Picture of the day: Regan's Lucy (racing name: Goodrem) and the cat - Battle of the Beanbag!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Harry, Sara and Sean

Friday, August 28, 2009

Today's feature story: Harry (Flying Squadron) and his parents Sara and Sean, from Torbay, Auckland.

Sara says:

Adopting a greyhound through GAP is a bit like internet dating; you fill out a questionnaire to give them an idea about you and what you’re looking for, then you have your home check (thanks Fatima!), and if all goes well, you wait (obsessively checking your phone and e-mail) until they give you the call to let you know that they’ve found the perfect hound for you. The team at GAP did a wonderful job of match-making and we got Harry just over two months ago.
Harry is exactly what we wanted in terms of age, personality and colour, and he has quickly won his way into our home and hearts. How can you resist those big brown eyes?

We asked for a dog that was quite active as we wanted him to come running with us, and we also needed one that was independent enough to be left at home on his own while we’re at work – he’s doing well on both counts. Harry was a pretty successful racer in his time, but he is now slowly learning the way of the pet - rather than single mindedly chasing small fluffy things around in circles! He comes running with me every morning, which is great for motivation to get myself out the door on cold dark winter mornings, and he’s learnt to accept that my definition of running is more like a gentle stroll for him (although I take some satisfaction from knowing that even though he beats me paws-down on speed, I win the stamina race - he’s the hare and I’m the tortoise).

A lot of people have asked us why we wanted a greyhound, which is a bit hard to answer because it wasn’t so much of a conscious decision than a succession of decisions, which led us to eventually meeting Harry. After living overseas for a number of years, one of the things we were most looking forward to upon returning to NZ was getting a dog. I had grown up with dogs, and I had really missed them during my student and travelling days when it clearly wasn’t an option to have a pet. Secondly, we wanted to give a home to a dog that needed one, but realised that with us both working full time, we wouldn’t be able to train a puppy. I can’t even remember how we came across GAP, but adopting a greyhound was just an idea that developed in the back of my mind and grew and grew until it eventually took over – and once you go on the GAP site and start looking at the hounds, there’s really no going back!

Update on our foster dog Kev :-)

Thursday, August 27, 2009
I took Kev (Matrix Hero) to GAP kennels in Sanson on Monday, after he passed his cat evaluation at the weekend. He was a dream during the 7 hours drive: he slept most of the way and had a ham sandwich in Taupo! :)
He was spayed yesterday and is already on the GAP website , check him out :-) He will make a fabulous pet for someone, he has so much love to give.
Irene (Wolfie's and Delta's mother) made all this happen for Kev (check out the previous blog entry).
On the picture above, Kev is relaxing with Cruzer(Charlston Kid) after being introduced to Cruzer's cat Willi.

Our foster dog #1: Kev (Matrix Hero)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kev is our first foster dog. He has escaped death on Wednesday last week: his trainer brought him to the vet clinic to be euthanized (he was really sad to do it , but he could not keep him for financial reasons, and had no idea about GAP). The vet on duty was Irene, Wolfie's and Delta's Mum! :-)

As Kev was in perfect nick, just under 3 years old and very friendly, she just could not put him to sleep... She had the needle ready, had Kev on the table ready to go to the Rainbow Bridge, and he kept licking her hand and wagging his tail. Irene apparently looked at the trainer at that point and he had tears in his eyes. At that point, Irene decided that putting Kev to sleep was not the right thing to do...

I swear that Kev KNOWS! :-) :-)

Due to financial reasons, trainer could not have Kev while he was waiting to get into GAP programme -so of course, Irene, Wolfie and Delta decided that 3 of them would foster Kev ... What Irene did not think of is that she had a week-long trip booked to go and see her parents in Melbourne! Rachel, me and Louie were happy to offer to foster Kev until Irene gets back.

He is the friendliest, almost puppy-like hound, who absolutely adores children. He wags his tail so much when he sees children, and can stand for hours while they pet him :-) He loves other dogs, is very frienly with them... As a good foster carer (!) I have introduced him to ShiTzu and a Bichon/Chichuahua cross today. He absolutely loved both of them and tried to lick them through his muzzle :-) He just keeps wagging his tail and everyone loves him :-)
He is very handsome, has tiger colors and teddy bear ears :-)
As you can see in the picture, he has decided that his bed should be in this weird corner , behind the door! :-) We gave him a lovely mattress on the floor, but he prefers this corner, so i have put the furry rug there...
I think he will be eventually adopted out by family with kids, and he will make one lucky little boy or a girl very happy!

Brodie and Sinead

Thursday, August 20, 2009
Todays story:

Brodie ( racing name: Top Deal) and Sinead from Auckland.

(left: Nicola, Brodie and Sinead)

Sinead's Mum Heather says:

About 18 months ago some friends/neighbours invited us to a "Family Day" at the greyhound racing track at Manukau. Well done to the organisers - it was a great event!
My daughter,(who is now 17) was curious as to what happened to the dogs after they finished racing. She tracked down the GAP website. Damn the web!!! :-)

She pestered us to let her adopt a dog. No way we said! We already have two Aussie Shepherds and a variety of other critters, including 2 cats.
I owned a Border Collie & Sheltie prior to my two current dogs, done heaps of obedience & agility and I told Sinead, "I don't do hounds". Hah!

Worst thing we said though was, "anyway you don't have the adoption fee". She put together a fund raising prospectus, received several contributions from friends & family, sold heaps of items, clothes etc on Trade Me and came up with the money in no time.We finally gave in.

Sinead had unexpectedly been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes a couple of years earlier. Anyone that is familiar with this disease in young people knows how hideous it is. Constantly pricking your finger to test your blood sugars, injecting yourself and feeling like crap.Brodie has been a god send. Sinead now has a reason to get out of bed when she's feeling flat, he keeps her fit and he's been a great shoulder for her to cry on, literally.I often find her having a real heart to heart with him, brings tears to my eyes.He has been a dream to welcome into our house. I now "Do Hounds" Lol.
Our youngest daughter Nicola, 14, has just pushed the boundaries also and saved up (well mostly) and purchased a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Now I "Do Terriers" as well, well one of them.Thanks to the kids we have 4 dogs in our house, Brodie and the Staffy are joined at the hip, they play like best buddies and have us in stitches. Slight difference in size as you can imagine.If I seem vague on the next walk it's because our once organised quiet household has become a flipping circus! Lol.I even bought lots of Berocca today.I just hope if the kids ever go flatting I get to keep their dogs, Brodie is very special and such a good hound.

Brodie was also featured in the local papers in March this year. You can see the article here:

Free on Trademe: 5 year old greyhound, South Auckland

Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Looks very handsome? :-)

He is free to a good home, and is located in Franklin(South AKL).

Trademe link with details:

Muriwai beach walk last Sunday


A few of us went for a walk last Sunday, and I chose Muriwai beach:-( Not good - the beach is full of 4WDs zooming around the place :-( It has no road rules to speak of and it is in fact classed as a highway (I never knew this -but Harry's mother Sara said that was the case!!! :-(

We could not really relax as we were worried about 4wds speeding around the beach, but the hounds managed to get some great runs, including chasing the kite (Rosie and Cruzer)! (check out the picture on the left :-))
Irene’s Delta (who has lost LOTS of weight) took flight and chased a quad bike, all the way to the carpark!
Delta (Thrilling Delta) used to be a good racer, and we suspect she used to be trained using a quad bike -something to look out for when getting a new hound! I think it is great to contact the trainer and get the background on how the hound was trained and his/her particular quirks :-) Delta was a good girl and stopped when the quad bike did - but boy, i have never seen anything running so fast! (and she is 6!!! :-) Once a champion -always a champion!

We were also joined by Dallas, Jonathan and their standard poodle Sterling - they are currently waiting for a hound of their own. Sterling gets on so well with the hounds, and he tells us he can't wait!
Hounds on the picture above (left to right): Cruzer, Sterling the poodle, Delta, Louie, Harry, Wolfie and Rosie (double click the picture for full size)

Picture of the day: Louie

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hoss and Debs

Sunday, August 16, 2009
Today's feature story is of Hoss (Homebush Wayne) and Deborah from Auckland. Debs occasionally home checks and foster checks for GAP. She, Hoss and her other dog Riba are almost a sure sight at GAP events, fundraising and promoting. She also volunteers at the Mangere SPCA.
(you can double click on pictures for full size)

(Above: Debs, Hoss and Riba amongst other greyhounds :))

Deborah says:
I never chose Hoss (racing name: "Homebush Wayne"). I only asked for a dog to fit my household and my current lifestyle and pets, and went in blind: Hoss joined my family 2 years ago, and boy did I strike gold!

Hoss is the 2nd largest dog to be rehomed by GAP - his heaviest racing weight was 37.7 kilos (the heaviest was 37.8!!!!). He is the XXL greyhound in a true sense of the word!
He came with a mid-prey drive (question mark on the GAP website) and with all the typical racing quirks - the freeze when he was uncertain, the crying when he slightly hurt himself, the mindset of determination when walking. He tried to kill one of my cats whilst wearing a muzzle in the first 5 minutes in my house. Regan's advice was amazing and at one stage I was tossing whether to offer Regan payment to retrain Hoss into being cat friendly - to respect and not fixate. It took six months to retrain Hoss - but only because it took that long to convince the cats to stop living in the garage and to come inside - you can't retrain the dog without the cats! Once the cats came back into the house it took a week for Hoss to accept them as part of the pack.

Hoss is very social and loves people and other dogs (yes they need to learn to recognise there are other species of animals including such a thing as small dogs).A couple of introductions to strong willed little dogs has given Hoss the respect that small fluffies can be grumpy and have teeth. He is very affectionate and very calm and gentle. He attracts many people with his quiet greyhound ways. He always receives positive comments on his passive nature and even people scared of dogs are attracted to his quiet lean for love against their bodies. I have never met a breed of dog that shows such tolerance and a liking to be touched, cuddled and fondled.

Retired due to tendon injury - he was kennelled with NO activity to heal for 6 months prior to going to GAP. Hoss will limp after a play where he runs with twists and turns. Hoss also has a ripped gracilus that is still aggravated by sudden changes of weather (getting cold) his inside thigh muscle will harden and feel like a giant square and he will cry and be unsettled - gentle massaging of the muscle and a blanket for warmth settle him quickly.
It does take six months for the dogs to become accustomed to home life and 12 months to show their personalities in true light. These dogs do become what you allow/teach and are very sensitive to your emotions. If you are unsure about something - the dogs will react.
Their racing life includes rules that we untrain. Many people dont realize that that during their racing career, racing dogs are NOT allowed to look or touch other dogs - they are disqualified if that happens. Because of this, they can be tetchy on a lead when other dogs invade their space. They are not allowed to climb, lift or sit - all actions that could cause potential harm to them are discouraged by their trainers. That is why many dogs won't jump in the car etc. Hoss was very weary of other dogs including Riba ( my boxer/bullmastiff cross) invading his space and still sometimes reacts - I don't like this behaviour and won't allow it and I am constantly bombarding Hoss and Riba with situations of lots of dogs and people, noise and activity and go to nearly all rallies, SPCA, Pedigree or any other event that will teach and maintain a mellow bombproof attitude.
I highly recommend contacting the dog's trainer to find out quirks, loves and hates when your greyhound first arrives - some of the stories will leave great impressions. Hoss was fed chocolate cake and now has a sweet-tooth! Also it is good to google the dog's racing name and look up scratching to give an indication of any prior injuries.
Hoss and Riba are walked daily on a beach on the Manukau Heads (West Coast) and offlead. I started walking Hoss offlead and teaching him trust - I would walk for a short period with him offlead and continually call him back. If I put him on a lead it is because I am unsure of a situation/other dogs - not because of him being untrustworthy ! Hoss and Riba also cool off in the sea or a stormwater drain every day. I have yet to see Hoss swim (he is so tall and I walk a shellfish beach) but he loves to lie in the water.
Hoss is in cancer remission - 13 months ago he was diagnosed with Oral Melanoma and had radical surgery to remove half of his upper jaw, teeth and pallet. He then underwent a holistic treatment of Mistletoe injections. It was a scary time but the vet and staff were so impressed with Hoss's response and behaviour - even when he was in the most pain he was gentle and affectionate.
I regularly second hand shop and the dogs have a huge pile of soft toys that Riba loves to destroy and Hoss loves to mouth. Both dogs travel with me in my car whenever possible and my hatchback has been converted to a dogmobile complete with a queen size wool mattress cover and tons of blankets for comfort. :)
I am a widow by two years as from Monday 17th August. Hoss' affection has helped me grieve the passing of not only my partner of 20 years but sadly also my bull terrier companion of 14.5 years (passed last year) and my macho bully of a cat that passed at 17 years recently - 3 loved ones in less than 2 years - ick. Hoss interacted really well with my elderly bull terrier and ended up very respectful of my cat. His regal and calm demeanour has meant the world. He has affected other lives too - the homechecks I complete people request small bitches and then meet XXL and ask if they can adopt him.
I want to thank Greyhound Fosterer Gail Marquet - she and her family gave Hoss an awesome start and Hoss will look at kids with such longing I know he is reliving happy memories at Gail's household.

Pretty in Pink - Delta and Irene

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dog Park Days: Louie, Jin and Wolfie

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ratchet (Wolfie), Charlston State (Louie) and Groovy Again (Jin) strut their stuff at the Point Chevalier dog park.

Maddox and Christine

Sunday, August 9, 2009
Today's feature story is of Maddox and Christine from Auckland.

I think the photos are the cutest ever (you can double click on them for full size) .
Jamie is Christine's little boy, and (wait for this!!) she and Maddox were actually at one of the greyhound walks at Waiatarua on 26th Nov 07 -the day before she gave birth!

Christine says:

Everyone thought I was mad deciding to adopt an ex-racing greyhound three months before the birth of my first child.

"It'll be like having twins", "It'll need so much exercise", "Dogs and new babies don't mix'; were just some of the comments I received.

I assured everyone with more confidence than I felt, that I'd done my research and ex-racing hounds were great with kids, actually quite lazy and made all round great pets. I'm glad to say Maddox (racing name: "Only One Daddy") didn't make a liar out of me. I think I initially exhausted him with my enthusiastic dog walking.

He happily accepted a new baby into the house with his characteristic calm and I credit my daily walks with hound and pram with maintaining my sanity in those first few months with a newborn.
Two years on, Maddox is still the last to get up in the morning. He remains stalwart and good natured in the face of a toddler who's learning to use gentle hands. He's ever popular in the park and a joy to watch run. Recall will never be his strong suit and he's a terrible thief of food and interesting items for his bed collection, but he's become a member of the family and remains a great decision.

Picture of the day: Cruzer and his cat Willie :-)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Cruzer (Charlston Kid) and his cat Willie, basking in the sun :-)

(you can click on the picture for full size )

Photo of the day: Boxer and Cruzer with the PM :-)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

'Greyhounds As Pets' volunteers and owners attended Big Gay Out 2009, in Coyle Park in Pt Chevalier in Auckland.
We had many dogs there and everyone had great fun! Boxer (Allegro Comet) and Cruzer (Charlston Kid) have asked John Key(New Zealand Prime Minister) to have a photo with them :-) I daresay all three of them look very handsome! (you can double-click the picture to see full size).

Louie and me

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

When I adopted a retired racing greyhound (via GAP NZ), almost two years ago, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Louie (Charlston State)is just gorgeous, and special. He was a very successful racing greyhound, winning many races during his long career (he was trained and raced by the lovely D Schofield from Huntly). He was retired at 4 ½ years old. His life as pet is well deserved – he worked hard for it! He enjoys his life as pet, he loves his couches, his walks, the car, he loves his cat Mitzi. He enjoys meeting other breeds of dogs: his favourite breeds are Chihuahuas, Bischon Friese and other small fluffy dogs :-)
When I adopted Louie , I knew little about retired racing greyhounds. I have never been to a greyhound race. I had no idea how fast greyhounds were. I have never even met one!
But when I saw Louie, and when he looked at me, it was love at first sight :-) He knew he has found his mother, and I have found the best dog in the world.

Greyhounds make FABULOUS pets - if you suit them. They are NOT watchdogs, they will take some time to learn to play games and chase balls, they will NOT go on an all day hikes, and they are usually NOT small.

However, they generally love kids and are friendly dogs, they are couch potatoes (BELIEVE IT!!!) and will lay asleep on a comfy bed (preferably yours) for hours and hours. Exercise is supposedly 2 x 20 minutes walks per day (yep – that’s it!) although with a bit of work the top condition a dog can walk for up to one and a half hours (but no longer!!) . They are sprinters, not runners.

Greyhounds are the best companion animals you will find. They bond very closely with their family, they are not agressive, and are very sensitive. They are quiet dogs, many rarely bark at all, and with a short coat they are very clean to have around the house. They are extremely smart and also have a terrific sense of fun.

Any greyhound owner will tell you what a privilege it is to have these highly intelligent animals sharing their home.

Before you adopt, it is essential to research the Greyhound and understand their quirks. This is where this blog comes in! :-)

Hounds to the left of me, Hounds to the right...


Louie (Charlston State) and Jin (Groovy Again) and Rachel.... :D

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

Monday, August 3, 2009
Irene and her Wolfie (Ratchet)

Brothers In Stripes: Cruzer and Louie

Sunday, August 2, 2009