Tag Archives: Greyhound

Second hand treasures

Dogs of many breeds have been depicted in collectibles and decorative arts over the ages. Earlier this week, I was given this bronze of a greyhound…it was found in a load of scrap metal.

After a little elbow grease (polished first with toothpaste and a brush and then soaked overnight in Coca Cola), I have a second hand treasure.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Workplace fostering

Most rescue and adoption groups are familiar with fostering programs – these are programs when a dog is taken to a home on a temporary basis so it can learn to adapt to a domestic living situation.

Foster carers are very special people who bring animals into their homes knowing that they may have had a rough start in life; they expect some teething problems.  Adopters will often ask to look at dogs who have been fostered because these dogs have a ‘head start’ in terms of settling in and can be less challenging for the adoptive family.

The folks at PetRescue, which supports 800 independent rescue groups in Australia, have taken fostering to a whole new level by developing a Workplace Foster Care Programme.  The rationale for the programme relies on research evidence into the human-animal bond and the positive impacts that pets in the workplace can have on productivity.

Things like encouraging staff to interact with one another, stress relief with a dog who wants pats or walkkies, and breaking the ice when new staff are introduced, are all aspects of workplace life that benefit when there’s a dog around.

Workplace Foster Care Programmes also raise awareness, so staff, clients and the general public learn about the benefits of adoption.

workplace foster dog

Vinomofo, a wine retailer based in Melbourne, was an early addition to the Workplace Foster Care Programme (photo by StartUp Daily)

The Sydney Morning Herald has recently covered the story of one company with a greyhound as its workplace foster dog.  Click here to view.

If I was looking for employment, I’d definitely be attracted by companies with a foster dog included in the benefit package.  (Sign me up!)

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Izzy’s letter to Santa

Dear Santa

This is my first-ever letter to you, although I will soon be 8.

I was a racing dog until the age of 5 ½ when I came to live with mummy.  I was still settling in during our first Christmas together and, last year, you might remember that we had our photo taken together. 

Back then, I just thought you were a guy that was over-dressed for a warm summer day.  I wasn’t sure about sitting next to you but that’s what mummy wanted and so I did it to make her happy. 

Then someone told me that you are the one who brings presents at Christmas.

So I’m writing because for Christmas I’d like a bed; I already have a bed – this one is for mummy.

You see, I don’t think there’s enough room for both of us in my bed.  When mummy is in bed with me in the hot weather,  I get too hot.  So I’d like another bed for mummy.

But there isn’t enough room in our bedroom for another bed and I do like sleeping close to mummy so I was hoping you could arrange to make the bedroom bigger, too.

Now I know I’m asking for a lot, but everyone says that you are really good at what you do – getting around the world in one night and leaving everyone presents.  And it isn’t like you’ve heard from me for the last 7 years.  That should count for something.

I have faith in you, Santa. 

You got this.

Love,

Izzy

The art of Lucy Dawson

Lucy Dawson (1870-1854) was a British illustrator who was best known for her pen, ink and pastel drawings of dogs.  Sporting breeds were a favorite subject, but she also painted other breeds and her work can be found on collectible items such as postcards and cake tins.

Through used booksellers, you can still pick up copies of her illustrated books including Dogs As I See Them, Dogs Rough and Smooth and Lucy Dawson’s Dog Book.

Dogs Rough and Smooth

Dogs Rough and Smooth published in 1944

You can also purchase reproduction prints such as these:

Sleepy cocker spaniel

Sleepy Cocker Spaniel, 1937

Scottish Terrier

Scottish Terrier, 1946

Flaxman the Greyhound

Flaxman the Greyhound, 1946

Original works periodically turn up at auctions, for those who are die-hard collectors.

I particularly like how Ms Dawson was able to render the beautiful fur coats on the dogs she drew, a rare talent.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

Will’s raffle

Will

I follow a number of greyhound sites on Facebook because Izzy is a greyhound and greyhound owners are well known for wanting to share photos of their hounds.

This year has been particularly hard on Will’s family.  Will was very ill and required surgery.  The vets couldn’t find anything that was causing the massive inflammation in Will’s chest and abdomen.  Lots of drugs and he still wasn’t getting better.  So more surgery and finally, they think they got the problem under control.

Will’s family stuck by him, but as you can imagine the vet bills were massive.  A call went out for raffle prizes to help them pay the bills (something they reluctantly agreed to) and I had to contribute.

Today I am sending this prize to the winner of the raffle.  It contains three bags of my preservative-free dog treats  – Cranberry & Coconut Biscotti, Apple, Cranberry & Ginger Biscotti and Salmon Squares – and a triple-headed toothbrush which is ideal for greyhounds (who are known to have lots of dental problems).

Will's raffle prize

As an independent business, I get lots of requests for support.  Some resonate more than others.  Will’s family weren’t going to give up on him without a fight and in this case, I think they made the right decision.  We are all hopeful that his inflammatory condition doesn’t return (it was thought to be a foreign body of some type, that has never revealed itself on scans, etc).

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

 

 

The Greyt New Zealand Caterpillar Craze

As you know, Izzy is a greyhound.  And as a devoted greyhound owner, I belong to several Facebook groups dedicated to greyhounds.  One is the Greyhound Collective, based here in New Zealand.

Early last week, a fellow owner posted that their hound loved their large stuffed caterpillar from The Warehouse (the New Zealand equivalent of Walmart) and – coincidentally – they were available at the annual toy sale for 50% off (so $40 compared to $80)…Caterpillar

The caterpillars being sold by The Warehouse are 250 cm long

…and so started the Greyt New Zealand Caterpillar Craze!

I slept on it overnight and then decided Izzy should have one.  I ordered it online and then emailed my friend Marie “I’ve just bought Izzy one of those caterpillars.”  Marie wrote back “So did I, for Ben”   Gosh, I thought – we are good dog mothers…

And then another one and another one posted on The Greyhound Collective.  Their hounds were also reveling in their new colourful friends.  It’s been like that all week (and the sale is still going).  More and more New Zealand greyhounds are loving their warm and cuddly friends.  It’s winter here and greyhounds feel the cold.  A caterpillar makes a greyt friend on a cold winter’s day…

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So enjoy these snaps of our Caterpillar Craze…can you spot Izzy?

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

Happy Mother’s Day, Izzy

Izzy didn’t choose to be a mother.  It was her final job as a racing greyhound to pass on her genes to another generation of racers.  One of those puppies, Bella, has been re-homed and I can see from the racing register that four other puppies are now racers…I so hope they are safe and healthy.

Izzy deserved to have a Mother’s Day.  She had breakfast in bed with buttermilk pancakes and liver/pumpkin gravy.

Tonight she is playing with her newest toy – a rubber chicken.

Happy Mother’s Day, Izzy!

 

Breakfast in Bed for Mother's DayIzzys Mothers Day Pancakes

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Priceless

Just a brief post and thought of the day.

Getting your dog food delivered….convenient

Having fun with the box afterwards….PRICELESS

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Patience

Patience

Some people find it hard to believe that a dog professional like myself has never raised a dog from a puppy.  That’s because my family raised me with the idea that you adopt, rather than buy, a dog.  And by default that has steered me into a life with re-homed dogs – both mixed breeds and purebreds – who have entered my life at different ages.

My first dog came from a shelter; my second came from a supermarket ‘free to a good home’ ad; my third was a private adoption facilitated by a local rescue group (but she had never lived in their shelter); my fourth was a word-of-mouth adoption of Daisy, a purebred Pointer, who had bounced back to her breeder through no fault of her own.  And now, I have Izzy who is a retired racing greyhound.

It’s a myth that ‘rescue’ dogs are all mixed breeds; many pure bred dogs also find themselves in need of re-homing.  Responsible breeders will take back a dog for any reason during the lifetime of the dog.  So, for example, in cases of divorce or an owner’s death, these dogs come up for adoption – and that’s only a couple of examples.  There are also breed specific rescue groups who are passionate supporters of a breed and work to re-home dogs who have fallen on bad times.

What my life of adopting dogs has taught me is patience.  It’s great to go out and buy the dog a bed, food and toys and envisage a perfect life together.  And it will be good- but there are usually teething problems.

For example, when I adopted Izzy , she was suffering from re-homing stress.  She was overwhelmed by her surroundings in my home – it was totally foreign territory.  She was off her food and made herself a bed on a blanket by the front door.  She remained there for almost 2 weeks (only moving to eat or drink or go out for walks) until she got her confidence to explore more of the house.

It took her 2 months to venture confidently into my bedroom (where large windows looking out onto the garden seemed to overwhelm her).  She did not get on my bed for almost 4 months.

We had a few toileting incidents but that was also because she was getting used to new food and was already stressed from her change of circumstances.  Whose tummy wouldn’t cause them problems?

But we got there and that takes patience.  When I do home-checking for Greyhounds as Pets, I get an idea about how well the family is prepared to be patient with their new dog.

A prospective owner with a very strict timeline for getting their dog settled is unlikely to be successful – the dog doesn’t know about the timeline.

The best advice I can give is – be patient.  If anything, give your new dog some space.  Let them decide when they are comfortable in trying new things and don’t overwhelm them with affection too soon.

It’s worth the wait.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brushing your dog’s teeth

I see a lot of dogs in my massage practice who have bad breath and/or other noticeable signs of dental disease.  Ask most veterinarians and they’ll tell you that they do a lot of ‘dentals’ during the course of any given week.  If your dog requires teeth to be extracted because of infection, cracking, or gum disease, your healthcare bill will quickly increase.

The first line of defense in keeping your dog’s teeth healthy is a good diet of wholesome ingredients.  That includes chews and bones.  Raw diets excel in this because they use bones as a staple part of the diet but I have also seen dogs with excellent teeth who are fed commercial dog foods – typically supplemented with fresh ingredients – and with bones and chews a regular part of the regime.

Some owners feed a combination of raw and commercial diets; I personally like this balanced approach and it is what I feed my own dog.

But, and here’s the but…bones and chews don’t solve the dental disease problem for a good number of dogs.   Why?

  • Some dogs just aren’t naturally strong chewers; they aren’t motivated by chewing for very long – even on a fresh and meaty bone
  • Dogs who have been rescued or adopted may already have already experienced damage to their teeth or suffered early in life because of a poor diet or starvation
  • I believe that some dogs, like people, have a mouth chemistry that pre-disposes them to tartar build-up.  Dogs are individuals and we simply can’t rule out that nature deals the bad-teeth card to some dogs
  • Dogs who have been born with defects such as cleft palates usually have something wrong with their teeth from the outset; bones and chews may be difficult for these dogs

So what’s the next step?

My view is definitely teeth-brushing.  We train our children to do this daily.  Why would it be any different for a domesticated dog?

[And, with hand on heart, most vets will choose teeth brushing over a special ‘dental diet’ any day.]  The issue here is having the patience and persistence to brush teeth effectively.  Unfortunately, a lot of owners simply give up because of their dog’s protests and vets then become conditioned to ‘water down’ the advice by saying ‘try it a couple of days per week..’ and ‘feed a dental diet.’

I brush my dog’s teeth daily.  Izzy is a retired racing greyhound, a breed known for their bad teeth.  By the time Izzy was adopted at age 5 1/2, her teeth were noticeably unstable and worn down from what must have been chewing on the bars of a kennel or some other surface equally as unforgiving.  She had teeth extracted as part of her adoption medical visit.

I like this very straightforward video from The Whole Dog Journal on the subject of teeth brushing.  The only oversight is that the video doesn’t cover the triple-headed toothbrush design which I prefer.  My concern with the long-handled toothbrushes is that it is easy to poke a dog in the mouth with them, particularly if they are fussing with you over getting their teeth brushed in the first place…

Triple headed dog toothbrush

A triple-headed dog toothbrush – my choice!

There are other natural solutions to dental care which include the use of homeopathics and herbs.  All of these are my choice before a dental diet.  Why?

Well here’s the ingredient list off the label of a well-known prescription diet product.  Does it sound healthy/wholesome to you?

Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Pork Fat, Soybean Mill Run, Lactic Acid, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Calcium Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, L-Lysine, Iodized Salt, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand