Thursday, December 28

Holiday Grey-sitting

        As much fun as Winston had playing with our kids, he was quite happy to see his mommy and daddy when they came to pick him up. Hercules and Daisy had no problems settling in to our household. Hercules had been fostered here, so it was no big deal for him. Daisy, the 10 year old beagle, was happy to see another dog her size. Looking at her convinced us that Parker is definitely mostly a beagle. There are 13“ and 15” beagles. Parker is more like a 16“ black beagle. It was amazing to see how much they looked alike. And Parker’s food-obsessiveness is definitely a beagle thing. Daisy and Parker were always on alert in case a plate needed cleaning before going in the dishwasher. Here she is claiming a dog bed for herself.

        Hercules was initially thought to be a cat-safe dog. Later testing with Noah the crabby cat at our house proved otherwise. Look at the focus and concentration while he waits for a kitty to pop out the cat door. We locked both doors to prevent the kitties from coming up during the night and not being able to make it back down before the morning stampede of dogs. Once Hercules and Clay are gone, the kitties can come back up. Don’t feel too bad for them. They have it pretty nice down there. A sofa and loveseat and lots of other cushy places they don’t have to share with the dogs.
        Behind Hercules is Daisy, then Winston, and if you squint, you can see Stella’s head behind that.

        Speaking of Clay, at 10 years old, this is the first time we’ll have watched a senior greyhound. People are always making a fuss over the seniors. Now we know why. Look at that face. The graceful ‘greying’ of the face. And he is such a sweetie. He’s smaller than our Stella. His daddy said he was the runt of the litter. He’ll be with us for over a week. Last time they put him in a kennel, he didn’t eat the entire time. Supposedly he is a grazer, but with our guys noisily chowing down, he has learned to eat all in one sitting.
        What does Parker think of all these guests coming and going? I’ll let the picture speak for itself.

Friday, December 22

Winston the Couch Hound

        Winston won’t get on the couch unless asked. Here is a pic of all the kids on the couch. From left to right, it is Winston, Parker in the corner, Lucas, and Stella tolerating Lucas’ head against her butt. Looks like there is room for another grey. Sometimes I wonder how they ever survived at the kennel in a crate. Considering how much they crave a soft dog bed, couch or human bed, it’s a good thing they didn’t know about such things until after their racing careers. Otherwise, they may have formed a union and gone on strike at the track.

        Winston is quite the snuggle hound. Very touch-feely. When we ask one of our guys to get on the couch, they jump up next to us and then back into us or lay their head against us. Not Winston. We would tap the cushion next to us and ask Winston if he wanted on the couch. Next thing you know, there is a dog in your lap. As much of a lap dog as Stella is, she never jumps straight into my lap.
        It’s a dreary rainy day. Winston will stay through the weekend, but he will be joined by extra guests before his parents come back. This afternoon, we are expecting Hawk (Hercules in his previous life) and his new sister Daisy (10 yr old beagle). Wonder if she will recognize the beagle in Parker. They will barely have had time to finish sniffing each other’s butts before our next guest arrives. A greyhound owner in Northern Virginia who wrote to our group looking for a dog-sitter will be dropping off his 10 yr old grey on Saturday for a week. So we will have quite the houseful for the weekend. With a soggy yard from all the rain expected today, that’s 28 paws tracking in the mud. Need to replace that broken steam cleaner ASAP!

Monday, December 18

Maya Xmas, Winston arrives, and Lucas gets ETS

        My sister and brother-in-law are taking Maya to the Netherlands to see his mother for Christmas this year. We had an early Christmas for her, so she could open presents we had gotten for her. She loves Parker dog, but the greys can sometimes intimidate her. A couple of times in the yard, Maya was running around swinging a stick. To Lucas, that’s the signal to play. He proceeded to circle her and then steal the stick and run around the yard with it. She started balling and yelling that she wanted her stick back. Guess it might have been a little bit scary to have a dog that is taller than you and weighs three times as much circling you like a shark. Didn’t phase Lucas at all as he was doing his laps around the yard with a stolen stick in his mouth. Here is a picture of Maya with her auntie Kristen playing with one her presents, a MagnaDoodle.

        Luke and Sandy went back home this afternoon. We had an hour or two with our regular crew, then Winston came for his week-long stay. He was happy to be over, but wanted to go back with his parents when he realized they were leaving. Last time we watched him, he was all about playing with our kids, and barely noticed his parents had left. He settled in quickly onto the chaise part of the couch. He looked so cute, I had to cover him up for his nap.

        Since Winston was on the couch, Lucas and Stella decided to lay on the dog beds. As usual, Lucas was on his side hanging off the bed. Stella was in full cockroach position. Upon closer inspection, it appears Lucas had ETS (escaped tongue syndrome). Stella is well known for having ETS. It appears this is a contagious condition which has now afflicted poor Lucas. We hope it doesn’t spread to our house guests and fosters.

Thursday, December 14

Kids Taking a Smoke Break!

        Stella: Hey Lucas, wanta teach these newbies something? Lucas: yeah, whatever you want sis. Stella: You got that pack of smokes I scared off the kid at the bus stop? Lucas: Oh, I see where you’re going with this. Stella: Sandy, Luke, come over here, got something to show you. Lucas: I think I can make some smoke rings.
        The kids were roo’ing the other morning. There was still a chill in the air. If you look closely at Lucas and Stella, you can see their breath. Looks like they are smoking. Isn’t that what killed the dinosaurs?
        We will be baby-sitting Luke and Sandy till Sunday. Then we swap on Sunday and get to watch Winston for a week. Winston is a regular here and enjoys being able to play with other greys. I think his parents will ‘chip’ soon, and he will have a sister in the new year. Then we swap again the following week. Hercules recently got rehomed to a couple in NoVA. We will be watching him and his new sister Daisy the beagle during the week of Christmas. Since Parker is a ‘beagle/lab’ mix, I’m sure he’ll love having another non-grey around. Then we are expecting another 8-grey haul from Orlando on Dec 30th. Our next foster?

Monday, December 11

Babysitting Luke and Sandy

        We are watching Luke (SJ’s Limit) and Sandy (Kelso’s Goddess) while their parents, Shannon and Kevin, are on their honeymoon this week. We couldn’t think of a better gift than watching their kids. They got Luke first. Similar to our Lucas, he’s just a big goofy boy. They thought he was smart until they got Sandy. Luckily, we got Stella first, and she was able to show Lucas how everything worked. Now with a sister to lead the way, Luke is doing great.

        Here are Sandy and Luke taking a break on double-layered dog beds. We usually have five or six beds downstairs, so when we don’t have a houseful, we double-stack the beds for more open space. The greys really seem to like the extra cushion.

        Sandy catches the turtle.

        You wanta piece of this?

        Lucas-Luke, Yin-Yang.

Wednesday, December 6

Fredericksburg Parade and VAGA Xmas Party

        Had another busy greyhound weekend. On Saturday, we participated in the local Fredericksburg Christmas Parade downtown. The weather was chilly but not cold. We had seven dogs and five people, so we took two cars. Trina and I dropped off Jason, Kris and Aubry with the dogs. We got there a half hour before the parade started and had to park a good distance away. Mental note for next year’s parade: get there very early if I want a decent parking space. I got a few minutes away from the car before I realized I didn’t have my camera. It was already quite dark, so I figured the pictures wouldn’t be that great anyway. I did manage to get this picture of Stella in her coat on the ride to the parade. We had about 35 greys walk the entire route. Even though we were right in front of a marching band, it didn’t seem to bother any of the dogs.
        On Sunday, we went to Leesburg for the annual VAGA Christmas party. It was held at a doggie daycare facility, and we were perpetually mopping up as it turned out to be one big pee-fest. Here are various pics from the event. The first shot shows a sea of greyhounds. They were just milling around, sniffing, and peeing. The second pic is of Billy and Andy with their new parents. They were previously mentioned in the ‘Birthday Dog Haul’ post. The next couple of pics are of the winter coat fashion show.
The two greys are Grant and Amber strutting their stuff.
Our foster Shirley is the second to left in the pack of four showing off more winter coats.
The last pic is of Louisa May determined to eat a biscuit through her muzzle. She did manage to finally get it.
        We went up with four greys and came back with three. A prospective adopter came to the party to meet Shirley. We left her with Carolyn, VAGA’s president, so she could take Shirley on the home visit sometime this week. Since we hadn’t expected to leave Shirley there, we barely got to say goodbye. It’s just our regular crew at home now. For how long???

Sunday, November 26


        We’ve been calling Tyler, Tyler-Ryder and Ryder to get him used to his new name. His new family thought it over during the Thanksgiving Holiday and decided that no one really liked that name. So now we’re calling him Tyler-Brady and Brady to get him used to the new name. Our first grey was named Carol’s Wheel. She didn’t really look like a Carol, so we tried out a few names and decided on Stella. We kept Lucas/Luke for Roar Lucas. Hard to pick out a name with just a description or picture. Luckily, they usually don’t know their names. So Brady it is. I’m sure with four kids in his forever family calling him Brady while giving him hugs, he’ll quickly catch on.

        This shot is of our muzzle and key holder to our back door. We bought it at a cute little shop in Wilmington, NC. Over Thanksgiving, we watched Merit (Minnie) and Vesta (Kay) whom we had fostered just a few weeks ago. So they had no problems spending the night here. That made six greys and Parker. We hang the muzzles here for easy access. They also don’t fit on the leash rack because it is full. And their coat/collar rack is also full. Also, if we go near the leash/coat/collar racks to take anything off, it gets our guys excited because they think they are going somewhere.
        Kris washed all their stuffie toys last night. Some didn’t make the cut. Ones with no stuffy left or with too many amputated limbs that couldn’t be sewed back on were thrown away. The others were run through the wash on gentle cycle. We went over the other night to see Kris’ sister’s new house. Kendall is just over two years old and had toys all over the place. I was thinking how many toys she had laying around and in baskets. Then I come home to a family room covered with dog beds and stuffie toys. Two baskets in the corners filled with more toys in case they get bored with the ones already strewn all over the floor.

Wednesday, November 22

Tyler becomes Ryder

        I’m Tyler, and I’m only here till the end of the week. Then I will go to my forever home. I woke up in Florida, then they put in me in the dog hauler and I went to sleep and woke up in North Carolina. Then I slept in the back of an SUV and woke up in Richmond for a pee break. Then back again another hour to Fredericksburg. All the other dogs were taken by their new families here. Only I was left. They said my family had just had their home visit that morning. That’s ok. I just wanted to eat and take a nap.

        As you can see, I’m practicing being retired. The first day I stayed in my crate a lot. Since then, I’ve learned many things from the Park kids. It helps that I’m a quick learner. My new favorite is when I am outside, and I hear the squirrel call. I run up the deck steps, go through the doggie door, and someone is waiting with chicken jerky for me. This place must be one of them bed and breakfast places. I hope my new family’s house is a bed and breakfast too. I like my name, but my new family already has a child named Tyler. To avoid any confusion about me getting blamed for something the skin kid does, they are going to call me Ryder.

        Since I hadn’t seen much while I was in Florida, they decided to take me for a walk downtown. Kennel, track, kennel, track...... Kinda gets boring. Downtown Fredericksburg was much more exciting. It had lots of new stuff for me to see. In this pic, it’s (l to r) Parker, Lucas, Shirley, me, and Stella. Kinda chilly so we all had our coats on. Lots of people stopped and told me how handsome I am. I could get used to this. I even stopped to smell the flowers (then pee on them). The weirdest thing I saw was these huge dogs that I didn’t recognize. My humans said they were horses. I just stared in amazement. All this writing makes me tired. Nap time.

Monday, November 20

Birthday Dog Haul

        What does a VAGA volunteer do for his 36th birthday? A dog haul of course. Eleven greys made it up to Virginia from Florida this past weekend. Nothing like getting up at 4am to drive for hours to meet the dog hauler. I don’t even get up that early for work :) We had a three vehicle convoy. Dropped off four in Richmond at Trina’s and then five went to Fredericksburg, then the final two went to Northern Virginia.

        Luckily, every grey had a forever home to go to. So no long-term fosters. We will be fostering Gemstone Tyler for a week until after Thanksgiving till he goes to his forever home. The pic of the ears is Tyler. Just wanted to see what a view from his angle looked like. He was like a kick in the pants for our long-term foster Shirley. She’s been reluctant to use the doggie door. But when Tyler started to figure it out after a few minutes, all of sudden, she could use it. Guess she didn’t want to be shown up by a grey fresh off the track. Within a day, he’s doing stairs, the doggie door, roaching on a dog bed, and playing with toys.

        The other pic is of Cyanide Billy and Cyanide Andy. They are semi-celebrities. They were in the winter 2005 issue of Celebrating Greyhounds magazine for saving their family. A little background. After hurricane damage, their family was using a generator for power. Carbon monoxide was leaking into the house. Billy and Andy woke up the family and they were able to get out safely. So how are they repaid for saving the lives of the family. They were dumped at a dog sitter’s house when the family supposedly left to go on vacation, but left for good and never came back to pick them up. So now they are in their true forever home here in Virginia. They are with a retired couple with a track record of helping special seniors.

Wednesday, November 15

Life before the Greys

Was there life before the greyhounds? Let’s just ask Parker and the kitties. The pic shows Parker, Isabel (tortoise), Greyson (gray), and Noah (orange tabby). Parker didn’t mind sharing the bed with the kitties. No one was a bed hog, so everyone fit on the bed nicely. Now Noah, the Crabby Cat, is the only one who really ventures up from the basement these days. The other two are too scared of the greys. Mainly foster greys. They have gotten used to Stella and Lucas, but since we have fosters in and out all the time, they spend most of their time in the basement where they can sleep in peace. Since this pic was taken, we have upgraded to a king-size bed, and though Parker curls up in a little dog ball, Stella and Lucas are all leg. So finding space on the bed can be tricky.

Sunday, November 5

Hide 'n Seek with Hercules

        We lost two fosters and gained one over the weekend. Kay and Minnie went to their forever home on Saturday. They worked well together, so I was glad to see them go to the same home. Such sweet girls. Wish all fosters were so easy. While Kris was adopting out Kay and Minnie, I was picking up Hercules Spirit. I had seen him race when I was down in Orlando a few months back. He was racing at close to 90 lbs. He got his butt handed to him by a 55 lb girl during that race. Little did I know that he would be in my house a few months later.

        Here he is playing hide and seek with me. First he tried to hide in the euonymous bush, but he was too easy to spot. So he decided to hide in plain site. With all the leaves changing color, he just kind of blends in.
        He is a real sweetheart. Both Kris and I have a thing for the big goofy boys. That’s what we were looking for when Lucas came along. With all the fosters we’ve had since then, Hercules is only our second one that fits that description. He’s as tall and long as Lucas, but he still needs to put on a few pounds. He will easily be 90+ lbs at his couch potato weight. There are some fosters that just make you want to chip. Hercules is one of them. He is such neat dog. Gets along with everyone, is a quick learner, and just fits in pretty well. The rational side says let him go, but my heart wants him to stay, or at least be a long-term foster. This afternoon, we introduced him to a family that just lost their Dobie and are looking for a playmate for their alpha grey girl. Hercules fit in very well there, and enjoyed having the kids love on him. We will be dropping him off there on Fri. Easy come easy go.

Sunday, October 29

BOA Environmental Fair

        We went down to Richmond this weekend to the Bank of America Environmental Fair. Jason works for BOA. After Jason and Trina got Dana, one of his coworkers, Vashti adopted Logan from our group. Vashti ran the fair, and VAGA was invited. We dressed the kids in hats and collars and went around meeting and greeting. Here is a shot of some of the greys with the clown at the fair. We were there close to four hours, and the kids were tired.

        We went back to Trina’s afterwards. The kids love to run around their back yard. The first pic is of Stella and Winston posing in the back yard. Winston loves to stay with us when his parents are out of town. I think he misses being around other greyhounds, and we always have plenty of grey-friends for him to visit with.

In the next shot, the kids are chasing Shiloh around the yard. Trina looks like she is about to become a casualty of the chase.

In the last pic, Trina is kissing on Dana while Shiloh is laying next to her. A proud mommy and her two girls.

Saturday, October 28

Dogball & Halfway House

        Who says greyhounds take up lots of space. Curled up properly, we could easily fit half a dozen on our couch. Here is Stella showing the proper form for maximum use of space. Quite odd, since she usually likes to claim the entire couch and spread out for maximum coverage.

        Does the second picture look familiar? Same angle, different dogs. This time it is Kris (on phone on greyhound business), Lucas, Shirley, Winston (babysitting for the weekend), Kay, Parker on the couch, Stella, and Teemu (overnight foster) in the middle dog bed. As usual, Minnie is out of the picture. She loves to sleep in her crate. Eight in all. Just another day at the Park household. I have reminded Stella that this is all her doing. I wanted a greyhound and got a lifestyle :)

Monday, October 23

RooFest 'n Grey Blog Links

        I finally managed to have the camera ready when the kids decided to go in ‘roo’ mode. The two husky mix dogs next door started to howl. That always get my kids all riled up. They like to go out and show ‘em what roo’ing is all about. Here you can see Kay (fawn), Lucas (white/brown), Minnie (white/black), and Stella (brindle) howling like a fire truck was passing by. Parker the black SPCA dog is looking around to see what all the roo’ing is about. This was followed by a few quick laps around the yard for good measure.
        Here are a couple of grey blog links that I keep up with. Check ‘em out. The first is Needle Noses. This blog is about fostering ex-racers in Queensland, Australia. I think Australia would be a cool place to live. If we ever decided to move there, at least we know we could keep fostering :) The next link is Raven The Black Grey. This blog follows the adventures of Raven, a black greyhound, from the first-greyhound perspective. See what antics she’s been up to lately.

SPCA Adoptathon & Meet 'n Greet

        What did I do with my weekends before the greyhounds? Was there such a time? We still have 3 fosters along with our 3 kids. I went to an SPCA Adoptathon in Prince William County on Saturday with Debbie. It was an all day affair, and we got the afternoon shift. Kris went to a Hokie night game. She didn’t end up getting back home till 2:30am. I was going to take all three fosters, but Minnie and Kay are now spoken for, so that just left Shirley. So we took Stella and Shirley as ambassadogs. The first pic is of Stella in her witch’s hat at the adoptathon.

        On Sunday, we did the Meet ‘n Greet in downtown Fredericksburg. We always get a good turnout for this one. Kay and Minnie’s new family came to visit them. They are renovating their kitchen and are waiting till it’s finished before adding greys to their family. So we will have them for a couple more weeks. There was quite a bit of interest in Shirley at both the Adoptathon yesterday and today at the Meet ‘n Greet. Hopefully we will find a good home for her soon. The second pic is of Minnie, Kay, Stella, Shirley, and Winston. Winston looks like he should be playing golf or drinking a Guinness with that hat on.

Sunday, October 15

More Fosters and Big Ol' Greyhound Party

        I was on the road in Boston this week. I came back to find that we now had 3 fosters (Shirley, Kay, Minnie) and babysitting Winston along with the our usual crew. That makes 6 greys and Parker in the house. A party by itself. The first pic is of the greys relaxing. Parker and Minnie are not in the pic. Hard to get all of them together to take a good pic.         We had a big ol’ greyhound party on Saturday. Quite a few recent adopters and people from Richmond stopped by. There were 30+ greys and Parker, Shiloh, Dante & Murphy. The pic shows people and dogs in the backyard socializing. We only had to muzzle a few of the greys who were getting a bit snippy. There were two distinct groups of dogs. There was the backyard group who spent their time sniffing the outdoors and tearing around the yard. The other group thought it much nicer to find a nice soft bed or couch inside and have people pet them and tell them how sweet they are. This is the first party that I did not work the grill. With this many people and dogs, it was just easier to pick up platters from Chick Fil-A and Costco. Quite yummy. Less work for me, and more time to socialize and enjoy the party. It got quite cold after the sun went down. For the diehard party animals, we moved the wine and dog beds down to the patio and sat by a roaring fire in the pagoda. A good time was had by all.
        Jason and Trina spent the night with their 3 kids and Goddess their foster. So that was 11 dogs total upstairs for the night. Surprisingly, they all settled in and we all got a good night’s rest. The last pic is of Jason and Trina laying with the dogs this morning. You should be able to discern 7 greys and Parker and Dante. During feeding time this morning, we got a glimpse of what it must be like to at feeding time in a kennel. When we go down to our regular crew, I’m sure the house will feel quite empty. Not that Stella, Lucas or Parker will mind. And I’m sure the kitties who are currently hiding out in the basement are counting down the days.

Monday, October 9

Florida vacation

        We drove from Va down to North Redington Beach just south of Clearwater Beach with Jason & Trina. Took about 14 hours from the house which included picking them up and several rest stops including dinner. It was a very quiet resort. Just fine by us old folks :) Mostly we sat on beach with fruity drinks. Monday night we went to the Tampa greyhound track. We bet $5 on Roar Katie Mac to win. We called Debbie so she could listen to her ‘granddaughter’ win. She won by close to 3 lengths. The girls were quite emotional about their first greyhound race experience.
        On Wed, we went to SeaWorld, and it was much better than I expected. Less amusement park, and much more aquarium than I expected. I guess b/c it was in Orlando, I thought it was connected to Disney somehow. But it’s an Anheuser-Busch theme park, so Bud and Bud Light on tap everywhere. Another baby Shamu had been born a few weeks ago, so they gave an abbreviated show. The dolphin show was like the ‘O’ water show at the Bellagio but with dolphins and whales. We had no idea that walruses and manatees were so big. That night for dinner, we had good sushi at Ren Get-su.
        On Thur, we were off to the airport to rent a Dodge Caravan since it has ‘sto ‘n go’ seats. Rental car agencies rarely guarantee a specific car, but the agent was nice enough to hold one for us. With the seats down and blankets on top, we were ready to start picking up some dogs. We stopped by the GPA/GO rescue kennel and picked up Clayton and Play (now Jasmine). They have been together for a few years, and we were lucky enough to find an adopter who requested two dogs. We stopped by the race kennels to see the other six dogs we would be picking up before heading back on Fri. We took Clay & Jasmine back to our hotel, and then we headed to the Sanford-Orlando track to see some more greyhound racing. It was too dark to get any good action pics of the dogs running.
        On Fri, we took Clay and Jasmine to the track kennels to pick up the other six. They seemed a little scared that we were going to drop them off there. We picked up New York, Xtra Kick, Gina, Goddess, Minnie the Moocher, and Kay Kiowa PSO. PSO was not on the original list... Jason and Trina drove the minivan which easily fit seven. Kris and I took Minnie in the sedan since she had a injured tail, and we didn’t want others stepping on it. The weather was nice when we left. During our 12+ hour drive back to Richmond, the weather turned cold and rainy somewhere in North Carolina. Needless to say we were tired when finally reached Richmond. We spent the night at Trina’s.
        Sat, we dropped off Clay and Jasmine at their new forever home. That left us with six greys to take to the vet in Purcellville. It was late afternoon by the time we made it back home. The roundtrip for us was just over 2000+ miles. Our babies were happy to see us. As were Hannah and Shirley our fosters. As was Aubry since she had been watching them for us all week. Good to be back home.