Category Archives: life with dogs

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

Is This the Dog for Me? Weimaraner and Labmaraner

Weimeraner copy

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

History:

The Weimaraner was bread in Germany over one thousand years ago and is kin to the German Pointer. Some claim it is discernable in a 17th century painting by Van Dyck. It was used for big game hunting until big game declined. Treasured in the 19th century by the aristocrats of Weimar, Germany, it was then and now popular for hunting small game, and, because of its soft carrying mouth for water fowl. It has Bloodhound and Pointer blood and is still used as a working dog.

Appearance:

Weimeraners are strikingly beautiful dogs with a strong boned build, light amber eyes and a sleek short coat of silver to mouse gray. They can reach heights up to 28” and weigh between 60 and 85 lb. Not in need of extensive grooming, once a week brushing keeps the coat shiny.  Shedding in minimal.

Although more rare, the longhair with a smooth or slightly wavy coat up to 5″ long needs more grooming attention.

Behavior:

Weimaraners need thorough training and regular and extensive exercise. This is not a city dog. Sufficient space, a fenced yard, and lots of human attention will make them excellent companions as they are all-round dogs who love family life. They are friendly, intelligent and energetic but, with their vigilance, make excellent guard dogs if their home or family are threatened. Because of their dominance, they are not recommended for first time dog owners.

Overbreeding has let to temperament problems such as aggression and separation anxiety in some lines. Lack of exercise will make them aggressive and difficult and can lead to destructive behavior.

Ailments:

Weimaraners are affected by the usual canine problems but with no great frequency. They are, however, prone to two more unusual problems: spinal dysraphism which is a severe though non-lethal condition, affecting the gait and giving an unusual stance which resembles a crouched position. Ear infections are easily acquired due to the drop-eared conformation.

Related Designer Mixes:

Recent designer dog mixes have produced the Labmaraner, a cross of a Labrador Retriever and a Weimaraner. This breed is an outdoorsy, fast, agile breed not meant for urbanites. They need good management which can be trying because of an underlying stubbornness. Consistent training and tough regulations are needed to keep the peace in your house.
Labmaraner can weigh from 50 to 100 lb and their coat color ranges from dark gold to pale cream, black, and chocolate.

LabmaranerLabmaraner (photo by Anna Kuperberg)

Old Dogs

Jake of Graton, CA

Jake of Graton, CA

“Olds dogs can be cloudy-eyed and grouchy, gray of muzzle, graceless of gait, eccentric of habit, hard of hearing, wheezy, lazy, and lumpy. But anyone who has ever loved an old dog, these things are of little consequence. Old dogs are sweetly vulnerable. They show exorbitant gratitude and limitless trust. They are funny in new and unexpected ways. But above all, they seem at peace.”  -Gene Weingarten

Hot Dogs

Heatstroke in dogs:
Dogs do not sweat through their skin like humans – they release heat primarily by panting and they sweat through the foot pads and nose. If a dog cannot effectively expel heat, the internal body temperature begins to rise. Once the dog’s temperature reaches 106°, damage to the body’s cellular system and organs may become irreversible.
All dogs can get heatstroke, but geriatric dogs and short nosed dogs like English Bulldog, Pekingese, Boston Terrier, Bullmastiff, Shih Tzu, and Pomeranien are more susceptible.

Signs:
• Vigorous panting
• Dark red gums
• Tacky or dry mucus membranes
• Lying down and unwilling to get up
• Collapse and/or loss of consciousness
• Thick saliva
• Dizziness or disorientation

What to do:
Move your dog out of the heat and away from the sun right away.
Begin cooling your dog by placing cool, wet rags or washcloths on the body – especially the foot pads and around the head. DO NOT use ice or very cold water! When the body temperature reaches 103°, stop cooling.
Offer your dog cool water, but do not force water into your dog’s mouth. He could choke on it.
Call or visit your vet right away – even if your dog seems better. Internal damage might not be obvious to the naked eye.

Prevention:
• NEVER leave your dog alone in the car on a warm day, regardless of whether the windows are open. Even if the weather outside is not extremely hot, the inside of the car acts like an oven – temperatures can rise to dangerously high levels in a matter of minutes.
• Avoid vigorous exercise on warm days. When outside, opt for shady areas.
• Keep fresh cool water available at all times.
Source: dogs.about.com

painting by ipaintyourpet.net

painting by ipaintyourpet.net

Hot weather doggy treat

Drop some of your dogs favorite kibble into each well of an ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze. Watch your dog slurping it up to get to the treat. This is great summer fun and also good for teething puppies

LastDrop_ipaintyourpet

Hear, Hear!

'Zipper' of Sausalito

'Zipper' of Sausalito

Nearly all dogs (and cats for that matter) love having their ears rubbed. Ears are one of a handful of nerve centers on a dog’s body that are extra sensitive to touch. It’s pretty hard to rub dogs’ ears in ways they dislike. To launch them straight to cloud nine, however, you need to hit as many of the nerves as you can. Starting at the base of the ear, hold the flap between your thumb and forefinger, Dr. Makowski suggests. Very gently pull the ear straight out from your dogs head, letting your fingers slide as you go. If you do that about four times, moving your fingers each time so they slide over a different section of the ear, you’ll hit just about every hot spot, and your dog will be very, very happy.

Source: The Secret lives of Dogs

Training Humans from the Dog’s Perspective

Source: Training People by Tess of Helena

Food:
In addition to increasing the variety of your cuisine, you find that when you share food with your human, he is all the more eager to meet your other needs.
People greatly appreciate praise, and the excellent preparation of food is certainly worth a reward. If you are pleased with your person’s cooking, feel free to mimic that peculiar “mmmmm..” sound humans make when they enjoy the taste of food. With our higher-pitched vocal cords, the sound you make will be perceived by human ear as an endearing ‘whine.’
If you are especially fond of a particular dish, you can give your person exceptional praise through Physical Cues: sitting up on hind legs, rolling over, or other enthusiastic gestures. Humans deeply appreciate such generous displays of approval.

Tess goes on to describe physical cue combination dog can use with humans who react negatively to dogs taking food directly from their table:
The instinct to protect one’s food is strong – even in humans – and if they see you eating from their plates they may protest. An immediate Ear Drop combined with Drooping Tail lets them know how seriously they have disappointed you. Faced with that rebuke, almost all humans will back off, and many will even offer additional potions.

"Cookie?" Painting by ipaintyourpet.net

"Cookie?" Painting by ipaintyourpet.net