Tuesday, March 30, 2010


She doesn't always play with toys at playdates; she's usually too busy harassing Breeze. But when she does, you can't help but laugh along with her.

Monday, March 22, 2010


So I’ve mentioned my girl Breeze and alluded to her many issues without really going into details. I thought to rectify that a little this evening. Simply put - she was abused. The general consensus is severely abused. It is the only thing that adequately explains her behaviors. Not wanting to be near people, (in particular men) flinching when you raise your hand, running if you are carrying something, peeing in fear if she is trapped in a room (remind me to tell you that story some time), cringing when someone talks to loudly. I’ve read websites and talked to people who say some dogs are just ‘spooks’ or ‘shy’ or ‘skittish’ or have ‘fear’ issues. I say yes there are and she is all that and more. It is more than being a spook or skittish. Someone did a number on this dog. Period. So here’s her story, well part of it for now, it is too long to be in one post.

In late October 2008 my friend Sheryl, a softie for the greyhounds that need extra help, went to the AGR kennel clean up. Volunteers were doing a big spring cleaning (granted it was in the fall, but you follow me). Dogs were moved, walked, or taken home while the kennel was scrubbed from top to bottom. Little did I know that was the day that would change my life - I wasn’t even there.

One of the residents of the kennel was Breeze. She was a pitiful, huddling, terrified ball of trembling hound they couldn’t get out of her cage. She would flee out the doggie door and peer in through the flap while her cage was cleaned every day. If they needed to actually remove her from the cage, someone would have to enter the exterior run from the back, forcing her into the cage, so the person in the front of the cage could catch her. If they did turn her out to the main run they would then need to corner her at the end in order to catch her again. She was terrified of everything; humans, noises, the other dogs. Friends who worked at the kennel when she was there said she was by far the most terrified and fearful dog they had seen come through the kennel.

Breeze's AGR kennel adoption photo

Sheryl took one look at Breeze and packed her up to take her home to foster, not one minute more would Breeze be in that environment. After getting her in the car, (a challenge in and of itself) Breeze was so scared she did number 1 and 2 and threw up during the drive home. I got the call later that day, “Guess what I just did?” “Boy or girl?” was my response. Sheryl has the same kennel affliction that I do – canine accumulation syndrome. Sheryl was part of our play dates at the time (she has since moved out of state) and though we would see her with her other greyhound at the park, we didn’t get to meet Breeze for about 3 weeks. Sheryl was concerned that if she let Breeze run she would not be able to catch her again. So instead we heard the stories of the mystery dog. How Sheryl had to put the crate, draped in blankets to provide a sense of security, directly next to the doggy door so Breeze could run outside without having to go through the house and therefore be near people. How Breeze spent all her time cowering in the crate, until Sheryl’s husband or step-son came home where then she would retreat to the back yard. How she would stand in the furthest corner of the yard, one leg bent, eyes always searching, ready to run at any sound. How Breeze would only eat and drink outside. How she ran if you looked at her, spoke sharply, moved quickly. There were stories of some progress as well. She was slowly starting to trust Sheryl enough to come up to her when there was no one else around.

So around week 3 Sheryl decided to bring Breeze to the play date with the promise we would help if there were any problems. My first sight of Breeze was a petrified dog straining at the end of a leash trying to get as far from any person as possible. As soon as Sheryl let her off the leash and harness she was a brindle dot at the furthest end of the field. She just stood there in The Pose: leg up (usually the left which we learned had a broken toe), tail tucked, ready to run. She didn’t engage with the other greys and she wouldn’t come within 30 feet of any people. Sheryl would have to be completely separated from everyone else for Breeze to even come close to her. When we were ready to leave we stood near the gate and watched, hopeful, as Sheryl walked to the opposite end of the field and waited patiently as Breeze made up her mind to go to her. There was a huge sigh of relief when she eventually did and Sheryl was able to get the leash on her. So it went for the next 3 weeks or so. After about a week Breeze would occasionally run with the dogs, as long as the pack didn’t get too close to any of the humans. We realized she was far more fearful of men than women, you couldn't approach her, that even looking at her was considered a threat. We all wondered what had happened to her in the past. Who did what to her? Imaginations were active and all the conclusions were ugly. We applauded the patient work Sheryl did trying to make this dogs' life even a little better while wondering what she had gotten herself into.

The Pose - Breeze November 2008

How Breeze swapped households coming up next.


So yesterday I crowned Dru the roach queen. She was just de-throned by (drum roll please) Breeze. Never thought I would see that since it usually means the dog is very comfortable. Not the best angle on the photo, but I didn't want to move in the event she would get up. Which she did, when I did.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Today has been a day of updating websites and posting blogs. A lazy day with the hounds hanging out on their beds next to me. 3 dogs and 4 beds, filling my tiny living room to overflowing. I’ve noticed they use the additional bed in their own version of musical chairs and are a little put out when it is not available. Willow periodically heads outside for a touch of sunbathing and on her return is coated with dirt. Though I’m not sure how she is finding a big enough patch of bare ground through all the weeds. I have spent every morning for the past 10 days pulling weeds with ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ running through my head and the yard is still buried in them. The only downfall of our heavy rains this winter. Though it does look like I actually have a green thumb. Drusilla is my roach and relaxed enough to pass gas so potent it can blister the paint off the walls. She’s cleared out the house of guests before. She likes when I sit on the couch rather than in the office - less time for her to get up and come check on me. And my overly paranoid girl Breeze - still alert to every sound even when attempting to drift off to sleep. She’s been joining me on the couch lately. Squeezing between me and the pillows, curled up in a tiny ball, head on leg and snoring softly. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Dru the roach queen

Willow's new coat of dirt - she wears it well.
Breeze - ever alert.


Yesterday's playdate turned out to be a great time; in particular due to the greys in attendance who hadn't been there in a while.

Breeze and Dru


Emily - the pied piper



Jovi, Raj, Dru