GreyhoundAngels of WA

finding loving homes for greyhounds

Sighthound colouring in sheets

One of our adopters inspired me to focus my ‘doodling’ into making a couple of colouring in sheets for adults and kids alike.

The first one is a bunch of different sighthounds – can you name them all?

The second one was inspired by my greyhound Mouse, and is also a bit of a salute to Pokemon Go…

Click on the pictures for full size versions.

sighthoundluv

mouse beach scene

If you enjoyed these, please throw a few dollars GreyhoundAngels’ way via this Givenow link - your donation is tax deductible if you are in Australia and goes to help more Greyhounds in need.

Jet

Adjusting to a new life – Separation Anxiety

sep anxiety greyhound colour

It is very common for a new greyhound to be anxious on being left alone in his or her new surroundings, either in foster care or in their adoptive home. In a kennel environment they have the constant companionship of other dogs and losing the sights, sounds and smells of their kennel mates can take some adjustment.

The humans need to leave the house and go to work, run errands, or do whatever else they need to do, leaving the dog alone, or perhaps with unfamiliar animal companions.

Vocalising, destructive behaviour or inappropriate elimination whilst you have left the house can all be signs of separation anxiety.

If you have neighbours complaining, the first thing you are going to have to do is a little public relations work. Explain to them that the dog is new to suburban life and let them know you have a plan but that it may take a little time. If you establish a good relationship with them then they can provide you with feedback about how things are going. If they are not so nice about it, try not to let it add to your stress as the dog will pick up on it.

Here’s my plan, feel free to add to it in the comments.

1. Create a safe space

If the dog has show any signs of being destructive, it is best to create a secure place for them to be during the day where they cannot get in to too much trouble. You can do this by baby gating off a room, for example. This will keep your stress levels down and perhaps save your couch cushions.

You can also use a crate as a safe space. Some greyhounds readily accept the crate as a quiet place to retreat to. Others will need a little more prompting. Make the crate a pleasant place to be by feeding meals and treats in there. If your greyhound really refuses to go into the crate, or makes serious physical attempts to escape the crate, use baby gates instead as they can injure themselves in escape attempts.

2. Exercise, Training & Enrichment

There’s an old saying, ‘a tired dog is a good dog.’ If a dog is asleep then he or she cannot be getting into too much mischief, right? Asleep is almost the opposite of anxious too, yes?

Greyhounds are often referred to as ‘couch potatos’ but this does not mean they need no exercise at all. Young dogs especially need a good walk and even an opportunity to run in a safe fenced area a couple of times a week. A good morning walk will help ensure that the dog goes to the toilet before you leave for the day and will help them settle when you leave.

Obedience training helps you bond with the dog, and also helps wear them out making it easier for them to relax. Teaching greyhounds can take more patience than other breeds but you will be the most successful if you keep the sessions short and use high value rewards. A couple of short training sessions a day will really wear a new dog out at first. With dogs straight from a racing kennel the first thing you will probably be teaching is his or her name!

Enrichment is the act of adding something to the dogs’ environment for them to interact with. You can actively enrich your dog’s life by playing games such as ‘find the treat’ where you hide treats around the house and then set the dog free to use his or her nose. A long lasting treat like a Kong stuffed with kibble, cheese and peanut butter for the dog to work on also helps keep them busy. As they get more skilled at emptying the Kong, you can try freezing the Kong to add a level of difficulty.

Some dogs like to have the TV or radio on for background noise and others don’t. If you are the kind of household where the TV or radio is always on when you are home, it might be good to leave it on when you are out just for the dog.

3. Alone Training

The theory is that you leave for short periods of time, and gradually increase the time you are absent to give the dog the idea that you will not be gone forever.

The key is to keep the dog under the threshold where it starts to feel anxious. You need to return before the dog starts to vocalise or get stuck in to destructive behaviour.

Make sure the dog is tired and has been to the toilet. Put the dog in their safe space with a Kong or other long lasting treat. Don’t make a big deal about leaving and try to sneak out without fanfare. When you come back in, don’t go straight to the dog and make a fuss of him or her either.

The first few times you leave, just walk out the front door and immediately back in again. In those early stages you might want to use the stop watch on your phone to precisely time the period you are away. Once you build up to half an hour you may find that the dog is OK for a whole work day.

Don’t worry if you have to go out for longer than usual and have a setback (dog howling, wrecking stuff or peeing). Just go out for short periods again and slowly build up the time.

If you have really had problems building up any time away without anxious behaviour you could try a pheromone collar or a DAP diffuser to calm the dog in combination with alone training.

4. Feedback

To really know how your alone training is going, you will probably have to ‘spy’ on your dog. You could do this either by making an audio recording, setting up a camera, setting up an internet streaming camera so you can watch the dog via the internet, and/or seeking feedback from your neighbours.

5. Blow off steam together

Greyhounds can do just about anything other breeds of dogs do. If you want some ideas here are a few things that Mouse & I do together:

Canicross

Obedience classes

Dancing with Dogs (a combination of obedience and trick training)

Lure Coursing

Kayaking

Hiking

Playing with Agility obstacles (you can buy cheap tunnels and jumps online nowadays)

Swimming (OK, Mouse may not be so fond of this particular activity)

Visiting dog-friendly cafes, wineries and friend’s houses

 

 

 

Greyhound Microchip information for Adopters, Vets & Rangers

microchip

All greyhounds in Western Australia born after 2011 have been implanted with a microchip which is associated with their racing registration.

This microchip is registered with the racing authority only, not any of the pet microchip databases like the Australasian Animal Registry (AAR). The database can be accessed by the staff at Racing & Wagering WA.

Lily : currently in foster care, July 2015

 Lily, currently in foster care

If a greyhound’s racing chip is still functioning and scannable when the greyhound comes into care with us, they are not implanted with a second microchip.

The adopter is provided with the racing microchip number when the dog is adopted. It is the adopter’s responsibility to register the microchip with one of the pet database. There may be a nominal fee payable for this registration service.

If the dog was born before 2011 or if it’s racing chip fails to scan, then GreyhoundAngels will microchip the dog. In this scenario the microchip will be registered with the AAR with details from GreyhoundAngels. It is the adopter’s responsibility to update these details, and provide AAR with a copy of either the adoption contract or a statutory declaration explaining when the dog was adopted.

Links:

National Pet Register: https://www.petregister.com.au/

Australasian Animal Registry (AAR): http://www.aar.org.au/

Petaddress: http://www.petaddress.com.au

Racing & Wagering WA: http://www.rwwa.com.au/home/

 

Greyhounds & other pets – photoshoot by Alex Cearns @ Houndstooth Studio

In the wake of the television show, Four Corners, report on the prevalence of live baiting in greyhound racing, Alex Cearns teamed up with us and Greener Pastures Sanctuary in order to present Greyhounds in a better (and more realistic) light!

Lily chicks and rabbit

The immediate aftermath of the Four Corners report was a bit of a nightmare for some greyhound owners, and I had certainly been subjected to several offensive comments yelled at me from across the street referencing live baiting.

Thanks to Alex’s tenacity, the photos and story were picked up by PerthNow and the article went gangbusters on their Facebook page. Check it out!

Behind the scenes, it was a really hot day, but I know that Barbie & Mouse really enjoyed the shoot and the attention. The Greener Pastures bunnies, chicks, kitten and puppies were accommodated nicely in the studio and the bunnies and puppies in particular seemed very at home. The puppies were adorable big clods and were enjoying all the human attention.

The greyhounds went into the studio two at a time. The greyhounds and other animals had not met before. As you can see from the photos, Dottie & Lily did beautifully with their chicks and rabbits.

Dottie & two rabbits

 

Barbie & Mouse had already had experience in Alex’s studio and Mouse in particular was a true professional (the fact that she is my dog did not bias my opinion at all). She is looking for her next modelling gig. Mouse and the pup really seemed to have a bond straight away and it made for some really cute shots.

Barbie and kitten

When Barbie was first introduced to the little tortoiseshell kitten, the kitten made sure she knew who was boss by giving her a little love tap on the nose. Barbie almost got up and ran away, but I reassured her and she settled down again for the photo. Getting a dog and a kitten to look at the camera the the same time is no mean feat, but Alex was certainly up to the task along with Deb who was helping keep the little animals comfortable (and in line).

Mouse and puppy

The results from this shoot were really more than we could have asked for, and hopefully it helped rebalance the public perception of greyhounds. A bit of perspective is what is needed – not all dogs get along with smaller animals but that is the same across all breeds. Hopefully greyhounds being unfairly stereotyped will end one day, but we are here, doing our best to open minds.

The Greyhound cross brigade….

There are often greyhound crosses that appear in pounds desperate for someone to come and save them. Sometimes people want to surrender them to us for their own reasons.

People come to us to adopt a greyhound, so often these guys get overlooked because they aren’t quite what they were looking for. They often have higher exercise and training requirements than retired racers, but they are usually incredible athletes and are highly trainable in a variety of dog sports. They also make great hiking or running companions.

Huckleberry

huckleberry

Huckleberry is very greyhound-like in looks except for his wider than average head and big feet. The rangers thought that he was too far gone when he was impounded. He was mentally shut down and would just lie in a puddle of his own wee. Lucky for him the rangers gave him a chance, and just kept giving him food until he started to interact with humans again. In his first night of foster care he was scared to come inside the house. He had an old belt cut short as a collar but he weed himself if his collar was grabbed. He would freeze if he got any collar pressure whilst walking.

Since then his confidence has grown so much that he can be walked on a regular flat collar. He loves other dogs and he draws confidence and security from them.

huckleberry6

Whilst Huck still has a way to go with his confidence around people, the improvement over such a short amount of time has been breathtaking. He is a highly intelligent young dog and he will need an outlet for his mental and physical energy, either by being involved in dog sports (he could excel at everything from obedience to lure coursing) or by being with a very active family.

Just to get an idea of his playfulness and energy, here is Huck playing with 9 year old Bender.

If you want to find out more about Huckleberry, his petrescue profile is here.

Axle

Axle has been nicknamed ‘Hagrid’ because he’s big and friendly. He is a big boy with big feet and a slightly wider head. He still looks very much like a greyhound apart from these two things.

He loves cars so much that when I visited his foster home he tried to leave with me. It took a lot of convincing to get him back out of my car so that I could put my dogs in!

He is a confident boy but he can be a troublemaker if he doesn’t have enough to do. He wants to please you, you just have to show him what to do. He’s in foster care with a couple of Italian greyhounds and a greyhound. He loves to play fetch and tug, and he would love to be part of a family with older kids. He’s not that far from growing up into a very respectable good canine citizen, as long as his adoptive family commits to continue his training.

axle roach

If you would like to know more about Axle, his petrescue profile is here.

If you would like to foster one of these greyhound-cross types please fill out a Foster Carer Application Form. We really need more people interested in fostering these guys in order to save more from Perth pounds.

The importance of nail clipping

Due to the shape of their feet and their penchant for inactivity, Greyhounds need their nails clipped regularly. Having nails that are too long feels like walking in shoes that are a size too small so it is important their nails are maintained, even if the dog doesn’t think so!

How short should nails be? When the dog is standing with their weight evenly distributed on each leg, the nail should not be touching the ground.

nice nails

Greyhounds should be used to being handled, but they may have had a few nails cut a bit short in the past, or just be a bit leery of the feeling they get when their nails are clipped. If you are firm, fair and confident in handling the dog then you should be OK. When you first get the dog you are still building trust, so just start by handling the dog’s feet. Perhaps play ‘this little piggie’ where you grab each toe and press on the paw pad. When it comes to getting the clippers out, do a few nails each session and build up as you go. Give treats generously when the dog allows you to clip a nail without fussing. I choose to do my dog’s nails when they have just been free running, perhaps at the beach, so they are too tired to complain much.

If the clippers are a bit much for both of you, try using a Dremel (or other rotary tool) with a sanding drum. Dremel have even done an instruction sheet for grinding pet nails, which can be found at this link.

While this is not a greyhound in this video, I think this is a very comprehensive and easy to understand little tutorial on how to clip with clippers and how to use a rotary tool.

Audits, audits…

Non-profit and charitable organisations need to be accountable for the funds they raise, and they do this by going through regular audits.

Audits cost money of course, but they are an important part of the administration of the organisation.

Our latest audit was carried out by Leanne Galellis, CPA. She is happy to work for very small non-profits like us and we recommend her. She is very professional and whilst she asked us a couple of hard questions, she was great to deal with. Our Treasurer, Daniel, really appreciated this the most.

If any other small non-profits or charities in Perth need an auditor, give her a call on (08) 9227 5983. 

Swimming Lessons!! – Guest Post by Mel Yarnall

indi puppycrop

Some of you may remember this pic of a sad lil puppy with a broken leg that appeared on Facebook in September 2013. We were lucky enough to be selected as Indi’s parents, and she came into our family in December 2013. We have been working with her ever since to build up the muscles in her back leg so that she can play for a period of time without limping and holding her leg up. She is making great progress, although she doesn’t understand what the fuss is about. To her, there is nothing wrong with her.

About three months ago, we enlisted the help of Julie from the Wellness Centre for Dogs and their Humans. Indi just loves her therapy sessions and is a little bit obsessed with Julie. It was on Julie’s encouragement that we got Indi into swimming, and we found the pool facilities at Fur Kids Resort in Canning Vale.

indi car mirror

Indi has been doing swimming lessons with us for the last eight weeks. She has hated every minute of it, and has not been the most cooperative of pupils. She loves the car ride (as you can tell from the picture) but then she has a tantrum in the carpark when she realises where we are!

indi swimming

*Indi certainly looks stronger and can jump higher than ever before!

**Julie Edwards from Wellness Centre for Dogs & their humans provides complimentary therapy to dogs in foster care with GreyhoundAngels. We greatly appreciate her support. 

Fundraising time! T-shirts, iphone cases and wine!

did you say fundraising

There are two current fundraisers running which can help us cover Vet fees for the dogs in our care. The first is for Aussies over 18 only – Goodwill wines.

http://www.goodwillwine.com.au/charities/greyhound-angels

The second is available world wide – Jet has done a few t-shirt designs featuring hounds from GreyhoundAngels and is donating 100% of the commission from sales to the group. If you happen to be in the USA postage might even be free! (edit: this fundraiser is over as of 2 Sept 2015 – designs are still available but the commission won’t 100% go to us)

http://www.designbyhumans.com/shop/jetska/

Introducing: the GreyhoundAngels of WA Committee

Since the Committee is now brimming with new faces, we thought that the new blog was a great opportunity to introduce ourselves (and our hounds).

Foster & Adoptions Co-ordinator: Sue Leitch

sue leitch

My first introduction to Greyhounds was as a young girl listening to my father talk fondly of the favorite dog from his childhood – a hound called Fly.  Fly must have been one special dog to make such an impact, as she was one of many working dogs on a large farming enterprise.  It was not until I was in my twenties that I was first owned by a hound – a greyhound/staghound cross, Ria – bred to be a kangaroo dog.  Luckily for me she was discarded as she wouldn’t pull a roo, only liked the chase.  She began my own love affair with sight hounds.  There have been other dogs adopted over the years since Ria’s passing, but I always promised myself that I would adopt a greyhound.  I also made this promise to Melita Shonis, the founder of GreyhoundAngels – it took a while but I kept my promise about 2 years ago, when my first hound joined the family and I now share my life with two more.  It is a promise I am so glad I kept, as these dogs are such wonderful companions I can’t imagine life without them.

It is as the Adoptions Co-ordinator that I hope to be able to help others find similar joy in having a greyhound as a member of their family.  While I haven’t been involved with rescue greyhounds for long, I have had considerable experience in dog rescue and rehoming, including as the manager of the Dogs’ Refuge Home, Shenton Park.  I shall use my best endeavours to bring that knowledge and experience to bear in this role.

Apart from my hounds, I spend time playing with horses and am the President and Chief Field Officer for Second Chance Horse Rescue, a WA based equine rescue group.  I am currently fostering 6 rescue horses and ponies and helping them get ready for new homes, as well as having fun with my own 6 horses.

I also breed alpacas and have around 100 alpacas, 7 llamas, 10 sheep and several rescue kangaroos on my farm, together with various free-range poultry to complete the picture.  The hounds and I are never bored.

Events Co-ordinator: Mel Yarnall (and Indi)

bio 1 indi and mel

We adopted Indi Pippin in December 2013, but it feels like she has been part of our family forever. Indi came to us as a five month old puppy who had recovered from a broken leg, but she hasn’t let that slow her down at all. Our weekends are generally filled with Indi focused activities from walks, cafe visits, dog parks, plays with friends and extends to things like doggy days care and art class.

I come from a legal background and have a strong interest in animal law, particularly as it pertains to companion animals. I have a strong interest in issues relating to greyhounds obviously, puppy farming and breed specific legislation.

I have been a volunteer in various roles at Shenton Park Dogs Home since 2009. These have included running induction teams, team leader, training, dog walking, fundraising and dog respite. Now I am em excited to tackle the new challenges of being Secretary with GreyhoundAngels of WA.

Treasurer: Daniel Alway (and Bruce)

bio 1 daniel bruce

I have been the treasurer for GreyhoundAngels since the beginning of 2013.

I have been involved with dogs all of my life.  I come from a dog loving family and grew up with a Labrador, Muensterlaender and a Poodle x, as well as the dogs that many of my friends had. Each and every one of our family dogs have been rescue dogs and each and every one rewarded my family in their own unique way. When I moved to Australia almost three years ago, a work colleague of my wife introduced me to the GreyhoundAngels facebook.  I quickly had my eyes opened to the truth about greyhound racing and I knew I had to get involved. Very soon, I and my wife met our very first greyhound by fostering one.  Life has not been the same since and greyhounds have become such an important part of my life.  My wife and I have since adopted our own beautiful greyhound boy, Bruce and continue to foster.  Now we can’t imagine life without them and often comment that the hounds often make the better humans.

As well as fostering, I put my 7 years of financial/banking experience to use in my role as treasurer to the Greyhound Angels committee and generally help the hounds whenever I can.

Public Relations: Jet Heedes (and Mouse)

bio 1 jet and mouse

I adopted my first greyhound 5 years ago and have been entranced by them ever since. I first joined GreyhoundAngels as a foster carer in April 2013, and joined the Committee in March 2014.

I like to include my dogs in pretty much everything I do so if a venue or activity is not dog friendly, the likelihood I will attend drops! I think that might qualify me as a ‘crazy dog lady’.

Blogging and web design are hobbies of mine, and it turns out they are valuable to community groups! I’ve set up this webpage to serve up fresh content for people who are interested in greyhounds, and it’s a great way for those who don’t use Facebook to keep up to date with what is happening with the group.

Secretary: Rachel Anderson (and Sam)

bio 1 rachel and sam

Everyone knows I love to talk about dogs!  Therefore organising events and fundraising for GreyhoundAngels is the perfect opportunity for me to do just that.  I get great satisfaction chatting to the public and educating people on just how wonderful greyhounds are and what perfect family members they can be.

I read about the racing industry and the treatment of greyhounds whilst studying vet nursing many moons ago and  I knew I had to take action.  A gorgeous brindle boxer girl owned me at the time but I was adamant I would one day save an ex racer.  Nearly 20 years later, after rescuing a staffy from a Council pound AND moving to the other side of the country, the time was right.  BEST DECISION EVER!  Sam joined us 18 months ago and has bought nothing but joy and laughter to our lives.  There is nothing better than coming home to an excited greyhound with a helicopter tail after a boring day at the office.

 

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