Adoptions of 2012

December 29, 2012

2012 has been a fantastic year! We have done more adoptions this year than in any year since MNGR started. Thank you so much to all of our adopters, volunteers, friends and supporters. Without you, none of this would be possible. You gave hope to these hounds.

Double D

Sadly, we also had some losses this year. We are grateful that Ally, Bree, Little Bear, Bonnie and Harley knew the love of the Johnson family even for just a little while before the left for the Bridge.

We look forward to finding more families for hounds in 2013. Much love from our families to yours.

The Komatsus: Jen, Lloyd, Sunny, Maisy, Milo, Poppy – and hounds Chester, Brad, Hank, Tigger, Eyore, Beaut, Petey, Buddy, Kevin, Frank, Sarge and Bond.

The Johnson/Kittlesons: Kelly, Brad, Braeden, Alex, Calla – and hounds Paco, Al, Cal, Sally, Pluto, Suzy, Sady, Abby, Libby, Annie, Scoobie, Gracie, Amy, Killy, Daisy, Pilot, Sleet, Jump, and Roo

The Adoptables: Colby, Andy, Lady, Feet, Kacey, Cheech, Gem, Magnet, Ernie, Nova and Candykiss
See us at: http://www.minnesotagreyhoundrescue.org/adopt/available-dogs.html


Dangerous training methods

October 17, 2012

The writing of this post was prompted by an unfortunate series of events last night which resulted a dog being returned to the greyhound rescue. Leaving out any names, of course, here is a summary of what occurred. A young, male greyhound was recently adopted by a family: a man, woman, no kids, cats. He has exhibited some typical dog naughtiness like stealing things out of the trash or off countertops. And last night, he apparently growled at the woman when she tried to take one of these things away from him. She attempted to discipline him by performing something known as an “alpha roll,” an outdated dog training technique made popular again in the past decade by Cesar Mill*an and the TV show The Dog Whisp*erer. It involves pinning the dog down on its back to show your dominance. You can find many examples of it on youtube.

When she attempted to do this, the greyhound became terrified and bit the woman’s arm. She has a puncture wound and some bruising. She called the greyhound rescue and told us she wanted the dog put to sleep. We were able to convince her to return the dog to us. She never showed up, and we discovered the police had been called. We were able to go to their home and pick up the dog, and the police were supportive of our observing and rehoming him.

What I want to address here is the use of dominance-based training techniques. I will acknowledge that there may be SOME dogs for whom these techniques may be effective. But even in those cases, those techniques should ONLY be performed by a trained animal behaviorist. Even on the popular TV show, each time Cesar performs a technique like an “alpha roll,” a box pops up on the screen that reads “Do Not Try These Techniques at Home.” The reason: this is purely, undeniably dangerous. This is an excellent way to get bitten.

This dog was returned to us with a folder of his medical records. In that packet was a handout the family had been given by their vet, but clearly never read. It’s written by the Humane Society and is titled “Positive Reinforcement.” In the section that talks about punishment-based training, it says:

“…Never use physical punishment that involves some level of discomfort of pain, which may cause your pet to bite to defend herself. Holding the neck skin and shaking your dog, or performing “alpha rolls” (forcing your dog onto her back and pinning her on the floor) are both likely to result in bites. And punishment might be associated with other stimuli, including people, that are present at the time the punishment occurs. For example, a pet who is punished for getting too close to a small child may become fearful of, and aggressive toward, that child — or toward other children. That’s why physical punishment is not only bad for your pet, it’s also bad for you and others.”

Here are some other articles that support that statement:

Using Dominance to Explain Behavior is Old Hat

If You’re Aggressive, Your Dog Will Be Too

Most behaviorists do not subscribe to dominance-based training techniques, because they are both ineffective and dangerous. The Animal Humane Association, The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, and the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists have all publicly come out against these methods. They are NEVER APPROPRIATE for greyhounds, who are sensitive dogs and cannot emotionally handle fear-based techniques. They are also physically delicate, and such techniques are likely to cause them pain or injure them.

For an alternative, please check out the trainer that our rescue uses: Pretty Good Dog Training. If you need help working through any behavior issues with your dog, please contact your adoption representative, day or night, we are here to help.

We will be observing the dog for any behavioral issues. In our experience he has been a sweet and gentle dog. When we are confident that he is not showing signs of aggression, we will be looking for an understanding and positive forever family for him. He is beautiful, excellent with cats, smart and affectionate.



October 12, 2012

When Ernie arrived here the first week in September from Iowa, he was very scared. When you approached his kennel, he would huddle against the back wall. He was not a fear biter, so you could go in and pet him, but he obviously was not happy about it. As the days went by, is behaviour didn’t change much, but when you went to pet him he would actually extend his head toward you just a little bit, like he might actually want you to keep petting him.

After a week or so of this, I decided that we weren’t going to get anywhere with Ernie with him living in the adoptables kennel. So I brought him inside. Against his will. I had to take him by his collar and pull him into the house, where he refused to leave the kitchen landing that leads into the kennel for a while. When he thought we weren’t looking, he jetted into the living room and immediately dove into the corner behind our large beanbag chair. This has been his go-to spot ever since.

When it became clear that he intended to remain back there indefinitely, I put a couple blankets down on the floor so he wouldn’t be sleeping in such a hard spot. And for a few days he was back there ALL the time, except when we made him go outside to potty and drink water. I brought him food back there because he wasn’t coming out to eat, and he would only eat the food if he thought I wasn’t looking.

I spent time sitting on the edge of the beanbag chair talking to him and petting him. At first he would squish himself farther into the corner when I came over. Although if I turned my back, I could hear and feel him edging closer to me and sniffing the back of my head. Soon, he was almost pleased to have me come sit with him.

After a few more days, he started to come out at night. He would wander around the house, get some food and water. Although if I sat up, he would dash right back to his hiding place. A few more days and he took to playing with toys alone in the dark at night, even lying out on the dog beds to sleep for a while, as long as no one in the house moved or acknowledged him.

One day we had a duck-stick breakthrough. We buy these nasty dried duck strips in big bags at Cost*co and pass them out once or twice a day as treats. I had brought him a couple once to his hiding place. One day I was handing them out in the kitchen, and Ernie came to get in line! He snagged the treat out of my hand quick as he could and made off with it! 10 seconds later, back in line. We did this no less than nine times, it was the closest he had willingly come to me yet.

After that, every time I went into the kitchen, he was there at the edge to see what I was doing. And each time he took a little more time going back into his hiding place. He would get water, walk around a bit. If I walked towards him, zoom! But if I went about my business he would stay out.

Next, he learned that if I was sitting in the living room with my computer, I was unlikely to make any sudden movements. So he started to behave at those times like he had been doing at night. He would come out and lie on a dog bed, play with a toy, hang out, until I put my computer down or stood up.

In the past week, his goofy personality has started to emerge. One afternoon he stole 5 pairs of underwear from the hanmper and brought them out to the living room to play with. (Unfortunately, he tore up one pair.) I watched him going back and forth, back and forth, just laughing. Just underwear, nothing else, although I did find a dirty sock in his hiding place one day. He will also steal spoons or forks off the table if no one clears them quickly after eating, and has eaten at least 3 or 4 pencils. (Well, he is barely 2 years old, what do you want?)

Now we are at the point where he will actually come up to me for loves. He sits on the couch about 25% of the time during the day. He’ll run back to his spot if the rest of the human family is home, or if I make sudden movements. But he is doing awesome.

I have had the flu for like a week, and today I was lying on a dog bed next to Tigger taking a nap (yes, I take naps on dog beds on the floor – so?), and he came up for pets. After a while, he actually laid down next to me and snuggled up! It was fabulous.

I’m going to have a hard time letting go of this boy. But we have a dozen now, and he’s very young, I know the right family is out there for him. As he gets more comfortable with me, the next goal is to get him to extend that trust to other humans. He’s such a good boy, though. He is smart and learned his name right away, will often come to me when I call him (if the situation isn’t too scary). Sadly, he has gotten nipped by the other dogs several times because when he is fleeing to his hiding space, he will run OVER whoever is lying in the straight line between him and corner. But he does that less and less. We’re getting there.

Ernie will turn 2 years old on Tuesday!


Summer wrap-up and asking for a little help

October 10, 2012

Well I’ve put all the human kids’ summer clothes away and I sent them off in sweaters and boots this morning. Even had to send the dogs in fleece jackets to MNGR’s event last weekend! Hard to believe Summer is gone already. We had our busiest Summer ever at MNGR! To date in 2012 we have placed 53 hounds!

Our Summer events were AWESOME and we’d like to thank all the volunteers who helped out, especially Ms Betsey with hounds Oliver and Holly, who was there for pretty much every one. We couldn’t do this without all of you!

If you’re not our fan on Facebook or a follower on Twitter (@MNGreyhound), we hope you’ll join us there for real-time photos of all our events, plus photos from hauls and the daily goings-on at the two main MNGR households.

We have been full to the gills all Summer with hounds, having taken in some pretty big hauls from Kansas, as well hounds from Iowa, Florida, and soon to be Alabama. Our most recent haul had EIGHTEEN dogs, most of them well under 2 years old. And we’ve gotten a few fabulous brood mamas too!

That’s where the asking for a little help comes in… Recently we’ve taken in more than our average number of dogs with some extra needs. Our beautiful broodies all came with some very nasty teeth, and Candykiss’s vet bill alone was $1200 — she needed 33 teeth extracted! Also with very high bills were broodies Killy (now adopted), Nikki (now adopted), Amy (still waiting), and Stephie (now adopted — not a broodie but a little 8-yr-old girl found wandering loose).

MNGR still only asks our regular adoption fee for these gals, despite putting way more money than that into their bills. We would deeply appreciate any donations toward their bills, however great or small.

Check out some pics of these lovely girls:

Candykiss, 8 yr old brood mama, still available!

Killy, 8-yr-old brood mama, adopted

Amy, 6-yr-old brood mama with some special needs, available.

Nikki, 6-yr-old brood mama, adopted.

We’ve also recently taken on some special-needs babies. The Kansas haul of 18 hounds was from a very large greyhound farm, literally hundreds of dogs, and the pups we received had spent their entire lives in outdoor runs. They are extremely undersocialized, and several of them were extremely shy. One boy, Pilot, would not come into the house for about 2 weeks because he was so afraid, even if you left the room and just left the door open. He has been staying at MNGR Rochester, where they were eventually able to get some anti-anxiety meds into him. He has been making amazing progress, but is still nowhere near being adoptable. Pilot is the worst, but there are a couple others in the same boat.

MNGR is completely committed to these pups (all less than 18 months old), and with love and work we hope that they will all find their families someday. If not, they will live out their lives here with us. However, MNGR pays for all the food and vet care that they will need in the meantime, which will be far more than the average hound we adopt out. Once again, any donations to contribute to their care would be very appreciated.

Here’s how you can donate to MNGR.

Here’s a couple of our shy babies:




Summer Events at MNGR

June 11, 2012

Hello to all our greyhound friends! Just wanted tell you all about the fabulous events MNGR has planned for the Summer months. We’ll also be asking for a little volunteer help… The outdoor festivals and events are a fun way to spend the day with your hound, and to help MNGR at the same time. Please consider coming out for an event.

Volunteering at our events is easy! You just bring yourself and your hound. If possible, a dog bed and a chair for you would be great too, in case we don’t have enough to go around. Then you have a seat and hang out, while event-goers come by to pet your hound and ask you questions about what it’s like to share your life with a greyhound. Your dog will love the attention. If you have any questions about volunteering at “Meet n Greets,” just let us know.

June 14 to July 26 – Marketfest in White Bear Lake
This event runs from 5:30-9:00pm every Thursday. It’s located in downtown White Bear Lake. This event is extremely family-friendly, with music, bounce-houses, and food that the kids will love.

June 22 – Rochesterfest Parade
This is a super fun one! There will be a trailer for hounds who cannot walk the whole route. Kids under 8 years old may not walk – they may ride in a wagon or a stroller pulled by somebody older. We want to have tons of hounds in the parade! Contact Kelly at bralcajo@yahoo.com for more information on participating.

June 23 and June 24 – Twin Cities Pride
We have done this every year since MNGR began, and it’s one of our favorites. We could sure use some extra help this year, on both days. Let Jen or Kelly know if you might be able to attend. We will be in Loring Park; however, we do not yet know the location of our booth.

July 20, 21, and 22 – St Paul’s Highlandfest
This busy festival is located in the Highland neighborhood of St. Paul. It’s another family-friendly event with rides, fair food, and lots to see. Saturday especially is busy for us, and we’d love some help. We’re not sure of the exact hours yet, but contact Jen when the dates get closer for more info.

Aug 18-19 – Renaissance Festival Ye Olde Pet Fest
This is a huge event with long hours (9AM – 7PM each day) and we could really use the volunteer help! The Pet Fest has adoptable pets, but also booths with activities and info on nutrition, grooming, pet products and more. There’s a pet costume contest and a bird show too! Come on out and hang with us at this fun event.

Minnesota State Fair
We don’t know for sure which days yet, but we usually try for the first Saturday and Sunday of the Fair. This is an opportunity for MNGR to reach a huge number of people! This is a non-stop, constantly busy event, running from 8-8 each day. Our booth is inside the Pet Building. Because there is very limited space in our little “box,” we do need to keep to a schedule. To sign up for a time slot, contact Kelly at bralcajo@yahoo.com.

Sept 8 and 9 – Jesse James Days
This Northfield event is fun and family-friendly. We set up in a local park (along with an arts and crafts show), and talk with festival-goers. This a great, laid-back event in a nice shady location. It’s about 40 minutes south of the Twin Cities, and we’d love some extra help!

More to Come!

These are the events on the docket right now; but I’m sure more will be added as the summer progresses. If you aren’t our fan on Facebook, please join us there! That’s the fastest way for us to get new information to you. Thanks so much for your support!


Super Bowl ads

February 6, 2012

Yep, another post from me today. Is the world coming to an end?

Couldn’t let the Super Bowl go by without a short commentary on the dog ads this year…

Some of you may already be aware of the Sketchers ad featuring greyhound racing. There has been internet chatter for months in anticipation, including a Boycott Sketchers campaign by Grey2K. (And yes, I signed the petition to ask Sketchers to consider pulling this ad.) Here is the much-debated ad:


Check out http://www.grey2kusa.org/boycottskechers/ for the Boycott Sketchers campaign, to see how you can still respond to this ad.

My main issue with this ad is that it makes greyhound racing look like a popular, glamourous event. Look at all those people in the stands! Look at the lush landscaping, the UNMUZZLED greyhounds, the well-kept track. This ad was filmed at Tuscon Greyhound Park, one of the very worst tracks in the country. See this video: http://www.grey2kusa.org/azVideo.html and read this story from Tuscon News KOLD: http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/Global/story.asp?S=13725459  Does this look like what you see in the Sketchers ad? Not so much.

Why would a company want to associate itself with an industry that has a long and documented history of killing and cruelty? They are counting on the fact that most people don’t care enough to do the research themselves. Most people will take the ad at face-value, assume that greyhound tracks are well-kept places, popular family destinations. There’s no kill truck pulling up to the back door in this ad. But greyhound advocates need to let everyone know what the real story is.

Some people have said that all the ad needed was a little PSA at the end saying “Adopt A Retired Racing Greyhound” or some such thing. While that WOULD have helped start the conversation, I still think that the ad does too much to glorify racing. If this ad is responsible for even one person saying, “Hey, that looks like fun. Those dogs look so cool racing. I think I’ll go to a track and bet on them,” that’s too many for me.

Yes, I personally know trainers who love their dogs and make sure that all their dogs get into adoption. But that’s not the whole story of racing. I also personally have received countless dogs from the track with open lesions, unmended broken bones, unbelievable cases of parasites, including a dog who died within an hour of arrival here because his lungs were so congested that the stress and heat of the hauler ride was more than his little body could handle. And no one noticed. When people think of greyhound racing, I want them to think of those dogs. Not a pretty green topiary-filled park where happy dogs run in a circle while stands full of people cheer. When people think of greyhound racing, I sure as hell don’t want them to find anything to laugh about.

So please let Sketchers know what you think of this ad, and hopefully they will not continue to air it.

For a cute Super Bowl ad featuring a dog, check out the Bud Lite ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyFWSys3TJU&feature=share

This dog is really a rescue dog, and note the PSA at the end. This is the way to do it. For every ‘like’ Weego receives on Facebook, Bud Light will donate $1 (up to $250,000) to Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, ARF.  https://www.facebook.com/BudLight


Long-lost dog mama

February 6, 2012

Here I am! Yep, I’m still alive. Sorry it has been such a long time since I put up a new post. The new (human) children have more than settled in, so thanks for your patience in the meantime.

Whenever I have brought a new kiddo home from China, my biggest fear is how they will handle the dogs, since in the vast majority of cases, the kids growing up in orphanages there have never interacted with (or maybe never even seen in real life) any kind of dog. Let alone a dog who is as tall as they are — or taller! With Sunshine (my first daughter, adopted in 2009 at age 4), we had the hardest time. She was in sheer mortal terror for 5 days after she came home. Meaning, if she so much as glimpsed one of the dogs in another room, she would begin shrieking at the top of her lungs until it was out of sight. But on the 5th day, she woke up and decided “Okay, I’m over it.” I remember getting out of the shower and hearing her crying… I went out to see what was up, and there was Lloyd sitting on the couch with her — dogs all around. I said, “What the heck are you doing??” We had been keeping them separate, and trying to ease her into it in very small doses. He said, “She is crying because I will not let her sit on top of Brad.” And from then on she has been fine with the dogs. Her favorite is Tobey — our big, black 12-year-old who is almost totally inert and sleeps through most anything. For some reason she loves him, and when she leaves for school in the morning she will often say to me, “Mommy, you take care Tobey for me while I gone, so he not be sad, okay?”

Maisy (adopted in 2010, also at age 4) had no fear whatsoever. In fact, that child has no fear of anything. (We keep saying this will serve her well in 20 years, but for now — holy crap!) She waded right into the sea of dog faces at the gate on her first day home, saying “Ohhhh, doggies!” (in Mandarin). In addition to her generally fearless personality, Maisy had been raised in a foster family. So she may actually have been around dogs before, although we will never know for sure since at the time she didn’t have the words to tell us, and now she has almost totally forgotten her life there.

Milo and Poppy were in the middle of those 2 extremes, but on the milder side. They cried a bit for a day or two when the dogs would get too close to them, but it was blessedly minimal. Now they are totally over it, although we are still working on how to be gentle and all that good stuff.

Right now we have 9 dogs here with us…. The 8 personal dogs (Tobey, Chester, Brad, Hank, Eyore, Tigger, Boozer and Beaut), plus an “adoptable” named Mr. Peabody (aka Petey). Petey is a special case, and probably will never be adopted. He is just barely 2 years old, and never raced. He has a spinal injury that causes him to walk a bit wobbly (although he can run full-out — it just looks goofy), and also causes him to be incontinent for urine and semi-incontinent for feces. At my house he gets let out frequently and wears washable diapers at all times. MNGR’s vet says that he needs an MRI (about $1500) to determine the extent of the injury and whether surgery might help. If surgery IS an option, that would run another $3-$4K. We just don’t have the means to provide that for Pete-Feet. He is happy, and in no discomfort. He just is not housetrainable. But he is just THE SWEETEST boy around. Sunshine loves to play with him, and he loves to play with her too. He goes bananas playing with toys and running around. He also likes to snuggle, and always needs to stand with his head between your knees.

The rest of MNGR’s adoptables are in foster homes, or down with Kelly & Brad in Rochester. Kelly & Brad have been doing a FABULOUS job of getting dogs adopted! They’ve already placed 5 hounds since the start of the new year. So a big thank you to those guys for their hard work!!

Please come hang out with MNGR at a Meet n Greet sometime! The website schedule is newly updated. We are also doing the Twin Cities Pet Expo again this year at the Convention Center in Minneapolis. The dates this year are March 24-25. We’d love some volunteers, or just come visit our booth.

Oh, and if you will be out of town and need someone to watch your hounds, I have a new page on the website with info on boarding here at the “House of Roo” (aka Jen’s house).  http://www.minnesotagreyhoundrescue.org/boarding.htm

Hope everyone is having a great 2012! I’ll be trying to post more often and keep y’all up to date on MNGR’s happenings. Thanks everybody!