Saturday, March 2, 2013

My Derby

My Derby, adopted one year and two months ago, has been a joy.  I wish more new about the wonders of adopting a retired racing greyhound.  They are like no other dogs, and it gives me a sense of pride and satisfaction to know that we have brought into our family, and lovely dog whose future could have been quite dire, had the Southeastern Greyhound Adoption Association not taken him from the greyhound racing track, and set him up for adoption.  I wish we all could save every greyhound that raced, or fell short of the tracks expectations, and are set for elimination because they can't make money on a greyhound that doesn't win races.  They just don't know what they are missing out on.

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The Pack

Having Derby in our lives is truly a joy.  We have been contemplating adopting another lately. We feel we have to rush because so many tracks are closing (thank God!). So we may have to travel some distance to obtain another retired racer.

He has a personality of his own, but he has also adapted to us in many ways.  I can really see that he considers us the pack. I'm the alpha, and my husband and he are equal...Ha Ha.   Okay, maybe my husband ranks a alpha-2, second in command.  While I have grown up with dogs in our house, he grew up a country boy with dogs that only hunt; they were never allowed in the house.

At night, when we watch television, he is right there with us, until he his ready for bed.  His cage is his refuge.   I made sure that his cage is set away from commotion just in case we have guest, and he needs to get away. I tell people not to reach in unless he invites them in.  His invitation is usually with a paw, and he lays to the side.  When he does that, he is saying, its okay to rub me.  If he stays in the position he was in when we walked into his "domain", he isn't in the mood.  I just believe that he needs to feel safe someplace in the home, and that he has a place to go for that safety, or at least what he feels is safe.

He will now go up and down the stairs that leads to the garage, only because we have taught him that those stairs is the route for a car ride.  The front door is the route should he need to potty, or when he goes for a walk.  He loves going for car rides, and goes to his cage when one of us leaves in the car without him.  Initially, getting him to not be afraid of the stairs was a challenge.  When we first got him, if the door was even open, he would avoid walking by the stairs.  If he had no choice but to walk by the open door, he did it in a rush. Now that he knows the stairs mean a car ride, when we tell him, "Let's go for a ride," Derby runs to the front door for his leash and weather appropriate attire.  He will also walk down the stairs unassisted, and wait until we come to open the door to the garage.

Now we are going to teach him to go upstairs where the bedrooms are located.  When the pack goes upstairs to sleep, some days we wake to find him on the rug at the bottom of the stairs sleeping; waiting for us to wake.

Like all greyhounds, Derby sleeps a lot during the day.  Yet, he wants to nap where the pack is located.  If there is too much light where the pack is, he will cover his eyes with his paws or bury his head under one of his blankets.  But, if he is in the family room, where its relatively dark, he sleeps there "roach style" as long as the pack is there too.

If we both have to leave the house, he doesn't have separation anxiety.  We will come home to find him inside his cage, or sleeping on his bagel bed located outside his cage.  We've placed beds strategically throughout the house where we hangout; the family room, sun room, basement, and in both vehicles.

We are a pack, and he has learned how to communicate with us, but when we aren't noticing his attempts, he will pick up something and toss it in the air to get our attention.  It's quite funny.  Usually, it is something that belongs to one of us, like a gym shoe or sock. After he does that, I will get up and follow him asking what he wants.  He either leads me to his bowl because he is ready to eat, the sun room, or to the front door when he is ready to go potty.  He has come a long way from being scared of us stepping over him when he lies in the floor, to staying fast asleep in the middle of the floor as we maneuver around him.

Some days, I feel sad when I look at the color change of his muzzle, knowing he is getting older when the hair there turns white.  He will also wake up with cramps in his front paws, and will wake up crying. I love how he trusts me now to warm and massage his front legs, when at one time, you couldn't touch him because of his fear and pain.  When he hurts like that I feel sad.  Derby will hop to his cage when it happens, yelping the entire way.  I want to cry too.

So here is to the for all, and all for one.

The Pack Howls Together

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Just Being Playful..

Derby being playful as usual.
But he caught me with the camera, laughing at him.

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