Tuesday 31 August 2010

Got my eyes on the prize

Last day of the month and it's been busy busy busy in our house - and I've been watching it all.

The Lady Of The House is helping organise a tombola to run when the Little Theatre Company holds its BIG sponsored Playathon on Saturday.

This is a fund-raiser they hold every other year apparently, and members of the group read plays and sketches and perform musical items non-stop for 12-hours.

Lots of people and companies have been very kind in donating prizes for the tombola - and as it has to run 12 hours there need to be lots of prizes.

Well, today the L O T H fetched all the prizes into the living room and stuck tickets on to them and put the other tickets into a big tub.

What really caught my attention were the cuddly toys. Yes, I know I've got plenty of my own...but there was this really sweet little teddy bear with a little jingly bell inside and I couldn't take my eyes off him as you can see.
Aahh! He's such a sweet teddy - can't I have him?

So the L O T H had to get the prizes boxed up and outside into the garage pretty sharpish in case I decided to take him away.

The Boy Of The House has promised that if he wins the teddy he'll bring it home for me......I hope he's lucky.

See you tomorrow for the start of a new month.

Monday 30 August 2010

Abandoned puppies and mum saved by greyhound charity

My heart goes out to Saluki Cross Suri and her eight pups recently rescued by Greyhound Rescue West of England (GRWE).

This charity says it's seen a worrying rise in cases of lurchers being abandoned and needing rescue space.

The dog they named Suri was found tied to the fence outside a dog pound and, although no trace could be found of them, she had obviously had puppies recently.

Two days later eight six-week-old pups were found in a cardboard box outside a vets in the same area.

The vet contacted GRWE having spoken to a national animal rescue charity who said that they would only cover the cost of putting them to sleep. GRWE immediately took them in and placed them in foster care.

Although they were in very poor condition, mum and the pups are slowly on the mend.

The plight of dogs like these, dubbed Britain's unwanted pets, was highlighted in a special edition of the BBC programme Panorama earlier this month.

GRWE currently has about 80 dogs in its care, including 21 puppies.

To offer a home to one of the dogs or to help the charity financially, visit or call 07000 785 092

Sunday 29 August 2010

Suggestions for a Bank Holiday outing


I know you may well have your plans made for tomorrow - August Bank Holiday Monday - but if not (and if you're lucky enough to be off work, unlike the Man Of The House) - might I suggest Old Dalby Day?
From the Old Dalby website

It looks like a great day out for all the family with craft stalls and a street market, vintage vehicles, childrens games and a horticultural show. And my old friends from the Retired Greyhound Trust at Crossing Cottage will be there too.

Rounding off a busy day for them they will also be at Nottingham Greyhound Stadium in the evening of August 30th with their stall and lots of greyhound and RGT charity merchandise for sale.

Saturday 28 August 2010

Open wide for the chicken-flavoured toothpaste

Looking after your dog's teeth as best you can is really important.

There are some nice chews you can buy to help keep teeth in good nick....but as with humans there is no substitute for getting the old toothpaste and brush on them regularly to remove any plaque and make doggy breath as sweet-smelling as possible.

"Open wide!" - "I am doing!"
I have some chicken-flavoured toothpaste which is rather nice and I am happy to let the Man Of The House give my teeth a regular brushing.

Meanwhile the Lady Of The House has finally chosen a dog insurance policy and she has one that does cover me for any dental work I might need as I get older providing I have a dental exam at the vet's once a year.

Friday 27 August 2010

Making a hit with the younger generation

I went visiting this morning to see the Lady Of The House's cousin and her two lovely daughters, Katie and Rebecca.

Rebecca was a bit nervous of me to start with - because I seemed very big to her (as she's still quite little) but when her mum and big sister showed her what a softy I am she was happy to stroke me and even took me on a guided tour of downstairs. I had a lovely time being fussed over.

The Boy Of The House himself has always been scared of dogs, I'm told, and that was one of the reasons why my family chose a retired racing greyhound because they knew I'd be far more gentle and good-natured than a lot of dogs (and a lot less work than a puppy).

But the Retired Greyhound Trust always works very hard to match exactly the right dog to the right family and they also knew that as an older dog that had been re-homed before I'd be just the right dog.

Unless I'm having a mad five minutes running round the garden or playing with my toys I am very calm and the B O T H loves fussing me now. Here's a pic of us getting on famously .....
Me and the Boy Of The House (and my toy monkey)
I'm also happy to stop for a fuss with the children who live in our Close. They all know my name and call out to me when they are playing and I go by on my lead for a walk.

They are a nice bunch and I hope I'm helping them learn a bit more about responsible dog ownership.

Thursday 26 August 2010

I don't do stairs

Greyhounds aren't really designed for stairs.

Most retired racers who have not been in a home before have never really seen a staircase - carpeted or not. I've certainly not attempted to tackle the stairs at my new home - and where my new family members disappear to when they go up them is a mystery to me.

This suits some families as they don't necessarily want a greyhound stretched out in their bedrooms - and I am happy to be downstairs....although I do sometimes stand at the bottom and give a little cry if the Lady Of The House has been up there too long in my opinion. But a little word of reassurance over the bannisters is enough to make me pad off back to my bed until my next walk.

Me looking up to the mysterious land 'upstairs'.
It is possible with patience, encouragement and a bit of 'treat'-bribery to get a greyhound upstairs if you need to depending on the layout of your home.

We're also likely to skitter and skid on shiny or slippery floors, like the one in our dining room. It doesn't put me off walking through the wooden floor but my long, skinny legs do tend to fly in all directions a bit. The Man Of The House says I look like Goofy on ice. I think that's a bit cruel....just because I have a bit of an overbite.....but more about my dental issues another day.

Off for my afternoon meal and walk now. See you soon!

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Grooming sessions that are not to be sneezed at

I LOVE being brushed I do.

I love being brushed with the grooming glove
When we race greyhounds get used to being groomed and it usually makes us very patient and quite happy with these kind of attentions. I am happy to have my teeth checked and cleaned and I let my family check my paws regularly as well as grooming me.

The grooming glove is really comfy and as my coat is only short, and one layer, it doesn't take long to get rid of some loose hairs in the garden after my morning walk.

I do still shed some hair in the house and on my beds - but I'm also quite happy to watch my family run round with the vacuum cleaner. I'm not a dog who makes a fuss about it. I'm quite used to home life.

Oh! And apparently greyhound hair is far less likely to make people sneeze. Both the Lady Of The House and the Man Of The House are a little bit allergic to pet fur but my hair doesn't give them any trouble.

See you tomorrow

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Crossing my claws that Milo and Betty and friends find homes

Hampshire is the latest county facing a crisis in the number of retired racing greyhounds needing new homes.

The Retired Greyhound Trust has more than 20 dogs in its kennels in Fleet needing new loving homes.

Nationally the charity has more than 1,000 dogs in its kennels waiting for home and another 1,000 dogs who have recently retired waiting for kennel space to come available.

Milo and Betty waiting at the RGT for new homes
Ivor Stocker of the RGT told the GetHampshire website that the charity is suffering as the nation tightens its belt. He said last year they announced a record re-homing figure of 4,700 dogs going to new homes, but this year numbers are well down already.

I hope all the dogs like Milo and Betty pictured above find new homes soon. Anyone who thinks they can help give a greyhound a home can ring the RGT on 0844 826 8424 or visit their website.

Monday 23 August 2010

Cheese please!

You know I've told you I have this problem with cats? Well, it led to my family keeping my muzzle on for the first three weeks when I went for my daily walks.

It gave them a bit of confidence I think when I strained at my lead, and barked. The cats that REALLY get my goat are the ones that sit there staring me out because they know I can't get to them.

Well, they've now decided to take my muzzle off because I am always wearing a special tight greyhound collar fastened high behind my ears - so I can't slip my head out of it - plus the 'grab' collar I always wear so they KNOW I can't get my lead out of their hands and make a run at the cat.

The Lady Of The House used to get a bit confused in the early days when I strained at my lead and barked at one particular house a few doors away from us where there were a pair of boots outside the front door.

"They are just BOOTS, Winnie. Don't be silly," she would say. It took her days to realise that there was usually a cat under the car next to the front door and THAT was what I was barking and pulling at.

I always remember where I've seen cats before, so even though we go on lots of different routes from our house. I always prick up my ears and use my super sight hound skills to check if there's a cat there again.

This morning we'd just left our house when there was a cat under a car so I ground to a halt, and really pulled and barked a couple of times, but the L O T H held me tightly by both collars so I couldn't rear up on my back legs and said "No Winnie" firmly and made me walk on.

At the end of our walk we went back the same way. I think the L O T H did it on purpose as a test because we could have come back to our house from the other direction. She was ready before I'd even remembered the cat-car-house was coming up and had a tight grip on both my collars. Then she walked me swiftly past the car (and the cat) talking to me all the time and when I walked past with only a long lingering glance of interest across the road. So then she told me how clever I was and called me a good girl in her nicest voice and I was quite pleased with myself....then we were in the front door and she gave me a little piece of cheese. MY FAVOURITE.

I'm not promising I'll always be so calm when we go past a cat - it depends what the cat says to me. But a bit of positive reinforcement - and a piece of cheese for being good - may just swing it.

Sunday 22 August 2010

Thank you for the stamp support


Just a quick posting today as I'm busy enjoying the Sunday sunshine in the garden - lounging on my doggy duvet on the patio and occasionally taking myself off into the shade when the sun gets too hot.

Just wanted to say thank you to the nice people who have contacted me through the Lady Of The House to say they will pass on their used stamps after I appealed for them through this blog last week.

The Retired Greyhound Trust collects used stamps and is trying to raise £1,500 this year - the cost of keeping a greyhound in kennels for a year.

The L O T H is happy to post stamps off if you send them to her or you can send them direct to the RGT. See the previous posting for more information.

Saturday 21 August 2010

A Lovely Day

What a great day I've had today!!!!

Me in the car - I love travelling
My family took me out in the car - exciting in itself - to Ashbourne Show.

I had a great time taking in the sights and sounds and smells and met some nice greyhounds (we all had a good sniff of each other and made friends).

I saw my lovely friend John from the Retired Greyhound Trust, who looked after me with Judith at the Crossing Cottage kennels in Sutton-on-Trent....and then as we walked round the showground I saw one of the RGT volunteers who used to talk to me and visit me all the time when I was in their kennels. I was so pleased to see him I stood up on my hind legs so my face was almost level with his and we had a great big cuddle.

He was really pleased to hear that I'd settled in so well with my new family and this is definitely a forever-adoption. I'm not going anywhere else.

When we got home the Lady Of The House nipped out to do some food shopping and came back with a new bed for me - and a pig's ear for me to chew on! Can life get any better???

See you tomorrow Greyhound fans xx

Friday 20 August 2010

Give a dog a home

Sad news from Portsmouth today where efforts are continuing to find homes for a dozen or so greyhounds who lost their jobs and homes following the closure of the city's Greyhound Stadium at the end of March.

The land where punters stood cheering as the dogs raced is going to be re-developed for houses and a park-and-ride.

Lots of work has gone into finding homes for dozens of the dogs - but the last few are still waiting for their new starts.

The Retired Greyhound Trust is spearheading efforts to match the right family with the right dog. They always take a lot of care to make sure that that it's a real happy ending for the humans as well as the dogs.

Thursday 19 August 2010

That's not my name

I won't answer to Winnie the Pooh
I mentioned yesterday that I don't mind being called a couch potato.

It seems that my new family-of-four have quite a few names for me. As well as answering to Winnie, I get called Winifred, Win-Win, and even Winnebago - whatever that means.

But I would like it put on record that I am not answering to Winnie the Pooh.

My folks are responsible dog owners and pick up after me on our I don't think it's funny and it's not my name.

Wednesday 18 August 2010

No more early starts

It's nearly time for me to turn in for the night - and I do love my sleep.

A lot of greyhound owners will lovingly describe us as couch potatoes. I don't mind that.

I just thought I'd mention a bit about how I settled in when I joined the family on August 1st.

At Crossing Cottage - the Retired Greyhound Trust kennels where I was before - I was used to an early start at the crack of dawn and an early bed. So the very first night when I got here I did have a little cry at bedtime because it was all a bit strange. But the Man Of The House popped down once to reassure me and I was fine after that.

I did wake up at 5.30am next morning, and the morning after that.....but thanks to the patience of my new family who came down and let me out in case I needed "to go" and were calm and quiet I was settled into their routine by day three.

Since then I've been happy to wait till the family gets up and the M O T H goes to work.

It's well into week three of my new life here and we're all getting to know each other properly.

So if you are thinking of re-homing a greyhound, rest assured that with quiet, calm and loving patience we will quickly fit in with YOUR routine.

Night night

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Save your stamps to help greyhounds


Hope it's been a lovely afternoon where you are. I had a great walk in the sunshine this afternoon and a few minutes ago I frightened a cat that was balanced on the fence in the back garden by standing on my back legs and doing my best Scooby-Doo impression. (I KNOW he's not a greyhound, but when my ears fly up in "I've-spotted-a-cat" mode I do look like I could be his skinny cousin.)

Anyway, enough about me, I wanted to let you know about a really easy way you can help support the Retired Greyhound Trust who do so much good work finding homes for lots of retired racers like me. The Lady Of The House was quite impressed because she says it's something they used to do to help charities in the "olden days" and she didn't know it still made money.

When your post arrives in the morning, can you spare a second to rip the corner of the envelope off, which includes the used stamp, put them to one side and then every now and then post them off to:

Retired Greyhound Trust
2nd Floor
Park House
1-4 Park Terrace
Worcester Park

Save your stamps to help retired greyhounds

Every kilogram of used stamps collected can then be sold in aid of the RGT. So far in 2010 they have made £300, but their target is £1,500 which is the cost of kennelling a dog for a year.

So don't bin them, please send them to the RGT!  Tell all your friends to save their stamps too, and maybe if you know anyone who works in an office they could help out too.

Monday 16 August 2010

Is pet insurance for life....not just for 12 months?

This morning's walk with the Lady Of The House took a bit longer than the usual 20 minutes or so because she took me off to a nature conservation area near our house which was full of the most delicious smells.....rabbit, cat, fox....

It was a heavenly blend of aromas which had to be savoured. Met some nice dogs and owners as well. Dog walking is great for making new friends. Instant camaraderie.

Back home I flopped in the hall, as per usual, and the L O T H hit the computer upstairs to start wading through the minefield that is dog insurance.

When she was a girl, she tells me, it was unheard of to insure your pets. You just took your chance when they needed treatment at the vets.

These days with vets offering lots of clever treatments and operations that keep pets in good health for many years it makes more sense to insure yourself against these costs.

L O T H has never taken out pet insurance before and there's a lot to get your head round (or so I can hear as she talks to various companies upstairs).

Some policies sound good, and offer incentives like double reward points on your shopping, then you look in the smaller print and find out that as your pet gets older it's going to cost you more. They also charge a higher excess for selected breeds, which includes greyhounds.

Some policies don't cover dental work - which is an issue lots of dogs have as they age.

Others have a cut-off point when a dog reaches a certain age - and what are you supposed to do then, may I ask? It's obvious that as we age there's more chance of things going wrong with us.

Lifecover sounds like a good option if you can find the right policy with the right level of cover.

Some policies charge an excess that is a percentage of the treatment costs - which can be expensive. I'm glad I've not got to sort it out.

I'm sure she'll find a policy that suits us all...hopefully before it's time for my afternoon walk.

See you soon.

This is me 'dog tired' after my walk

Sunday 15 August 2010

Winnie 1 - Pigeons 0

The Man Of The House had a bit of a shock this morning when he turned his back on me in the garden for two minutes, and turned round again to find me standing there with a pigeon in my mouth.

This is me with my toy pheasant - no pigeons were harmed in this game
I know it's not big and it's not clever - but it's just my age-old hunting instincts I'm afraid.

Greyhound ancestors came to the British Isles centuries ago and were used for hunting out in the open where our keen eyesight was invaluable.

The M. O. T. H. told the rest of the family - when they came back from shopping - that he wished he had seen what happened and he wondered if I'd snatched it out of the air like I do when they throw me my toy pheasant to catch? Well, that's for me to know and you to keep a closer eye on me in future.

Note from Winnie's family: The pigeon met its end very swiftly. Greyhounds do have a high prey-drive and it's one of the things you do need to watch but the same applies to many dogs with a historic hunting instinct.

Friday 13 August 2010

Friday the 13th!

So, it's Friday the 13th then? The kind of day to make any superstitious dog stay put in their snuggly warm bed rather than risking putting a paw outside.

Unlucky for some if you are superstitious
Fortunately I'm not superstitious. Though I may have had a bit of a nightmare this morning as I woke the Lady Of The House up at 7am crying a little...then again it might have been the smell of the killer chilli the Man Of The House made last night which is still wafting around through all of downstairs. Whatever, I happily nodded off again for an hour or so after a reassuring word.

But I realise that not all dogs are as lucky as me. I was hearing the other day about a nice lady in Staffordshire who fosters animals for the RSPCA while they wait for new homes.

Jacqui Hood already provides a lovely permanent home for greyhound Dizzee Rascal, greyhound-cross Floyd and whippet-cross Ruby, but now she's even opened up her home to foster other pets, even CATS!! Not sure I completely approve....but, hey, cats are animals too. Live and let live.

Thursday 12 August 2010

Monkey business with a pheasant

Me and my toy Pheasant 
It's been a fairly quiet day at home today, except for a bit of a thunderstorm this afternoon.

The two younger members of the family have been playing on the Wii - I don't really get that. But I DO love playing with my own toys.

You see, I was re-homed once before, but sadly my first family had to give me back because of ill-health (theirs I'm afraid - not mine) so it was back to Crossing Cottage for a brief while before falling on my paws with another new home.

I was very lucky when you think that hundreds of my old running mates are still looking for a first home.

Anyway, I had quite a few toys at my first home and they came with me. My favourites are a monkey and a pheasant. The monkey used to make sort-of Tarzan noises. The pheasant's just really good for throwing and catching. Tends to make people jump if I leave it in the garden, though!!!

Getting a few things straight


Just got back from a power walk (kind of) after my breakfast and thought it might be a good opportunity to chase away a few myths about greyhounds.

Now I've lost count of the number of people who assume that because I look like a lean, mean running machine I need TONS of exercise every day.


In fact, after a 20-minute walk around the block this morning I'm feeling ready for a looooong morning nap now...but I'll keep going for YOUR benefit dear readers because you need to know the facts.

Alert in the back garden - for now

Greyhounds are built for short sharp sprints....not marathons. We just have no stamina at all. My new family took me out for a loooong walk on Sunday morning (by their standards) and I slept the rest of the day. They thought they'd broken me.

There's good reason why greyhounds are called couch potatoes. A couple of 20 minutes walks a day and I'm happy. Apart from that I LOVE being around my new people and am more than happy lying on a comfy bed and just hearing them bustling around the house doing their human things, or sitting watching the television.

As for chasing small furry things.....well, we're all different. "Whatever floats your boat" as a water-loving labrador retriever of my acquaintance used to say.

Greyhounds are sight hounds so it is in our nature to spot things from a long way away and sometimes give chase. Greyhounds who've been brought up with cats and small pets can rub along with them quite nicely.

Me, well I'm not a fan of cats and I like being an only-dog. But I'm a bit stuck in some of my ways. comfy bed is calling.....see you again soon xx

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Introducing me!

The picture they fell in love with!!


I'd better start by introducing myself. My name is Winnie and I'm a greyhound who's just found a new forever home.

One of my new family seems to spend an AWFUL lot of time on the computer when she's not walking me, playing with me, feeding me and brushing me.....not that I'm high maintenance you understand. Anyway, she thought it would be a good idea for me to put paw to keyboard and start a blog about my adventures.

She thinks it might help other people to realise how GREAT greyhounds are as pets.

I came from the lovely, lovely people at Crossing Cottage, Sutton-on-Trent, and I'll tell you a bit more about that later.

But first I thought I should share with you the picture of me that was on the Retired Greyhound Trust website which is apparently what made my new family fall in love with me before we'd even met!

This new technology stuff's pretty good, eh?!