Saturday, April 02, 2011

Procrastination wins!

I'm sure after this long period of time since my last blog post (I wonder if this will be some kind of record for bad blogging) anyone who had read my posts in past has moved on to other things. Other blogs, facebook, twitter, and now Tumblr. So many options for wasting our time. That's ok, I will blog for me... ;o) In a year and a half since my last post (wow!), much has happened. Frankie settled in and has taken retirement from the racetrack very seriously, sleeping for hours a day, making his large fenced in back yard his own, and learning some "normal dog" tricks. He has been my muse as a model for many photographs. He is likely more familiar to the world than I will ever be, as his antics can be followed on flickr, facebook, Photobucket, and several Greyhound forums and websites. He has been in 2 Greyhound calendars, and hopefully a third next year. Many people now look forward to "Frankie Fridays", which is part of my 2011 Photo a Day Challenge I have embarked on this year. We are all smitten with this quiet, sweet, loving, and handsome boy. Until next time...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Frankie arrives! (In search of a Window ~ Part 2)

Once the decision to adopt a greyhound had been made, and even managing to get my family on board, things progressed very quickly.
I contacted 3 adoption agencies by email. The first didn't return my email, the second and third said they didn't adopt to my area, that it was too far for their home visit.

I was becoming discouraged and thought maybe the gods of fate didn't want me to have a greyhound. Further encouragement from my greyhound owning friends Felicity and Cheryl led me to contact Needle-Nose Greyhound Adoption, who works out of Campbellville, Ontario. They were willing to travel to the great white north of Orillia to meet me.
Now we had to decide what kind of dog to get; male, female, age, colour, size, personality? With so many dogs needing to be adopted you could practically tailor them to your liking. We had always had female dogs, I'd heard that males were a bit "goofier" for lack of a better description. Our lives were a tad too quiet anyway so we decided on a male...the bigger the better. Of course he had to be tested safe with cats... and be fairly young, so we could have many years with him. Colour didn't really matter...but I loved the fawn/red dogs so I told them that would be my preference. I had heard black dogs, especially males were a little harder to adopt so we said black would be fine too.

So the wheels were in motion, we were approved to adopt a greyhound, and the next run to the states to pick up dogs would be Oct 17th, and OUR dog would be on that trailer! The dogs were to be shipped from a Daytona, Florida track and met by the adoption agency in Buffalo, where they crossed the border and went to their foster homes until their forever homes were ready for them.
Around the 24th of Sept we got a call from Brenda at Needle-Nose. She had a surprise for us. A male greyhound from a previous load of dogs from the states, who had been at his adoptive home for a week, was being returned through no fault of his own (this is called a "Bounce"). He just wasn't the right match for that family. Fortunately for us she thought he'd be a perfect match for ours. If we wanted him, we could have him within the next week. My husband, who took a bit of encouraging to get on board with this whole greyhound adoption plan, said "How soon can we get him!!?? ;o)

Our 75 lb, 3 year old, bouncing baby boy arrived on Sept 29th (the greyhound people call this their dog's "Gotcha Day"). His racing name was "Hold to Fashion" and you can see all his pedigree and racing stats here. He had been called "Frankie", and as we couldn't agree on a different name, Frankie he stayed. Greyhounds come in a wonderful array of colours and his is a very striking white with red and black brindle patches... or perhaps it's brindle with white patches... ;o)

We held Brenda and Jeff hostage for many hours while we grilled them on all things greyhound, not that I hadn't done my own research. I had already read 3 books on adopted greyhound care. spent countless hours perusing the Internet, lurked on several greyhound owner's forums, and visited people with greyhounds and had them visit my house with their dogs.
They left Frankie in our care that afternoon and as they drove away it ALMOST felt like the day we brought our first child home. Now the care of this special being was in our hands.

Frankie has moved into our house and our hearts, and there are many more stories to be told...another day, another blog.

Friday, October 02, 2009

In Search of a Window ~ Part One

You've heard of the saying "When a door closes in your life, somewhere a window will open" (yes I've taken the religious content out...). Brandy's passing was so hard for our family, that for a few weeks I had convinced myself that I could never, ever go through that again as it was just too painful. No one dared bring up getting another dog with me and rightly dog would ever take Brandy's place in my heart.

Then one day a thought occurred to me. What if I had said that after Dusty, or Galen, or Mojo, or any of the pets in my life who had died?

It was then I realized that I would rather go through the pain of losing a beloved pet again, than not to have one in my life. It was clear to me, as I could see the scales tipping slowly to the side of dog ownership again, that I was going to have to look for another dog. My family of course predicted this, and were sensible enough not to interfere.
What did I want? The only thing I knew for sure was that I had to rescue a dog that needed a home. I started with our local OSPCA . They seemed at the time to only have small dogs, poodle and beagle types. Ok now I knew I wanted to adopt a dog, and I wanted a medium to large dog...and with short to medium hair...and a female, who's good with cats and kids...and is no older than 2.

Sigh...would I ever find my perfect dog? I knew in the back of my mind I was really looking for a younger version of Brandy. I even found myself lurking around the Petfinder site. Then I started emailing the shelters about this dog and that (not surprisingly many of the dogs I looked at resembled Brandy.) Nothing really panned out as many of them required a fenced in yard for the hound type dogs. We have a huge yard, but not fenced in (it will be soon).

Now I honestly can't think why the idea came to me to look into greyhound adoption. They are so dissimilar from Brandy that it is a breed I never considered. But they are hounds, and largish, and shorthaired, and most are good with children and cats. Even though I had wanted a mutt, I found out there were thousands of greyhounds that needed adoptive homes after their time was up on the track. Was a greyhound the dog for me?
To be continued...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Saying goodbye to Brandy

It has taken me awhile to get around to this post as it is not something easily talked or written about. My family had to say goodbye to our beloved dog, Brandy, on July 10th.

My husband and others think I kept her alive too long, I think she did not live long enough, but in the end, on that last morning, she gave me a gift. She seemed content, she wanted to go for a walk to the park (she had been too sick to want to walk anywhere that last week). She rolled in the grass even putting her paw over her face like she did on so many occasions when she was feeling frisky. She did not cough that horrible cough of trying to get the fluid out of her lungs. Not that morning. I took as many photos of her in the morning light as time allowed. The only other family member I could convince to be with me was my youngest daughter, and I am grateful to her for being there for me while the clock ticked it's way to the dreaded appointment of 9:15 am. She wouldn't go to the vet's office but that was ok, that was something I needed to do alone.

I don't think I can write anymore about the end. As any of you know who have been there with a pet at that time, as you feel their life slip quietly away, it is one of the most difficult things to do, even if you are doing it for all the right reasons.

So thank you to Brandy, for giving us 7 beautiful years, I wish I had twice that time with you. Thank you to Pine Grove Veterinarian for taking care of her over the years, and for making the end so peaceful. Thank you to the Orillia OSPCA for bringing her into our lives, and especially Lori who has worked there for years, and convinced me a 4 year old dog was the perfect one to adopt. (I was back at the shelter the other day and chatted with her again, putting out feelers for another dog in my future...maybe...some day...).

Of course I also have to thank the bastards who mistreated her in her early years and messed her up so much, the ones who made her cower at first when we told her to "come". The ones who made her terrified of loud noises, fly swatters, brooms, etc. I do thank you for giving her up (and the second family who also returned her because she wouldn't come to you either when you let her loose). If either of you had had the patience to stick it out with her, train her, love her, we would not have been able to adopt her. Your loss....

We will never forget you Brandy.
You can see a slideshow of Brandy's life HERE . These are not the photos of a photographer, just the moment's captured by a smitten dog owner. (Sorry I'm not clever enough to add a soundtrack... but if you play Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You" in the background, that would be my choice.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Evening Shoot

Last Sunday was too beautiful an evening to pass up for a photo shoot, even though I had just arrived home from a clinic.
I made quick arrangements with a girl I had been trying to get together with, and 15 minutes later I was out the door to her farm.
Healthy, shiny horses, beautiful sunny evening, and a very nice property as a backdrop are, for me, the ingredients to a great shoot, not to mention an amiable owner who puts up with my short attention span ("shiny object syndrome" my friend Judi calls it).

Friday, May 15, 2009

Penetang stroll

As I was getting restless camera syndrome (not enough time with my camera lately) so I decided to take it with me on my weekly excursion to Penetang when I drive with my daughter there for volleyball practices.
Though I did snap a few photos of the practice, my real intention was to wander around the newly discovered town (this was really the first time I've seen it in daylight with cancelled practices and daylight savings time switching over, etc.).
I strolled around the waterfront and docks, then through a park where I photographed some beautiful flowers in the evening light, red winged blackbirds claiming their spot noisily around a pond, and a nice woman and her son who obligingly let me photograph their beautiful dog, Dakota. Dakota seemed to take a liking to me as I'm sure he recognized a lover of all things furred... After a few scratches and pats and proclamations about how beautiful he was, I became the chosen one to throw his beloved red ball. I hope his owner checks in with me!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

As I look out my window on this Mother's Day I see a beautiful spring day; blue sky, young bright green leaves cover our maple trees, and the lawns are healthy and green. Unfortunately the temperature doesn't match this day as it's only around 8c...brrrr! I will take this day as a gift though, as we were supposed to have rain and possibly thunderstorms! I am thankful for our guest from California on his last day here that at least he gets one more day of sunshine for his visit.

So enjoy this day, and to my Mom in P.E.I., Happy Mother's Day! Miss you, love you, and thanks for having me ;o)