Saturday, August 12, 2006

Dogless

When we brought Dognose home, we weren't certain that having a child was at all plausible.

I had wanted a greyhound since I met my first one. I heard they traveled well, they were good with kids, they didn't shed and that they were primarily very lazy and also very loving.

And when he ran, it was a site to see. He made the sound of a horse galloping and he looked equally as lovely. Sleek.

He was agile to the point of being absurd, how he would hop around in circles.

The kids would chase him and laugh when he ran.



They would also want to pet him, and that is where the problems came in.

Dognose came to us very tense, nervous, insecure and highly strung. He never really relaxed enough for us to be very comfortable with kids near him. He never bit a child, but he had smacked his head and yelped so that he generated a substantial amount of fear. He bared his teeth as well. We encouraged kids to only pet his body and stay away from his head.

This was pretty much impossible to do with a little baby girl who looked him eye to eye and was enchanted by him.

Dognose was not enchanted with her. He was mortally afraid of her. If she just pet his body, he would tolerate more or less. But she wanted to pat, and she wanted to get close to his face.

For awhile, we sat on this idea of letting him go. He would try to sleep in her room. He would mark his territory (grrr). I made sure he got the daily walks and the daily pets. Still his demeanor of being scared, insecure, unhappy never seemed to recede.

Greys are working dogs, so when they come to homes, they don't know stairs, they don't know sliding glass windows and they often have experienced a life of abuse, or at least rough treatment. I thought he would learn that we were good, safe, loving. He never seemed ever relax, though he did sleep alot and eventually he went to seek pets from others. He never travelled well as he was so nervous at other peoples houses, they became nervous too.

So I called the lady at GPA and explained that we were thinking that in the long term, Mister Dognose was no match for our daughter. He had some threatening behavior in his past, and we didn't want to wait to find out if it would be okay. He is not an "alpha" dog, he is a fearful dog.

Yesterday she came and blip, like that, he was gone. His muzzle, his bed, his food, his toys, his rawhide bone...everything.

I think he will be happier elsewhere. He is a handsome guy, and in excellent health so maybe he can find a place with another friend to snuggle with. Still sad to do such a thing, he was my first dog.

Bye bye dognose.

On a sidenote though, I went through and scooped all his doodoo in the backyard and that made me feel better about the choice. Bleah!

4 comments:

PhotoErin said...

xdxzI got a beautiful brindle greyhound from GPA-NW last summer. His name was Benny when I got him, but he became Beckett. He had been a fairly successful racer, but he got a cyst on his face and when they removed it, they neutered him and this ruined him for racing.
We already had a dog, but he needed companionship. Beckett settled into our home just fine, but would mark his territory and managed to kill every single squirrel that made it into our large yard. This worried me a bit. It also worried me that every single chance he had to get out, he would and he would just take off. We had a couple of close calls because of that. Then, the night before our wedding, we returned from our rehearsal dinner to find that the party tent people that had set up earlier that evening had left our gate to the backyard open and Beckett had escaped. All my friends searched for him for 2 hours while I went out of my mind. A neighbor a few blocks away found him on their front porch. He came home and went straight to bed. My bachelorette party had been ruined. The next morning I realized that he was limping and upon closer inspection, I discovered that he was terribly scraped and cut on his chest and left hindquarters. My husband's best man was kind enough to take him to the vet and wait for him to get fixed up. Beckett was on his best behavior for a little over a week.
My husband and I took both our dogs with us on our honeymoon. We stayed in a little cabin in Lincoln City for a few days, enjoying every minute of it. When we were packing up to leave, we put the dogs in the bathroom and loaded their crates and our luggage into the car. My husband went back down to get the dogs while I took the keys back to the office. He accidentally left the front door of the cabin open when he went in to retrieve the pooches. When he opened the bathroom door about 3 inches, skinny Beckett shimmied out and streaked out the front door and headed for the beach. We spent hours looking for him. We went to the police station, called all the radio stations, and called all the oceanfront resorts. We were running out of options when someone called my cell and said that our dog was tied up at the south promenade, a good 6 miles from where he got out 3 hours before. We rushed down there to find him tied to a parking meter. People standing nearby informed me that he'd attacked a small dog and the owner took it to the emergency veterinary hospital nearby. We called the hospital and learned that Beckett had just about torn the yorkshire terrier to shreds and that the animal was near death and being operated on. We left our phone number and our credit card number. We heard the next day that the animal had died, but not before racking up a $1000 surgery bill. The owners were horrifically saddened and shocked. We offered to buy them a new dog as soon as they could locate a suitable replacement. They found one a month later, to the tune of $1350. They also insisted upon Beckett's euthanasia.
I planned on taking him to have him put down about two weeks later. On the morning, I awoke after a night of terrible dreams. I realized that I couldn't go through with it and wrote my GPA-NW placement rep an email saying that I just couldn't do it and that they needed to come and get him. Two days later he was gone. I was terribly distraught. So was my other dog. I considered getting another greyhound with a lower prey drive, but I knew that my greyhound days were over. Beckett had broken my heart.
The funny thing about it all is that my other dog is a pitbull. A dog that most people vilify. He was the good dog, the obedient and fun-loving one. The thing is that when I would take them both out, people would be terrified of my pitbull and would walk right up to the greyhound.
I suggest getting a pitbull when you are ready for another dog. We got a pitbull/boxer mix puppy last March and he is the most fabulous companion to our big guy. They are fierce when it comes to playtime, but the rest of the time they are big 'ol softies. They have both been socialized around small children and have earned the trust of all our friends with small kids. Our dogs do tend to lick little kids' faces quite a bit and their tails are quite meaty and are especially good at whacking little ones in the face. We have a baby on the way and we trust our dogs with our baby's life any day. They do make alot of poop, but they are very easy to train and are totally loyal. If you feed them really high quality food and brush them often, their coats are very shiny and they don't shed much more than a greyhound. It is better to get them when they are younger. You have more of an influence over their developing behavior patterns and can socialize them around your small child from day one.
I hope that this helps you know that you are not alone in your greyhound troubles and that there is a perfect dog out there for you somewhere.
If you have any questions, you can email me at eml@kaleidoscope.net

aadil said...

Photoerin, I think you should get a blog. No wait! Too late. ;D

Megan said...

It's sad to let a dog go, but sometimes it is for the best. A new home is waiting...

Adeline said...

Well photoerin, sounds like you had quite the miserable experience. I think the greyhound people will not allow people to put the dogs down...not that they could do anything.

Dognose was actually pretty good offleash...he dashed once and I think that might have taught him, but it was a major pain trying to find him.

Yeah i have to believe that he is better off. And so I am I, the dogstench has finally cleared up around here.