Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dog Blog

Over at the "In a goat's shoes" blog, Tayet has a theme of the week, which is dogs!  She featured her lab, and gave the option of naughty dogs as a theme, or just dogs.  My dog, Stickley, is very rarely naughty.
I don't often feature him on the blog.  He's sort of a background critter, because he never gets into trouble, really.  This is a picture of him on the day I took him home.  He was quite a beautiful hound!  Sorry about the glowing eyes....darned flash cameras!
Stickley is a retired racing greyhound.  I got him fresh off the track when he was just about 4 years old, as he was being retired.  He was a big winner in his day, and was a very fast dog.  His father was a very famous racing greyhound named Molotov, who is in the Greyhound Hall of Fame.  Stickley is a large male, even for a greyhound, at nearly 90 pounds.  He's a gorgeous red fawn colour, and has a super-mellow personality.  He will tolerate just about anything, such as bunny ears!
 Once in a while, he does something a bit rascally.  Long time readers might remember this post, about him stealing rotten eggs that I had put by the door for garbage.  Ewwww....silly dog.  He made the whole house stink for several days as a result.

Most of the time, he's pretty content to be in the background.  He doesn't even really like to have his picture taken.
He's a very gentle, loving hound.  He is also terribly afraid of unfamiliar things.  You need to think about the life of a racetrack dog.  They only know a few things - kennels, group feedings, routine....and racing.  They are raced every third day.  When they are retired, they have never seen a few things that most dogs deal with from day one.  They've never seen stairs before.  They have no idea what a window is, especially glass patio doors, for example.  They are generally terrified of stairs and at age 3-4, have no idea how to go up or down stairs of any sort.  They bump into windows and glass doors, not realizing that there is glass there.  Sometimes, they run full-speed into glass doors and have very bad accidents.  Stickley did that a few times with the screen door and completely took it out of its track and sent it flying into the yard.

Greyhounds are sight hounds - they don't think about it....they just chase things that move.  Could be a rabbit, a squirrel, a plastic bag blowing in the wind...  If you have a retired racer, you have to be very careful not to let them out of a fenced area, because anything that moves might send them running, and you'll never see them again.  They're not good at finding their way home.  They're not scent hounds....they're sight hounds!
Stickley was born on March 7, 2001, so he's now about 10 and a half years old.  He's acquired the classic whitening of the fur around his muzzle and he's a little slower than he used to be.  He also has an eye disease that is fairly common in dogs, called pannus.  It affects his vision to an extent, and sometimes it seems to mean that he is more timid of unusual things in his field of vision, like he's completely freaked out if the kettle is near his feeding station, up on the counter, because it's not usually there.
Hmmm.  Poor dog.

Stickley adores attention, especially from my parents.  He lived with them from December of 2010 until I moved to Nova Scotia in April of 2011.  Here he is getting some loving from my Dad.  He'll put his head on your lap if he thinks it will get him some attention!
I highly recommend the retired racing greyhound as a dog companion.  Contrary to common perceptions, they do not require a lot of exercise.  They are more of a couch potato dog.  They are raced every third day for 1/4 mile, and then they rest for 2 days.  They're not endurance dogs.  They do need a fenced yard, a soft bed, and a lot of love.  
The tragic statistic is how many of these gentle hounds are euthanized every year because they are no longer "valuable" to their owner (i.e. they're not winning races any more), and they're often euthanized at about age 4.  Pure-bred, gentle, sweet, mellow dogs, just eliminated because they're not money earners.  To the best of my knowledge, it used to be about 30,000+ dogs euthanized annually.  Because of greyhound adoption, it's now about 15,000 dogs being euthanized.  If you ask me, that's about 15,000 too many.  


Pricilla said...

The rabbit ears crack me up.

He does seem to be a sweetie. I have heard horrible things about racing greyhounds...poor doggies

Marigold said...

Love the picture of Stickley and your dad. They look like kindred spirits. Greyhounds don't chase Peanuts do they? That would be really tragic. :)

Michelle said...

I have wanted a retired greyhound for the last 27 years, and one day, I will have one!

IsobelleGoLightly said...

Hi Stickley! Isn't he lovely! I like the photo of him "racing fit". What a lucky dog to have found you. That's a nice photo of your Dad. He looks like he'd like goats too - as long as they don't climb on his furniture and chew it...heh heh.

Flartus said...

Stickley's a lucky pup to have spent most of his life with you. Looks like a good one. Rosie and I volunteered with a greyhound therapy group, and I was amazed at how calm and steady they were.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Nice. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful dog. You are a saint to help out a retired dog.


Louise said...

That's a beautiful dog. I'm glad you have a retired racer. They are very special animals.

Mimi Foxmorton said...

What fun! I posted a story about Yellow Dog at Thanksgiving!

There is really nothing so perfectly made as a big dog........