Saturday, June 25, 2011

Our New Baby

Our first baby turns 18 today, no longer a child. (Legally, anyway.) On her heels we'll be adopting a new "child", the retired racing greyhound I wrote about earlier. When we went to the adoption center last week we found the perfect girl, only we haven't gotten her yet. She was peeing all over the office when we took her in to visit with her; it turns out she has a urinary tract infection. The head of the adoption group didn't want to release her to us in that shape so she's got her on antibiotics to try to clear up the problem. The girls and I went to visit with her again today to check on her and see how things are going. We also spent a couple of hours down there just hanging out with her so she can start getting to know us before she comes home. Greyhounds are raised in such an unusual way that it is quite a traumatic event to leave their kennels and move to a regular home. They don't understand at first that the move is a good thing, all they know is everything is different. It kind of freaks them out, but they get over it and become the best pets ever.

There are some unique quirks to greyhounds. They live their early lives in kennels with a ton of other dogs, being handled by trainers, so they are somewhat socialized. They don't necessarily understand about kids, but they are easy going enough that they adjust quickly. (They aren't great with little kids, though; the adoption people recommend the youngest age as at least 5 or 6.) They have to learn a lot of things that other dogs learn as puppies, like how to walk on a leash and how to play with toys. They are never able to go off leash like a golden retriever or other types of dog that will hang out with you. If they spook or decide to chase a squirrel they run so fast that they get lost! They are sight hounds, which means their sense of smell is weaker than a lot of other dogs, so they can't easily track back to home.

As to our girl, we chose a sweetheart of a dog. She's friendly and smiles. She walks nicely on a leash which is one of the main characteristics I was looking for. She figured out the toy thing quickly (some greyhounds never play with toys) and spent a lot of time squeaking a toy today! She seems to be very playful compared to the other dogs that were hanging out in the office with us. (And no peeing inside today, a very good sign for future house breaking efforts.) (They are all crate trained, but since they've never been in a house they have to be taught that the house is their "crate" when you get them home.) She stood with us for pets and "lovies" and Martha Jr. gave her lots of treats. I think it was a wonderful visit and will help her when she transitions to our house. Hopefully she'll be well enough that we can get her in a few more days!

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