Monday, December 19, 2011

Burning old dreams and goals

It's hard to believe that it's almost Christmas.  My wife has been diligently working away at Christmas cards and such, but we have forgone the normal holiday decorations this year.  On the 5th I went in for some hernia surgery and now under doctors orders I have disallowed from lifting more than 15 lbs for the following 6 weeks.   This includes crawling in the attic to retrieve a Christmas tree. In search of projects less than 15lbs we decided to attack the office.  It is amazing how much paper we have gathered over the years.  Those who know me would probably not be surprised, but I found folders and files for information long irrelevant dating back over 20 years.  

It would have taken ages and ages to shred all that paper, so we went to the grey play field both Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon to burn the record of my youth.  I had notes and manuals from my favorite computer and history courses as well as income tax returns from when I was still in school.  In a way it was a little sad to see my old essays and course projects go up in flames, but the material hadn't been been opened in years.   As with most things in the computer world, it had quickly become dated.

I guess the work I have done since and the man I have become is more of a testament to the efforts I put into my education than some computer projects that I embarked on back in the day.

And thus begins our war on paper, and other needless things that have built up over the years.  We still have a lot more to go through. Ricky and Kassa are enjoying this war as happy observers.  After all,  it means more trips to the grey play field for them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Liebster Blog Award

Dogs Journey was recently nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by Home is where the hounds are Thanks so much for nomination.  I'm a little new to the nomination business, probably due to my verbal diarrhea and lack of editing, but I will do my best.  Here are the rules of the award.

Liebster means “dearest” in German, and the award is intended to help up-and-coming blogs get the attention they deserve. As with any award, there is a bit of ceremony involved. In order to accept the award, we must do the following:
1. Copy and paste the award on our blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who gave us the award
3. Pick our five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.
4. Hope that the five blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs

Here is my list of nominations. Some are quite new and some are more established, but I enjoy them all.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pre-Adoption : Could we turn the system upside down?

Recently a friend of mine sent me this link regarding a raffle for a quality bred up and coming racing dog. All proceeds for the raffle go to the "GREYHOUNDS AS PETS OF NORTHEAST FLORIDA" organization. Racing Dog Raffle The short version is if you win the raffle, you get 35% of the winnings of the dog, and of course can take him/her home as yours when their racing career is over. I think this is a wonderful idea and got me thinking of the current adoption model.

I have been leafing through John Semyour's "The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It" and I thought he made some interesting points about specialization within our society. Our society has become extremely organizationally focused where people specialize in one thing work for salary and then pay others to perform their own specializations. One of the issues with this is that as people's specializations become obsolete or as economic downturn effects the organization as a whole, individuals are left with little to do to support themselves. Another issue is that any optimization that occurs is not for the system as a whole, but rather each component of the system is optimized for monetary output with little thought to long term viability.

I see parallels here between what I believe has happened in the greyhound racing industry. My understanding of the current greyhound system is that there are many players involved in greyhound racing being, Breeding Farms, Owners, Racing Kennels, Tracks, Gamblers and Adopters. Of course there is cross over between roles such as Farms and Owners, but to a large extent I believe the roles are disjoint. Since the system is optimized for money, many owners may have never laid eyes on the dogs they own. At the other end of the spectrum, many adopters have never been to a farm to see how the dogs are raised, nor a racing kennel to see how they are kept through their career. These disjoint roles have lead to a mistrust between the players where they see each other as necessary or in some cases, unnecessary evils. I think the sport aspect of greyhound racing has been totally over shadowed by the monetary and gambling aspects.

What if we could turn this system on its head? What if adopters partnered with farms and owners? I know as a current adopter of two hounds, that in 5 to 7 years I will be looking to adopt more. Coincidentally, a greyhounds racing career usually is over when they are 3 to 5 years old. We could strive for a system where greyhounds are adopted before they even go to the track and have a stake and voice in their success and well being.

I think this approach could accomplish a few things. It could revive interest in greyhound racing as a sport rather than just as a declining gambling venue. Adopters, who presumably have the long term interest of the specific greyhound that is going to be occupying their couches, in mind would have a voice interest in both their dogs well being and performance. Dogs would be more likely to stay local to the area's of the adopters/owners throughout their career. Depending on how the relationship was setup, kennels and owners and farms would be confident their dogs had homes and would not have to scramble to get groups to accept them. They would also be subject to less 'bad press' surrounding racing as the sport would become more 'elevated'
in the public perception. On the negative side for adopters, adopting early in the process we would not be able to "find the right home for the right dog" as the dog we adopt as a pup is the dog we have.

I'm sure many will find my views of this over simplistic and they probably are. New adopters are not going to wait around 3 to 5 years to get a dog, they will just move onto another breed. Well certainly this system could not be implemented overnight. I would say this could be a trend or technique repeat adopters could follow. The movement could be an organic rather than legislated. New adopters could get their dogs through the existing adoption / foster system. Repeat adopters could forge these aforementioned relationships and the fact that they are "repeats" would say something about their long term intention and interest in the dogs.

Greyhounds love to run and to race. Perhaps this is a way help improve the system, continue to give the hounds the opportunities to race, and make it more sustainable. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


This Thanksgiving happened to also coincide with my birthday.  What better gift to get on ones birthday than the gift of watching a new dog for a week.  This dog is special to me because her first name happens to be my last.  Introducing "PEPPER".

Now I know what you are thinking..  That greyhound has hair!  Well actually Pepper is a deerhound and she is also a complete sweetheart not to mention a snuggler.  

 Today we had a very nice fall day so I rounded up the boys and Pepper this afternoon and headed out to the grey play field.  Muzzles were on of course.  After I wore the pups out a bit they were just chillin by the chairs so I did some non muzzle shots so you can see what a perdy girl Peps is.

So.. that's Pepper.  I'll have more Thanksgiving stories but I wanted you all to meet Pepper (and also to show her mom and dad who are on vacation that she is happy and healthy.)  Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

There's a new blog in town

Hi everyone.  I'd like to invite you to check out a new blog started by my personal friends Ben and Jess.  They live here in Tennessee and have been inspired in life by John Seymour's simple living approach.  They have two beautiful dogs (that they spoil hugely) as well as five chickens and a thriving garden, so they should have a lot of interesting things to talk about.   Not only do they have interesting things to talk about, wordsmithmanship  is very much a part of what they do for a living, and so they should be very articulate and amusing in the telling.

So .. with no further a due please check out For you doggy lovers, here is gratuitous dog pic of Emmy, their first pup.

Monday, November 14, 2011

To Plumb or not To Plumb

When ever I get involved with any home improvement project it always becomes a question as to whether I should do the work myself or hire in a professional.  Typically I try to do the behind the scenes work myself and leave the visible finishing work to the professionals.  At least that's the theory.  So we asked a plumber to do an estimate on how much it would be to move the drains and waterlines over about 2 feet and add in a new bar sink in in the other cabinet.  The answer was $700 for all the drain work and water line work plus an additional $400 to actually hook up the sinks to the plumbing with traps etc.  I also think that was not including materials.   I had a recent discussion with a contractor and he indicated that most executive types prefer to work their jobs and pay him 2/3 of what they make in the equal time.  My answer to that is simple.  While my time is indeed valuable, I work for a salary.  So even if I spend 4 times as long under a sink as the professionals, it is doubtful that I would have made more money during the time I would be working on the sinks on some other job.  The other factor is that the money I save doing it myself is tax free.  If I pick up another job to work to pay for the plumber  and pay him 2/3 per hour of what I make, I have to figure in taxes on what I make plus what ever impact additional income may have on my overall tax rate.  With the advent of PEX (flexible plastic pipe for the waterlines) and push fittings to connect PEX and existing copper, do it yourself plumbing is well within the average persons grasp.  That said I spent the weekend either in the crawlspace or under the sink.

Of course the other thing I consider (if left with a choice) is that by taking on a new project I am forgoing the hike or trip to see family and friends, or what ever else people who don't do home renovations themselves do with their time.  In this respect our grey play Sunday mornings have been real gifts.  The wind was so strong that it took most of our pretty leaves away, but it was still a very nice day.

New foster Hope was working her charms and stealing all our hearts.

Foster Alex is quite a cool boy as well.  I think he will go quickly.

All the dogs had a lot of fun.  Especially when we pulled out the bubble solution. Here they are somewhat bewildered at the bubbles floating down the field.

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


A friend of ours snapped this shot at greyplay last Sunday.  Thanks Jennifer.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Judo Weekend

This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the St Louis crew for their 1st Annual Gateway Invitational Judo Tournament.  Most people follow this blog because of my love of my greyhounds, but those who know me in person also know that my other reality is a love of Judo.  The group at White Dragon Judo have been regulars at our Tennessee State Judo Championships.  They have seen the tournament system that I wrote evolve over the years and were interested in using it for their tournament as well.  Truthfully, I was a little hesitant, because the stress level of running a tournament is right up there with moving, divorce, and loosing ones job not to mention that this would be the first time I had used the software for a tournament other than our own.  The president of TN Judo, Mr Michael Ostrowski, heralds from that area, and he encouraged me to give it a try.  My instructor, Terry Spencer, also said he would go up and help me with what ever needed doing.

I have to say that these are warm and generous folks who made every effort to  run a great event.  They ran three mats and had purchased three 40 inch flat screen TV's for the score board displays.  They rounded up all the computers I needed for registration, bracketing and running the tables.   They had high quality referees to judge at the mats and held a ref clinic before the event began.   The volunteer score keepers got into the groove pretty quickly and very soon things were flowing smoothly.

Barbara Raney from 1000 Smiles Photography was also there taking action shots of the matches.

So this weekend I left my boys at home in pursuit of my other passion,  but a mere 6 hour drive put me home to be greeted by their wagging tales at midnight Saturday, and in time for some grey play adventures on Sunday afternoon.

Thanks to every one for having me down and putting up with my ornery nature while scheduling the matches.  Overall I think it was a very successful weekend.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

No help here

The other day my wife and I were on the way back from meeting our friend to let the dogs run.  The boys were in the back drooling all over the rear window glass and the people were up front involved in some sort of intense discussion. We were zipping along the back roads not focused on much beyond getting home.  At that moment I see what everyone zipping along back roads not entirely focused on driving hates to see:  A police cruiser positioned perfectly to slow me down.  Now I'm not a advocate of speeding.  In fact I truly try to keep my speed within limits.  Truth be told I never speed... except when I do.  But here I am with my lovely wife beside me and two very cute dogs in back.. surely we will charm our way out of this one.  The officer pulls me over and  indicates I had managed to be going a 53 in a 40.   I check my mirror.. where are the dogs?  Where is the cute asset that is going draw idle banter and charm the coldest of hearts into a forgiving mood?  The boys evidently decided I was clearly in the wrong and driving far to fast for their liking.  They had ducked down behind the seat and were no where to be found.  No get out of jail free card here. Sigh.. So I got to go to traffic court.  Because this was my first ticket in forever and a day I was able to take a 4 hour interactive online traffic school course and keep the ticket off my record.  It wasn't a video as the judge suggested, rather a interactive flash experience with quizzes and a final exam.  It wasn't hard though and I could do it over multiple evenings AND in my underwear.  The content was similar to the drivers ed course I took way back in the day, replete with statistics aligned to scare you senseless.  All in all I think a little refresher never hurts.  Perhaps my boys just thought I needed one as well.

I'd also like everyone to meet a new foster dog in our grey play group.  Her name is Hope. She is beautiful and sweet. I'm sure she will quickly find a home.

  I hope everyone had a happy and safe weekend.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Bitter Sweet and the Bitter

This past week three dogs that I know of, but have never met, moved on.  For a long while now I have enjoyed reading about Lilac and Drive in their blogs.  They had wonderful full lives, their people loved them dearly and posted some of the warm memories of the many years they shared together.  The other dog that moved on was Darnell.  He was also loved dearly by his person and had found his forever home of just four months.  Unfortunately Darnell escaped the pet sitters yard and after much searching we found he had met an unforgiving end at the near by highway.

I don't claim to know much about the after life, but if there is such a place, I'm sure dogs are there.  And so Darnell if you have gone to such a place,  seek out Lilac and Drive.  They went slightly before you and they will tell you how it was supposed to be.  They will tell you of the years of love and companionship that were planned for you and you can tell them how you were loved even if it was for a short while.  I'm sorry we couldn't find you in time.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Recently I watched the a PBS feature on the intelligence of crows called A murder of crows. You can watch it online if you are interested.  Crows are evidently very intelligent.  The most intelligent crows not only use tools, but can use tools to retrieve tools to retrieve food.  They are very social creatures and who observe rituals such as types of funerals.  I was excited to watch this special because it featured Chatham Ontario Canada, the city of my birth.  It is the Mecca for crows.  With all the crows flying over head and sitting row after row on the telephone lines, Chatham can feel a bit ominous despite the warmth of friends and family.
This TV special got me thinking a lot about the different intelligence of species.  If crows are rated to be some of the most intelligent species because they can use tools to get tools to get food, how intelligent are greyhounds by comparison.  Are they not in fact more evolved than us all?  After all, with a sideways look they can make their opposable thumb two leggers hop to get them food, treats, pick up their poop and take them to visit friends.
Ricky Bobby


Tequila Lee

The gang

Ricky discovers Frisbee

Beth Anne

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In your face.. Dewey travelers

Ok.. I've been somewhat envious of those of my local friends and blogger friends who made the journey to Dewey beach so their hounds could frolic ocean side.  Alas we have been stuck in the middle of a kitchen remodel and because I am loath to give people good money for jobs I can do myself, I end up taking on too much with to little time available.  Non the less we were determined not to let those Dewey adventurers have all the fun. Our good friends Tony and Lisa came to the rescue by hosting a grey play evening adventure featuring Tony's smoked and bbq'd brisket.  The meat underwent a full day of cooking and it was well worth the wait.  The event also featured a fantastic potato recipe, wonderful salads, a bean dish to die for, an assortment of deserts and adult beverages of many form and flavor.
The boys were extremely excited to explore the back yard with their friends (eight dogs in total).  Ricky snuck into Tony's work shed and soon we heard squeaky chirps and beeps coming from within.  Tony was puzzled as no dog toys were stored in there.  I was worried he found a cat, but upon further investigation we discovered that Tony's little grand son's bike had a squeaky horn on it.   It must have took Ricky all of 5 seconds to find the one thing in the place that squeaked.  The rest of the night the dogs were trying to gain entry to the shed to try their hand at the bike.   Ricky and Kassa were so excited to see all their friends.  Beth Ann lead everyone in a game of chase so they all got a little exercise in too.

Ricky even and the fortune/(mis) to be dressed up in some of Beth anne and Tequila's attire.

In the end we are all pretty tired, curled up on the couches, and had a good sleep when we got home.

So .. my Dewey adventurous friends,  while we hope to feel the surf on our feet/paws with you next year, the boys and I were able to find some fantastic festivities with good friends right hear close to home.  Have a safe trip home everyone.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall is the happiest time of year!

Now that the dog days of summer are behind us and we are into fall the reprieve, the boys fun loving personalities are coming through again.  Our house is in an "in between" state as we finish up our many projects and as such we have some large empty rooms and others that are packed with displaced furniture.  The boys love it.  It gives them large circuits to race around in when they get rowdy and lots of things to investigate when they aren't.  Ricky is really enjoying himself now that he isn't under constant threat of the heat sidelining him.   Despite the fact that their dad has been extremely busy working on different projects we took them to the grey play field on Sunday morning.  The brisk weather made for some wonderful play.

Ricky also has discovered that since he is full blown "adopted" and no longer "foster with intent", he is allowed on the dog couch with me.  So several times this weekend I found myself squeezed between two bony butt greyhounds in the evenings.  I may need a larger couch.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Party Hardy

It has been a busy few weeks.  So much so that I have been rather overwhelmed with all the projects on the go. Of course this doesn't mean the dogs have been abandoned or anything.  Last weekend we were able to take a breath and get to a great greyhound event.  Every year GPA-Nashville holds a summer picnic fund raiser to raise the money to treat dogs that break legs at the track, heal them up, and get them into homes.  The event is held at Centennial park in Nashville at the large pavilions.  They do a silent auction, have music and food, and of course sell greyhound goodies.  It was really nice to see people we haven't seen in a while and it is always a surprise to me, just how large the greyhound community is and how many people have come into our lives because of this group.

While at the picnic we learned of another special greyhound event.  The infamous "Lou"  of GPANashville was having a birthday party / fundraiser at Chilis on Tuesday night.  Ten percent of all sales from people associated with a GPA flyer was going back into the broken leg fund.  Now Lou is the perfect person to center such an event around as she has an infectiously happy personality, is extremely dedicated to the greyhound cause,  and is loved by all.  Seventy two people showed up to celebrate her birth and many donated directly above and beyond the Chilis' donation.  These happy get-togethers make me thankful that I have a connection to so many great people and also thankful for greyplay in that I don't have to wait 6 months to see at least some of them again.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


I was sitting here thinking that it is a challenge to come up with new titles for posts every week... so I just made p a word.  Cheating .. I know.
This morning began with the god's showing their fury.  We had a good thunder and lightening storm to welcome in the morning.  Ricky was up pacing back and forth around the bed to inform us that someone was letting off fireworks or something outside.  He is funny in that he just seems to want a hand on his back to let him know you are there.  By eight the weather had cleared off a bit, but it wasn't looking good for grey play.  the sky still looked threatening and the status of our meet got set to canceled on our facebook page.   At eight 8:45 I threw caution to the wind and announced  that my boys needed to get some running in.
We went to the field, the sky cleared, and it turned into a beautiful morning.  I called up other group members and rallied one other couple to our cause.  The result was a somewhat impromptu greyplay moment.

Our larger adoption group has put together an opportunity for the restaurant Chuy's to display a bunch of framed pictures of greyhounds on the walls in their new location.  In general I think Chuy's restaurants will display photos of their patrons' dogs, so it might be a good way to get out the word about this remarkable breed.  For the past few weeks I have been assembling photos of the boys.  We have also been trying to get some good group photos as well.  I've been playing around with the idea and for their individual shots and wanted to try to show my guys from some different angles.
Here is what I came up with.

I hope that Chuy's will hang these with the adoption group website on them.  I think they will because of the arrangement with the group. I'm still not quite sure what to do for a greyplay group picture.  I have some good action pictures, but the darn muzzles keep getting in the way.