Greyhound Diaries 3

(Read chapter 1 and 2 in the Greyhound category)

Chapter 3
Fish out of Water.

So imagine you are a racing machine with a high dollar value, have never been cuddled or given a treat nor played with a toy (what’s a toy?), have been kept in a kennel with the constant company of other dogs, never been alone, never slept inside a house (with stairs (??) no less), and know exactly what happens the next minute, hour, day, week, month…..for the first 4 years of your life!

And now there is this human who offers none of that predictability (good or bad) and expects you to be…ahem…a dog, without giving you the definition of what that means!
Your life gone overnight! No other dog to model yourself on other than a senile 18 year old furry little thing that looks more like the bunny lure you used to chase than a distant cousin of yourself.

At least this human is giving you food although not the yummy meat from the track but – oh I don’t know – Kibbles? And walks are nice, but on a LEASH? And where is the track? And if this friendly enough human goes away too, what are you going to do then???

So there she is, this racing machine with a one track mind (pun intended), thrown in with me and my utterly unpredictable and unscheduled life. Yup…I would be anxious too. No wonder she’s holding on to me for dear life. Which in all practicality means I can not leave my house! Think about it…I can NOT leave my house….

To be continued.

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Welcome to my Blog! Check out the different categories and enjoy many fun stories about dogs and see examples of my pet portraits.

Paint_Photo_Mollie

” Molly” Portrait Painting by Gabriele Bungardt

Paint_Photo_Sofie

“Sophie” Portrait Painting by Gabriele Bungardt

Paint_Photo_Jiggs

“Jiggs” Portrait Painting by Gabriele Bungardt

Crosswalk

My dog Cocoa always makes for a good model
My dog Cocoa always makes for a good model

Greyhound Diaries 2

(Start by reading Chapter 1 by choosing Category ‘Greyhounds’)

Chapter 2
A dog is a dog.

Although I had heard the phrase ‘greyhounds are different’ I was not prepared for what should happen. How different could she be? Every dog is different, but still as a whole, a dog is a dog –right? OK, so greyhounds supposedly don’t know how to climb stairs, don’t know what to do with toys, have never seen a mirror, are unaccustomed to be a family pet, have never been alone in their lives. On the tracks they live with hundreds of other greyhounds side by side in kennels. They are accustomed to a routine that is the same every day: up at dawn, relief themselves, food, training, relief, food, training …. and in-between endless hours in tight kennels sleeping in the midst of the chaos of a bustling race track.

I thought I was well prepared, having internalized countless books on the breed and prep talks from the rescue. “Be patient, she’ll stick to you like glue for a couple of weeks; keep her in a kennel at first, that’s what she is used to, keep a routine, stay with her as much as possible. Watch her with the cat and your little dog”. Sounded like any other dog I ever picked up from the pound.
What I wasn’t prepared for was HER utter unpreparedness. She was like a fish out of water, literally. And so was I.

To be continued.

Poppyseed

Greyhound Diaries

Chapter 1
I needed dog legs…

Donna was her racing name, as in Prima Donna. Back then I thought that was a weird name for a dog, but back then I didn’t know anything about greyhounds even though I had been around other dogs as long as I remember.

I don’t remember when I first noticed greyhounds but a few years ago three of them appeared in one of my paintings.

Quite A Day by Gabriele Bungardt


Or rather their legs did. I needed some tall legs for a painting in my –toys and dogs- series so I paid more attention to the anatomy of different breeds and stumbled onto the somewhat grotesque physique of the canine racer’s ‘turkey leg’. Muscle packed and over sized at one end to bare bones and stick like at the other. Now that was the perfect model.

Pretty soon I was painting the rest of their bodies, fascinated by how, even in the last details, these dogs are build for minimum wind resistance and maximum speed. The eyes were what hooked me. Huge and perfectly almond shaped, deep amber in color, there was an expressiveness in them not often seen in other dogs.

Of course one can’t get interested in greyhounds and not hear about the controversies around the race tracks.
Greyhounds, once discarded from the track as losers, face death. Nowadays rescues around the country find homes for many of them but a lot of them still get killed. There are about 10 race tracks left around the country, mostly in Texas and Florida.

Soon I was in touch with a local rescue. My little dog Kruemel had just turned 18 and her days were slow and surely numbered. I could handle another dog, even a big one. My research showed that greyhounds are calm dogs overall with only short bursts of energy, otherwise couch potatoes, affectionate and mellow with a cat like personality. Even though much of this turned out to be true I was not prepared for what it would take to get there.

It took a while to find the right dog because it needed to be matched for cat and small dog compatibility, since track dogs are trained on life bunnies and furry lures and greyhounds have a long history as hunting dogs.

And so one day, there she was, beautiful Donna. Coming from the Arizona race track she was the pup of successful racing champions with a history as far back as the 1800’s starting in England then Australia and eventually coming to the US. Discarded after only 6 test races because she didn’t win, she showed up at the rescue at 4 years old.
Snow white, with a wild sprinkle of black spots like poppy seeds (which gave her her off-track name) she was a dog painters dream. A black ‘eye patch’ and one larger spot on her forehead made her face unique and gave a glow to her amber eyes. A glow that was only there in color not in spirit as I found out soon enough.

-To be continued.

Poppyseed

Sick Puppy?

Painting by -www.ipaintyourpet.net-

Common symptoms of illness. Check with your vet:

Decreased appetite
Weight loss
Changes in activity level or behavior
Confusion or disorientation
Changing sleeping patterns
Heightened thirst
Increased urination
Bad breath/red gums
Difficulty chewing
Excessive panting
New lumps or bumps
Poor vision or hearing
Difficulty climbing stairs or jumping up
Shaking episodes
Fainting or signs of weakness
Seizures

Source: Dog-o-Pedia by Mary Frances Budzik

You can find a comprehensive list of many dog diseases with detailed descriptions and symptoms on http://www.gopetsamerica.com/

Is This the Dog for Me? – Greyhound

'Friends in Need' Painting by Gabriele - www.ipaintyourpet.net

‘Friends in Need’ Painting by Gabriele Bungardt

Check out the link on this site or your local rescue group for adopting a greyhound.

History:
Greyhounds were amongst the most highest-favored of all dogs; Pharaohs and other Egyptian, Asian and African leaders had images of their dogs engraved into their tombs dating as far back as 4000BC. However, DNA analysis done in 2004 put it close to herding dogs, implying that although greyhounds have been around for millennia, the modern breed sprang from a wider genetic base more recently. Greyhounds were first used for hunting antelopes, wolves and deer and after the decline of large game for coursing smaller animals. Later track racing took over which again proved them to be the fastest dogs on earth with speeds around 40 miles. Only the cheetah is faster in the animal world. The ‘grey’ does not refer to color but, according to some sources, comes from Old English, meaning ‘fine’. Others say it is contracted form of ‘degree hound’ as it was once allowed to be possessed only by people with degrees. And others say that it derives from Greece.

Appearance:
The greyhound has a graceful, strong muscled, deep-chested, narrow-waisted, streamlined body. While running its long tail acts as a keel and the ears can fold toward the neck. Males can measure between up to 30”, weighing up to 70 lbs.
The greyhound has his eyes well positioned at the sides of his head giving him a far wider field of view than other dogs (270 degrees versus 180 degrees.) They are sight hounds and can spot movement up to half a mile away.

Behavior:
Greyhounds are calm and social indoors and are often referred to as couch potatoes. Although greyhounds are possibly the most athletic of all domestic dogs they do not necessarily need a lot of exercise. Two 20 minute walks a day will usually suffice.  A high fenced garden is advised as they are great jumpers. Greyhounds are fairly easy to train and can learn almost all commands. However, they must never be allowed off leash in public places, as it is in their natures to chase anything that moves and may choose to totally ignore you if they have their eyes set on a prey.

They are affectionate with their families although can be aloof with strangers. They normally get on well with other dogs in the household but cat owners should exercise caution although many are said to tolerate or even take to cats or small dogs. Because of their nature as sprinters, greyhounds have relatively low endurance and their conditioning need to be slowly build up if you’d like to take him jogging.

Greyhounds rarely bark. The joke goes that greyhounds are good watchdogs: they watch thieves carry your stuff away. They are relatively small eaters and will therefore not cost a lot to feed. Grooming is very easy, a good brush once a week is enough. They don’t have much body odor but like most short haired dogs do shed a little.

Ailments:
Greyhounds will live on average for 10 to 12 years. However, some ex-racers only live to 7 possibly due to the use of steroids during their racing careers.
Because of the greyhound’s explosive physical abilities, they are prone to leg injuries. They are also known to be sensitive to drugs, especially sedatives. Adopted greyhounds will need regular dental care as their teeth are generally badly neglected. Nails must be kept short and the ears kept clean. Skin irritations of the tail and esophageal malformations are possible breed ailments.

Related Designer Mixes:
Whippet: Cross of fox terrier and greyhound

Other greyhound breeds:
Spanish greyhound (Spain)
Rampur greyhound (India)
Saluki (Arabia)
Sloughi (Africa)

'Quite A Day' Painting by Gabriele - www.ipaintyourpet.net

‘Quite A Day’ Painting by Gabriele Bungardt