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John Farrar | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Peggy's Gallery - a little black greyhound's journey into the great wide open tree view | thumbnails | slideshow | map

Peggy's Gallery - a little black greyhound's journey into the great wide open

WITH her black coat flecked with little flecks of white - as if drops of paint have fallen on her - and a smart little Tuxedo, Peggy came to us on 13th March 2009 from the Retired Greyhound Trust near Bideford in Devon at the tender age of 18 months. An initially fearful or 'spooky' little greyhound who hid in the back of the kennels when I first set eyes upon her, Peggy has found what will hopefully be her 'forever home'. Beyond the kennels and the racing track a whole new world, including one of the UK's National Parks right on the doorstep, beckons to be explored by this little girl who probably just can't take it in that fortune might have smiled upon her.

I knew it wasn't going to be straightforward to gain the trust of such an easily spooked dog and that she was unlikely to be able to show easy affection as did my last dog 'Angel'. Nevertheless Peggy deserved a home and I would do my best to provide her with one. And so 4 months along the path (July 2009) she has actually bonded quite well with me, is very good on on walks and meeting other dogs and people in the park, has a most unusual (for a greyhound) liking for water; and also travels well in the van. The one problem that remains is that she is still very fearful of an elderly member of the family and prefers not to be in the same room. This we are still working on with some successs getting her to take high-value treats from his hand. We're also teaching him to read and speak "dog body language" and hopefully appear less 'scary' to her, and I'm also stopping myself from unknowingly giving Peggy any impression that he might actually be dangerous. (My grateful thanks to respected dog behaviour/therapy author, Turid Rugaas, for pointing this out. Thanks also to local Canine Behaviour & Training therapist Kat Middleton.)
Update: October 2009. Peggy is mellowing and blossoming at the same time now that she seems able to put her fears aside and be happy to stay in the same room as everyone else. There are more tail wags, nice greetings, and she has a much softer eye. I thought it might take around 6 months for her to be able to settle happily and so it has proved. So don't reject the nervous ones out of hand, it's so rewarding to see them coming out of it.

Keep an eye on this space for some of Peggy's adventures as she settles in and explores her new sourroundings. The early ones will all be taken with her on a lead. Several will be taken on a phone camera as that's always with me on a walk.

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GREYHOUNDS AS COMPANION ANIMALS
Greyhounds desperately need homes - far too many in the UK are put to sleep when their racing days are over and sadly for some that may be before they even get started due to a lack of interest in chasing or other reasons, (including the rejected racer horror which people are doing their best to stop) of live greyhounds being exported to East Asia to be raced to death or even worse. Problems that can beset them can include injuries, being too playful or nervous, or perhaps having the wrong type of metabolism eg. a propensity for Hyperacute Exertional Rhabdomyolysis which is a life-threatening over-heating caused by over-exercising a susceptible dog. All these things make them not sufficiently 'keen' enough to win or continue winning. Adopting a greyhound is not as difficult as you might think, but it isn't ideal for those who are unable to put quality time to getting their hound settled in. Most of the rescue greyhounds will have come straight from their training kennel environment and will never have seen the inside of a house and all the potentialy frightening things indoors like stairs, TVs, vacuum cleaners and patio doors etc. Most adapt remarkably quickly to all these new stimuli and soon fit into their new family routine. They aren't house trained, but most are clean in their kennels meaning you're off to a good start and they soon learn that indoors is like a big den where toilet is not allowed. Greyhounds are trained to chase small furry things and as a result some will always be unable to live with cats or be OK with tiny little dogs outdoors; however quite a number can and do live happily with cats and can be trusted to play nicely with small dogs in the park. Fortunately the 'keener' ones will have learned to see muzzles as nice positive things that signal 'going for a walk or run' meaning they can enjoy walking outdoors on a leash when not in a safely fenced field (which must not have any barbed wire because their thin skins gash all too easily requiruing stitches)a yard, or paddock. Rescue organisations know a lot about the mannerisms of the individual dogs in their care and so you can put yourself on their 'cat friendly' waiting list if you like. Many greyhounds are fostered by rescue groups into homes with other pet dogs and this helps get them acclimatised to normal domestic life. In some more enlightened countries they may even get pre-adopted before their racing career ends.

History of Greyhounds: http://cyberpict.net/hounds/clthnd.htm

An excellent visual portrayal of a Day in the Life of a
Racing Greyhound can be found here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dazzleme/sets/72157627145032411/with/6033174814/

An interesing perspective on rehoming and how challenging it can be to the dog, as well as the person, can be found here
http://awesomepaws.proboards.com/thread/45/fear-pain-training


If you are thinking of adopting a greyhound in the UK, consider visiting: http://www.retiredgreyhounds.co.uk/
and http://www.grwe.com/index.asp

Maybe the most comprehensive Greyhound site on the Web is this American-based one http://www.greytalk.com

Peggy's martingale collar is from http://www.silverpeacock.com


Short Video of Peggy running on the beach: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93vzaRyH-Qc

And NEVER forget this.... Trust is a disease that can lead to disaster:

http://www.adopt-a-greyhound.org/advice/general_advice/trust_a_deadly_disease.shtml
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Peggy First
Peggy First
Peggy Beach 2
Peggy Beach 2
Peggy at Hound Tor
Peggy at Hound Tor
Peggy  on a moor walk
Peggy on a moor walk
On the Downs at Bude
On the Downs at Bude
Peggy on the cliffs looking North towards Bude
Peggy on the cliffs looking North towards Bude
At Roadford .jpg
At Roadford .jpg
CastleWoods.jpg
CastleWoods.jpg
FatherfordWoods2.jpg
FatherfordWoods2.jpg
On the way to my first swim
On the way to my first swim
On Torrington Common .jpg
On Torrington Common .jpg
Peggy at the Scorhill Stone Circle
Peggy at the Scorhill Stone Circle
Fun in the River Teign at Scorhill
Fun in the River Teign at Scorhill
I'm Not a Water Dog really...
I'm Not a Water Dog really...
DogMarshWalk2.jpg
DogMarshWalk2.jpg
Peggy5.jpg
Peggy5.jpg
Peggy Collar.jpg
Peggy Collar.jpg
Peggy First Spring in Bluebell Woods .jpg
Peggy First Spring in Bluebell Woods .jpg
Roadford May09.jpg
Roadford May09.jpg
Up the scary steps
Up the scary steps
Peggy at Cullevers Steps
Peggy at Cullevers Steps
Peggy on the moor
Peggy on the moor
Peggy at Speed .jpg
Peggy at Speed .jpg
Peggy at speed in the sand
Peggy at speed in the sand
Peggy in the Park
Peggy in the Park
New Coat on the Way
New Coat on the Way
Peggy at Brentor
Peggy at Brentor
Peggy Garden July09.jpg
Peggy Garden July09.jpg
Peggy Stretch.jpg
Peggy Stretch.jpg
Peggy on Kit Hill.jpg
Peggy on Kit Hill.jpg
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