Tuesday, October 25, 2011

An Oldie But Goodie

This is Maxwell. Max to his friends. He's thirteen years old, potty trained and an all around good guy. He needs a home. Little dogs like Max have a long life expectancy, so if you take Max in, he could be your devoted pal for a number of years.

If you want to know more or are thinking about adopting Max, email me:


Monday, October 24, 2011


Bingley always hears it before I hear it.

He came to me crying.

I let him out.

He turned around and came back inside.

I offered food.

He ignored it.

I tried Pepto-Bismol.

He still whimpered.

I didn't figure it out this morning until I noticed that it was raining. About that time, I finally heard it: thunder.

Big, brave Bingley is terrified by thunder.

Timid, easily startled Magic is sleeping soundly.

Most of the thunder is too faint for me to hear, but Bingely's hearing is acute.

Happily, we live in Southern California where it "never" thunders.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Happy Fourth--Anniversary!

I've thought that Bingley's rescue date was October 13, because that is the date of his first inoculations. But it turns out that he probably was not inoculated until a few days after rescue. So that all important date is lost to memory.

But today is the Official Celebration of the Day That Bingley Was Rescued.

I've told the story before, but it bears repeating. A compulsive gambler thought he could make a bundle running his own string of dogs. You can buy a racing Greyhound for about $50.00 at any track. Gambling Man bought five. But dogs need food and water and dog haulers require a lot of gasoline to tow. Gambling Man didn't make a bundle. He ran out of money.

When authorities caught up with him, two of the five dogs in the hauler were dead. Bingley and two of his buddies survived.

The week after he was rescued by Greyhound Adoption Center, the rescue kennel had to be evacuated because of fires raging in San Diego County. The rescue happened in the nick of time.

Happy Rescue Day, Bingley!

And many, many thanks to the intrepid Rescuer who removed him from the death hauler.

Thank you, Zoe, for Bingley's new portrait.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What I Would Have Said

Given the fact that I have had FIVE leashed dogs attacked by unleashed dogs, it's not surprising that I am still mentally reviewing my Walk In The Park yesterday. I am more grateful than I can say that I am not spending today home-nursing two traumatized, stitched and drained dogs. Or worse, visiting a wounded, bewildered dog fighting for its life in intensive care.

Only someone who has done all that can possibly know how much I never want ever, ever to have to do any of that again.

But until the general level of knowledge about dog behavior and differences bred into various groups and breeds of dogs is raised, I must accept that every time I harness and leash my beloved Bingley and Magic and take them out for their favorite treat--a walk--one of them, both of them, or all three of us, might very well end up in an emergency medical facility because some other dog owner has failed to exercise common sense or has failed to follow the law.

As I was shouting to the Boxer's walker "Leash your dog!", "Keep your dog away from my dogs!", "Don't come any closer to me!", she was walking toward me, shouting "You need to train your dogs better!", "My dog is perfectly trained!"

Aside from the fact that I doubt her dog would have remained calm and obedient if it had been leashed and had an unleashed dog charging directly at it,there are other facts that cannot be "shared" when one is literally fighting for the life of one's beloved canine companions.

I would have explained that Bingley and Magic are Sighthounds, and, as such, were bred for a very different purpose than her dog, a Boxer.

Boxers belong to the Working Group, dogs who were developed to work alongside humans, looking to humans for guidance and direction. Their work required a tough, strong body and jaws that rival those of the large terrier breeds.

I am very glad that the Boxer in question has been to obedience classes. If Boxers are not trained and socialized early in life, they can be as serious a canine menace as can be imagined. Well socialized, they are wonderful companions and family pets.

Sighthounds are just about as different from Boxers as can be imagined and still belong to the same species. Sighthounds were bred to run. Fast. They were not bred to "take directions." They were bred to follow normal canine instincts as efficiently as possible.

Greyhounds are the crowning achievement of canine aerodynamics. Greyhounds have long, slender bones, long, fine muscles, that are covered in the thinnest layer of skin and hair. Their skin is so thin that in some places not only can it not be stitched, it cannot even be cauterized. Direct pressure is the only way to stop bleeding. A Greyhound that has been attacked by another dog requires immediate veterinary care to save its life. Even that was not enough to save my beautiful Portia.

Greyhounds--and other Sighthounds, Magic is a Greyhound/Scottish Deerhound--are bred to respond to movement. They will chase ANYTHING that moves. Furthermore, their long distance vision is superior to humans', so they will see something moving before the keenest-eyed human sees it. The running/chasing response to movement is instantaneous. It cannot be trained out of their behavioral repertoire. AND within two strides, the Sighthound is moving so fast and their heart is pumping so loudly, they cannot hear even the loudest shouted command. It is nature's ultimate over-ride of training. Not only does the Sighthound not hear commands, it does not see anything but the object of the chase. Not the tree it is about to hit, nor the car that is about to hit it. An unleashed, unconfined Sighthound is very likely to be a dead Sighthound.

Now. Imagine that you are the fastest breed of dog in the world. You love your walks, but your greatest joy in life is running unrestrained. However, you cannot run unrestrained very often because your human is concerned about your safety. So, you settle for walks. And every week you get to walk with some other dogs who look a lot like you and live in similar circumstances. It's the highlight of your week.

Then, one day, you see a dog across the park who gets to run free. But it cannot run half as fast as you can. You really want to show that silly dog how running should be done! But you've got on a collar, a harness and two leashes and your human isn't responding to your urgent request to run after that clumsy excuse for a running dog.

You get the picture.

But yesterday, it got worse. The loose dog's human let it run DIRECTLY at my two excited, aroused dogs.

I supposed it's unrealistic to ever expect other dog owners to understand the unique vulnerabilities of my sweet Magic, and especially of my sweet Bingley.

But leash laws are there to protect Magic and Bingley. And Franklin and Hattie and Odie.

I can expect people to obey leash laws. Even if they don't understand them

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Walk In The Park

Marilyn and I walk our hounds in a park close to my home just about every week. The City of San Marcos has strict but reasonable leash laws. It has also provided four off leash parks for people who prefer to run their dogs off leash. The park where Marilyn and I walk Franklin, Hattie, Odie, Bingley and Magic is NOT an off leash park and is posted as such.

This morning was cloudy and cool--ideal weather for dog walking. The dogs were frisky and happy to see each other.

As we were strolling, discussing recent placements of kennel dogs in "forever" homes and dogs who need "forever" homes, Bingley let out a distinctive whine. It means: I see something I really want to chase, or, I see another dog. Sometimes it means both.

Across the width of the park, a woman was walking a large Boxer. All five of our dogs went on alert, and we did what we always do, changing the direction we were walking to maximize distance between our two packs and the new dog.

But just at the moment we thought sufficient distance had been achieved between our dogs and the Boxer, the Boxer's walker removed its leash and let it run.

Leashed dogs--especially leashed dogs whose main joy in life is running and who can out-run any other breed--become quite agitated when they see another dog running free when they are restrained.

We prepared to leave that section of the park.

But the Boxer's owner had a further "surprise" for us. She turned her dog, who began to run directly at Bingley and Magic.

I called for her to leash her dog. She was very angry with me for such presumption.

I called for her to keep her dog at a distance from my dogs. She told me to send my dogs to training school. Her dog, she said, was "perfectly trained."

Her dog was charging my dogs.

Marilyn, ever quick witted, performed an evasive action with her pack which distracted the Boxer while she engaged the Boxer's owner in further "conversation".

Eventually the Boxer and its owner left the park so that the owner could "research" San Marcos leash laws. She refused to believe that it wasn't permissible for her to run her "perfectly trained" dog off leash since there was an "open field."

I trust the Boxer's owner discovered that the park in question is,indeed, only for leashed dogs. I trust that next week we will not encounter her or her Boxer.

Only Marilyn's quick thinking and intervention saved Bingley, Magic and me from something I can't bear to picture.

As Marilyn said after the incident, Some people shouldn't have dogs.