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.


tiffinie said...

Does this mean my Tank still holds the record? Cheers,
Tiff & Tank