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Older Greyhound Becoming Impossible


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Hi, Wondering if you can help me or point me in the right direction. We have a greyhound who is 13 years old. We adopted him when he was five directly from the track. Over time, he has become increasingly close to my husband and myself. When we first got him, we did have him in obedience classes and he did great, even going through therapy dog training. He was also pretty good with most people. I, however, did not keep going to the therapy meetings with him. He was always hesitant to be around other people a little. Men more than women. Once he attached himself to me and my husband, he will no longer accept anyone else touching him or even being around. When my son lived at home, he was ok with him, but now when he comes to visit, he snaps at him. Two years ago, we were forced to take in my stepdaughters child, who was three years old at the time. We taught him not to touch our greyhound, and they do fine at a distance. However, there have been times when our grandson accidentally bumps him, or playing around, runs into him. Our grey has never bitten him, but has "freaked out" I like to say. I thought, through time, Our grey would accept our grandson. He will not. The issue we have now is, we cannot have people over to our house, our grandson cannot have friends over, and the whole situation just keeps getting worse. Our vet does not think Dancer, our grey, is aggressive, nor do we, but his actions are all fear based. He seems to do fine once he is separated from us for a little while. We have boarded him at the Vet's boarding facility and he starts out badly but improves greatly after a few days. We are at our wits end. We cannot handle walking on eggshells anymore with him and are becoming increasingly concerned about our grandson. We love Dancer more than anything, but we have to fix this problem, or give him up. The issue is, how and who do we give him to? And I certianly don't want him to go somewhere where they are not familiar with greyhounds. I also don't want him to hurt anyone. Our vet even put him on a calming medication, but it does not fix the main problem.

ANY advice you can give us would be helpful. I am actually also concerned that Dancer is not really happy here. He is very very attached to us, but I don't know if he is truly happy. I wonder if he does not feel too responsible for his family and it stresses him out.

Please let me know if you have any ideas or advice at all. I considered hiring a trainer, but, my husband just got laid off from work and is back in school, so we don't have a lot of extra money for training. At least not at this point. Thank you for reading my email and I look forward to hearing from you.

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We have tried. (sigh) He cries, barks and tries to jump over the gate to get to us. Sometimes, If people are too loud, he will retreat to our room on his own and stay there pretty much the whole time. But there is always the fear he will come down and accidentally run into someone. He bit my brother in law once and he almost bit my sister in law because he was by the refrigerator when she opened it and she got too close to him. My brother in law reached down to pet him and he was lying down. Not smart, I know, but he should not have bitten him.

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Where are you located?

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees: Aiden. Punkin. Annie. Miss M.

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, Knot Like The Others.

 

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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I'd be checking for pain, hearing and eyesight. How's his mobility? Is he arthritic? And is he still 'with it' mentally? I know our senior, Benny, who is 11, gets very spacey, needs to be close to a human of his (me or DH) or in a very safe bed with noone else near. He's having a few mobility problems and his hearing and eyesight are not what they were. And I'm expecting him to get increasingly grumpy as he gets more confused.

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I'd be checking for pain, hearing and eyesight. How's his mobility? Is he arthritic? And is he still 'with it' mentally? I know our senior, Benny, who is 11, gets very spacey, needs to be close to a human of his (me or DH) or in a very safe bed with noone else near. He's having a few mobility problems and his hearing and eyesight are not what they were. And I'm expecting him to get increasingly grumpy as he gets more confused.

This is what I was thinking. His behavior could be fear-based, but it really sounds like he may be hurting or confused, or both.

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I'm also in the Pittsburgh area. I think you should reach out to Lilian Akin. She is a positive reinforcement, rewards-based trainer who is very well-versed in greyhounds. If money is tight, I might recommend getting in touch with an adoption group, perhaps Mary Fratangelo and the folks at Going Home Greyhounds. They may be able to give you some creative advice or resources. As the others have said, I also recommend consulting your vet to make sure he's not in pain or having vision, hearing, or neurological problems.

 

Also (I don't mean this to sound harsh, just honest)... please understand the implications of giving up a 13-year-old dog. He is a family member who you've spent the last eight years of your life with. To rehome him in his senior years would be both devastating and heartbreaking. You've made a commitment to him, and it's only fair that he be allowed to live out the rest of his life with stability. If that means your kids and grandkids have to work extra hard at making things quiet and comfortable, or that you stretch your budget to get more specialized training and vet care, that's what should be done. Behavior and health problems aside, there are so many people on this thread that would kill for an extra day with their senior greyhounds. :cry1

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Also (I don't mean this to sound harsh, just honest)... please understand the implications of giving up a 13-year-old dog. He is a family member who you've spent the last eight years of your life with. To rehome him in his senior years would be both devastating and heartbreaking. You've made a commitment to him, and it's only fair that he be allowed to live out the rest of his life with stability. If that means your kids and grandkids have to work extra hard at making things quiet and comfortable, or that you stretch your budget to get more specialized training and vet care, that's what should be done. Behavior and health problems aside, there are so many people on this thread that would kill for an extra day with their senior greyhounds. :cry1

 

 

This, too. Thanks for having the guts to say it. A dog of that age with those issues would be incredibly difficult to rehome. I think you are probably faced with either keeping him safe and comfortable or putting him down. And you would need to do that at home, with you there. Because as someone who pulled her senior out of the pound where his family had left him, I know how terrifying those places are for all dogs, but particularly for a senior who is confused, hurting, and scared and whose family has vanished.

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A Greyhound specific muzzle would be a helpful safety tool for Dancer to wear when you have visitors. http://www.gemgreyhounds.org/GEM-Store/category/muzzle/
(Greyhounds can still pant and drink water with this type of muzzle.)
A large crate (or covered exercise pen) with a thick dog bed set-up in a far corner of the most used family room could provide Dancer a temporary, protected, safe space while feeling part of the family when it's not noisy. (Practice by leaving crate/pen door open for easy access and feed meals in crate so Dancer begins to associate that space as a positive, happy, comfortable space when visitors are not present.)
Just like with people, aches, pains, cloudy vision, etc. are common reasons for changing behaviors. Some medications meant to calm dogs result in the opposite affect in individual Greyhounds, making them more sensitive to their environment. If pain is an issue, pain medications can help a lot.
Ultimately, if you're unable to provide Dancer a safe, healthy home environment, please do reach out to retired racing Greyhound adoption groups in your area. There WILL be a Greyhound group who will accept and safely rehome Dancer into a sighthound educated family.
Here is a complete list of adoption groups in your area: http://www.adopt-a-greyhound.org/directory/list.cfm?usState=pa
If needed as a last resort, Greyhound groups outside of your region could help too.
Personally, having our eldest 12, 13 and 14 year old Greyhounds, we think in terms of their natural lifespan lasting in days, weeks or months vs. years. Valuing each day as a temporary gift helps us handle their changing needs with loving patience. Our eldest Greyhounds are not as comfortable with many visitors, so we temporarily limit visitors to reduce the hounds' stress level. We know our slight inconvenience won't last long... A 13 year old hound is equivalent to an 82 year old human. A hound's 14th birthday = 88 year old human. Each month thereafter equates to approx. 5 months in human time. Greyhounds reaching 15 (+) are not as common as we'd hope.

 

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Might be worth trying an exercise pen so he can stay in the area you're hanging out in and see what you're doing, without danger of being bumped etc.

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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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While I understand re-homing a senior Grey is a sensitive issue, let's all take the opportunity to help solve this situation as best possible. Many pet owners would not reach out like this person has and would have taken the dog already to the humane society or worse put them down. From what the owner has written they are sensitive to their pup and do want the best for him.

 

There has been some good advice so far. I don't have much to add and wish you can solve this the best way possible. A muzzle is a very good short-term recommendation as he has already bitten someone once and you certainly don't want anyone else being bitten. Also the suggestion that perhaps he has a health issue may be very valid because if he is in any pain, he will be stoic but will react if he feels in way he'll get hurt.

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I agree that you should contact Lilian Akin. I spoke with her about one of my dogs once and she was very helpful. Also agree about contacting Going Home Greyhounds as they might be of help. But definitely get him completely checked by a vet first. There is a very greyhound-savvy vet practice in Wexford. I can supply their phone number if you'd like.

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To all: Please understand I do not want to give up my greyhound. I cannot tell you how much I love this guy and I have been in tears numerous times just thinking about it. The situation is very difficult and I just don't know what to do. As far as medical, Yes, he has been checked out, I have addressed these concerns with his vet. We take Dancer to a vet in West Virginia and we are very close to him, he is an excellent vet and takes care of many greyhounds from the track in Wheeling. We drive an hour and a half for him to go there, even to get his nails trimmed! Dancer is always fed the top foods and given the best of care. Dancer has had some medical problems in the past (an infection/surgery on his leg/toe) but he is actually doing really well. He does have arthritis, I have a chewable for that. And yes, we certainly try the gating, keeping him away from people, explaining that they cannot touch him, etc.. AS far as being comfortable, you will not find a more spoiled greyhound. He has three beds and about ten blankets we have given him. We get up in the middle of the night to cover him when he is cold, he has several custom coats and sweaters and jammies...This child is definately loved. My concern is also about him. I'm not sure he is happy since he is so coveting of us all the time. IS he overly stressed being with us since he seems to do better when we are not around and we take him to the kennel. Is he protecting the house and us? I don;t know. I will try to reach out to Lillian, perhaps that is the best idea. Thank you all for your responses.


We also have two muzzles. He hates them and spends the entire time trying to get them off of his face anytime he has them on. Except at the vet. We do put them on at the vet. But when he is home, even if people are there, he just rubs around on everything.... Ugh.

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You have received lots of good advice and suggestions. Please weigh everything carefully. If you do decide that you want to rehome Dancer, I am happy to talk with you. You don't yet have enough posts to PM, do you have an email address? I really miss having a super senior in our camp. It is coming up on two years next month that Seamie left. The oldest at home now is Trevor, who is almost 11, then Bea who will be nine, and the two young'uns (who somehow are turning seven this year lol). Our seniors are a gift and 13 is an incredible age. Again, take some time and think carefully about what you would like to do.

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees: Aiden. Punkin. Annie. Miss M.

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, Knot Like The Others.

 

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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You might want to see if the greyhound group has a foster home that could take him for a few days (maybe a week) with minimal interactions with him so as to keep the fear reactions as low as possible. This would provide a second opinion on his behavior and whether what you are seeing in your house is also happening at the foster's house.

 

Realistically, I'm not sure how training will help a 13 year old and what the goals of the training would be. It would be different if he was younger and if the fear was not as pronounced as you are stating. Bringing a trainer in would just be another person for him to be afraid of and to have to work out the fear before even getting to the issues you are seeing. While the fear to the trainer might be the same as the fear reaction to the strange people in the house, it may not be.

 

It sounds like the child is now 5 years old and children that age would need constant supervision around any dog and that would not matter which dog it was - each dog can have a bite reaction. I might be reading this incorrectly but, It sounds like your dog has gotten worse as the child has grown and the dog now showing fear/anger reactions to all strange people. It sounds like the household has too much activity now for an aging dog that is not as quick as he used to be and not able to "get out of the way.

 

You might be able to find someone to take the dog for the rest of his life but, there are not many people that will take a 13 year old dog - but there are some people like that out there. You could consider offering to pay the dog's monthly expenses and the vet bills for his "last trip to the vet".

 

The only reason that I mention this is that you need to do a realistic assessment of what you and the dog can accomplish given the situation as it is.

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Yes, our little one is five. He is extremely well behaved though and he loves Dancer. The problem is, he's afraid of Dancer so he keeps his distance. He's been good. We don;t ahve people over because we don;t want DAncer tog et upset so our house is relatively calm. We did lose our cat about a year ago, so Dancer is now home alone while we are at wrok. I don;t knwo if that matters.

 

 

 

This, too. Thanks for having the guts to say it. A dog of that age with those issues would be incredibly difficult to rehome. I think you are probably faced with either keeping him safe and comfortable or putting him down. And you would need to do that at home, with you there. Because as someone who pulled her senior out of the pound where his family had left him, I know how terrifying those places are for all dogs, but particularly for a senior who is confused, hurting, and scared and whose family has vanished.

No. I would never put him in the pound, or even think about leaving him. I have written to the greyhound groups in this area and they were not willing to get involved.

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This is what I was thinking. His behavior could be fear-based, but it really sounds like he may be hurting or confused, or both.

Surprisingly, I don't think that's it. He's actually very healthy. He has arthritis in a toe due to an injury from racing and an infection that ensued when he broke the other toe (same foot) a few years back. But other than that, he runs around when I get home like a puppy. Does circles, jumps and is a lovely rooer. lol. Our vet checked him from head to toe and the arthritis was the only thing he found. Weight is good, stature is good, he is lovely.

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Make sure that he has a safe place. A space he can call his own, and only his. See if you can borrow a crate if you don't have one, and put it in a quiet part of the house. Let him retreat there if he needs to, and make it clear to visitors, children etc that the crate is completely off limits. My concern would be that he retreats to the crate and becomes hard to get out of it, but it may also confirm that he just needs a space to call his own. (I realize he has beds etc, but he may identify with a crate or an x-pen a little more from his days at the track.) Throw some blankets over it to give him a man cave.

 

I doubt he is truly happier at the kennel. It may make him very happy to go to the kennel as a diversion or as his "vacation." He is going to get to play with his buddies and will show that excitement when he does.

 

Rocket loves going to the kennel where only greys are boarded. He could care less if we leave him there and for how long and ignores us from the moment we get there, could care less when we leave, but he is always happy to come home too. I think he looks at it as going to see his buddies. He will walk around to every crate when he gets there to see everyone and will just about pull our arms off to get into the building. Try not to read into that, because this is how he grew up and lived several years of his life. It seems to be sort of a homecoming for him when we boarded him at the Greyhound Resort.

 

I think it's great that you are able to reach out and ask these questions. It is the most selfless thing you can do for your hound. Also remember that he is 13 and may well just be getting old and crotchety like the rest of us. I hope that he is not in any pain and unable to let you know, While it doesn't sound like that's the case, that is what would be in the back of my mind. Rocket has recently started cutting his walks in half on his own. I know that one of his legs hurts from time to time, but xrays are clear and he has a very clean bill of health. i have to assume that the changes are age related and deal with them as best we can. I really think you might just be dealing with a hound who is showing his age, but like you, I would be checking every other possibility before I accepted it as "the way it is" just to rule out anything medical and to figure out what, if anything can be done to make his remaining time the best that it can possibly be. It sounds like he has had a great life with you, and ultimately that all that each of want for our hounds.

 

Best of luck to your family and Dancer as you work through this.

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Always missing my boy Hi Noon Rocket. The home of Petunia, MW Neptunia and Kate, Miss Kate.

Don't believe everything you read on the internet. - Abraham Lincoln

 

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Thank you. Yes, it might be "it is what it is" He does not like other dogs, either, even greyhounds. lol. He goes to the "camp" and is most comfortable with the people, once he allows them to touch him and I leave.

We love him. I think we'll just deal with it best we can.

Thanks for the advice.

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You have received lots of good advice and suggestions. Please weigh everything carefully. If you do decide that you want to rehome Dancer, I am happy to talk with you. You don't yet have enough posts to PM, do you have an email address? I really miss having a super senior in our camp. It is coming up on two years next month that Seamie left. The oldest at home now is Trevor, who is almost 11, then Bea who will be nine, and the two young'uns (who somehow are turning seven this year lol). Our seniors are a gift and 13 is an incredible age. Again, take some time and think carefully about what you would like to do.

I can vouch that FiveRoooooers is one of the most awesome greyhound homes out there if you go that route! I'd send any of mine to live with her any day. Heck, I'd send myself!!

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Wingnut (DC Wingnut), Voo Doo (Voo Doo von Bonz), Barb (Myokie Barb) & Romey (Nose Stradamus)
at the bridge Molly (CM Blondie) 9/8/14, Maddy (Reuniting) 10/17/13, Rocky (Ranco Popeye) 1/7/12, Mimi (Flying Ringneck) 8/13/09 and RJ (RJ What For) 5/3/05

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I'd send any of mine to live with her any day. Heck, I'd send myself!!

:lol:blush Thank you. I just wanted to give the OP an option to consider for rehoming if it got to that point with Dancer. I hope they can work out the situation for their old fellow.

 

We love Dancer more than anything, but we have to fix this problem, or give him up. The issue is, how and who do we give him to? I have written to the greyhound groups in this area and they were not willing to get involved.

 

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees: Aiden. Punkin. Annie. Miss M.

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, Knot Like The Others.

 

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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I can vouch that FiveRoooooers is one of the most awesome greyhound homes out there if you go that route! I'd send any of mine to live with her any day. Heck, I'd send myself!!

 

I think everyone on this forum will second that. There are people here who work wonders with seniors and those who are a little different or have special needs. If it comes down to re-homing, then that's the right time to have that conversation with FiveRoooooers and/or anyone else who has a great deal of experience with Senior Hounds and their issues.

 

No one here will give up on any hound, but we all know that sometimes the only viable solution is rehoming. If it comes down to that after exhausting all possibilities, or becomes necessary due to safety, there are folks here who can help you, but we are never the first choice simply because it is best to exhaust the local adoption groups and other resources where there is a more centralized support system and multiple people who can help in a geographic area. It is never out of the question for a dog to end up being transported to a new home across the country if necessary, but exhausting other local options first often resolves everything and is much easier on all concerned. Note that no one wants to wait for a child to be bitten, but you need to be reasonably certain that it's a real possibility so that you aren;t constantly second guessing a decision to rehome your hound after he's gone to that new home.

 

Please keep us informed as things progress, and don't ever be afraid to ask for help here. It is too easy to think that someone is criticizing you in a written response, when in fact it can just be a bad choice of word placement that makes it sound that way. No one here is going to take away your dog. Only you can ultimately make that decision if it ends up being best for all concerned or becomes a true safety issue where the hound absolutely cannot be in the house with a child.

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Always missing my boy Hi Noon Rocket. The home of Petunia, MW Neptunia and Kate, Miss Kate.

Don't believe everything you read on the internet. - Abraham Lincoln

 

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Rather than a prescription medicine which would take a long time to have an effect, how about Richard's Organic Pet Calm? Very reasonably priced @ $15 on Amazon. I use it for my thunder-phobic dogs. Lasts for a few hours and works better than Rescue Remedy.

 

Wishing you hope for Dancer for whichever path you choose. The majority of the greyhounds who have come to my home were very very old boys. I'm much further away from you than FiveRooooers, but I too would vouch for her.

 

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You have received lots of good advice and suggestions. Please weigh everything carefully. If you do decide that you want to rehome Dancer, I am happy to talk with you. You don't yet have enough posts to PM, do you have an email address? I really miss having a super senior in our camp. It is coming up on two years next month that Seamie left. The oldest at home now is Trevor, who is almost 11, then Bea who will be nine, and the two young'uns (who somehow are turning seven this year lol). Our seniors are a gift and 13 is an incredible age. Again, take some time and think carefully about what you would like to do.

:heart

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