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Guest BeardedDogLady

A Completely Different Dog

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Guest BeardedDogLady

I fostered Kit, a three-year-old female, when she first came off the track in March of this year. She was quite nervous when she came to me and I learned right away that she had a fear of men. As she calmed down, she took a liking to me. She was a sweet, yet more subtly affectionate dog. She always followed me around and she would sit next to me on the couch with her head laying on me. She discovered her love of plush toys and would play all the time. As I was trying to expose her to as many types of people as I could, I learned that she did like women and children. She was actually wonderful with children. From the day that she met my mom's boyfriend's kids (ages seven and nine), she let them hug her and walk her and she would take naps with them. She was really calm and relaxed around my little cousins, too (ages one, five, and seven). I thought that she'd be a great therapy dog for children. By the end of the month, I had made the decision to adopt her. Later that week, while visiting my mom's house, my mom's cat was sitting in a chair when Kit walked up to her and bit her. The cat wasn't injured but after that, I didn't feel comfortable having Kit around the cats. I'd seen how Kit plays with her plush toys and I couldn't risk the chance of her doing the same to my mom's cat. It was hard but I made the decision that Kit needed to be in a home without cats.

In April, Kit left me and went to stay in a different foster home. Later that month, I was really regretting my decision to give her up. I asked for her back but the rescue had already promised her to another home. At the beginning of May, our rescue organization had an event. Kit was still with the other foster family and came to the event. I was able to spent the entire day with her, pretending that she was my dog again. We interacted with many different people and Greyhounds and she was not afraid at all. Sadly, I had to say goodbye to her again. Shortly after, Kit went on a visit to her potential home. I had given up on ever getting her back and it crushed me.

In early June, I got a phone call telling me that it did not work out with Kit's potential home. I was shocked. I didn't hesitate to take her back. I knew that there was a huge possibility that she could've developed some more behavioral issues after being bounced around but I was just so happy to have her again. I expected that it would take some time for her to open up to me again but I didn't think that she would be a completely different dog. Here's some of the things that have changed since she's been back:

- She seems more afraid of men than ever. Whenever my dad and brother return home, she barks at them while avoiding eye contact and backing away. She hides in her crate whenever they come in the room. Before she had left me, she had made so much progress on her interactions with them and would actually walk up to them to be petted but now it is back to square one.
- She's now afraid of almost all strangers, including women and children. There are very few people that I've had her interact with since she's been back that she's actually been okay with.
- She is now completely terrified of children, including those who she had previously spent a lot of time with. She'll try to get as far away as possible if she's near any. I took her with me to visit my mom's boyfriend's kids and she refused to be around them. She wouldn't even let them get close to her. While the children played outside, she hid in the backseat of the car for the duration of the visit.
- When she came back to me, she was almost completely bald on her neck, stomach, and thighs, along with some other bald spots. She had been completely furry when I first got her.
- She used to walk really well and she liked to go on walks. She still gets excited when I grab the leash but once she gets outside, she doesn't like to be out there. She freezes (with no obvious trigger) and refuses to walk.
- She could now go for days without touching her toys.
- One of the things that upsets me the most is that now many days, she acts like she wants absolutely nothing to do with me. She'll spend most of the day just sitting in her crate, in the far corner of the room (instead of on the couch or her dog bed). If she does happen to sit on the couch and if I go to sit next to her, she gets up and leaves. If I try to interact with her she avoids eye contact, licks her lips, and starts panting. She's been back for over two months and she's only laid her head on me once.
- Overall, she is just very anxious and lethargic dog now.

 

I did adopt her and I've been working with a trainer but instead of making progress, it seems that Kit is getting worse. For the first month or so, I was just so blissful from having her back but now I am just so upset because I feel like she is a completely different dog than the one I had missed so much. It makes me so sad because I don't know why she has become like this and I feel that nothing that I am doing is making it any better. I just want her to be comfortable again.

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You don't mention it, but the very first thing to do is a vet visit for a complete check up, including a complete thyroid panel, along with the normal bloodwork. It's possible that she may be hypothyroid, which can cause the cosmetic changes you noticed, and the behavioral changes. Know that most greyhounds have extremely low thyroid levels naturally, which is why you need to run a complete panel, not just a T4. Do a search in the Health and Medical section for one of the many threads about thyroid values. If she does have low thyroid, it will be a fairly easy fix and she should be back on the right track once she gets the proper supplementation on board.

 

Otherwise, it sounds like you need to forget she was at your house previously and just start all over at the beginning as if she was a new foster with no preconceived thoughts about how she will act and behave. This is the dog you have now, no matter what the cause is, and this is the one who really needs you.

 

Don't overload her with training and exposure. Let things progress at her own pace. Make sure she eats and drinks, and is eliminating on a fairly set schedule. Sit with her quietly, read out loud, throw her a yummy treat every once in a while, hand feed her if she will let you. Don't wory about walking her or taking her places until you get her sorted out medically.

 

What is the trainer you hired having you do with her? Is this trainer using all positive reinforcement? How is she responding to training?

Edited by greysmom

Chris - Mom to: Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Lilly, and Felicity ( DeLand )

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), and Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby),

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What Walliered said.

 

FWIW, when a new dog comes here, fearful/anxious or not, we start out making very few demands: Don't bite the people, start learning to potty outside, and start learning to go up and down stairs. We let the dog tell/show us when he or she is ready for more. Some want to go for a walk from day one, some don't want to go much of anywhere for a couple months. Some want scritchies and cuddling early on, some need to chill out in their safe spot and observe everything for weeks before they want to interact much.

 

I have had some fearful/anxious dogs who benefitted from positive "obedience" training early on, and I have had some who I felt wouldn't benefit. Can be a tough call.


Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest BeardedDogLady

I took her to the vets last week. They did the normal bloodwork and that came back fine. I also requested to have her thyroid checked. I'm not sure if it was a full panel though. Those results haven't come back yet.

 

I'm working with a trainer that only uses positive reinforcement. The trainer originally thought that we should try to deal with some of Kit's fears before we did any obedience work. First, we were going to try to deal with her fear of my dad and brother but they didn't want to be inconvienced with taking part in that. So then we decided we'd work on some exercises that involved strangers (such as "don't let them pet her, have them toss some treats to her feet") and basic obedience (sit, down, come). Most of the exercises involve her being close to some of the things she fears but not so close that she tries to flee and having her associate the scary thing with a good thing, like food which she loves. Instead of making progress, we're either at a stand still or getting worse. That's when the trainer told me that I should take her to the vets (I had already reached that conclusion and had made an appointment) so that's where we're at now.

 

She's already used to the basics of home life such as going potty outside on schedule, the stairs, floors, etc. I have to take her on walks because that is the only opportunity she has to potty and get exercise (no fenced yard). Should completely ignore her (other than feeding time and potty time) and give her her space or try to do actvities that would increase bonding? If I should try to increase bonding, what activities or exercises should I do?

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Thyroid panel first.


gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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I guess she needs more time to feel comfortable with you because she lost so many homes in such a short time. Eveytime she bonds with a human she has to leave. She does not seem like a confident dog so she has more trouble with the changes in her life.

I would start with letting her be with you. She has to learn that she can trust you. It will take time. When I got Andy he had given himself up. I needed nearly 2 years for him to bond with me. He would walk with me, cuddle with me but always with an emotional distance. I even thouht he didn't know how to wag his tail.

Boy was I wrong. He is a funny boy, all wiggly-waggly. But he needed his time.


Sorry for butchering the english language. I try to keep the mistakes to a minimum.

 

Nadine with Andy (Riot Officer), Paddy (Zippy Mullane), Saoirse (Lizzie Be Nice) and bridge angel Colin (Dessies Hero).

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Guest Amber

What a shame. Nothing to add really except when you said she went bald and was lethargic and irritable, it too did make me wonder about thyroid. Though i guess stress could produce the same symptoms too.

 

i agree, wait for the thyroid panel before anything else.

 

If it comes back totally normal, it might be worth investing in a good, reputable behaviourist to have a look at her. She has been through a lot of changes, so I'm sure this is a temporary blip and her confidence can be built up again, but it would be helpful for you to have tne support of a good trainer who understands canine behaviour or a behaviorist (as lpmg as it's an up to date person who relates to dogs in a good way).

 

Otherwise if none of that applies, maybe it will just take time for her to settle down again. In which case, you just need to go slow at her own pace and not put the expectation on her of the ' dog she was'.

 

Hope it works out, sounds a tough situation, as i sense you feel a bit guilty for letting her go. But you've got her back now!

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Guest BeardedDogLady

Kit's thyroid test came back normal.

 

I feel like she just keeps getting worse. She's even growled at me a couple times.

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Can you describe what a normal day is like for her? And what is going on when she growls?


Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest BeardedDogLady

I take her out to potty and then I feed her, when we first wake up. Then she rests in her crate for about an hour. When she's done resting, we go out for a longer walk. I'm disabled and don't work so I'm at home most days. Some days I have appointments and will leave her alone for a couple hours. Other than that, we just hang out around the house. She'll be in her crate, not paying any attention to me. We might go for another walk or I'll try to get her to play or do some obedience with her. Then, in the evening, we do the same food, rest, potty routine. On weekends, we go up to a campground or might just ride around in the car while family members run errands.

 

She growled at me when I tried to hug her. She used to like it.

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Guest xengab

I agree with others, you need to not assume to know her. Not sure what happened while she was gone but the past is the past.

 

I was also told that hugging takes lots of trust from your dog. You are basically holding it so it can't move freely. We got told to not hug the dog for a good 3 months until you have started a bond with it. (my dog didnt get that memo and makes us hug him by putting his head between my arm and body.) I let him start it.

 

I wonder if the dog thinks you'll give him away again, like the others have.

My thoughts on the balding is, could it be from an ill fitting harness?

 

Best of luck with your hound. Trust takes time and keeping to a good routine is what I've been told to expect.

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Guest BeardedDogLady

I believe she got tested for Lyme which came back negative.

 

She's never been walked on a harness, even in the other homes.

 

Now the trainer told me that she thinks that Kit might do better in a different home.

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Did you get any info from the home that gave her up? Were they having similar issues? Something seems pretty wrong here and it doesn't sound to me like it's just your house. Any history of something traumatic? Has she been fully checked out medically (I wonder if she's in a lot of pain and hiding it well)?

 

Or did you perhaps misread her body language the first time around? She may have just been tolerating things you thought she enjoyed and not vocalizing her dislike because she was new and timid. I really don't know, far too little info and we're not seeing her behavior, but the disconnect between them and now while not unheard of is unusual. :dunno


gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Guest GreyOrchard

I feel very sorry for your girl, as it is clear she has been traumatized. There is a difference between being a little shy or fearful, and being traumatized. If only she could talk, she would tell you the hell she has been through.

 

There is no quick fix for this. Be patient, be undemanding. Try the "less is more" approach, where, if you are sitting down and giving her a little pat, the moment she seems to enjoy it, stop. Wait, She will either walk away or ask for more. This asking will be the beginning of recommunication with you. She is really suffering now, and needs you to patiently guide her out of it. Being too passive or too active will not have much positive result. Here and there a quick scratch on the throat or chest, stroking the "mommy spot" or an ear rub with a quick withdrawal can reawaken her ability to communicate with you. Poor darling. Would love to hear about her progress.

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Guest BeardedDogLady

I don't know too much about the home that gave her up. I do know it was an older woman who lived alone (no other people or pets) in a small country town. The reason that the woman gave Kit up was that she realized that Greyhounds weren't the right breed for her. I also know that the issues with walking started when Kit was there. I don't know anything about how Kit's interactions with humans were when she was there. I do know Kit had interacted with the woman's family members but I don't know how she did.

 

I don't know much about Kit's history before me. She did race. She also had heartworm when she came of the track and was treated for that.

 

She's been to the vets multiple times. Although, just like with humans, most things don't show up in a basic checkup. You have to tell the doctor how you've been feeling and the symptoms that you've had. Then they can treat your problems or send you for tests. But dogs can't tell the vet how they've been feeling. I've mentioned any physical symptom that I've noticed and I did mention some of the behavioral issues that have been going on. I've asked the vet if there was any medical condition that could explain why Kit has been acting this way but she told me that it was probably just a behavioral thing.

 

I don't know if I read her body language wrong the first time. I don't think I did. I do remember her panting a lot during the first two weeks that I had her. After that, she calmed down. Well, she wasn't completely calm. She's a stubborn little dog and was afraid of the floor. As long as we weren't trying to make her walk on floors that she didn't like or do anything else that she didn't want to do, she was calm and relaxed. A lot of the behavioral signs that she's been doing this time around, I don't recall her doing the first time that I had her. What makes this whole situation even worse is that none of my family members have been very supportive about all of this. They've called me crazy for paying attention to Kit's body language. I'm sure that these people would pay attention to signs such as growling or tail wagging so why is paying attention to more subtle (or less known) body language, such as out of place panting and lip licking, seen as being nutty. If I didn't pay attention to that, I'd feel like a terrible dog person. Dogs can't speak English so paying attention to their body language and how they act is my only window into figuring out how they truly feel.

 

As things keeps getting worse, I keep going back and forth in my mind whether or not I think she'd be better in a different home. I'm not happy and she's not happy either.

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Or did you perhaps misread her body language the first time around? She may have just been tolerating things you thought she enjoyed and not vocalizing her dislike because she was new and timid. I really don't know, far too little info and we're not seeing her behavior, but the disconnect between them and now while not unheard of is unusual. :dunno

 

I wonder this too? My dogs tolerated a lot of stuff in the beginning. Then, once they'd been around for awhile, they got some confidence and realized they could say no to things they didn't like. Henry was very patient with kids in those first few months. I thought the same thing- he'd be a good therapy dog with kids! Fast forward a few years, and he avoids kids like the plague. Absolutely hates them.

 

In any event, I agree that this dog will probably more time to adjust, because she's been bounced a few times before and needs time, structure, and stability to build trust. It's human nature to want to do double-duty to console and "fix" a fearful dog. The best thing you can do right now is give her space. I can see how it's disappointing, especially if you have this overarching expectation that she'll go back to how she was before. But ask anyone who has had the privilege of working with a shy, fearful dog. The end result is so worth it.


2vs2tdx.jpg

Alicia, Sterling, & the boys: Truman (AKC Mystery of Andarab), Wolfgang (Blue Alec), and the world's smallest greyhounds, Boogie & the Meez.

Forever missing my one-in-a-million tripawd, Henry (Rico's Dexter) | 12/20/2007 - 10/4/2015. My good boy, until we meet again.

For unique greyhound merch, visit my shops at: www.wetherbymartingaleco.etsy.com & http://www.wetherbysapparel.etsy.com

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As things keeps getting worse, I keep going back and forth in my mind whether or not I think she'd be better in a different home. I'm not happy and she's not happy either.

I may sound mean but that is not my intention. I'm just not good enough with the language to write down my thoughts more diplomatically.

Every time she came to a new home your dog tried to bond with the humans there. Everytime she was turned down. She will need a long time to learn to trust again. And it was you who turned her down, too. It is always said that dogs live in the present, but I'm sure they know exactly what happened and they remember. When you want to keep her than you need patience, patience and a lot more patience. We are not talking weeks, more a year or more time. If you do not feel able to do this and it is completely understandable because it will be difficult and you will experience setbacks, than give her up better today than tomorrow. Everyone who will get her after you has to battle the same problems, even more so.

But let me tell you this. At this moment while I'm writing these sentences there is a big black grey cuddling next to me on the sofa. I got him almost 4 years ago. His former owner got him from my rescue group and returned him because she got pregnant and feared he would bite her.

I took him in. And he tried to bite me several times whenever he felt overwhelmed. He had a bad case of SA, couldn't be alone more than 45 minutes. He let me pet him but never came to me for attention. It took me two years to earn his trust. He now is the most cuddly and trusting dog I ever met. I am so proud to be the one he chose to trust in after all those failures.

It took time and much work but the result is worth all of it. It was not about me being happy with him. It was a challenge and it had to be done... for him... and for me. It made me a different person, more sensitive, more understanding... a better greyhound mom.


Sorry for butchering the english language. I try to keep the mistakes to a minimum.

 

Nadine with Andy (Riot Officer), Paddy (Zippy Mullane), Saoirse (Lizzie Be Nice) and bridge angel Colin (Dessies Hero).

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Sounds like you should just let her be for now and not do so much so fast. She has had a lot of changes in a short time.

 

 

Just wanted to say this as Walliered did

Time

Leave her alone-- no training, just walking to let her potty, and IF she wants to walk, then walk more... give her time to know this is home and safe. So let her be in her crate... don't hug her... just BE with her and let her get confidence that this situation will stay.

 

This could take months, not days

But I think she just needs quiet time


Amy and Tim in Beverly, MA, with Chase and Always missing Kingsley (Drama King) and Ruby (KB's Bee Bopper).

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Guest k9soul

I have a multi-bounce hound that I had so many doubts about during his first year or so with me. He wasn't as afraid as your girl but he would suddenly stiffen up and growl just while petting him at times, and he had severe sleep startle, resource guarding, and some space guarding. He came to me after three homes and two long-term fosters, so he lived for a time in a total of five homes and mine was the sixth.

 

I will admit I was rather intimidated by him and was plagued by doubts off and on for a long time, but ever so gradually, he relaxed more and more, and slowly but surely his insecure behaviors diminished. It was not a matter of weeks though, it was months. Even after he had been here a year, he still had bouts of sudden insecurity that made him wary. I found he really truly transformed the most during his second year here. His trust in me is complete now and it's amazing the dog he has become. I'm so very glad I stuck it out. The times I considered giving up, I would just think about all the bouncing around he had had and all the insecurities, and I couldn't bear to do that do him yet again.

 

In my case, I simply worked on trust and bonding. Thankfully he is very food motivated, so it was easy to keep a treat pouch on me and give him treats whenever I approached his lying down spot, or his food bowl, or sometimes when he came up to me. I never raised my voice at him, never tried to take away a treat once I gave it to him, and when I did need to take something away I offered him something better in return. Basically I just worked on bonding and trust and made few demands of him, and it was a very slow and gradual thing but he is a completely different dog now.

 

The other day, I gave all my dogs some marrow bones and then settled down to read my book awhile. Rudy walked in with his bone and curled up next to me to chew on it. What an amazing transformation from when he bristled up and growled when I simply entered the same room where he was chewing his first bone :).

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I completely agree about the trust thing. Our first male greyhound was bounced twice before we got him, and he did a lot of growling at us in the first six months, maybe even a year. It was always when we got in his "space" too much and hugging was way too much for him. After awhile he was fine with it and was very affectionate, even cuddly. I am convinced that he just needed time to trust us, to know that he was with us forever and we weren't going to "take him back". He was still very selective about WHO could hug him; for example my sister always tried but always got a little growl--he just didn't see her often enough to think of her as "family". But he turned out to be a totally awesome dog--it just took some time. It's hard to know what goes through their minds when they're bounced around a couple of times. Patience is your friend. :)


Phoebe (Belle's Sweetpea) adopted 9/2/13.

Jack (BTR Captain Jack) 9/28/05--11/2/12
Always missing Buddy, Ruby, and Rascal.

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I agree with SPD Doggie, and others.

Time.

Love.

It takes love to give that time without expectations of a fix, especially a quick fix.

When my boy came to me in the first few months, there was a very nasty incident with my Mums cat.(we were visiting at the time, and he was on a lead)

The cat was on the chair unseen by human eyes behind a table cloth, but being a "sight hound" with that age old instinct. Well it was terrible, not fatal, but horrendous..

Are you sure that you're not harboring any nervousness that may be contributing?

I was shocked deeply by what happened and it took time to get over it in any way.

The medical check and making sure there are no underlining health issues of course.

But give her time.

I do hope it works out for you both. There's been huge changes for your greyhound and you.

Over two years later my boy is such a different dog, so loving, fun and filled with character. SO different from those early days.

Life is so different for each of us, the unconditional love I believe is not just what our hounds give to us. But what we give to them, reserves of love we sometime don't know are there.

Cat safe he's not, and despite the great sucess that some have in this area, not all greyhound are.

Dearly hope you both have many happy years ahead. As rascalsmon put it so wonderfully.

 

Patience is your friend…….

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Guest GreyOrchard

Progress will be slow and subtle. Be patient. Right now, you really are the best home for her, because it was with you that she had a positive experience as a foster dog. No one else can give her that but you. Just let her re-learn that you are not one of "them", whoever "they" are. The person who returned her with the reasoning that a greyhound just wasn't for her is not a good enough reason. Something happened that she will never admit to. A dog does not become that traumatized for no reason. She was very very badly treated. In about 2 weeks you will see her begin to brighten up. You might want to give her food that are high in niacin and thiamine, which is very good for the central nervous system. A small bowl of oatmeal with a splash of yogurt or milk would be very good....it might become a daily treat she looks forward to. Routine and patience is what she needs right now.

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