Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Greyhound heaven

Kassa and I went for a walk at Crocket Park after work last night. These events have a positive correlation with the event of having NO pet pickup bags left in the house. Luckily the park is well equipped. Well just minutes after arriving we rounded a bend and there they were. All the makings of greyhound heaven except one small thing of course.. the leash.

These deer were fearless. The let us get maybe 15 feet from them. Kassa was calm but interested. Another park dweller came by and commented how good he was with the deer. Turns how she had a greyhound pack of her own at home.

After that we walked up the trail and WACK!. About a foot behind me a walnut dropped. I thought someone threw something at us. Of course this just re-enforced the notion that walnuts are big tennis balls. Of course they don't TASTE like tennis balls so we got past that ok.

Another good thing about the park is when you leave your portable bowl in the car (again) you can always use a pickup bag as a make shift bowl. Kassa wasn't very thirsty, but for some reason I always think I know that he SHOULD be thirsty and dump the remaining water on him to cool him down.

Monday, August 30, 2010


I think Kassa should have an indoor name and an outdoor name. I'm thinking "Super-Chill" or maybe "The Big Easy" as his indoor name. For a high prey drive boy he is the calmest creature I have ever witnessed indoors. Kassa does not seem to let anything bother him. I can run the vacuum right under his feet while he is sleeping on the couch and he doesn't even look up. I mean why would he. There is no chance that the vacuum will give him a treat right. Kassa even knows to go to the couch when I'm cleaning because I need to move his bed. He can hear a container of yogurt or the fish oil capsule bottle open from any room in the house. He can even seem to identify if I'm opening the drawer with the treats in it vs any other drawer. Those are good reasons to look up or even displace himself from his current location. I don't want to give the impression that he is depressed of course. He seems quite cheerful actually. I think either he his just confident that I wouldn't allow anything to hurt him and he is completely safe OR confident that nothing in this universe could possibly hurt him because he is indestructible. He is only 4 after all :).

Thursday, August 26, 2010


How to make friends and influence dogs.

Greyhounds or Graze-hounds


Who's your daddy

Memories: The morning after.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Helicopter Butt

Have you ever wondered at the marvel of the greyhound tail. What is its purpose other than placing large dents in drywall (as my buddy Warior's parents can attest to). Now I am sure that I could google it up and discover the scientic theories behind it however for my purposes I find it much more enjoyable to speculate. Cows have tails seemingly for swatting flies. If that is the reason for the greyhound tail I have to wonder what kind of gynormous insects they were battling. Also greyhounds seem to be pretty good at contorting themselves so that they can access all corners of their beings and so I have to wonder if the tail has some other purpose.

Since I started taking Kassa to the location we will name as "the public fenced area where no other dogs are playing, but it is legal for dogs to play". I noticed that when he is in need of a quick decelleration he circles his tail furiously like a hellicpoter blade. I tried to video the phenominon this morning but of course non of the video depicted it well. This could be also because I try not to put him in situations where he has no out, making it extra hard to film. Kassa can swing his rear appendage so quickly that I think he may achieve liftoff. Has anyone else noticed this in their hounds?

Kassa jumping for the ball

Kassa running and decelerating from a distance

Zoomed in but still doesn't my helicopter boy in his glory

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Unexpected Fun

It's all right. Get your gasoline. I can hold it.

Don't you see it?!?! How can you NOT see it?!?

See. There it is. I TOLD you it was here.

This place is great. When you drop the ball it throws itself!

Ok.. If I set it down will you give it a toss?

The traction isn't quite as good as at the park but this is FUN!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kassa Turns 4

Kassa turned 4 this past weekend. I think he may have spiked his yogurt when I wasn't looking. I wonder what the legal drinking age is for dogs in TN.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I am dog hear me ROO

The image has nothing to do with the article just a pic of Kassa at the RC airplane field

This weekend I had my first exposure to a dog agility tournament. It was quite a neat event although I must say I was a bit befuddled by the structure. I kept drawing parallels to Judo tournaments which I have helped run. In Judo you drive 4-5 hours, sit around all day till your age/weight/skill class comes up, fight double elimination, (so twice if you are having a bad run and if you win you keep fighting) and then drive home. Agility gives you more bang for the buck as it seems you get to compete in events each day and seamingly each day is a new event. There was a lot to be impressed about at this event. Handlers of all ages and fitness levels were in attendance working with dogs of with a wide range of experience. Clearly it is something that people and their dogs put a lot of pride and energy into.

The reason I chose this event as the first one I attended was because Jen and Riley, at neversaynevergreyhounds, were competing. As I'm sure is obvious I have a soft spot for greyhounds. It was fun to see Riley perform and mentally project my boy Kassa in her place. (Boy talk about double living vicariously.) Another thing I enjoyed was that there was actually nothing particularly remarkable about Riley competing. What I mean by that is she and Jen were just one of many trainer/dog teams (including whippets, german sheppards, pugs etc.. ) doing their thing. Often in the in the universe of greyhound adoption we have the tendency to elevate our hounds and go to great lengths to protect them. Greyhounds have thin skins and should not go to dog parks, Greyhound's prey drive is insurmountable and so should never be off lead in unfenced areas and are not suited to agility. Greyhounds are sprinters so you shouldn't jog long distances with them. Because adoption groups are trying to increase their success rates and put hounds in good homes they put inplace a structure of rules to help ensure that success. One of the secrets to Jen's success, in my humble opinion, is that she has realized greyhounds are actually dogs. This is quite a liberating concept. Instead of saying "my greyhound can't go to the dog park because he is a greyhound with thin skin", you can ask what every other dog owner asks: "Is this particular dog park a suitable place to run my dog?" Instead of saying "My dog's prey drive is insurmountable because of 1000's of years of breeding." you can say "all dogs are trained and bred for some purpose and if I choose to I can train my dog as well." After all, what value would there be in a hunting dog that just ran away, didn't hunt what you wanted them to hunt and just ate the prey when they caught it. Greyhounds historically have been well trained and I think we have severely underestimated the value of training in the greyhound adoption world. There is a lot value in the rules that are laid out by adoption agencies because they tell you the natural tendancies of the dog and give you a framework. Just as dogs historically bred for protection, like german sheppards or Great Pyrenees, can be trained to be great around strangers and other dogs, greyhounds can be trained to ignore small critters and walk a dog walk or jump a hurdle instead. I'm not suggesting that we disregard all the rules laid out by adoption groups, but I think it will do us well to remember that greyhounds are dogs and as dogs are trainable. See you all later, Kassa and I are going to the dog park.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How dogs play.

I have been known to frequent a local dog park. Any time I enter a park I take a read on the people and temperament (and of course size) of the dogs in the area. I think this is especially important if I haven't encountered the dogs before. Some of it may be my own comfort level but I believe different types of dogs play differently and for that reason the play of one dog can be misread as aggression by another.

Sunday we came across a 18 month old boxer who was friendly but playful. I opted to put Kassa in the adjacent area so that they could run the adjoining fence together. Later a friendly pit bull joined the boxer and so we had the opportunity to watch them play. They had a blast. It was a constant back and forth friendly wrestling match. They were on each others backs, rolling each other over and pinning each other down. Their mouths were always opened in a friendly "I could bite you but I wont" kind of method. They reminded me a lot of bear cubs, both in physical stature and in play.

Kassa doesn't really seem to play that way. He and his other hound buddies remind me more of horses when they play. They are almost always upright (unless they are tired and too wiped out to play). They don't really climb on each other. (A greyhound is more likely to get its skin torn in a wrestling match). They gallop and trot together and will chase a ball. When they get a bit rowdy they may nip at each others necks as they chase each other around.

Because of these differences I think greyhounds may think wrestling is aggressive behavior and the smaller but powerful boxer style dogs may react negatively to the chase. It isn't that either of these behaviors is wrong, I just don't believe they mix well at a dog park.

So in conclusion: Boxers are bear cubs and greyhounds are horses.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Checking the weather.

Lately it has either been Hot.. or Raining. Kassa has gotten into a new habit when he feels the weather is somewhat questionable. It used to be that he would follow me right down the stairs into the garage to prepare for our morning outing. Then when we went to go outside the hesitation would occur if it was raining etc.. Now Kassa has gotten smarter than that. Depending on the urgency of his current status or the deepness of his slumber, Kassa will walk right by the door to the basement and wander to the patio door in the kitchen. He takes a moment and surveys the backyard to get a read on the weather, and then makes a decision as to whether he will immediately hop down the stairs or require some extra encouragement. My boy is always calculating risk vs reward.