FROM A GREYHOUND
POINT OF VIEW ...
CLYDE MOVED TO HIS
NEW HOME ON
SEPTEMBER 14TH, 2019
Follow HIS real-life, real-time story as he adapts from working life to retirement as a pet
CLYDE'S NEW FAMILY ARE EXPERIENCED GREYHOUND PEOPLE
- EVEN NEW DEERHOUND SISTER BONNIE HAS ALREADY SHARED HER HOME WITH SEVERAL GREYHOUND COMPANIONS!
EPISODE 1 - BEGINNINGS
You may have seen me before - on the page of Greyhounds Needing Homes.
My name was Declan then, but I didn't really know it. I had retired from my job as an athlete and moved to the new kennels, where I was really well looked after and wanted to make friends with everyone. I didn't know what was waiting for me .....
12TH SEPTEMBER - A BIG DAY!
Something happened today, I think I have a home!
A lady came to see me with her big dog, Bonnie, a deerhound. We had the usual sniffs, a lIttle walk & then we were let off our leads in the run to see how we got on - it was great; me & Bonnie were chasing each other & playing, Bonnie was following me & we had fun. I heard her mum say 'I think Bonnie has chosen'. I've had to go back to my kennel but mum has given me a collar & a thing called an ID tag, she says she will be back for me on Saturday afternoon. I think this could be really good. I'm going to have my own family.
I'M IN MY HOME NOW!
I was really anxious & didn't want to get in the car but I'm in my home now. I have a mum and dad.
All my senses have been working really hard with everything so new & different to the kennels. Me & Bonnie are slowly getting used to each other & she has been introducing me to some of her doggy friends.
And I soon had my first, gentle, official outing with my mum doing a bit of GTWY stuff, collecting a donation to help others like me. Mum was proud of me as I met 2 big horses, some young children & a cat!
Mum said I was so good - but I DID have her to help me!
EPISODE 2 -
MY FIRST WEEK
INTERESTING SO FAR!
NEW EXPERIENCES: I have experienced the vacuum cleaner and the washing machine for the first time - mum said I didn’t need to worry about the noise & Bonnie wasn’t worried so I ignored it.
Me & mum or dad have been sitting on / by a bench by the main road so that I could just listen & see things. So much that's new!
NEW FRIENDS: I’ve met new people & made friends. I've also met some of Bonnie's doggy friends - they were calm, mum was calm, Bonnie was calm - so I stayed calm and we all got on fine.
NEW TOYS: I may be 5, but I am finding toys to play with and loving it! A new aunty brought me my very own squeaky toy- a monkey - broke it in 5 mins but it’s fun.
A MUZZLE TO KEEP ME SAFE WHILE I'M LEARNING
NEW PLACES: Mum took me to a place called a pet shop to meet people & look around- the staff were really impressed with me!
NEW CHALLENGES: We went to visit a friend who has a thing called stairs to get to her flat - that was a big problem, I don’t know how to do stairs so mum had to help me - I got down them much easier. I don't know how to get into the car either ... so have to be lifted in. Such a lot to learn!
I have wondered - why is there a baby gate stopping me getting into the kitchen? There are lots of lovely smells coming from there & I can see lots of food, I‘m just the right height to reach the worktops so I could get all sorts of stuff! Apparently that’s exactly why I can’t get into the kitchen - so I can’t pinch things, I will stay safe & I don’t get in the way when there’s cooking.
Rice! She put rice on my breakfast, what do I do with that? Yuck, don’t like that!
REST: My brain has had a lot to cope with so I have needed lots of sleep! But I wasn't sure about the dog bed things, so mum and dad gave me some lovely vetbed and that helped me to settle.
LEARNING TO RELAX WITH BONNIE
THE END OF THE WEEK .... Mum's left me for a few hours at the end of the week. She’s been building up the time so that I get used to it. It’s worth being on my own sometimes cos she makes my den nice & comfortable with a cover over the top so I feel safe. And she leaves me treats! Some of them I have to work out how to get the treats out so when I’ve finished I’m tired. I’m getting used to mum going out as I know she’s going to come back.
A DELICATE SUBJECT ... but its been part of me settling in this week - house training, wees & poos. Us ex-racing greyhounds are used to a routine with this when we are in the kennels so most of us get used to things quickly. Mum got me home & straight away took me for a walk with Bonnie, then she took me into the garden on a regular basis & especially after my meals. I soon learnt where the door was because mum watched me for my signals. I learnt quickly that I was going out regularly & I haven't had one accident! I've also started weeing & pooing on our walks, I hope mum realises that I'm trying to show her that I feel happy enough to do that now.
We have been watching the world again, this time from outside the pub, so I could see people coming and going, lots of traffic and noise.
And I am so enjoying lying in the garden in the sun!
I have been here for a week now - I wish my friends still at the kennels had their own homes because I can highly recommend it!
EPISODE 3 - 2 WEEKS IN ...
WHAT A WEEK! I HAVE LEARNT SO MUCH.
I have tried different foods but not too many new things as mum doesn't want me having an upset tummy with too much change from when I was at the kennels. I did have my first taste of fish from the fish & chip shop though - that was lovely. I've also tried mackerel in sunflower oil - mum says that will be good for my coat.
I have made new doggy and human friends
Although I am sharing my home with another dog, mum & dad still make sure that we both get some 1-1 time.
I did overstep the mark though & got too confident - I took a toy that Bonnie wanted & she told me off. I will learn
I am also learning that it’s ok to spend time by myself; mum is getting me used to it & building up the time.
I've even started to get my own toys from the toy box.
PET SHOP, VETS AND SCARY THINGS
Mum took me to a large pet shop - people, children, smells, noises, other dogs. I was a little unsure but mum reassured me so I did ok.
Out on a walk & I did get spooked by some large plastic storage containers. When mum saw what had frightened me we just stood looking at them for a minute & I realised that I didn't need to be scared & could continue my walk.
I've also been to the vet - I'm not ill but mum thought it would be a good experience for me to go - she got me registered & we just sat in the waiting room for a bit so that I could take it all in & meet some of the people that work there.
The dark is scary - I'm not sure about walking in the dark as everything looks different & I was never used to doing that when I was in the kennels. I do get a little bit spooked on my night-time walk.
Reflections in windows were a shock! Very confusing.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE WALKING...
Rain - all week! - I've decided I don't like rain but apparently I still need to go out for a walk to have a bit of exercise. We do different routes each time so that I am getting used to everything locally. I'd prefer to stay inside but I've got my coat, so no excuses.
And now I've been to a place called a 'park' for a walk - I was a little apprehensive at first - lots of new sights, sounds, smells, people, dogs, a lake & lots of wildfowl. But people & dogs were very friendly with me & by the end I was happily sniffing around. I think I would like to go there again.
I’ve had a lot of help with getting me used to all kinds of sights & sounds.
I've learned about the firm voice ... a certain voice that mum uses that means that I have to be good!
And now my name - I didn't know it when I came to live here but mum & dad have kept repeating it a lot when they are talking to me & I am beginning to respond to it!
EPISODE 4 - BECOMING SETTLED - AND CHEEKY!
3rd week - & I'm doing really well, I think ... Apparently some greyhounds don't settle quite so quickly.
I’m starting to enjoy the attention I’m getting when we are out and about.
I went to help with some GTWY stuff at a local large pet shop and settled into ‘the job’ quite quickly. A couple of other GTWY greyhounds were there too and they gave me confidence. I had a lovely nap in the car; but best of all - I got a new bed for my efforts, I love it!
I'm learning that getting love & cuddles is really nice.
And I'm beginning to show my cheeky side now that I'm getting more settled - I've discovered the hens in the garden … I have to learn not to upset them!
I've also realised that sometimes my bed isn't quite in the right place so I will pick it up & take it to where I want it, even if its in another room.
More places to walk, with different sounds & smells - I wasn't sure about all the noise that school children were making! Nor a fire engine & breakdown truck, which were really noisy - but mum let me just stand & look at them. And a decorator at home … such chaos to cope with! And I DO need my rest!
Now that I have discovered ‘other foods’ with my biscuits I get very bouncy & excited when mum and dad are eating.
I do like scrambled egg, hard boiled egg, cheese, mince, chicken & anything that is on mum or dads plate - apparently that is not good and I have to learn to be calm and wait!
Should I not be doing this .....?
MY FIRST MONTH ...
My one month anniversary - I have learnt so much in that time:
I know my name - nearly
I know I am safe & loved & I am building a trusting relationship with my mum & dad
I know that dog beds are good to sleep on & I don’t need to settle in the corner of the room like I did the first few days - Vetbed was good when I first arrived but I like the comfy stuff now!
I don’t need my den now - I was using it on a night but haven't really needed it for ages & don't need a small area to feel safe any more
I don’t need to worry at night-time, I soon learnt that I would see mum & dad in the morning
I know its ok to be left at home if mum & dad go out - they will be back
I love to greet my dad when he gets home from work
I feel safe going for a walk in the dark
I did have an accident after my tea one evening this week - I peed on the dining room floor. Mum said it wasn't my fault - she wasn't watching me to let me into the garden as she usually does as soon as I've eaten. She wasn't mad because she realised she should have been watching me instead of getting sidetracked with something else!
I am a good friend with Bonnie, we play lots & go for walks together
Food is good - I wasn’t sure about food other than my biscuits when I arrived but now I will try anything,
I don’t wear my muzzle so much now as I trust mum and dad, they know me & how I will respond to situations - so keep me safe
I have experienced so much & been to lots of different places to get me used to normal everyday things and I’ve made lots of new friends- with 2 legs & 4
Mum says that I am showing my personality now & have changed a lot -
I am relaxing & gaining confidence every day
My world has changed so much
Mum and Dad say that I have been really good since I arrived here, that Bonnie chose me well.
I know that some of my greyhound friends find it a little harder to settle & it takes longer but we are all individual & will settle in our own time
ANOTHER INTERESTING WEEK - WITH MORE 'FIRSTS' FOR MY EXPERIENCE LIST
GTWY SOCIAL ...
I went with mum & dad to Emley Community Centre for the GTWY social. I was a little unsure at first but got used to it & talked to so many greyhounds & people - some of the people have even been reading my diary!
I talked to some people that were thinking of getting a greyhound - hope I did a good job!
I fell asleep in the car on the way home & still had a good long sleep on my favourite bed when I got there. All these new experiences take a lot out of you
THE PUB ...
After a quiet couple of days there was more excitement. Two of my favourite people, Robert & Rachael, came to see us - Bonnie loves them so I make a big fuss of them as well. We all went out for a walk & ended up at a place called a ‘pub'. Its the first time I have been there and I was a bit uneasy at first - lots of different noises & smells … but a lady brought us some water & lots of people wanted to talk to us - and Bonnie knows the ropes so we settled down together.
TRICKY THINGS ...
But there are still things I find very perplexing …..
Take reversing - I was a racing greyhound, running fast and always going forward. I’m not used to being asked to go backwards and have trouble trying to co-ordinate my legs. Getting stuck in between furniture and having to be helped out is a little bit embarrassing!
And steps - I'm certainly getting better on steps - thats all about coordinating legs as well - but I haven’t tried the staircase yet! Maybe next week …..
EPISODE 7 - REALLY SETTLING IN!
If you are a dog it doesn't matter what the weather is like, you still have to go out ….. And I have needed a coat a lot just lately. I know it’s not my colour but I haven’t got my own fleece yet - this is one that Bonnie’s sister Lucy used to wear. Mum says she’s going to get me some new ones for winter. Once we get home after our wet & chilly walks, Bonnie and me now have a little competition for who gets the best bed!
Another first for me. Mum took me to a place called Hound Land which is a safe, enclosed area for dogs to have some freedom & a run. I didn't know what to do at first & spent ages with my nose to the ground sniffing everything, but I had fun when I had inspected everywhere & realised that I wasn't on my lead. Mum reckons it’s the safest way for us sighthounds to have some freedom & a run so we will be going back again soon. Of course, I did need a good rest afterwards .....
PERFECTING THE ART ...
Mum says that I still have some things to learn but look at me now, I think that I am perfecting the art of being a pet. I wish my kennel friends could see me - I hope your turn will come soon for a home - & I highly recommend it.
GETTING OUT AND ABOUT
I'M A VOLUNTEER NOW
Last weekend I helped out at a GTWY promotion event at Kirkstall Abbey with some of my GTWY friends. We had lots of people talking to us & making a fuss - lots of treats were involved as well! I really did well with the support of my people and the other greyhounds & took it all in my stride.
Hopefully people saw what great pets we make when we retire from racing.
IS THAT FOOD?
And what a day I had later in the week!
First, I met mums grand-daugther, who is 5yrs old. She was very good with me - knew that she needed to be gentle & quiet when we first met. She gave me treats & stroked me carefully & we even went for a walk. I liked being around her & watching what she was doing - though all the stuff that looked like food, but wasn’t, was very confusing …
A VERY STRANGE PLACE
Later, when it was dark, I had my first ride in the car at night-time - that was strange as everything looked different.
Then a new place. I unceremoniously got down about 8 steps & walked into a room of puppies & owners. My mum has a friend who is a dog trainer & she had said that I could go & sit in a corner to watch what was going on - more socialisation for me & to see how I reacted around the puppies in a controlled environment.
It wasn't my finest moment ….. I was really shaking when I went in & took a while to stop. A large room, lots of puppies & people - I wasn't right sure about it at all - I did relax a bit and everyone was really nice to me; & I got lots of treats - again! Back up the steps, not very elegantly, & back home.
I was shattered!
IT'S NOVEMBER - AND THERE ARE FIREWORKS!
Apparently this is a regular thing - And the noise has started …. mum says that it will be going on for several days.
The noises aren't bothering me too much yet, which mum is pleased about as she knows how frightened some dogs & other animals can get when they hear the noise of fireworks & see the flashes.
But she is still going to make sure that me & Bonnie are ok over the coming days - we won't be having late walks, the TV will be on loud, lights on over all the house, we will have a safe place to go if we do get frightened & we will be playing games to take our minds off any noise - she mentioned something about lots of treats as well, that sounds good!
Here goes …..
AND THAT'S IT FOR NOW .....
This is my last diary entry for now - I have been in my new home for nearly 2 months and I hope I have given you an idea of some of the things we greyhounds have to deal with when we move to being a pet.
I have apparently been a very good lad. I have had lots of help, support and understanding, which has made things easier for me. And I have done a lot of relaxing into my new role.
I have a way to go yet - and I will give an update around Christmas time to let my diary readers know how I am getting on.
But for now - thank you for reading.
And if you ARE thinking of homing a greyhound - from the greyhound point of view, it will be fantastic!