Saturday, April 30, 2011

Super Mushy

An old greyhound trainer (by the way, is there such thing as a young greyhound trainer?) once told me that he gave his dogs a marshmallow and half of a banana when they came back to the kennel after a race. While the dogs associate this special treat as a post-race celebration, there is actual science behind this practice. Greyhounds' blood sugar drops dramatically during an all out sprint. Feeding some sort of simple sugar within 30 minutes after exertion will help stabilize their blood chemistry. The banana is to replace the potassium they lose during a run. Some also feed a small amount of protein, like raw hamburger, to help with recovery.

I like to believe that Roxy received treats like this in her successful racing days, but I highly doubt it since the first time I gave her a marshmallow she didn't know what to do with it. She eventually figured it out, with a little help from Seka, and giving the girls a mushy at bedtime has become a nightly ritual.

While replenishing our mushy supply today I found GIANT marshmallows intended for campfire use. I'm not sure why these crazy-sized balls of sugar are especially good for outdoor use, as I think it would take way too much time to properly scorch them in a fire, but I did think it would be fun to buy a bag and see what greyhounds would do with a marshmallow six times the size of their mouths.

video


The verdict, Seka can eat a super-sized mushy as fast as she does a jumbo and Roxy might choke without adult supervision and/or cutting it into bite sized pieces. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bruce is Back

It is the first sign that hot weather is here to stay. Bruce has arrived.



The cool thing about Bruce (Bruce as in Bruce Wayne), he chills alone. He's a rogue bat. The black sheep of his bat family. This is the fourth summer he has returned. He'll be hanging out until at least October. I always have to check myself so that I don't reach up and pat his little head.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Monkey Riding Dogs

Seriously, I am planning my vacation around the Team Ghost Riders's appearance schedule this summer. I cannot think of anything better than watching cowboy monkeys, riding border collies, herding goats on a baseball field. Boy I hope at least one of these appearances is on a Thirsty Thursday (2 for 1 beer, for those of you not familiar with the world of minor league baseball). After you watch this video, you will want to go too!



Now, does anyone thing I could get Jen on board to help me train monkeys to ride greyhounds in little jockey outfits? I think I've found my retirement plan.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Barefeet

If you were born and raised in the deep south, then you're probably like me. I prefer to go barefoot - especially outside. My neighbors marvel at my ability to walk on asphalt that is well over 100 degrees in the dead of summer without shoes. I mean, why would I put on shoes to go get the mail?  Gravel, sand, acorns, dirt - it really doesn't matter the surface, I prefer to be one with the earth. I know this comes from my southern roots, and since I live in the country, I continue to embrace this behavior. And yes, I wash my feet.

For the past 8 months Seka has been going barefoot too. No boot. No sock. No nothin' on that bad back foot. We've hiked a couple of trails. We've walked on the local paved greenway. We've strutted our stuff around the neighborhood. All without the support of that therapaw. She has proven that she is like her mother - barefoot is the way to go.

Unfortunately, and rather suddenly, she stopped using her back left leg all together this past week. After I've had several greyhound friends either lose a dog or have a cancer scare in the past month, I freaked the f out (to put it lightly). So off to Doctor Hottie we go.

We did a set of x-rays of her hips, leg, knees and toes. And because I spend so much money at their practice I am Dr. Hottie's favorite, he did x-rays of her chest and stomach to calm my nerves about that scary C word (which were all clear btw).

While comparing her x-rays from 2009 with the new ones we could see that the space where her missing toe once was was free of chips, which was our initial thought based on how she presented. That's good. What it did show is that her outside toe has actually twisted and started to grow over the top of the sesamoid bones of the missing toe. Ouch. She also had a small, old break in that outside toe and a lot of arthritis. Seriously, the GBD has a bunion that would rival that of any broke-down prima ballerina.

She's not a surgical candidate since her missing toe was a weight baring toe and removing the outside toe on that foot may make her not be able to use it again and put too much stress on her hips. There's nothing to do but try to reduce the inflammation and relieve the pain. Now we're on a Rymadyl/Tramadol cocktail. I'm cautiously pleased to report that after just three days of treatment, she seems more comfortable. She won't run in the backyard yet, but she is using it, which is a good start.

I hope we can get back to our walks soon. I'd like to get at least 5 lbs off of both of us this summer, but that'll be hard without some form of exercise. I feel like the pool may be calling her name!

PS:  I do wear shoes when walking her in the neighborhood. I'm not one of those crazy barefoot runners you see in Central Park, dodging hypodermic needles. And even if I decided to go shoeless all I would dodge here are beer cans and the occasional snake in the road.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Imprisoned

Thanks to a leaky tub from 1978, our master bathroom is being redone. While home improvement is exciting, I didn't marry a handy man. In fact, I'm Miss Fix It around our house. But there's only so much a girl can do without supervision and removing an ancient fiberglass tub insert and creating an awesome tiled tub isn't in my wheelhouse. So it appears we will have a few visitors in the house for the next five days.

Roxy wants to help. Or she just wants to see for herself what is making all that damned noise. She longingly looks at her prison bars (x-pen) looking for any way out. She is jealous of the cats who have figured out how to slip behind the furniture to break in and out of our makeshift jail cell. I seriously believe that today she wishes she were skinnier. Don't we all, girl. Don't we all.

Seka, on the other hand, has found her own solution to the noisy workers upstairs.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sighthound Sighting Number 102

Have you seen the same look on your houndie's face? The "You can't be serious," look. This little whippet doesn't do much, but he's really cute.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Just Like Home

My girls are pretty spoiled. I work from home, so they don't really know the word schedule. Their crate time is non-existent. Nothing is off limits, except the cats' room. They have dog beds, but prefer to use our king-sized place of rest. They eat raw food. Enjoy a marshmallow before bed and the occasional gourmet dog biscuit from our favorite pet bakery. Basically, their lives are the doggie equivalent of an episode of MTV Cribs.

So when we go on vacation, and I cannot figure out a way to bring the girls with us, I have a handful of resources I turn to to care for them. I'm picky. Very picky. So picky that the closest kennel I use is two and half hours away from my home. I typically tour the space. I interview the care taker(s) - this includes the kids who feed them, let them out and clean up after them if necessary. If I see or sense an angry teenage boy might have access to my girls - the facility is immediately off my list. I want to see where they sleep. I want to see where their food is kept. I want to know they are comfortable feeding raw. I must see that the outside play space is clean (no poop). I look for care takers playing with and loving on the other dogs. I look to make sure my girls will have little, preferably no, contact with other breeds. I check to make sure the facility has the ability not put my girls near a constant barker. If possible, I ask for references - and I call them.

Basically, I approach this like I would if I were picking a day care for a six week old baby.

We vacation in Florida at least once a year and I have a fabulous twitter/blog friend, Stefanie, that keeps the girls when we are near the Tampa area. Unfortunately, she lost her oldest greyhound, Macy (godspeed sweet girl), just two days before we were to drop our girls off. It didn't feel right to interfere with this household in their time of grief. Stefanie recommended Just Like Home Pet Hotel (JLH).

There was no time for an interview, walk through, or references. We were already there enjoying the David Island Dog Beach and taking over the local LaQuinta. After a call with Joanie at JLH, I felt good, but this control freak was a bit out of her comfort zone. I had to throw caution to the wind and remind myself that if I wasn't comfortable when we dropped them off, we would just take them with us and figure it out when we got to Fort Myers.

But the best part was Joanie herself. She was warm, welcoming, and genuinely loved the dogs. She has a great fabulous pre-arrival paperwork. It asks questions like, what the dogs like to play with, their potty schedule, food schedule and their preferred sleeping location. It stormed almost every day there, but Jonie was comfortable with catering to a thunder phobic dog and even called me a couple of times to let me know that everything was ok. She would text me photos during their stay so I could see them. Joanie teared up when we came to pick them up. Seriously - this was exceptional care.

So if you are driving to the Tampa area and want to bring your pup along for part of the ride, call Joanie. And if Animal Planet wants to do a doggie cribs t.v. show - I know who I will nominate first.