Preventing Lost Greyhounds

It makes us nervous…..We never know when we will get that frantic phone call or email message informing us that a greyhound is lost.  We constantly see posts on web sites and Facebook pages about loose greyhounds.  While we as an organization have been extremely fortunate to have an extremely low rate of lost dogs, we know that at any moment we might get that call.  We now have a lost dog protocol that is included in every adoption folder (which is explained in detail when a dog is adopted), but we think the best information we can provide is how to prevent this from happening (or cut down on the chances).

Since the 4th of July is coming (along with all the noise), we thought this would be a timely subject for our forum.  We hope you will get some great advice from the following article:

How not to Become a Member of The Runaway’s Club
By Marcia Herman (Posted with Permission “as is”)

 We have visions of our Greyhounds following us around while we move from place to place, while working in our gardens, walking on the beach, or hiking in the woods. These are lovely fantasies, but they should never become realities unless our loyal, royal companions are in a fenced area or attached to leashes. Even highly-trained working law enforcement dogs have been known to bolt and be killed while on duty. Often, instinct is more powerful than training.
The vision of a Greyhound loose on the beach reminds me of a time when cries of “Suzi’s loose! Suzi’s loose!” echoed across the beachfront in Dewey Beach, Delaware. Hundreds of Greyhound-owning people who were attending the annual “Greyhounds Reach the Beach” event scampered around looking for her, hoping to catch her. As everyone knows, a loose Greyhound is a Greyhound who likely has a date with injury or death sooner rather than later. In this case, everyone knew Suzi Waddell wasn’t in any danger. Suzi was seventeen at the time and was simply tottering around the beach, sniffing the seaweed with her owner at her heels. We were just having fun with Suzi.

On the other hand, here are a few examples of true, not-so-amusing scenarios that occur repeatedly; a couple of these events have happened to our own dogs over the years. Sometimes these loose dogs return home; sometimes they don’t – not alive anyway. Even worse, some are never seen again.

“Our foster dog escaped while someone was looking at him and considering adopting him.”

“My Greyhound is afraid of thunder. He panicked, jumped through a window and climbed the fence to get away from the storm.”

“Our 9 year-old Greyhound got out while chasing a cat (or squirrel, or rabbit, or bird, or you-name-it).”

“Our 4-year-old (or visitor) opened the front door and our Greyhound ran out onto the road.”

“Our two Greyhounds were in the back yard doing their business. When I went to bring them inside a few minutes later, they were both gone. The fence gate was open.”

“Our mailman rang the doorbell. When I cracked open the door to take the mail, our Greyhound pushed the door open and ran away. I didn’t realize that a Greyhound could get through a slightly-opened door that easily!”

“We were walking our dogs when a loose dog charged us. One of our hounds backed right out of his martingale collar – the “safe” kind – and ran away. We found him waiting for us at home a half-mile away. He knew the route home because we walk it every day. His paws were bloody from running on pavement, but he was OK otherwise. Phew!”

“We’ve always let her out to do her business; we live in the country, after all. She never left the yard before. This time, she ran into the neighbor’s driveway and was killed by a delivery truck.”

The list of escape scenarios is endless but not to worry. Recognizing that “stuff happens” to even the most careful Greyhound owner, taking a few simple precautions will reduce the possibility of your Greyhound escaping to almost zero. The most common escape route is a door, gate, or window that’s slightly opened. Most escapes are made by newly-retired foster or recently-adopted Greyhounds. All these new retirees know is that an open door, window or gate is much the same as the starting gate at the track; they may think that opening means RUN! Fresh off-the-track Greyhounds know nothing about cars, highways, traffic, or even how to get back home if they are lucky enough to be unharmed. To them, “home” is the track kennel. Disoriented Greyhounds whose adoptive owners may not even know their kennel names run full speed to nowhere.

Sometimes Greyhounds who’ve been in homes for years will decide to run out the door, too. Although these Greyhounds will also be in danger from traffic, they will often know the way home if they’ve been walked or driven around the neighborhood.

Here are some suggestions for escape-proofing your Greyhound so he or she doesn’t become a member of the “Runaway’s Club.”

Escape-proofing While Outside

As soon as you adopt your hound, have it micro chipped. Tag collars (buckle or breakaway or a loose slip over-the-head type) while in the house or when on the road are added security. Reserve properly-fitted martingale collars for leash use. The extra loop that makes them wonderful for leash-walking is what can make them deadly in the house, crate, or yard. Dogs have been hung by the extra loop when wearing them while no one is supervising them.

Always go into the yard with your new newly-retired Greyhound, even if it’s fenced. Every dog is different; you have to watch and learn from each one by observing behaviors. Once you learn what each dog is capable of/interested in doing, especially near the fence, you can proceed with preventing escape by making your yard even more secure if need be.

Fence in at least one yard with a sturdy fence a minimum of 4 feet high; 6 feet is better. Secure even the narrowest openings; Greyhounds can squeeze through unbelievably narrow spaces.

Lock the fence gate with a brass padlock; brass doesn’t rust. Keep the key inside your home. Greyhounds are quite capable of flipping up an unlocked chain link gate latch in the blink of an eye. Other slide-and-hook-over latches are available and work well, but a lock is best.

If your dog is a climber or a jumper, avoid chain link fences. Get a high, solid panel fence with no cross members that allow getting a foot up.

If your dog is a digger, place stone or concrete under the fence.

Keep lawn furniture and equipment away from fences. They make excellent jump-over-the-fence points.

If you have no fence, a leash is mandatory – always, even if obedience-trained. Greyhounds have remarkably poor recall because of their ability to focus on whatever has their attention. Their intelligence and independence can be their downfall when their focus isn’t on the owner.

Check to see if your dog’s collar is properly fitted. Greyhounds can easily back out of poorly-adjusted martingale collars. The material on properly-fitted martingale collars also stretches over time, so those collars do need to be checked and readjusted periodically.

When walking your hound, place your hand through the leash loop, wrap the leash around your wrist, and hold the leash firmly. Allow a bit of slack between your hand and the dog’s neck so the dog will not feel like you have a stranglehold on him. If the hound is startled, hang on. You will not be able to run after and catch your loose Greyhound. If it gets loose, do the opposite of what you want to do; do not chase.

Keep house and vehicle windows opened no more than 6.” Greyhounds have been known to escape through partially-opened car and van windows and doors. They can even push house windows open if they get their needle-nose underneath.

Escape-proofing While Inside

Be paranoid about open doors and windows. It takes a split second for a Greyhound – particularly a recently-retired one – to blindly charge out the door or a window because of an interesting new sight, sound or scent.

Be sure children or adults who are not Greyhound-knowledgeable don’t open doors leading to the street. Most will not be able to restrain a Greyhound who wants to get out and run.

Be aware of where your dog is whenever anyone opens a door. Front doors are particularly dangerous as they usually lead to an unfenced yard and the street or to a fenced one with an opened gate. A Greyhound nose is very capable of pushing open a door or a gate opened only an inch or a door that has not been clicked shut by the last person going through the door. A gated foyer or vestibule with a second door is ideal if you can arrange that.

Ideally, rooms leading to exterior areas could have half doors that can be shut when people are coming and going. However, some clever Greyhounds can operate door knobs; they grasp and turn them as well as we can! Doors with lever-type handles are a piece of cake for the determined Greyhound. These need to be dog-proofed as well. Child-proof door knob and door lever guards are available in baby and toddler departments at the mall or hardware store.

Workmen need to be as dog-savvy as you are. Many dogs escape while workers go back and forth from the house to their trucks or to their “workshop” in the garage. If they can’t be trusted to be as paranoid about open doors as you are, find some workmen who are.

Garage doors need to be kept closed if an interior door leading to it is ajar. Greyhounds have been killed on moving days because of doors and garage doors needing to be open. Kennel your dogs and other pets on moving day.

It sure sounds like Greyhounds aren’t much fun if one has to be so careful about them getting loose. But really, once the preliminary Greyhound escape-proofing is done and you’ve become accustomed to watching for open doors and gates and checking for properly fitted collars, you won’t even think about doing it; it will just become second nature to you. By taking a few precautions your Greyhound is highly unlikely to be hurt or lost and you won’t ever need to be separated from your fast friend.

Summer Safety for Hounds

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 another set of issues come into play.  Here are a few items we would like to share.

 Bee Stings

Watch out for bee stings! Yellow jackets 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. If a hound were to have an allergic reaction to a bee sting, it would only take about 30 seconds to happen. If you know or suspect your grey may have been stung give Benadryl (one tablet for up to 60 pounds, 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 are the mouth, eyes and ingestion of a multi-sting bee (they can keep stinging all the way down the esophagus and cause swelling which then cuts off the airway).

 Mulch (and other Interesting Items)

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 and even death.

Some greyhounds love to eat anything interesting in the garden. Any type of mulch that is ingested can make a hound sick. If your hound likes to chew on things out in the yard (grass, plants, acorns, rocks, seed pods, sticks, etc.), you may want to use the kennel muzzle (with a stool cup inside) that you received in your adoption kit. This will prevent a hound from snacking on items that are not good for the digestion.

 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.

If you don’t use fertilizers, pesticides or weed killers on your yard, you still need to be vigilant if you walk your hound in the neighborhood. Many people do use these products. Pay careful attention to this as your dog traverses the neighborhood lawns or grassy areas along curbs. If you notice any spraying going on, please avoid walking near these areas as lawn chemicals can be transported by wind.

 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 35-45 MPH in three strides. That speed is enough to turn a harmless tool handle into a death sentence for a greyhound. The same applies to garden tools with points. No matter how careful you are, the possibility is always there.

 Poisonous Plants

Dieffenbachia, philodendron, and other pretty plants 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 it was common to give dog’s ice cubes. At dog shows, breeders and owners sometimes give their dogs ice cubes after coming out of the ring to cool them off; that is, until one dog ate ice cubes and it caused the stomach to twist and the dog died of bloat before it could reach medical treatment. The dog’s 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

We all have been told 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? 

This is one of our biggest concerns! In the spring and summer many of us like to take our hounds with us to outdoor events and parks. Often, on a hot day, we don’t think of how the heat may be affecting our hounds. Please take a moment to think about this important topic.

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

 Treatment

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 the vet as soon as the dog’s temperature is stabilized. This is the most dangerous problem we face in summer. Our hounds do not have the body fat or the fur to protect them from the sun’s heat. We must be vigilant.

 Pools

Greyhounds are not usually 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.

Hot Pavement

Don’t forget, on a hot day, walking your hound on hot pavement may result in blistered paws! We’ve seen many greyhounds suffer from blistered paws at some of the outdoor greyhound events that take place in the spring and summer months. If you want to test how hot the pavement is, take off your shoes and stand on the pavement for a moment in your bare feet. If it’s too hot for you, it is certainly too hot for your greyhound!

Sunburns

Since greyhounds don’t have thick fur to protect their skin from sunburns, many can burn very easily and quickly out in the hot sun. Watch their ears as well as ears will burn (and blister) quickly before other parts of the body. A sunburned greyhound will suffer much pain – if you’ve ever had a bad sun burn, you certainly can understand what you hound might be feeling.

 The advice offered here is not designed to frighten you or discourage you from having summer fun with your greyhound. Just a little attention to all of these warnings will ensure that you have a Greyt Safe Summer!

Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge

 

We are sad to report that the following greyhounds have passed on to the Rainbow Bridge.  All were greatly loved and will be missed by all of us.

Sun 1-1-2014

 

 

 

Sunny Sky (Sun) adopted and loved by Hettie and Bill (gone way too soon)

 

 

 

Cooper

 

 

Cold B DodgEm (Cooper) adopted and loved by Candace and John

 

 

 

Snowballbest

 

 

 

KNP Snowball (Elvis) adopted and loved by Jody

 

A Note About Muzzles – Please Use Muzzles!

Muzzle poster

We constantly try to educate people about using muzzles when two or more greyhounds are outside together.  We want to remind everyone again about why we keep emphasizing this.  We have seen it many times.  Even the most bonded companions can hurt one another any time in the right circumstances.

Muzzles are not cruel.  Greyhounds are used to muzzles.  You are being a responsible adopter if you take the time to muzzle your dogs when they are outside together.  Ask anyone who has had to see their greyhound suffer through tears and rips (and stitches).

We give every adopter a muzzle.  Please use it and you will never regret it.

 

You Are Invited

The 4th Annual Linda Jensen Memorial Greyhound Expo Picnic is set for Saturday, June 13th, 2015

Linda Jensen was the original mastermind behind the Greyhound Adoption Expo which celebrated the retired racing greyhound and helped to raise funds to transport retired racers from tracks and farms to greyhound adoption programs in the Northeast.

Linda had spent more than 20 years leading the effort to find adoptive homes for retired racing greyhounds.  She worked tirelessly to make sure every dog had a safe place to go after the tracks closed in New England.  In 2010, Linda was named greyhound racing’s Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year. 

While Linda passed away in 2011, her legacy lives on through the work of East Coast Adoption, which transports approximately 1,000 greyhounds per year from Florida and on up the Eastern Seaboard.  Twenty three Adoption Groups from North Carolina to Canada take in the racers and find suitable homes for the dogs.

2015 Greyhound Expo and Puppy Farm Tour

Saturday, June 13 2015, 11 am to 3:00 pm
283 Orchard Hill Road, Pomfret Center, CT

Guest Speakers will provide perspective on retired racers from track to home:

Ann Bollens, Co-Director of the Sunburst Project (supplier of many of the retired racers coming to the Northeast), and Secretary of Greyhound Pets of America (GPA).

Julie Ward, President of the National Greyhound Association (NGA)

Why we need your help? 

The East Coast Adoption hauler has logged well over 500,00 miles on its greyhound transport missions.  While Adoption groups pay a flat fee to have their dogs delivered to the Northeast, they do not account for major repairs and wear and tear on the truck and hauler.   Last year alone,  several thousand dollars were expended to keep both vehicles road worthy for human and hound (AC upgrades, brake and axle repairs, etc).  Additionally, East Coast Adoption boards dogs until they can be transported to their final destination.

All proceeds from the Greyhound Expo Picnic will go towards maintaining the East Coast Adoption hauler and to continue Linda Jensen’s mission of transporting Greyhounds from Florida to the Northeast for adoption.

What types of donations are needed?

  • Donate items to raffle at the Picnic…for dogs…people…all donations are welcome and the Donors will be recognized at both the Display Table and when the Winners are announced.
  • Donate food for the Picnic (hotdogs, hamburgers, soda, water, chips, cookies)
  • On-line contributions are processed through PayPal (click here)

 For more information and instructions on how to sign up for the Expo and Picnic

Visit the Greyhound Expo website to RSVP and learn about activities and vendors that will be on site for the day of the event (greyhoundadoptionexpo.com).

LOST GREYHOUND!

The following article (edited) was written by Michael McCann who has given groups like ours permission to use it. While we have had missing greyhounds in the past, all have been found thanks to the good information in this document. Please print this article and keep a copy of it in your adoption folder for future reference (and we hope you will never need it!).

Okay, you’ve lost him. He slipped his collar, or ran out of the open gate; He was spooked by lightning and jumped the back fence; you dropped the leash, or you let him run off lead, he saw a squirrel and suddenly he was gone. How he was lost doesn’t really matter now: What matters are the steps you have to take to get him back. He’s out there and he’s depending on you to find him. He’s lost and can’t find his way home. It’s been a couple of hours now. You’ve scoured the neighborhood, and you are hoping to see him in every yard and around every corner. But, you are beginning to realize that you can’t find him. Here’s what you have to do:

■Change your mindset: This is most important, and most difficult step. You have to stop checking every street and back yard yourself, and start recruiting an army to do it for you. Most greyhounds are found within a mile or two of where they were lost, but a two mile radius is nearly 13 square miles, an impossible area to search adequately alone. You have to stop looking for your dog, and start looking for people. Everything that follows depends on it. With every hour that goes by, your chances of finding your dog, on your own, diminish. You now have to find someone who has seen your dog. You need a sighting and in order to get a sighting, you need help! Ask everyone you know, including your friends, co-workers, adoption group and son’s Cub Scout pack to help you. Don’t wait until tomorrow, do it now.

■Get the Word Out: Whether you have help or not, you’ve got to get the word out about your lost dog. You and your volunteers are going to search yes, but while you’re searching, you’re going to post flyers on every available telephone pole, in every super market, drug store, school, church, police station, vet’s office or any other public place surrounding the area. Ninety percent of lost dogs that are found are found because someone saw a flyer. The flyers don’t have to be fancy, but get them printed on the brightest, most fluorescent paper available. Begin with the words, “LOST GREYHOUND” (in big letters), “IF SIGHTED PLEASE CALL……….” A silhouette of a running greyhound works great as an attention grabber. Five hundred of them are a good start, but you may need more. The area should be so saturated with flyers that you can’t turn around without seeing one. Don’t expand your search area until you’ve totally covered the area where he was last seen.

■Knock on doors and talk to everyone you see – the mail person, the UPS driver, the local landscaper. Any of these people may see your dog, and if they do, now they won’t just think it’s some dog on his way home, they’ll know he’s lost. Give everyone you talk to a flyer.

■Schools are a great resource for search help. Ask the principal to make announcements about the lost dog and leave flyers to pass out and post on bulletin boards. Kids see everything in the neighborhood but will ignore dogs running around unless asked to look. If you hand one kid a flyer, five more will have seen it by the end of the day. Don’t ignore the little kids either. They tell their folks everything.

■Call every veterinarian’s office, animal control officer and police department within two or three miles from where he was last seen. In rural areas, expand your calling to every nearby town. Follow up with a flyer or several. Faxing them will save you some time but it is important that they see you, rather than just a piece of paper. If you show people how concerned you are, they’ll want to help you. Don’t just call them once. Call them every few days and in the case of the police, during every shift, to make sure everyone knows about your dog.

■ Run newspaper ads in the local papers, and while you’re at it, talk to a reporter and see if she’ll run a local interest story on the lost greyhound. Local cable access stations often will run your lost dog ad for free and local radio stations and TV stations will often run the story on a slow news night

■ Check your local animal shelters every few days, in person. It is amazing how many folks who work in these places don’t know dog breeds. Your greyhound could be hanging out at a local shelter, up for adoption, because they think he’s a Whippet or a Doberman mix.

■ Get in touch with your local Department of Public Works, or Highway Department. Sadly, they often will pick up an animal’s body from the road, and if there is no identification, the owner will never know. Collars often fall off when a dog is loose or struck by a car.

■Tools You Will Need: Print some maps of your area to give to the volunteers. Make notations of areas that have been well posted. Set up grids and utilize them to cover all the locations in your search area. Send teams to each grid area. Get some heavy-duty staple guns and use those for putting up your flyers on telephone poles and clear packing tape for other hard surfaces (Don’t use duct tape; it looks messy and some localities bristle at having these flyers posted; you want the locals helping you, not trying to shut your search down). If available, try to keep in touch with your teams with cell phones or walkie-talkies so that when you get a sighting, you can have them go immediately to the sight.

Make sure that there is always someone available at the phone number you posted. You don’t want people to call with a sighting only to hang up because they got a machine.

■Don’t assume anything: Don’t assume your dog has been picked up, it’s the trap that everyone seems to fall into: “No sighting, someone must have picked up my dog!” Greyhounds are notorious for disappearing in the woodwork. A person can walk right by a brindle greyhound lying in a pile of leaves and never even see him. Some go for months or even years without being found, because people assume they have been picked up or are dead.

■Don’t assume that the call you got about a dog five miles away is yours. Follow it up, yes, but when you start getting calls about dogs, ask questions: What color was the dog you saw? How big? Which way was it heading? What time and on what day did you see him? Have you ever seen him before? You don’t want to be running out of your search area just to find that someone called you about a beagle they saw running through the yard. These false leads are actually a positive sign, they mean your efforts are working; people are looking out for your dog. It’s just that they don’t know the difference between a greyhound and a Jack Russell terrorist.

■Don’t lose hope: A few days or a week of searching can be discouraging. A lack of sightings or no word at all can be tough on a positive attitude. Just remember, your hound is still out there, and someone has seen him. All you have to do is to find that person. It’s only natural to start thinking the worst. But, as non-street savvy as greyhounds are, they are survivors. Keep looking. Don’t give up. Your grey is counting on you.

■A note about rewards: Lost greyhounds, especially shy ones, are extremely difficult to catch. Your goal should be to encourage people who see the dog call you with the sighting. Once the sightings have established where the dog is hanging out, set up feeding stations. Then, you can set up a humane trap for the capture.

In our experience, rewards often work against getting sightings. What happens is that you will increase the numbers of people looking for the dog yes, but the new people tend to be bounty hunters, teenagers or “cowboys” who just think of the money, not the safety of the animal. Often, when they see the dog, the first thing they do is chase, and sometimes they chase the dog right out of the safety of the territory the dog has felt comfortable in. These people rarely call in sightings because they want to cash in.

We suggest that the wording of that flyer should be something like: “LOST GREYHOUND, IF SIGHTED, PLEASE CALL, (555)555-5555, PLEASE, DO NOT CHASE”. We never mention a reward. We feel that if someone does catch the dog, and asks for a reward, we can still pay it, but we don’t ask for trouble by offering money in advance.

Would you rather have a hundred sympathetic animal lovers helping you look for your dog, or a couple of hundred clueless bounty hunters trying to cash in? We’ll go with the animal lovers every time.

Happy Birthday FFGR, Inc.!

Ten Year AwardIt was ten years ago April 20 that we took a huge leap of faith and established Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue, Inc.  We had no way of knowing what was in store for us or what the future would bring.  We decided that we would focus only on finding homes for greyhounds when they finished their racing careers and make that our only priority.  We far exceeded our expectations and it’s because of some of the people we have met along the way who shared our vision and made it possible to succeed.  We’d like to take this opportunity to thank those who had a hand in helping us reach this milestone.

We love our dedicated volunteers.  They are true altruists.  They work tirelessly behind the scenes at personal and financial sacrifice and never ask for repayment. (What greater payment is there than the satisfaction we feel when each greyhound has found its forever home.)  Our volunteers are not attention and/or glory seekers or right fighters – you will not see their names plastered all over social media sites and/or getting involved in petty issues or word games – they stay above the fray because they understand and ascribe to our philosophy to help us accomplish our mission.  What we are is because of them.  We are so fortunate to have them on our team and are so proud to call them our friends.

We appreciate those committed adopters who with us also took the leap of faith and gave one (or more) of our deserving greyhounds a home.  We appreciate them respecting our adoption process and following through with training, patience and understanding to give their dog(s) a good home knowing that they would be rewarded with much joy, love and companionship.  Although many greyhounds have gone on to the bridge since our work began, we celebrate in the knowledge that they had wonderful homes throughout their lives.

We are thankful to those adoption partners and good friends from other groups who have worked with us to send us dogs for many years.  We all share the same philosophy and it has made this hard work so much easier.  We are grateful to partner organizations we’ve worked with to place the Craiger’s List dogs and that they trusted us to find the best homes for these special dogs.  Like us, these people know that greyhound adoption is not a popularity contest, a competition, nor is it about numbers – we all acknowledge and recognize the value of every single dog.

As we have in the past, we will continue to focus on our mission and survive any storms that come along.  It’s been said that when people put themselves first over the animals (in animal rescue), the animals always suffer.  This has not happened and never will happen at FFGR, Inc. because we will always focus on what is in the best interest of each greyhound first.  We cannot predict the future but we will continue to work every day for as long as we can to do right by the dogs in our care.  It’s the least every greyhound deserves.

The Other Half of the Contract

Since we organized our non-profit adoption group ten years ago, we have gone through some growing pains and have made some greyt changes over that period to help us operate better and work better on behalf of the greyhounds placed in our care.

We feel that we have been extremely successful in placing most greyhounds into good and forever homes.  We are proud to report that we have consistently maintained a low return rate.  That is because we screen adoption applications carefully, conduct home visits, talk to prospective adopters at length, provide lots of reading materials and other information to help an adopter learn more about the greyhound breed, profile and foster all of our hounds and make sure that the being placed fits into the adoptive home.  The point is to find the dog its “forever” home.

All adopters must sign an Adoption Contract.  The dictionary defines the word contract as: an agreement with specific terms between two or more persons or entities in which there is a promise to do something in return for a valuable benefit known as consideration. Since the law of contracts is at the heart of most business dealings, it is one of the three or four most significant areas of legal concern and can involve variations on circumstances and complexities. The existence of a contract requires finding the following factual elements: a) an offer; b) an acceptance of that offer which results in a meeting of the minds; c) a promise to perform; d) a valuable consideration (which can be a promise or payment in some form); e) a time or event when performance must be made (meet commitments); f) terms and conditions for performance, including fulfilling promises; and g) performance.

We offer a lot to adopters.  Our half of the adoption contract is to provide the adopter with a dog that will fit their application as well as the following:

  1. Spaying or Neutering
  2. All up-to-date immunizations
  3. All available veterinarian records
  4. Dental
  5. Worming and flea/tick treatment
  6. Heartworm Test
  7. Track Records/Pedigree
  8. Greyhound collar and lead
  9. Greyhound muzzle
  10. FFGR, Inc. identification tag
  11. Fast Friends adopter’s guide
  12. Food to last through a period of transition
  13. Lots of surprises (like toys, treats, etc.)

AND we provide support for the adopter.  We do not take the adoption fee and disappear.   We feel that what we offer is an excellent package.  The profiling we do is so precise, that we can find a dog for adopters with some specific requirements (cat safe and child safe).  We try to make sure that every dog that is placed in a home is the right dog for that home.

We spend so much time trying to work with adopters to find the perfect dog for them, that sometimes we don’t think seriously enough about the other half of the contract! What should an adopter commit to the dog and our group in return for trusting them with a dog!  What is their obligation which is outlined in the other half of the adoption contract?  What does the adopter have to do to make the contract valid and work for both parties?

Here are the requirements we ask of adopters when they adopt.  These are the elements of the contract that they are required to fulfill:

  1. Adopter will provide all necessary care and kind treatment for the dog throughout its life.
  2. Adopter will always use a leash and not allow the greyhound to run free.
  3. Adopter will not abuse or neglect the greyhound; FFGR, Inc. can investigate any reports.
  4. Adopter will return the greyhound only to FFGR, Inc. (fee not returnable).
  5. Adopter will train the dog to live in the home (i.e., alone training, behavioral training).
  6. Adopter will not use the dog for business, medical or experimental purposes.
  7. Adopter will complete house training started by FFGR, Inc. in foster care.
  8. Adopter will keep all other animals in the house up to date with vaccinations.
  9. Adopter will monitor and keep safe all small animals coming in contact with the greyhound and provide proper training.
  10. Adopter will inform FFGR, Inc. if the greyhound is lost or injured.

While the elements of the adoption contract are excellent and we feel attainable by all adopters, we often have no way of knowing for sure if the other half of the adoption contract is being fulfilled.  Since we cannot go into every home and monitor what is happening, we can only encourage people to keep in touch with us and let us know how the dog is doing.  We have no other way of proving that the dog is getting the proper food, medical care, and if people are even complying with the laws in their communities regarding animals.

We have been pondering how to make sure that the other half of the contract is being fulfilled.  Over the years we have tightened up our adoption requirements and are more careful about where we place dogs. In fact, we have heard that we can sometimes be difficult to work with.  But we actually take that as a compliment because we are proud of our low return rate that has resulted from the way we work.

By signing the adoption contract, the adopter will know what is expected when they adopt a greyhound.  Adopters will receive a copy of the adoption contract to read before the adoption.  This will give them the chance to “opt out” of the adoption if they feel that they cannot meat the requirements set forth in the adoption contract.  Those signing the contract will be held accountable, legally, financially and morally.

The mission of our organization is to find forever homes for greyhounds retiring from the tracks when they are done racing.  Our organization is not set up to be operated like a business that competes with other businesses.  We will not “compete” with another adoption organization to place a dog.  We take our jobs very seriously.  We mean it when we say that “it’s about the dogs.”  We hope those coming to us to adopt a greyhound understand why it’s so important that we do what is in the best interest of the dog first.

 

Martingale Collar Adjustment

Spring is here!  And it’s soon going to be time to take those hounds out for longer walks.  We think it is a good time to remind everyone to be careful when using martingale collars.  Always check before you go out with your hound to make sure that the collar is adjusted properly.  We don’t want to get calls about loose dogs!  Enjoy the warm weather – but be prepared…

Martingale Collar Adjustment

 

Mud and Dirt and Poop – Oh My!

Well, it’s that time of year again.  We go from rain to ice to snow to thaw and back around again and again.  And each time the weather changes, our yards look more like the face of the moon.  And our hounds start behaving in ways that make us scratch our heads in puzzlement!

Paw wiping is just a part of having a dog and a muddy yard can always be fixed with a bale of hay and by reseeding in the spring.  But what do you do when your hounds start eating POOP!!!

We get calls all the time at this time of year and we are never surprised.  While experts disagree on the how and the why, we need to work on how to solve the problem.

Many people think it’s a behavior that goes back to ancient times.  And when females give birth, they clean up after their pups.  Most dogs keep their crates clean.  Others say that poop is just digested food and why shouldn’t a dog be tempted?  But either way, we humans believe it’s a nasty habit and it sometimes can make a dog sick or result in diarrhea.

There are products on the market that are supposed to discourage the behavior.  These products claim, that if they are placed in a dog’s food, it will make the poop taste so bad that the dog will not eat it.  It may work for some dogs, but not for others.

And it doesn’t help those dogs that also like to eat dirt!  This is another problem that we get calls about too.  There are even more theories about why dogs eat dirt, and we won’t go into them here (we risk putting ourselves to sleep!).  And then there are the eaters of anything chewable like mulch, acorns, small branches, rocks, gravel, etc.  These items can not only make a dog sick, but can cause blockages in the digestive system which can be life threatening.

We have found two almost “sure fire” ways to prevent opportunistic eating and it works every time.  The first solution throws the problem right into the hands of the adopter.  A clean yard will prevent a dog from eating anything you don’t want it to eat.  And if you have multiple dogs, it helps even more because they won’t be tempted to eat each others’ feces.

Of course, the weather doesn’t always cooperate and it may take way too long to pick up every single rock, twig, etc.  We highly recommend keeping feces cleaned up as often as possible because it not only cuts down on the eating, but it will keep dogs from walking through it and dragging it into the house.

The next best recommendation (and we use it here with every single dog) is to use the muzzle you are given when you adopt your greyhound.  Of course, the muzzle alone won’t stop the eating because a dog can still get its tongue through the holes in the muzzle, but you can buy a “stool cup”, a plastic cup that can be attached by zip ties, which fits on the inside of a large muzzle or on the outside of a small muzzle.  The cup covers up the holes in the muzzle so the dog cannot get its tongue through it.  These are very inexpensive and can solve a host of problems.   A hound can breathe normally and go about its business but cannot get into anything (and that means anything) in your yard.  The only work on your part is to remember to use the muzzle each time your dog goes out.

Where can you buy a stool cup for your hound’s muzzle?  We now sell them in our Greytdogs Store!  We sell a lot of these and we know why.  Once you’ve tried one, you will find that you have solved a major problem.

Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow BridgeThe following greyhounds have passed on to the Rainbow Bridge.  Each was greatly loved by their adopters.  Each had a wonderful life filled with love and excellent care.  As we go about our work, we take the time to think about all the dogs that got a chance at a good life and feel fortunate to have played a role in this.  We know that losing a greyhound is hard because they bring so much in to our lives.  But at the same time we realize that each had a chance at a life filled with love.  We’d like to thank their adopters for giving them homes where they were valued as members of the family.

Halima Sweet

 

 

Halima (adopted and loved by Jeanne and Steve)

 

 

 

Allentonbest

 

 

Allenton (adopted and loved by the Wenger family)

 

 

 

 

USS Private Ryan best

 

 

Gabe (adopted and loved by Steve and Marcia)

 

 

 

Clara Rosso

 

 

Clara (adopted and loved by Marge and Tom)

 

February is National Pet Dental Health 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!

Why Adopt A Broken Leg Dog?

HerefordGC1Since the establishment of Craiger’s List in 2008, we have been finding homes for greyhounds that for one reason or another have been overlooked or not “chosen” by other adoption programs.  That is the shy, spooky, disabled, seniors, special needs hounds.  We find it hard to believe (based on our record) that people just do not want to adopt these types of dogs – although this is often what we hear.  People want to adopt them and they do.  Craiger’s List has been a huge success because it has proven to us that there are special people who will choose a greyhound that needs a little help over the pretty social butterflies – that, by the way, don’t take much effort to place.

We are finding it almost unbelievable that some people are coming to our organization and requesting dogs that have not had broken legs so that they will not have to face any potential medical problems in the future.   (Many times at our meet and greet event volunteers hear statements such as “You have a lot of broken leg dogs on your web site.”)  To us, that is like saying they want a guarantee that we will find them a perfect dog that will never have issues for the rest of its life.  We are good, but to be honest, that is beyond our capability.

If you search for greyhounds on our web site looking for homes (in the Featured Dog section), you will often see dogs with healed broken legs.  This seems to be a deal breaker for a lot of people.  This surprises us because these are the dogs that someone liked so much that they felt it was worth the cost and effort to fix the leg.  It takes a lot of expense and time to repair a broken leg.  It would be so much easier to just walk away from these dogs.

Many people do not understand that dogs with repaired broken legs are not disabled and most will go on to live a normal life.   All dogs may get arthritis as they age and it may not be just those with repaired broken legs.  All dogs can get cancer, develop eye problems and/or fall victim to any number of illnesses.   All greyhounds can break a leg running in the back yard (and some have), falling down stairs, etc.  Would an adopter not want to do all they could to get it medical help if something happened during the dog’s life?  Would they just walk away?  Perhaps some adopters would, but most would not.

Since we established our group in 2005, we have never turned away greyhounds with repaired broken legs.  One of the very first three greyhounds we brought in to our program when we began had a repaired broken leg.  We estimate that we have placed over 100 greyhounds with repaired broken legs.  All of these dogs found a home and had no further issues with the exception of two greyhounds that developed problems relating to hardware that was used to repair the legs.  There were no further problems.  We paid toward the surgery and each dog is doing fine.

Why overlook a dog that may be the best fit for your family and be the love of your life because of something that dog had no control over – a dog that we feel has as much value as any other dog.  Our mission will always be to find the very best home for every dog as each one deserves it.