Adopting Another Greyhound (or more)

1couch3GreysVer2Most of our adoptions come from people who already have adopted one greyhound and then come back for another (or more!).  While we love placing a greyhounds in to homes with other greyhounds, it is important to remember that it does still take patience and understanding in the beginning.

The following is a summary of a webinar held by Patricia O’Connell on January 9, 2014 on adopting a dog into a multi-dog household.  Here are the most important points:

From First Date to After the Honeymoon: Adopting a Dog Into a Multi-Dog Household

FIRST DATES: Some aspects of dog-dog introductions are universally agreed upon, such as giving the dogs as much freedom as is safe, and using a large, neutral area if at all possible. Outdoors is always better than indoors, unless the only outdoor option is a small, confined space. Just remember that the less pressure on the dogs the better, and that “pressure” can be applied by confining dogs to small spaces, looming owners or dogs unable to move freely. Most importantly, no matter what the setting, do all you can to keep the initial introductory sniffing brief. Let the dogs interact briefly, and then call them away. Move around the space yourself, encouraging the dogs to explore the environment together, perhaps providing themselves information about one another through scent marking. Avoid long, up-close-and-personal sniffing sessions that often lead to tension and bad beginnings. On-leash or off-leash depends on a variety of factors, but do what you can to avoid tight leashes that add tension.

MANDATORY INTRODUCTIONS? Some shelters and rescue groups mandate that potential adopters bring in the resident dogs for a “meet and greet” at the shelter itself. There are a host of costs and benefits to this practice. These include a chance for the host organization to evaluate the skills of the potential adopters and the condition of their current dog, as well as a chance for the first introduction to go badly because the dogs were forced upon one another. I would argue that resident dogs should only be brought for meetings if “best practices” can be followed, and the dogs’ first minutes together are structured in such a way as to encourage a good, long-term relationship. In addition, we need to guard against assuming that first meetings are always predictive of how the dogs will get along in the home. First greetings are often not predictive of how the dogs will get along in the home, and suggesting otherwise only compromises the credibility of the shelter or rescue group.

THE HONEYMOON: Most importantly, expectations should be realistic about how long it takes dogs to settle into a new environment. All new dogs are in a state of confusion about where they’ve been and where they are going. New owners need to help dogs get their paws on the ground as soon as they can, but without overwhelming a dog who is unsure of himself. Good management is often the key here: Give dogs lots of time by themselves at first, letting both the new and resident dogs have rest periods and special time by themselves with their new owners.

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE: Many problems between dogs can be prevented or managed by teaching dogs that they get what they want by being patient and polite. Rather than following the ancient (and sometimes destructive) advice about supporting the dog who they think should be alpha, owners should teach dogs that they get treats, toys and attention by being polite, not by being pushy.

MOST COMMON MISTAKES? One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen from owners of multi-dog households is unrealistic expectations. New dogs can’t settle into a new household in a week or so—it can take up to a year for a new dog to settle into a new routine. Expectations can also set owners up for a lot of soul searching and “buyer’s remorse.” Wondering “Oh no, what have I done!” is a common reaction to the slightest misbehavior of a new dog, even among experienced professionals. The more we can help all new owners by being there for them when they need someone to talk to, the more dogs will stay in homes and not be returned to shelters.

ALL THEY NEED IS LOVE? Regrettably, sometimes things just don’t work out. Perhaps the two dogs simply despise each other, and no amount of training or conditioning is going to change it. Sometimes one dog brings out the worst in another, and the combination is too much for even the most dedicated owner to handle. In that case, we need to let owners know that they have a backup plan available to them. Service providers must accept dogs back without causing adopters to feel guilty. “Satisfaction guaranteed” lets responsible adopters know that they can count on the shelter or rescue group to be there for them if they need help. People are more likely to adopt if they know that they are not going through this without support from professionals.

None of us can accurately predict how any group of dogs is going to get along, but we can do a lot to increase the odds of a successful transition from a “one-dog house” to “multi-dog household.” Shelter staff and rescue organizations can and do play a huge role in helping to integrate dogs together into a happy family—thank you for those efforts! Picture me wagging from the shoulders back…


Special Fund Raiser – You’re Invited!

You are invited to a Pampered Chef party hosted by Mea. ALL proceeds will go to help our organization! The party will be held February 16 at 2 p.m. in Hagerstown, Maryland. Send us an RSVP if you would like to attend and we will send you the address. If you can’t attend in person but still want to help, you can order through this web site. Make sure you ask for your product to be sent via mail.

February – National Pet Dental Care Month

Did you know?………..February is National Pet Dental Health Month. 

 Does your hound have bad breath? Is the hair along the muzzle discolored and stiff (this is from bacteria)? Has your hound’s eating habits changed? Do you notice any pawing at the face?

 Your hound may have dirty teeth! Check for tartar buildup on teeth, red and bleeding gums, and/or swollen gums and a reluctance to allow you to open the mouth.  Retired racers often have dirty teeth. Some of it is genetic but often it is because the food at the racing kennels is soft and tarter builds up fast. Tartar is produced when mucus (called plaque) builds up and hardens on the teeth. If it is not removed through good dental care, once this tartar gets hardened and established, it can only come off through a thorough professional (and expensive!) teeth cleaning by your veterinarian.

 Most adoption group (ours included) have a newly retired greyhound’s teeth cleaned during the spay/neuter process (so the dog only has to be anesthetized once).  Why is it important for your hound to have clean teeth? Did you know that oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets? Poor dental care can result in periodontal disease which is severe and irreversible. It causes red, bleeding and swollen gums, pain, and eventually can lead to tooth loss and severe infections. The gums have a rich blood supply and when an infection begins, it can easily be passed on to other parts of the body and make the hound seriously ill. It can also  permanently damage the heart because the infection can lodge in the valves of the heart.

 Prevention is the best medicine. Brushing your hound’s teeth once or twice weekly is the best preventative measure; there are lots of tooth pastes on the market for dogs. DO NOT use products designed for humans as they contain enzymes or other chemicals that might make your hound sick. There are also oral cleansing wipes, gels and sprays available if your hound objects too strongly to tooth brushing.

 Feeding dry food and hard biscuits and bully sticks can also help break off tartar. Be careful of the dog treats you give a greyhound; some may cause more harm than good. Some people advocate using raw turkey necks and bones, but if your hound has a food allergy or sensitive stomach, you might want to consult with your vet before adding new foods to his/her diet. Watch those teeth! It could save your hound pain and you money! 

Rainbow Bridge – M’s Power Dave (Louie)

Louie the Greyt IIDecember 5, 2004 – February 5, 2014

We are saddened to report that we lost another member of our FFGR, Inc.  family when Louie the greyhound passed on to the Rainbow Bridge.  Louie was adopted by Shelly and Tim in May 2007.  Anyone who met Louie agreed that he was one of the sweetest natured greyhounds ever to come in to our program.  He was a “kind” and gentle soul and loved everyone he met.  He was a great meet and greet dog because he knew how to win people over with a tail wag and those “love me” eyes.

Louie had cancer that took him much sooner than anyone wanted but he had a wonderful home where he was loved and cherished.  This is all every greyhound deserves and what we hope for when we place a dog in a home.  We know that Louie will be greatly missed.

Run with the angels, sweet Louie….


Rainbow Bridge – Kiowa Copy Cat (Kaya)

Copycat1December 2, 2004 – January 31, 2014

We sadly lost another FFGR, Inc. greyhound recently.  Kaya came in to our program as a very shy and frightened greyhound.  It didn’t take much to upset her.  It took some time for her to find her forever family.  But that she did and we are grateful that this sweet little girl got just the home she needed.

Kaya was adopted by Michelle and Eric but when their two children were born, Kaya did not adjust to having little people around.  However, because she was adopted by such a caring and responsible family, Kaya was officially adopted by Michelle’s mother and father because they loved her very much.  This adoption worked for everyone because Kaya stayed with a family that cared about doing the right thing and went in to a quiet home where she was more comfortable.  And it benefitted everyone else as well because they all got to see her on a regular basis.

We are grateful to Edward and Barbara for taking in Kaya and keeping her in the family.  They loved her very much.  She left way too soon for everyone.  She was taken by cancer.  But we will always appreciate this family for being so committed to a dog that really needed them and flourished under their care.  We wish we would meet more people like them.