sherbet floating in it).

I guess the world doesn't really look at expanding your dog family as an opportunity for formal celebration. While in our home, we are all very excited (including Seka) and we will celebrate in our own unique way. I'm sure if I told a little white lie and told the Target people that I was expecting and wanted to set up a baby registry I could totally get my hands on one of those wands. But, I'd be totally busted when I was over in the pet aisle wanding the dog beds, bowls and Kongs.

More on our new girl, who we will call Roxy, this weekend.

PS: Congrats to our friends Joel and Laurie on the birth of their third child, Justin Bryan today - 8 lbs 7 0z, 20.5 inches.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Take Greeter Off Her List of Career Choices

Many older people decide that after they retire, they need something to do to keep busy. A few of the "big box stores" hire retirees who are supposed to be extra friendly and helpful to greet you at the door with a big smile. Great idea (in theory).

My local Walmart has a great greeter. He's friendly. He's always smiling. He'll get your buggy (shopping cart, carriage, whatever you call it based on the part of the country/world you're in) for you when you walk in the door. He asks you how your day is. And he doesn't frisk you if you walk out of the store with a giant package of toilet paper on the bottom of your buggy, demanding to know if you've paid for it. I guess he realizes that if you're going to go to the trouble of stealing something that A: you wouldn't take something so big that it would require you to put it in plain view for all the world to see as you take it out of the store and B: it wouldn't be toilet paper. But I guess as a Walmart Greeter, you see lots of weird things. I wonder if there's an online group especially for Walmart Greeters to share their stories?

I think the GBD can take greeter off the short list of post-retirement employment opportunities after her performance at Saturday's Meet-n-Greet. Seka, in full princess mode, chose to lay on a bed provided by another greyhound who was up and doing his job. It wouldn't have been all that bad if she bothered to get up when people wanted to pet her, but no. She required all potential adopters and inquiring minds to approach her and bend down to pet Her Majesty. How embarrassing. I tried to cover it up by giving some spill about how they are laid back, easy going dogs - literally pointing to her lounge-like behavior as an example. I don't know if it worked.

Now, the GBD is normally pretty reserved. She's not an in-your-face kind of dog - ever. And she usually looks to me before allowing a stranger to pet her, something that I prefer since I know not everyone loves wet kisses. But, for the love of biscuits! Get up and act like you like people. We're at a Meet-n-Greet for goodness sake. Binder, however, did a great Gerbal TV.JPGjob showing what lovers big boys can be. And he did introduce Seka to gerbil television. I think they stood in front of those cages and watched the rodents for 15 minutes straight. But I think there's a good chance that we may not be invited back to participate after Saturday's lack of interaction.

So I think that I can let my Walmart Greeter know that his job is safe. There is no way ol' Wally World will be hiring the GBD any time soon. She might have a hard time without opposable thumbs anyway.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Field Trip

I loved field trip day when I was in elementary school. The excitement of picking out your favorite outfit. Packing an extra special lunch and snack for the ride. Dreaming about what $5 gift you could purchase from the gift shop. Figuring out which best friend you would sit with on the bus on the way there. But then you had to have a back up because once you got there you were sure to have some sort of stupid fight about which one of you knows more Madonna songs during the boring cyclorama presentation and you didn't want to be sitting with the losers in the front of the bus with the chaperons.

Saturday, for all intents and purposes, was as close to a field trip as adults get in life. No kids running around (they weren't allowed), alcohol, gambling, and greyhounds! Really, what more could you ask for? It was the annual SEGA behind the scenes tour to the Birmingham Dog Track and this year's event boasted an attendance of 68 people!

The morning started out (after a 3.5 hour drive for our family) in the adoption kennel. Now, let's all take a moment and think this through. Even armature gamblers could see a sure thing in betting on the odds of 68 greyhound lovers going into an adoption kennel and at least one of them coming out with a dog. Yes, it happened. They are picking her up later this week after she's been fixed. I took a picture of my adoption kennel favorite: SpottyDottie. She is a little confused whether or not she is a greyhound or a Dalmatian. Maybe that's why she's retired.

After we had our fill of the adoption kennel, we moved on to Champions Racing Kennel to get a look at the how a functioning racing kennel works. Now with 68 die hard greyhound lovers, all of us with at least one four-legged couch potato on our sofa, we had plenty of questions. Here's what we learned, (for those of you who are greyhound experts, this will be a refresher):
  • The dogs are fed a raw meat/ground kibble/supplement meal once a day - girls around 2lbs a day, boys around 3lbs a day
  • In the kennel the females are kept on top crates and males on the bottom. Why? The girls jump better than the boys, and they want to preserve their family jewels.
  • Music is pumped into the kennels 24/7 - our dogs preferred classic rock
  • Dogs race every 3 days - winning dogs are tested for drugs after each race. Almost everything, even aspirin, is illegal for use in racing greyhounds
  • They are turned out 4 to 5 times a day for 45 minutes a time - males and females are separated.
  • They are loved and cared for in the kennel and all of the trainers we spoke with tirelessly look for homes for their dogs after their careers are over. We even talked to one trainer who has an owner that pays adoption groups $150 per dog that they will take in. Yes, we got his name.
After a few skritches and kisses and a lovely smile from Dream True (aka Smiley - can you tell why - that's not meanness, that's a grin), we were on our way to see the weigh in for the Saturday Matinee.

It was amazing to see the trainers and leads manage 8 dogs at once. Well, I guess that's why they call them professionals!

Before going upstairs, Kevin gave a wagering lesson to a few novices. It's the teacher in him, you know. And look what we brought as thank you gifts to the track. What better way to say thank you than with naked women?

No sack lunches here. Next it was up to the sky box for our lunch. Then it was time to place a few wagers and cheer on the pups. Every track has a funny name for their lure. In Birmingham, it's Smitty. Heeeeeeeeeeeeer Cooooooooooooooooooooomes Smitty.

Kevin and I weren't very successful until the seventh race. We decided to put our money on Flat Out Fallon, a distant sister of Flat Out Isha (they share a father). Fallon was our only winner for the day, and a big one at that. Maybe that's a sign?

It was hard to leave the pups behind. But we know our efforts are helping to place these babies into good homes when their careers are over. And spending money at the track helps to keep the track open - providing a place for the dogs to live and thrive. So many are put down when tracks are closed for even just the holidays because there is no where for them to go. I know it's a controversial topic and one that the greyhound community debates regularly. But the bottom line is, I wouldn't have my girl if it wasn't for the track. And who knows? One of these guys we saw on Saturday could end up on my sofa one day.

It was a fantastic field trip, despite the fact there wasn't a gift shop there for me to make a purchase. And the only squabble on this trip was over Miss Madonna, who did show in the second race and we didn't put a couple of dollars on her. All was forgiven and I didn't have to ride with the losers in the front of the bus on the way home.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Dog Ate my Resolution

I'm not much one to make resolutions. Really, why make something that only makes you feel like a failure in the end? I've not had much luck with New Years resolutions ever. I've made all the normal ones - eat healthier, exercise more, write more letters - all of which I've kept for maybe 2 days at the most. But Seka has gotten out of practice walking on her leash, so this year my resolution was to walk her at least three times a week and quit taking the easy way out by running her in the backyard.

But much like humans, I think she knew of my plans and between her corn and her lucky foot, Seka has other plans for my resolution.

Yes, Seka has a lucky foot, where she has only three toes. Her lucky foot is the result of an old track injury that was undiagnosed (torn ligament) and untreated for four months. After we got her and she got comfortable with us (oh, say 2 days) she started not using her back left foot. Long story short - we took her to 4 vets, and the greyhound specialist at Auburn University - the vet amputated her toe and now she runs like the wind in the backyard (at least one lap a day).

Now when it gets really cold or there's any sudden change of weather, the missing space between her toes gets pretty arthritic and she goes right back into the old tri-pod trot. Since the new year, the three-legged dog walk has been pretty much par for the course around here.

We went to the vet, got some Metacam and it helps some. Upon closer inspection, it looks like she might be developing a corn on her lucky foot too (and that's the last thing we need). But she's a drama queen about that foot in general. My father was an amputee and he said he had phantom pain sometimes. I wonder if dogs have that?

Needless to say, my New Years resolution to practice our leash walking has been put on the back burner until we get this settled. Until then, we're still eating left over holiday cookies, fudge, and having an evening drink from entertaining liquor cabinet. I guess the GreytBlackDog will do her New Years resolution on a fiscal year basis in 2008, and not a calendar year.

PS: We're still foster-less. Not as many of the dogs were cat tolerant as we thought so we're still on the waiting list. Seka is ready and waiting for a new friend. Check out our new batch of babies we hauled in on Saturday.