Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dog-tor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was never really one of my favorites and the reason is a silly one - I could never remember which one was the monster and which one was the good guy. I remember making myself a little reminder note on my bookmark as to which one was which so I could refer back to it when necessary. Even as I write this I'm not really sure I remember correctly.

This weekend was the ASFA Greyhound National Specialty in Moreland, GA. This was a big deal in the coursing community and it was exciting to see more than 30 greyhounds, some from as far away as Colorado, out in an open field, running their hearts out, on a glorious fall day in Georgia.

Leading up to the Specialty, I really didn't plan on running Seka. She was gimpy after running in the backyard and didn't seem to be getting much better. I really hadn't been walking her like I should to build her endurance due to her injury, which could only lead to more injuries or just an embarrassing fat dog on the coursing field. But I decided to take her to Dr. Hottie on Thursday for a few x-rays on the leg that she seemed a bit gimpy on. Once we had the all clear, there was no going back. I can't take Seka to a coursing field and not let her run. She might eat the ex-pen.

That's where Mr. Hyde (I think he's the bad one) comes into play. Lures are just white plastic trash bags tied on a line. Nothing special. No special rabbit scent sprayed on them. No squirrel tails tied to the bags. No special sound for the dog to follow. Just three plain white Hefty bags all tied a few feet apart. So why do white plastic garbage bags flip the switch in so many sighthound brains and turn them into some maniacal, crazy killer who will do anything for a taste of some plastic?

Some say it's the sound that the lure motor makes. It's high pitched to our ears, so it must have some sort of higher frequency to the dogs. Maybe so. But during the group picture on Saturday morning, I accidentally let go of Seka's leash for .1 seconds and she ran over to the non-moving, plastic bag, showing all of her competitors what she planned to do when she caught that "bunny" and embarrassing her mother at the same time. Thank goodness the loose dog fines weren't assessed until the lure was officially in motion or else that stunt would have cost us more than just my pride!

The funny thing is, while Seka is getting all wrapped and preparing to run she is in Dr. Jekyll mode. She lays down on her side and allows me to wrap her legs and pads without any problems. I can touch her toes without a struggle. It's like she is in her calm happy place. When we walk up close to see the lure, she gets excited to see the others run, and her back legs begin to shake. She knows what's going to happen, but still reserves her energy. When I take her to the paddock to wait for our turn, she can hear the lure and even see it if she wanted to, but she calmly lays down. You could equate this to Dr. Jekyll singing "This is the Moment" toward the end of the first act, if you prefer your classics in a musical format.

When we get to the line for our turn to run, she's a bucking bronco. I've not figured out the best way to slip her yet (we use a special slip collar to release them to run). She likes to take a step back before she springs forward, so I've got to get in a position that allows for this, but doesn't all me to slip her too early causing us to be disqualified. This will come with practice and watching other, more experienced handlers.

So tonight, after a long weekend at the field, my second place singles champion greyhound (she tied for second among a field of six), is laying next to me on the sofa in total Dr. Jekyll mode. I wonder what she will do when I unpack the groceries tomorrow night. I better ask for paper, not plastic.

All of these awesome photos were shot by Daniel Gauss, Shot On Site Photography

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


It's been established that I'm a horrible housekeeper. Cleaning has never really been on the top of my priority list. But lately I've been on a cleaning tear. It's like I've been storing up all of the cleaning to-dos on my list and I'm now vomiting them all out in some sick bulimic cleaning binge.

Roxy likes to try and help. She enjoys cleaning up the pieces of cat food that the cats refuse to eat off of the floor. She loves to help me unpack the groceries out of the un-environmentally friendly plastic bags and rip them to shreds. She likes to lay on the warm clothes fresh out of the dryer. She's a regular Hazel on four-legs.

Like most greyhounds, Roxy has a high nesting instinct. She has scratched and clawed holes in many blankets and beds in her short eight months in our home that it is a bit astounding. It doesn't matter how short her nails are. The power of her clawing is the problem. She has to get it just right and when she gets into a zone, you have to do a lot to correct her.

So the other morning while I was working on an article for a client, I could hear Roxy upstairs on our bed. I knew what she was up to. The longer she was up there, the more damage I knew she was doing. When I called her name she appeared at the top of the stairs with that look on her face. You know that look. The, "What? I wasn't doing anything," look. I knew better, so I grabbed my camera and went to investigate.

This is how I had left my bedroom just an hour before:

This is how I found it:

The conclusion: greyhounds do not make good housekeepers.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Love & Marriage

When Kev and I got married eight years ago this month I was the first of all my girlfriends to tie the knot while Kev was the first of all of his guy friends to do the same. It seems within the last year, the rest of the stragglers have finally decided to take the plunge and we've been on a nationwide wedding tour ever since.
There was the Jewish/Catholic wedding officiated by both a priest and rabbi. There was the wedding where the bride decided to play a Shaina Twain song during the ceremony, but I don't think she or her husband realized how long a four minute song could be when all you were supposed to do was look deeply into each others eyes. Then there was the wedding where the
preacher announced to the 350 people in attendance that the couple were at the alter both "sexually pure." Nice.
But so far, no one has used their animals in their wedding. No horses. No dogs. No parrots. No
cats. No guinea pigs. Now there were a few who had some groomsmen who might have passed as some sort wild animal with their behavior, but no furry friendly attendants. It's a bit disappointing.

This past week Kev and I had two weddings to attend in one week. My little sister got married on Sunday, September 28 to a great guy, which in my husband's book equates to a true Red Sox fan. Check out the amazing pics on my cousin's blog if you're the type that love awesome
wedding photography, no matter if you know the people or not. These are the type of pics that make you want to do your wedding all over again, just so you can have your pictures redone.

Seka and Roxy came along with us; however, there were no doggy members of the wedding party. We did have a doggie visitor the morning of the wedding and he left his own gift outside the bridal room. I guess all the bagels I was feeding him didn't agree with his stomach.

Wedding number two wasn't nearly as emotional. It was in south Boston and New
England in the fall is just beautiful. The cool weather and the leaves turning can really make a girl think that she might want to live there. And then she remembers the last four Christmas vacations she spent there snowed in and -35 degree wind chill, and realizes that was just a moment of craziness. We were able to spend quality time with Kev's family, and most importantly with our niece and nephew before the wedding on Saturday.

This ceremony was for a guy Kev grew up with, who is the youngest of four boys. It was a full Catholic mass, so lots of standing and sitting, then lots of wine with dinner at the reception. It was nice to catch up with friends who we usually see once a year at the holidays.

The girls didn't make the flight to Boston. I really can't imagine flying two greyhounds. I know it happens, but I just can't think about kenneling them
and having them loaded into the cargo hold of a plane without having them heavily sedated.

For the first time ever, we boarded our girls. They usually stay with friends or family, but it was Greyfest weekend and not really a great weekend for anyone to take on two extra dogs. So, I made the drive to an all greyhound boarding facility in Canton, Ga., called Too Many Hounds Inn. It was FABULOUS. The girls had so much fun and I truly believe they needed a week to recover from all the activities they did there. I mean at what other boarding facility do you have nature walks, stuffy hoarding contests, and playing dress up every day? Just check out a few pictures Kate sent home with us. I really didn't expect to get a picture of Roxy with a beret on when I picked her up, but she was just celebrating our family's french heritage I guess! It was totally worth the four hour drive round trip.

The next weddings on the docket are scheduled for May and June of 09. One in Georgia and another in Charlotte. Seka is available if anyone needs a black and white tuxedo dog to play ring bearer. She will do anything for marshmallows, which is more than I can say for any four year old I've ever seen in a tuxedo carrying a pillow down the aisle.

Teddy Update: No one has responded to my numerous calls about Teddy. No lost dog ads in the newspaper. No frantic calls to the vet offices. No panicked calls from the animal control office. No tearful reunions in sight. In a nutshell, no one wants Teddy - well except my mom. He has stolen her heart - well, I have to admit mine too. When I go to visit, I want to just put him in my purse like Paris Hilton does and take him with us when we shopping. He had a nasty case of kennel cough that's currently being treated. Who knows where that came from? So he's still sporting that impressive set of noogies. Those will be gone in two weeks after he's all clear of his illness and his shots are all in check.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Frogger Dog

My husband claims that I must have a lost/injured animal homing device in my DNA. Maybe he's right. Somehow needy cats, kittens, puppies and dogs often find their way to me in some strange twist of fate. Sometimes they stay only for a meal or for just a dry place to rest. Other times they are here until they need a forever home. One time we had 11 cats in our house! It was a bit overwhelming to say the least, but a lot of fun with all the babies running around.

I guess my homing device was turned up in high gear on Monday morning as my mother and I drove home from Boone, NC after a very long weekend of wedding festivities. While driving down highway 221 south, my mother spotted a little white, fluffy dog attempting to cross the five lane highway as numerous logging and transfer trucks whizzed by. The little pup made it across the right lane and I had enough time to slam on my breaks as he darted out in front of my car before heading to the safety of the turn lane.

Now, there wasn't much a decision to be made here if you ask me. It was just a reflex, I guess. I just opened my car door, put the car in park, jumped out, called the little guy to me, and swiftly put him in my lap. I just looked at this scared little puff ball and said - "well, little one, you're headed to Georgia."

Did I mention Seka and Roxy were in the back seat of the Honda when I brought the white fluffy thing into the car? They were perfect ladies, only sniffing the little man a couple of times and then totally ignoring his lap bouncing for the next 5 hours.

Teddy - well, that's what I'm calling him, is a blond, mini pomarnian, who is approximately 5 years old based on his dental inspection by our vet. He's not neutered, weighs 6 lbs, and he didn't have any identification on him (no collar, microchip, wallet, passport, etc.) at the time of his very dangerous game of frogger. He doesn't have fleas and he has been groomed with a lion cut within the last 6 weeks. He LOVES to be held like a baby and prefers to sleep on his back. He doesn't play with my mom's dogs like I thought he might. Instead, he prefers to just hang back on a lap and cuddle. In a word, he's a LOVE.

So, there is no doubt in my mind that he is someone's lapdog and someone is missing him. I spent all morning yesterday calling every vet, dog groomer and animal control office in Marion, NC giving them my information and a description of Teddy so if anyone called looking for their pup giving a similar description, they could pass along my info. But so far, no one has reported a dog of Teddy's description missing and no one has called me about him. It makes me sad for him.

There's no worries about Teddy finding a good home. We already have 3 people interested in adopting him. I think both my mom and I will have a hard time giving him up. He's such a heartbreaker. Maybe we should have called him Elvis or Brad Pitt instead.