Archive for November, 2009

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Couple Photos

November 29, 2009

Friday was Whitey’s first Meet n Greet.  He gave me a big tail wag when it was apparent that he had a shot at going someplace, so we decided to bring him.  He hung in there, although laid down the majority of the time (which I’d expect even a 4-legged 11-yr-old to do anyway).  He enjoyed seeing the other dogs and getting some love.  It was amazing to me how many people really seemed to not notice that he was missing a leg.  I mean, I guess that when he is lying down, you might assume that he has it tucked under him somehow and not give it a second look.  But when standing, pretty obvious that there are only 3 legs on that white dog!  Only a handful of people asked about it though.  He has a snazzy new tripawd t-shirt from Critter Cozies and a warm new tripawd sweatshirt from Cottage Hound, so he was stylin’.

We stopped for bagels before the MnG, and Apollo and Whitey got to split a turkey and cream cheese sandwich.  Whitey’s first carbs since diagnosis.  He scarfed it down like a snake swallowing a rabbit whole, then looked longingly at Apollo savoring his half.

When we got home, Whitey was TIRED.  He slept like a log the rest of the day, and didn’t even object to a “friend” joining him in his favorite bed.  Here’s Hank:

They sat like this a long time, until Hank threw a leg over Whitey and Whitey yelped.  I hauled Hank out of the beanbag chair, and then he went to pout.  It occurred to me after a while that I hadn’t seen him lately.  So I went looking, and this is what I found.  He pulled all the coats down, made a bed, and went to sleep in it:

Sigh.  Typical Hank.

Anyway, Whitey’s been doing pretty good.  He has perked up in the last day or two and is moving around more.  He’ll get up and come over when I come home, for example.  And we’ve gotten a couple tail wags.  I think we’ll be seeing his personality coming back more and more.  I’ve cut out all the meds except 50mg of Deramaxx in the morning, plus 50mg of Gabapentin.  He’ll get his staples out this week (potentially tomorrow) and we’ll see whether the vet wants us to continue those meds.  I’m inclined to keep at least one of them a little while longer, because he does still whine if he is bumped on that side or tries to lie down on it.  His mobility is really pretty good now, and the only thing he still can’t do is to get up if he flops down on the bad side.

In other news, Angel was adopted by a new family on Friday.  She went to join a greyhound sister, Nonna, plus a 2-yr-old human brother (who got his shoes totally covered in poop running around in our yard — sorry Connor’s mom!).  Plus we have a family coming tomorrow to try out Latey with their 2 greyhounds and 2 cornish rex cats.  We’ll see how THAT goes!  It’ll be great for Latey if it works, because I’ve known this family for years and they are awesome.

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Speak out against Greyhound Mascots

November 28, 2009

Reposted from the GREY2K Facebook page:

<<<GREY2K USA shares the concerns of those working to prevent the acquisition of two greyhounds as mascots for Eastern New Mexico University. Unlike other mascot programs, the ENMU proposal calls for the dogs to be kept locked up in a warehouse, and there are no plans to home the dogs either with alumni or with responsible students during the school year (or otherwise).

Please read below for more information and send an e-mail to university officials today. The dogs are scheduled to be brought to the campus warehouse next week.

President Steven.Gamble@enmu.edu
Vice President Ronnie.Birdsong@enmu.edu

Let’s convince them to do right by the greyhounds!

****Special thanks to Judy Paulsen of Greyhound Companions of New Mexico for leading the fight for these dogs and to Animal Protection New Mexico for its strong advocacy****

Christine

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ENMU Proceeds with Inhumane Plan for Dog Mascots
http://www.apnm.org/mailbox/nov25_09.html

Several weeks ago, APNM learned of an ill-conceived plan by Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) to acquire two greyhounds from a now-closed Arizona race track and turn them into live mascots with no permanent home. The male and female greyhounds are scheduled to arrive on the Portales campus the week of December 1.

APNM is joining what is a nationwide debate over ENMU’s inhumane proposal to use the two dogs as campus mascots, and to keep them permanently warehoused on campus without long-term and consistent human companionship recommended for domestic dogs. To make matters worse, greyhounds have complicated special needs that if not properly addressed can lead to health problems and improper care.

Consider the following factors surrounding the failed mascot plan:

* Greyhound advocates across the country are objecting to the ENMU scheme;

* The two greyhounds will not have a permanent home or permanent, consistent care-givers;

* The dogs will supposedly be cared for by junior and senior student volunteers during the daytime;

* ENMU cannot say for sure who the dogs will stay with at night, what kind of environment will be provided, or how long they will stay with any given person;

* There are no plans for how the dogs–who typically run at racing speeds of 40 miles per hour–will be properly exercised;

* Greyhounds have skin that easily rips, and there are no plans for the dogs’ veterinary care;

* President Gamble was unable to tell APNM who the dogs’ trainer would be, what the trainer’s background is, or exactly when or how any caretakers would be trained;

* APNM’s Cruelty Case Manager, a seasoned greyhound rescuer, notes that the erratic plan for the dogs’ care would be very stressful for the dogs;

* President Gamble told APNM that the university had not considered trying to place the dogs with a family in a permanent home;

* There is no clear plan for who will care for the dogs over any given holiday breaks;

* The website of Greyhound Connection, which is supplying the dogs, says that “Separation anxiety may hit Greyhounds harder than some breeds because Greyhounds seem to be more sensitive than most others.”;

* President Gamble told APNM that ENMU plans for a half-million dollar renovation to the grim warehouse building where the dogs will be kept during the day. APNM visited the dim interior warehouse space and found it crowded with tall piles of crates and boxes. Chain link and barbed wire fencing surround what is proposed as the dogs’ daytime back yard; the space is entirely devoid of shade. The enclosed “yard,” reportedly being cleared by backhoe of shards of glass and pottery seeded by the archaeology department for student use, is an otherwise barren plot of packed earth.

* APNM wrote to ENMU President Gamble, urging ENMU to abandon its mascot plans, and also followed up with an in-person meeting. The President is nonetheless still proceeding with the mascot plan.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Write or telephone President Gamble and Vice President Birdsong, urging them to abandon the inhumane and ill-fated plan for two dogs who will have no choice about being passed from one caretaker to the next to the next, for the rest of their lives.

Before it’s too late, speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves!
Steven.Gamble@enmu.edu, 575-562-2205
Ronnie.Birdsong@enmu.edu, 575-562-4490

Points to make in your letter or call:

* Live animals should not be used as campus mascots. As such, their long-term health and well-being are not a priority;

* Dogs are highly social animals and thrive with a family, rather than in isolation in a warehouse. These greyhounds should be adopted by a family who will devote consistent time, energy and resources for their well-being, with thoughtful guidance by people trained specifically in the complicated care of greyhounds;

* Homeless dogs should be properly adopted by caring people who are able to provide the commitment of a stable, “forever home.” They shouldn’t be relegated to a warehouse, dependent on one busy student after another for absolutely everything;

* These greyhounds have already been exploited once in their lives, they deserve to be in a caring, loving home that can provide for their needs.

ENMU is being watched by a dog-loving nation. While the university still has the opportunity to do the right thing, please urge ENMU to abandon this ill-conceived plan, and act in the dogs’ best interests.

“With this flawed idea, ENMU will become a terrible example for the New Mexico public that is otherwise regularly urged to be kind to animals. By failing to provide a permanent home for these dogs, the university has shown that almost no thought has been given to the entire inhumane proposal,” stated APNM Executive Director Elisabeth Jennings.

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Meet n Greet schedule change

November 25, 2009

We’ve made a last-minute adjustment to our Meet n Greet schedule for this weekend. We were going to cancel altogether because of Whitey, but he is doing so well we decided to go ahead with it. However, we are going to have it on FRIDAY instead of Saturday, to take advantage of the “Black Friday” crowds. We’re also doing it a little earlier in the day – 10AM to around 1PM.

Love to see any of you there! Whitey may or may not be in attendance, depending on how he is feeling.

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Whitey Video

November 24, 2009

Here’s a video of Whitey walking at 10 days post-op. I edited out the parts where he was just standing around looking at stuff (or pooping).

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Shameless promotion

November 24, 2009

I made some necklaces this past week (while sitting within constant sight of Whitey), hoping to raise a few $$ for MNGR. Take a sneak peek at a couple. To see all of them, or to order one, go here.

I started with 8 designs to see whether they sell, but if they do, probably lots more designs to come because they’re kind of fun to make.


Now, for the daily Whitey update: We seem to have turned a corner with mobility. Today he has not needed to stop and rest going to/from the yard for potty turnout. He is moving with more confidence. I got my first real tail wag today when I asked him if he wanted to go out. I no longer have to lunge for him when I see that he is moving from one bed to another — he’s more sure of himself and I am more sure he can make it. He hasn’t been up on the couch again, but I think he could probably get back up if he wanted to. The only thing he can’t do now is get up by himself if he lies down on his bad side. And he seems to WANT to lie on his bad side, too. (I can imagine if I had to lie on the same side all the time, I would get stiff and tired of it too.) So he’ll gingerly get down there, sleep for a while, then get uncomfortable and try to get up but can’t. Then he’ll lie there and whine until I come help him. But we’re getting there. He’s been quite restless lately, and in fact we got very little sleep last night, so I’ve started pulling back the Tramadol. All in all, he’s been quite the little trooper.

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Good boy, Whitey

November 22, 2009

Good day today. He is still very tired, will still pant a little and occasionally whine. But definitely better. The edema is pretty much gone. And he is moving a little more freely. He still lies on his bed 99.9% of the time, but when he wants to get up, it is not so much of an ordeal.

We have been watching him like a hawk, and basically one of us was within sight of him all the time since surgery. Today, I went to take a shower, and Lloyd and Sunny were lying on the floor of the living room watching “Up.” When I left, Whitey was sound asleep on a bed on the other side of the room (behind Lloyd and Sunny). I was drying off, when I heard a little yip — the yip that Whitey makes sometimes when he gets up to his feet (like a little “ouch!”). So I called out to Lloyd, “What’s happening?” Lloyd had apparently dozed off, and failed to notice that Whitey not only got to his feet, but hopped across the room and GOT HIMSELF ONTO THE COUCH. The yip was because he had flopped down onto the couch on his bad side. We have no idea how he did it, but wow. Pics below.

So after that, we started letting him move about without one of us having a hand on him or his harness. We stay within 6 feet or so, but I think he feels a little better not having one of us hover. He’s a little more confident (although still pretty shaky). We hold onto him when he goes up or down the ramp to the kennel, or when other dogs could potentially bump him. But when he’s walking in the open, he can balance on his own pretty well. I do think it helped him feel more “normal’ to remove the bandage. Still takes a lot out of him to do a turnout, and he stops and rests a few times along the way, but definitely making progress. I’m so proud of my little guy.

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Dairyland again

November 22, 2009

Okay, upon consideration, I am afraid that my recent posts about the DGP (Dairyland Greyhound Park) situation may have seemed to be defending greyhound racing, and may have given the impression that this track closing is nothing to worry about.  So I’d like to clarify.

As I’ve said before, email forward notwithstanding, it is NOT the case that 900 DGP dogs will be killed by the end of 2009. But…

Here’s the deal.  Wisconsin has a law that racing dogs need to either be moved into WI Dept of Gaming approved adoption groups (MNGR is one) or turned over to their registered racing owners.  The thing about the latter is that the racing owners can do whatever they want with them.  Racing owners are not like pet owners, in the majority of cases.  The dogs are investments, not family members.  To the extent that anyone in racing cares about the dogs as living things, it’s more often the trainers and kennel hands that work with them on a daily basis, and not the registered owners.  But the owners have the final say-so over what happens to the dogs.  Everyone involved in greyhound rescue and adoption has certainly heard stories of owners who shoot their dogs in the head upon arrival.  Or turn them over to some nice guy like Robert Rhodes of Alabama.

So, among the things that could happen to the DGP dogs are: They get moved to adoption groups nationwide (which, while it puts a huge strain on the adoption community’s limited resources, is what we all hope happens to the majority of them), they get sent to their racing owners (some with good endings, some not), or they get “bookings” at other racetracks such as JCKC in Florida.

What happens when they get sent to Florida? Well, they take up kennel spots in Florida, and push the less successful racers out. Florida has no law, like Wisconsin does, about not killing greyhounds. So guess what happens to the Florida racers who can’t make it into groups right away? And guess what happens to the DGP dogs once they are not competitive at the Florida tracks?

And, what happens when the flood of DGP dogs moves into greyhound rescue groups nationwide? Almost without exception, greyhound rescue groups nationwide are ALL continually operating at or beyond their capacity in order to save as many as they can. None of them has a shortage of dogs; all have a continual source from groups near them or via hauls from the overflowing Florida tracks. So when those groups commit to taking DGP dogs, the DGP dogs fill up adoption spots in those groups that would’ve been filled by other dogs.

Well, to some extent, we hope that the publicity on the track closing will spark an increase in people donating and adopting hounds. So some of the excess will hopefully be absorbed that way. Groups that I have spoken with have reported that when a nearby racetrack has closed, they can experience about a 4-fold increase in applications. Many are not candidates (they want a hunting dog, for example). And many of these people may be adopting out of pity or without careful thought and research, leading to a sizable chunk of those dogs ultimately getting returned to the adoption groups through no fault of their own.

So. It is FALSE that 900 DGP dogs will be euthanized by the end of the year if not adopted. There are not that many dogs at the track. WI law will not allow them to be summarily euthanized. It will not do anyone any good to make a bunch of angry phonecalls to DGP. Many of the dogs have bookings at other tracks, and many will be sent back to their owners. Adoption groups are pulling together to accomodate as many of the remaining “adoptable” dogs as they are able. BUT this does not mean that the closing at DGP will not result in additional greyhound deaths.

Does this mean that the closing is a bad thing? Not in the slightest! One less racetrack in operation means less demand for greyhound breeding. Fewer dogs born each year into racing is great news. The closing at DGP may have serious consequences in the short term, but in the long term the closing will prevent the deaths of many.

In the short term, we all need to do our best to get as many of the DGP dogs into good homes as possible: Adopt! Volunteer! Donate!

To see just a bit of the reason we want to see racing end, check out the Greyhound Protection League. In particular, check out this page of press releases on greyhound abuse cases. And in case you missed it the first time, see this post for a video on racing.