Sunday, April 30, 2006

Day 4

Day 4: Two Valium, one Clomicalm at breakfast. One Valium, one Clomicalm at dinner. I was gone 9am-7:15pm (10.25 hours).

Shredded puppy pad again. She had pretty well emptied the Kong. (Sam barked at her when I left this morning and she had the Kong; he had nothing since he was muzzled. He polished up the Kong this evening. Tonight I'm freezing three Kongs: she can have one in the morning, and they each can have one in the afternoon.)

I think she peed a bit in the crate, but it mostly was soaked up in the shredded puppy pad. She certainly was in a hurry to get outside. I don't think she understands the water bottle at all. We'll have to work on that.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Day 3

Two Valium, one Clomicalm at breakfast. One Valium, one Clomicalm at dinner. I was away from home from 6am-4:45pm (10.75 hours).

Shredded puppy pad, up-ended water dish. More urine on her today than yesterday. (And the whitening shampoo I bought sucks...)

I got a water bottle for her crate, so no water dish tomorrow. And I bought some cottage cheese...need to stuff a Kong and freeze it tonight. Maybe she's just bored? But she's not messing with the Nylabone at all: there's not a tooth mark on it.

She hurt her feet some, today, but I'm not sure whether she did that in the crate or afterwards, when I took her outside. I just noticed small amounts of blood on her toes when we were hanging out after her bath (and she could have done something to her feet on the tie-out lines attached to the Dog Anchor at bath-time).

Tomorrow probably will be a long day (10-6 officially--unofficially, god knows). It'll be late when I get home, and it's supposed to be rainy. I won't be able to bathe her tomorrow night, so I'm hoping for a better day tomorrow than today. I don't want to ban her from my bed, but I'm not sleeping with a dog that smells of urine.

Edited to add: If she was worse today than yesterday, I've thought of one reason: the air show at Dobbins was today. She doesn't like the jets screaming overhead, and the show might have produced a lot of extra noise here, today.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Day 2

Second day crated and on meds: two Valium, one Clomicalm before work; one Valium, one Clomicalm after work. Long day: I was gone from 8-8:15 = 12.5 hours.

More pee in the crate, even in her water dish. (Is she using that to pee in?) Shredded puppy pad. Some urine on her back hip, but more like she just accidentally laid in it than the previous rolled-in-it event. I just wiped her down with a damp paper towel, then with a Listerine-damp paper towel. (Too late to bathe her and have any hope to get her dry. I'm due off work early on Saturday, and I'll bathe her then.)

She's had dinner and is sacked out on the sofa. She drank a lot of water after dinner--maybe because what wound up in her water dish in the crate was undrinkable? I'll have to see if there's some sort of water bottle I can use for the crate. Or a dish I can mount and affix to the crate--something she can't contaminate.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Day 1

Jacey's first day crated and on drugs: two Valium and one Clomicalm before work. One Valium, one Clomicalm after work. I was gone about 10.5 hours. (12-9 shift.)

She was noisy, stressed. Shredded the puppy pad. Peed a bit in the crate, but the pad absorbed it, so I didn't have to bathe her when I got home.

All well on the house-breaking front. And five minutes after she finished dinner, she was conked out on the sofa, sound asleep.

But she's more antsy about my being out of her sight. I can't go to the kitchen for a drink without a little jingling shadow tagging along.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Just call her...

…a handful? A problem?

I haven’t posted much about my new girl, Jacey-Kasey. I posted about the pantry raid: I could make that one sound funny. But there hasn’t been much fun or funny in her first 18 days here. I’ve never once slipped and called her, “Oreo.” Every day, in every way, she makes it clear she’s not Oreo.

I tried leaving Jacey muzzled, but free to roam the house. That produced some house-breaking issues (complicated by my long work hours—and really not her fault). And it also meant she had the opportunity to teach Sam about pantry shelves. (I swear, he’s following her around the house, watching what she does, and saying, “Wow! I never noticed that stuff up there! This is cool!” He’s like a not-too-sharp crime boss who’s just learned he’s got a super-smart underling: he likes the new dog’s ideas, but wants to ensure he gets the biggest share of the loot.)

We’re countering the housebreaking issues: lots of trips outside, with kibble in my pocket on every trip. Anyone who pees or poops gets kibble. Sam is making an art-form of this: pee a bit, get a treat, pee a bit more, get another treat. Meanwhile, Jacey is standing there, wondering why she isn’t getting any kibble. She hasn’t made the connection to food-as-a-reward. Once that sinks in, she’ll be much easier to train. (She thinks food shows up when it shows up—or when she raids the pantry.)

But after the pantry raid, I crated Jacey while I was at work. After all, she’s an ex-racer, used to being confined in a small area. The crate is 48Lx30Wx36H—plenty large enough for her—and set up in my bedroom upstairs. The first day, she had a blanket, a water dish, and a puppy pad in the crate. (A puppy pad is the equivalent of a disposable diaper/nappy: absorbent paper material with a plastic backing. Sam pees on a pad when my work day is too long and his water intake has been too high. Oreo never used the things. And Jacey…) Jacey had, literally, a shit-fit. She pounded it into the plastic tray of the crate, she embedded it in the blanket, she kicked some of it out of the crate (where Sam stepped in it, then scratched an itch…), and she rolled in it. When I got home from work, I spent more than an hour bathing her and Sam and cleaning the crate. Then I sat and cried. (I wanted Oreo back. Oreo was never that kind of trouble…)

That work day had been a long one, and I’d been gone from home for about 13 hours. Pooping or peeing in the crate in those circumstances is not unexpected. But the frenzied aspect of her behavior worried me.

I had a D.A.P.—dog appeasing pheromone—in a device you plug into an electrical socket. It mimics the pheromone produced by lactating bitches, and is supposed to be very comforting (effective in 75% of cases). I plugged it in in the bedroom, then went downstairs with the dogs. Humans can’t smell the pheromone, and Sam was completely uninterested. But Jacey reacted when the scent drifted down to us, and went upstairs to find that nursing mama dog. And it seemed to help—some—the next day. But I also worked a shorter workday—home in 9.5 hours—and that made a difference. Jacey didn’t have a blanket (no more blankets—the first one went in the trash), and she completely shredded the puppy pad (I’ve seen confetti pieces that were bigger), but no poop. She still was frenzied when I got home, whining, clawing frantically at the crate, and I don’t know how long that sort of behavior had gone on—too long, judging by the state of her feet. (Oh, and she had a durable Nylabone to chew on.)

Day 3 in the crate: another shredded puppy pad. And a neighbor out walking his dog heard Jacey whining and fussing and thought she might have been reacting to hearing him. I think a big problem is that Sam is not staying upstairs with Jacey—there’s no way I can barricade him in the room to make him stay (it’s a loft bedroom, no door, and only a 3-foot wall on one side, overlooking the living room; I can’t trust my idiot boy not to try to jump the wall if he wants out, because he has no way to see how far he’d fall). So Jacey is suffering from separation anxiety because I’m not there and because Sam is out of her sight.

Day 4 in the crate: I left a thunder-and-rain CD playing all day in hopes of drowning out external noises, so she’d sleep more. (The CD plays all night while we sleep, so she’s used to hearing that sound and isn’t alarmed by it.) I didn’t leave a puppy pad, this time. And I came home to a frenzied yellow-and-black dog. Another bath was required. (And Sam, who ran into her, needed a bath, too.)

So today I went to the vet. He agreed that she’s exhibiting classic separation anxiety symptoms, and they need to be treated before she hurts herself—and before she “trains” herself to panic every time she’s in the crate. So she’s on diazepam (one or two 10mg tablets, three times a day) and clomipramine (one 50mg capsule, two or three times a day). The diazepam (aka Valium) stops after a month or so (we hope); the clomipramine (aka Clomicalm) goes on for three months, at which time we do a liver test and consider weaning her off the drug if that seems feasible. (This is going to cost $3.25-$5.50 a day, depending on how much she needs…and I’m getting the drugs from a standard pharmacist, not the vet’s overpriced supply.) The hope is that after three months she’ll have learned that mom leaves, mom comes home, Sam wanders around, and the world doesn’t come to an end. (Oh, and the vet warned that diazepam is a mood-altering device—and sometimes you don’t get the mood you want. So there’s a risk she’ll pull an Edward Hyde-number.)

Thursday I work a noon to nine shift. I do not want to have to bathe a dog (or two) at 9:30 at night, so I’m hoping for the best.

If the drugs don’t work, we have other options. One possibility is moving the crate downstairs. This is not a good choice since the air conditioner downstairs is broken; the one upstairs works, and once Sam figures that out, he might stay upstairs more. But even if I move the crate, there’s no guarantee that Sam will stay in her sight. And even if he does, she’s still expressing anxiety when I’m out of her sight. So I’m really hoping the drugs can get this under control.

Meanwhile, I’ve got this dog with the most enormous pupils right now. {grin} Just call her spacey Jacey-Kasey…

Thursday, April 20, 2006

For Every Dog An Angel

There’s a lovely little book, For Every Dog An Angel. It came to me on a BookCrossing bookring, and I’ve since bought a copy of my own.

The book says that each dog has a guardian angel who watches over the dog from puppyhood on, helps the dog find a good home, etc. And sometimes a person’s “forever dog” comes back and looks after its person, looks after the new dog, shows the new dog the ropes…

If Jacey’s got a guardian angel—or if my much-missed forever-dog, Oreo, is going to show Jacey the ropes—it had better be soon. Before I throttle her.

I got off work on time today and got home, prepared to relax, spend some time with the dogs—stuff like that. I walked in the door to find…

Actually, there isn’t a good word for what I found. A disaster? A mess? A nightmare?

Jacey is a fast learner, and Sam has taught her to raid the kitchen: open the trash can and hunt for goodies, turn the can over and rake everything out, if necessary, root through the bottom of the pantry, poking a nose in the stash of empty old grocery bags. But Jacey… Jacey cranked things up a notch. Or up a shelf, at least.

She found the cheese/peanut butter crackers. This isn’t real cheese, of course: just neon-orange crackers with peanut butter on them. Both dogs were muzzled, so no one actually got to eat the crackers. (Sam’s muzzle has a muzzle guard in it, so he couldn’t even lick through the muzzle’s holes.) But both dogs pounded those little cellophane packages to pieces, spreading a fine haze of orange cracker dust throughout the pantry…and into the (carpeted) breakfast room. And into the two blue area rugs in the kitchen. And into the (carpeted) dining room. Two canvas tote bags turned orange, too.

But then the dogs hit the jackpot. The mother lode. Two big unopened packages of cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies.

The cellophane tray, I’m sure, made lovely crackling noises, egging the dogs on. So Sam—but mostly Jacey, I think—battered both packages into submission, then happily distributed all the crumbly cookies through the kitchen, pantry, dining room, breakfast room and foyer. Many of the cookies were opened to expose the cream filling. (How do two muzzled dogs do that? Don’t they need opposable thumbs?) Then the cookies were plastered—generally, cream-side down—on the floor, on the carpet, on the area rugs. Cleaning up the floor was not a matter of sweeping the cookies—it was more like scraping them off the floor. And the crumbs may never come out of the carpet. (Black crumbs. Beige carpets.)

The dogs were hugely disappointed in my reaction to their efforts. (See if we decorate the kitchen again for you, mom!) And Jacey doesn’t know it yet, but she’ll be spending her mom’s-at-work time in a crate starting tomorrow morning. And Sam—who didn’t dream up today’s events, but who certainly acquired new ideas—is going to find himself barricaded away from the kitchen if I can possibly manage it.

But there’s a certain irony to the whole thing. If I weren’t so cheap, those wouldn’t have been no-name cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies. They’d have been Nabisco’s cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies.

They’d have been Oreos.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ripples Afghan

I finished the afghan for KA, my salon manager, who is expecting her second daughter next month. I gave her the afghan just over a week ago, but I'm only now getting around to posting pictures.

Afghan for KAAfghan for KA
(approximately 34 inches by 50 inches)

Afghan for KAAfghan for KA

I've started the third afghan of the year--yellow, this time--for a local greyhound owner expecting her first child.

Jacey--day 3

Jacey's still half-savvy about the stairs. Again, she managed to go up, but got stuck there. I'm off work Tuesday and Wednesday, so we'll work on this. I'd hate for her to try going down and fall or panic, so she needs to be comfortable on the stairs as long as she's silly enough to go up there. (I wouldn't put it past Sam to be luring her up there and abandoning her so he can occupy his sofa in peace.) Jacey's got her first visit tomorrow with Sam's regular vet (who sent a wonderful note in his sympathy card about Oreo). She'll get microchipped and weighed and generally checked-up.

A greyhound rescue group in Florida is having a sale on collars and matching leashes. (Greyhounds need martingale collars rather than any sort of buckle collar because a grey's neck has a bigger diameter than the dog's head. A regular collar that you can "fit two fingers under"--as the usual instructions read--will slide off a greyhound's head if the dog is frightened and backs up.) Anyhow, if anyone is interested in some lovely collars, try here. I ordered the New Wave pattern for Sam and Jacey and managed to get the last two in stock. Oreo's red and blue collar has been permanently retired, and Sam's leopard collar is getting pretty worn (he's been wearing it for nearly three years). The fancy matching leashes will be for special occasions. For knocking around the neighborhood, we'll stick to PetSmart's double-loop leashes, which give me the ability of cinching-up tight and holding the dogs nearby without having to wrap leashes around my arm half a dozen times. Sam can have the black leash, while Jacey gets the blue one. Then I'll know which leash is which when I'm trying to untangle them. Jacey's leash-walking skills still need some work.

Sam and Oreo always were "inhalers" at dinner time. Give each dog 1.5 cups of food, and the bowls would be empty in less than two minutes. Jacey, on the other hand, politely picks up each piece of kibble and chews it. This is making Sam nuts, because he'll finish his dinner while she's just getting started. He thinks any food he sees should at least be shared 50-50, so he keeps coming over to try to help Jacey. She, meanwhile, gets nervous at the sight of Sam drooling and licking his lips, and she backs up and stops eating. So I'm holding Sam's head, talking to him, distracting him, and trying to give Miss Nice Table-Manners time to finish her dinner. I never thought I'd be longing for a "chow-hound." I also need to find some training treats they'll both go for. Sam certainly isn't fussy, but she may be. In the past, those awful turkey-franks have been a hit with Sam and Oreo (for training treats, the smellier, the better). The sooner Jacey starts learning that "no," "come," "stay," etc., are commands rather than meaningless sounds, the better.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Jacey learns stairs...sorta

How much trouble can a dog who's lived in a kennel all the nearly-three-years of her life get into in one day in which Mom is gone from home for more than 10 hours? And if she's abetted by a nearly-six-year-old who's been in a home for three-and-a-half years and knows where all the goodies are hidden?

Apparently, not that much. But the poor girl went upstairs--probably followed Sam up there--and couldn't figure out how to get back down. Racing greyhounds don't know stairs at all, and the stairs here are spiral stairs--open ironwork, and terrifying even to dogs who know traditional stairs. So I got home, Sam met me at the door, I called Jacey, couldn't see her anywhere, but heard a curious thumping noise from overhead. (It was her tail against the wall.) I went up, took her by the collar, and just said "Here we go," and led her down the stairs. (Down is always more difficult to teach than up.) Now, both dogs are curled up on the sofa, half on each other. Jacey's taking up more of the sofa than Sam. She's learned the joys of a soft bed to sleep on--rather than concrete or rubber-mat-over-concrete--and she's enjoying the sofa.

Jacey is fascinated by shoes, which is not going to be a good thing. We'll have to work on that. But since she hasn't had any sort of obedience training, I'm not sure she even knows what "No!" means. But she is turning to look at me when she hears her new name, so that's a start. I'm going to have to hunt out my clicker and the training manual and notes. I'll work with both dogs, and maybe Sam will finally learn the difference between "Sit" and "Down." (He does one, and if no treat is forthcoming, he'll do the other.)

Okay, now the confession: I'm the one who slept on the dog bed last night. We started out with me at one end of the sofa, Sam next to me, and Jacey on the other end. (I decided to sleep downstairs because of the issue of getting Jacey up the stairs, which I had tried unsuccessfully. I wanted to be near her if she needed to go outside.) Jacey hasn't learned to curl up tight on the sofa, and at one point her head was off the sofa, onto the dog bed that's in front of the sofa, and she started sliding off. She got down, and Sam immediately moved into her space. I told her to lie down on the dogbed, and started to join her there. (It's a big, soft bed, and probably more comfortable for my back than the lumpy sofa.) I put pillows on the bed, pulled down an afghan to keep warm, turned back around and discovered...Jacey had gotten up on the sofa in the place I'd just vacated. And when I tugged on her leash, she nestled down more into the sofa cushions. So I let her stay there, and I took the dog bed. But after her experiences today, I'm going to assume she can handle going upstairs tonight. I'm sleeping in my own bed, and the dogs are welcome to join me there...or sleep on one of the two dog beds on the bedroom floor.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Oh, dear. Sam learns about karma...

All those times that Sam got on the couch and laid down half on Oreo, despite her protests... Oreo either heaved a great sigh and tolerated him, or she got up and went someplace else to sleep.

So who's on the sofa, stretched out nearly full length? And who got up and moved to the dog bed in the floor?

Her new name is Jacey-Kasey...

...Jacey for short. That's in honor of the Jefferson County Kennel Club, site of her *cough* illustrious *cough cough* racing career. And some name-origin sites give Kasey an Irish/Gaelic origin, so that honors her Irish ancestry.
Jacey-Kasey Jacey-Kasey
Her first day home...
Jacey-Kasey Jacey-Kasey
Her first day... I love her ears: the right one flips back, the left one flips forward.

She and Sam aren't best buddies, but they haven't quarreled any. They sniff each other occasionally, but that's about all. She hasn't settled in yet--she hasn't relaxed enough to nap, although she's on the couch right now (but she's panting a lot). She's tolerated having her ears cleaned and her extra-long toenails Dremeled (the perils of living with a dog groomer), and she's drinking water, but she hasn't eaten anything. (Sam's thinking, "That just means more for me!")

She's very sweet, not nervous about meeting new people, but suffering sensory overload right now, I think. She's never lived outside a kennel, so she doesn't know mirrors, televsions, couches (she needed to be boosted up), squirrels, birds, etc. She's not great on leash, yet; she doesn't pull, but she weaves from one point of interest to another, disregarding what that will do with her leash and Sam's leash and everyone's legs.

Jacey's gotten a bit chubby since her retirement: she's gained 6 pounds (more than 10% of her weight) since her last race (9 February 2006), and Sam--who's taller and longer than she is--only outweighs her by three-tenths of a pound. She has an appointment with Sam's vet on Tuesday--a new-dog check-up, and she'll get microchipped.

Thursday, April 6, 2006


I got Oreo’s ashes back today. I’m going to spread most of the ashes outside in the area where she and Sam and I liked to sit when the weather was good. That way, Sam and I can still sit outside with Oreo. But I’m going to keep a bit of the ashes in a small box I’m painting and putting Oreo’s name on. That way, if I ever sell this condo and move, I’ll be taking a bit of Oreo with me. I’ve got a nice carved chest I’ll put her collar, muzzle, and tags in, along with the box of ashes. And I’m going to take all the messages you guys posted and make PDFs of them. I’ll keep a CD with your messages and e-cards—and my digital photos of her—in the chest, too.

Wednesday night I filled out an on-line application to adopt another greyhound.

Years ago, when Oreo was my only dog, I read (on the local adoption group’s Yahoo board) about the death of a SEGA member’s dog. I remembered what I’d gone through when a cat I had for ten years had died: I kept thinking I spied a movement from the corner of my eye, I whipped around, saw nothing, then remembered Duchess was dead and began to cry again. I knew that when the unthinkable happened and Oreo died, I would do the same thing. I was going to need something fuzzy to hug and cry on.

I promised Oreo that if anything happened to her I would get another dog—as a foster dog, if not a new adoption—very quickly. I’d do it for my sake, but also I’d do it because Oreo was such a wonderful dog that she’d made it impossible for me to consider living without as many greyhounds in my life as I could handle. I told Oreo that by being such a marvelous girl, she’d guaranteed a home for another dog.

Then I adopted Sam. At that point, perhaps, Oreo wished she’d been a bit less “wonderful.” But she tolerated Sam—with many an exasperated glance thrown in my direction—and she continued to be my wonder-dog until her death last week.

So last Thursday night, after she’d died, I made myself look at the page of SEGA’s current adoptables.

I looked at them from the point of view of potential foster-dogs…and with an “inside track” since I get to read the comments of the volunteer kennel walkers, so I know more about some of the dogs than is posted on the public adoption page. (For instance, I know “Tom S Sugarplum” wouldn’t work for my household: Sugarplum’s an Alpha on a mission to rule the world. Sam would be in shreds in no time.)

For several days, I just looked.

But Sam can stand just so many hugs before he starts to get squirmy. (“Hey, Mom, I’m tryin’ to sleep, here.”) And Sam would make a terrible role model for a foster dog. He’d teach a foster to get on the furniture. To invade the kitchen. To raid the trash can. And I’ve got two arms—designed for hugging two dogs. I’ve got enough heartworm preventative for two dogs for the next six months. Same thing with flea preventative. I’ve got three 40-pound bags of Nutro large breed lamb and rice (it was on sale). I’ve got two dog beds downstairs, two dog beds upstairs. (And that’s not counting my bed, which is where everyone sleeps.)

And I’ve got that promise I made to Oreo.

So I filed an application last night, and got an e-mail today. Saturday morning, Sam and I are headed up to the kennel to check out a couple of possibilities: “ICU Tomboy Doris” and “Pinerun Tori.” (You can see pictures at the link posted above.)

Doris is cute, but she’s not cat or small-dog safe. This is a problem since Sam is very high-prey. I can handle one high-prey dog, but not two. If trouble comes scampering in our direction (the neighborhood is home to a brainless Yorkie), I hold both leashes with one hand, and grab Sam’s snout with my other hand. This is adequate if the other greyhound in the scenario stands still and behaves. But if both greyhounds are high-prey, I need a third hand. Also, I’ve checked the racing database for Doris: 160 races, with 20 first-place finishes. I think this girl would enjoy a lure-coursing household.

Tori is adorable, and small-dog safe. She’s a bit younger than I was looking for, but that’s not a problem if she’s a calm two-and-a-half year old. (Actually, I just checked the racing database, and she’ll be three next month-—my god, 16 races, including one in which she “quit / turned back”; she’s less interested in racing than Oreo was!) The inside word is that Tori is pretty vocal, but often greys that bark in the kennel are quiet in the home. She’s also acquired a torn ear since her adoption picture was taken (remember Sugarplum’s mission?), but that just makes Tori even with Sam, who came to me missing the tip of one ear. (I think he’d encountered a dog-on-a-mission, too.)

[The dogs’ names can be changed. These names are registered racing names, not “kennel” names (which we don’t know), so the dogs don’t really respond to them. Tori’s name would definitely have to change since my cousin has a granddaughter named Tori (for Victoria), and I balk at having relatives and dogs with the same names.]

Pinerun Tori seems to have the edge as a match for my household. The more I look at her on line, the better I like her. It’s up to her and Sam, now. Fingers crossed. And start thinking about names.

Oh, and did you see Tori's description?

She's a smiler...