Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Wet, wet, wet

And now the hot weather is followed by torrential rainstorms and flood alerts. A typical British summer then.

The wet conditions cut short my walking duties yesterday, and I only managed to do three circuits with various dogs - so not much progress made on favourites again. A sweet black boy called Kevin is a strong contender, however he is already on the reserved list, so I suspect he won't be about next time I visit.

One dog that will probably not make it onto my favourites list is a tan bitch called Rosie. A better name for her would be Butch - she's big and strong and more tank than hound - and if she was human she'd either be a bouncer or a weight-lifter.

Rosie doesn't behave very well with other dogs, so she needs to be kept on a very tight lead whenever another greyhound comes into sight. (It's preferable if she doesn't see them at all).

She also has a pesky habit of jumping at least five foot into the air to try and shake the lead out of your hand - you really have to be on your guard around her.

Anyhow Rosie was my last walk of the day. I didn't expect her to be the last walk but the heavens opened about 2 minutes away from the kennels.

Now, we don't run with the greyhounds (can you accelerate from 0-40 mph in just a few steps?) but the rain was really torrential.

Should I run back? At this point dog-mountain Rosie was giving me disgusted looks and saying: "Can't you switch this weather off?"

"Run, I dare you," said Rosie. No way, thought I. Not sure it would be particularly cool to be dragged into the kennels by a charging Rosie, besides the scrages from the gravel would hurt.

I gave Rosie a hard stare and stepped up my pace - my trousers were soaked through at this point - and we got back to the kennels just before the thunder and lightning struck.

As there were other dogs in the yard Rosie had to be returned to her kennels immediately, but not before casting me a look which said: "Can't believe you didn't run, you are just such a chicken."

Friday, 3 July 2009

Re-homing update

A quick rehoming update.... while I was away from the kennels doing my exams my lovely Nicky was rehomed with another greyhound. Apparently he has settled in well.

It's great that he has another canine companion - he always seemed much happier when he was kennelled with another dog.

And news of my lovely pal Shawn. He's found a home too! This is really brilliant news, as he's been in kennels for far too long. I really hope he does well.

So, my search for favourites has started again. I didn't get very far this week - the heat sapped us all, and it was more than enough to think about getting the dogs out for a walk without overheating... no chance for having a think on who would become my next faves.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Hot weather tips for dogs

After the freezing conditions in February, we now have a heatwave, and already there are many terrible stories of dogs dying because they have been left in cars - just terrible.

The Dogs Trust has published some advice on keeping dogs healthy during the heat. Here's the top tips.
  • NEVER leave your dog in the car in warm weather. Just twenty minutes waiting in a hot car can prove fatal.
  • Walk your dog in the morning and evening when the weather is cooler and make sure shady spots and drinking water are available.
  • Clip the fur of particularly hairy hounds and apply canine sun cream to areas most likely to burn: ears, nose, and belly. Human suncream can be toxic so buy a special pet version from your local pet shop.
  • Be extra vigilant with older and overweight dogs as they are more prone to overheat. In a real emergency wet your dog thoroughly and use a household fan to blow cool air over their head and body. Seek urgent veterinary attention.
  • If your dog takes a dip in a lake or pool make sure you rinse him immediately as soon afterwards as possible. Never allow your dog to drink from ponds unless the water is clear as algae in the water can produce toxins that are rapidly fatal.

If your dog shows signs of distress – such as excessive panting, blueness of the tongue or collapse contact your local vet immediately.

Stay safe!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Another shout for black hounds

Apologies again for the downtime during May and the start of June due to exams (don't try to learn anatomy in your mid-30s is my only advice).

And apologies especially to Lesley who commented back in April on how brilliant black greyhounds are.

I've commented many times that the black dogs (and girls) seem to get overlooked in the kennels - just because at first look they are not as striking as some of the other animals.

Anyhow, here's Lesley's post.

"I have a retired greyhound called Annie (racing name Annalee Girl). She is jet black apart from a white chest and 4 small bits of white on each foot. When I first got her she was also a bit tatty, but now 2 years on she is absolutely gorgeous. Her coat shines and she is just so pretty. Everyone comments on her."

I would always go for a black one they are wonderful. There is no other breed on earth that I would choose now."

Thanks so much Lesley for that ringing endorsement, and - all - keep on posting comments and sending emails. I'll try to include them wherever possible.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Wimnledon tennis hounds

Enjoying the tennis at Wimbledon? I am.

If you haven't got a ticket, but are still hoping to see some action you can always queue. It may take a few hours to get in, but it's a great atmosphere and every seems to have fun.

Even better you may get to meet some greyhounds up close and personal. Volunteers from Wimbledon Greyhound Rescue are patrolling the crowds with their greyhounds - and you will get to see how brilliant hounds are as pets, and ask all those questions you never dared about how they integrate as family dogs. (Pretty well by most accounts).

PS C'mon Murray!

Friday, 19 June 2009

Tweet tweet

Well, I'm now on twitter. Not sure what it's going to mean for the hounds, but watch this space.

In the meantime you can read my twitter updates in the bottom right hand corner of this page, or you can follow me by clicking on this link.

While I'm talking about the virtual world Melanie Winstone from Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare has asked me to mention her sponsored slim for the kennels.

She is collecting money through the kennels through Just Giving and seems to be doing really well so far - 8lbs lost since she started in May. Good on you Melanie.

I'm hoping she'll give us updates as she progresses.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Hello! It's me again!

Well, after what seems like an age, I'm back!

The exams finished last week, and so yesterday, at the first possible opportunity, I visited my darling hounds.

During the weeks I'd been away many of my favourites have been rehomed, but Shawn is still waiting to be rehomed. The fabulous news is that he has been reserved (not before time).

When I arrived at the kennels he was in the yard with another of the volunteer walkers, and as I walked across to them I wondered whether he'd remember me.

He's not the most demonstrative of dogs so I was delighted that as I sat down, he walked across and buried his head in my lap.

"Oh, he likes you!" the walker said.

"Where have you been? I've missed you," said Shawn. I was thrilled, and sat there cuddling him until it was time for him to go back to his kennel.