Surviving Summertime Celebrations With Your Hound

It’s that time of year again! Lots of festivals and celebrations and outdoor events that always end in fireworks. With the Fourth of July celebrations coming up, we know that we will get calls about frightened and stressed out greyhounds. The calls we don’t want to get are the ones when a greyhound has gone into a panic and jumped a fence or pulled out of a collar.

Yes, fireworks!!!! Even the most docile and well adjusted hounds can turn into frightened animals trying to find a way to hide from all the noise.

Here are some suggestions for helping your greyhound make it through all the noise.

– If you have a fenced in yard, DO NOT leave your hound unattended. Make sure that all gates are locked and that there are no holes in a fence or spaces under a fence for a dog to get through. Limit the time that your greyhound is outside in the evening after dark. If you leash walk your hound, do NOT take him/her outside when fireworks are expected. If you cannot avoid walking, then make sure your hound’s collar is adjusted properly and the leash is fastened correctly. Use a harness if you feel that you must walk during this time.

– Make sure that your hound is wearing a collar with an I.D. tag on it (personal and FFGR, Inc. tag) and that all of your information on the tag is up to date. Even if your hound does not usually wear a collar, you might want to make an exception during this time of year just to make sure that it can be located if it gets lost.

-If your hound does panic at the sound of fireworks, don’t over react. Let your dog find a place where it feels safe. This might mean a corner of a room, a closet, a bathroom or even the bathtub. Try putting one of your own T-shirts on your hound or any article of clothing that carries your scent. You can even cover over your hound with a blanket once it’s found its safe spot.

– If you have a basement, put your hound there as it may buffer the noise outside a bit. You can also set up a crate and cover it over with a comforter or blanket prior to when you expect the fireworks displays to start.

– Don’t try to comfort your hound if it gets stressed out. This may inadvertently reinforce the behavior as the dog will think that you are rewarding it for being frightened. Treat this as nothing important; be nonchalant. Your dog will respond to your suggestions.

– An adult dose of Benadryl given before the fireworks are scheduled can make your hound drowsy. You can also use a D.A.P. (dog appeasing pheromone), an all natural way to treat anxiety in dogs that comes in several forms including plug in oil, spray and/or a collar. You can use a combination of Melatonin and Rescue Remedy as well. Call your vet and ask about other recommended medications if your hound gets very stressed out.

Make this summer a stress free time for you and your hound! Check for all scheduled events in your area and then take the proper steps to avoid panic times! Have a safe and happy summer!!!

When We Let A Greyhound Into Our Life

When you bring a greyhound into your life, you begin a journey – a journey that will bring you more love and devotion than you have ever known, yet also test your strength and courage.

If you allow, the journey will teach you many things, about life, about yourself, and most of all, about love. You will come away changed forever, for one soul cannot touch another without leaving its mark. Along the way, you will learn much about savoring life’s simple pleasures -jumping in leaves, snoozing in the sun, the joys of puddles, and even the satisfaction of a good scratch behind the ears. If you spend much time outside, you will be taught how to truly experience every element, for no rock, leaf, or Jog will go unexamined, no rustling bush will be overlooked, and even the very air will be inhaled, pondered, and noted as being full of valuable information. Your pace may be slower – except when heading home to the food dish – but you will become a better naturalist, having been taught by an expert in the field.

Too many times we hike on automatic pilot, our goal being to complete the trail rather than enjoy the journey. We miss the details – the colorful mushrooms on the rotting log, the honeycomb in the old maple snag, the hawk feather caught on a twig. Once we walk as a dog does, we discover a whole new world. We stop; we browse the landscape, we kick over leaves, peek in tree holes, look up, down, all around. And we learn what any dog knows: that nature has created a marvelously complex world that is full of surprises, that each cycle of the seasons bring ever changing wonders, each day an essence all its own.

Even from indoors you will find yourself more attuned to the world around you. You will find yourself watching summer insects collecting on a screen. (How bizarre they are! How many kinds there are!), or noting the flick and flash of fireflies through the dark. You will stop to observe the swirling dance of windblown leaves, or sniff the air after a rain. It does not matter that there is no objective in this; the point is in the doing, in not letting life’s most important details slip by. You will find yourself doing silly things that your dog-less friends might not understand: spending thirty minutes in the pet store aisle looking for the dog food brand your greyhound must have, buying dog birthday treats, or driving around the block an extra time because your greyhound enjoys the ride. You will roll in the snow, wrestle with chewy toys, bounce little rubber balls till your eyes cross, and even run around the house trailing your bathrobe tie – with a greyhound in hot pursuit – all in the name of love. You may find dog biscuits in your pocket or purse, and feel the need to explain that old plastic shopping bags are conveniently positioned by every house entrance for pick-up duty in the yard.

You will learn the true measure of love – the steadfast, undying kind that says, “It doesn’t matter where we are or what we do, or how life treats us as long as we are together.” Respect this always. It is the most precious gift any living soul can give another. You will not find it often among the human race. And you will learn humility. The look in my greyhound’s eyes often made me feel ashamed. Such joy and love at my presence. She saw not some flawed human who could be cross and stubborn, moody or rude, but only her wonderful companion. Or maybe she saw those things and dismissed them as mere human foibles, not worth considering, and so chose to love me anyway.

If you pay attention and learn well, when the journey is done, you will be not just a better person, but the person your greyhound always knew you to be – the one they were proud to call beloved friend. I must caution you that this journey is not without pain. Like all paths of true love, the pain is part of loving. For as surely as the sun sets, one day your dear greyhound companion will follow a trail you cannot yet go down. And you will have to find the strength and love to let them go. A pet’s time on earth is far too short – especially for those that love them. We borrow them, really, just for a while, and during these brief years they are generous enough to give us all their love, every inch of their spirit and heart, until one day there is nothing left. The greyhound that only yesterday was a racer is all too soon old and frail and sleeping in the sun, waking up stiff and lame, the muzzle now gray. Deep down we somehow always knew that this journey would end. We knew that if we gave our hearts they would be broken. But give them we must, for it is all they ask in return. When the time comes, and the road curves ahead to a place we cannot see, we give one final gift and let them run on ahead – young and whole once more. “Godspeed, good friend,” we say, until our journey comes full circle and our paths cross again. Author Unknown

Publicity for FFGR, Inc.!

Recently, at our Two Paws Up meet and greet (Sunday, June 20), the Frederick News Post visited us and interviewed some of our volunteers. We think this was great publicity for us as the article discussed our hounds and what great pets they make!

To read the whole article, just click on the title of this blog. Also, read the many nice comments this article generated as well!

Summer Hints for Greyhounds

As the summer months are now in full swing, our concerns for our hounds change direction. Instead of ice, snow and winter woes, we have now arrived at the time of year when insects come into play. Here are a few items I would like to share.

Bee Stings
Last year our Jetta Sue was stung by a yellow jacket. These bees can sting several times and still live. Other bees like honey bees sting once and die, some wasps and hornets can sting many times as well. When Jetta was stung, we immediately gave her benadryl. Because she was stung in several places, I rushed her to the ER Vet for evaluation. Luckily, Jetta did not have an allergic reaction. However, the vet informed me that if Jetta had had an allergic reaction it would have been within 30 seconds and the only thing I could have done would have been to give her one of the “bee sting injections” out of an emergency kit. If you know or suspect your grey may have been stung give benadryl (one tablet for up to 60 lbs, 2 tablets for over that ) and rush them to the vet. If you know your grey is allergic, ask your vet to prescribe a “bee sting emergency kit” for you to keep at home.

The most important areas of concern or the mouth, eyes and ingestion of a multi sting bee (they can keep stinging all the way down the esophogus and cause swelling which then cuts off the airway.

Mulch seems pretty harmless unless you are using the “red cocoa mulch” which was so popular last year. This product is made from the husk of the cocoa tree which is what produces CHOCOLATE. If any of this red mulch is ingested, it acts just like a chocolate candy bar and can cause upset stomachs, seizures even death.

Fertilizer/Weed Killer
We all want beautiful plants and grass. Don’t forget your greyhound(s) when you are working in your yard and garden. Keep in mind that some lawn care products can be hazardous to your hounds. If you have a lawn care service, please ask them what types of fertilizers and pest sprays they use. Most chemicals today are safe for pets, but remember that our hounds have much thinner skin and can get sicker faster if subjected to strong doses of even safe chemicals. Your hound may not ingest any chemicals directly from your landscape, but a dog licking its paws can unwittingly dose itself with the chemical it walked in.

Also, be aware of the types of specialized products you are using. For instance, although some lawn fertilizers are safe, some products used for specific garden applications could mean a dose of poison for a greyhound. Reports have been published recently of greyhounds dying when they ate snail bait spread around the base of plants in the garden.

Garden Tools and Lawn Furniture
This one hurts deeply. Several years ago a friend was cleaning up her yard. She had her wheelbarrow out for the debris she was gathering. She thought it would be nice to have the dogs out in the yard with her. The dogs began playing and suddenly her 10 year old grey streaked by and impaled itself on the handles of her wheelbarrow. Another adopter last summer lost her greyhound when she ran full speed into the corner of a concrete bench. Remember that your hounds can reach speeds up to 35-49 MPH in three strides. That speed is enough to turn a harmless tool handle into a death sentence for a grey. The same applies to garden tools with points. No matter how careful you are, the possibility is always there.

Poisonous Plants
I love Diffenbacia, philodendron, and other pretty plants. They are deadly to greyhounds and other pets. If you go to the National Poison Control web site, you can get the entire list of plants that are hazardous to your animals.

Water Hoses
Seems safe enough, right? Have you ever felt the water coming out of a hose that sat in the sun for a few hours? It can be hot enough to burn your skin not to mention the tender mouth tissue of any person or animal. Another concern with hoses are the loops can get caught around skinny necks and in trying to get away can be twisted and tighten until the dog literally hangs itself.

Ice Cold Water/Ice cubes
For years we gave our dogs ice cubes. When we attended dog shows, breeders and owners always gave their dogs ice cubes after coming out of the ring to cool them off, until, one dog ate ice cubes last year and it caused the stomach to twist and the dog died of bloat before it could reach medical treatment. Unusual, maybe, but until this event, I thought nothing of giving ice to our kids. It seemed that the dogs body temperature on the inside was very high and the affect from the ice was the same as giving the dog a drink of water or food before or after running. It produced an atmosphere to allow gas to build up and the intestines twisted.

Feeding and Watering
I am sure we all know not to feed or water our greyhounds or any dog one hour before or one hour after they eat, but it is worth repeating. Always make sure you dog has access to water when outside on a hot day.

Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke
Do you know the difference?

Heat Stroke is an emergency! Saliva is thick and tenacious and the dog vomits frequently, fainting or unconsciousness. Rectal temps are high often over 106 degrees. If untreated the dog becomes unsteady, staggers, has diarrhea which is often bloody, becomes weaker. Brain damage, coma and death can occur.

Heat Exhaustion: Excessive panting, skin inside the ears becomes flushed and red, weakness, staggering. If left untreated can become heat stroke

Treatments are the same for both. DON’T wait for vet treatment; start at once. Cool the dog’s body with cool wet towels or hose the dog with cool water. Apply an ice pack to the dogs head. Remove the dog to a cool place. Continue treatment until your dog’s temperature reaches normal (102-103 degrees). Transport to vet as soon as the dog’s temperature is stabilized. This is the most dangerous problem we face in summer. Our kids do not have the body fat or the fur to protect them from the suns heat. We must be vigilant.

I know someone has to have a pool in the group. Greyhounds are not great swimmers. Some may be able to paddle around but on the whole they can not swim or float. There is no body fat to keep them afloat. If you have an in ground pool, be sure to take your dog into the water with you and show them how to get out. Show them where the steps are located, teach them that if they fall in the deep end they can walk to the shallow end and get out. For those with above ground pools, you need to have extra vigilance that your ladder is not left down. I know a lady who was painting her house trim on a ladder. She felt movement on the ladder and looked down to see her greyhound beginning to climb up the ladder behind her. They are smart and watch everything we do so take care.

Have a Greyt Safe Summer!