Overwhelmed and Overdue

I have not fallen off the face of the Earth. I got behind on my thoughts, feelings and life in general and didn’t know where to start. Since my last post we’ve have had countless adventures, a good helping of snow, Lemmy’s first injury and he has found a firm best friend.

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First Vet Trip – Check up

Lemmy has his first vet trip. I booked the appountment although he had no health issues for three reasons. The first being that as a new dog to us and to our vet I wanted them to see him as his usual self and get a baseline for his weight health and behaviour. The second being that our last rescue hated vets after a bad experience with one to the point he needed to be muzzled as soon as he caught a whiff of medical equipment. The third is to do do with insurance.

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Out and About

In these first seven weeks with Lemmy many adventures have ensued. As his trust in us has grown he has shown his personality, moods and quirks more and more. Let’s talk about some of the more eventful walks.

The moment I told a few people we were getting a greyhound some of them started telling horror stories, notably, stories of other peoples dogs; The woman paying out for ‘countless’ dead cats, the escape artists, the sheer size and inconvenience. Experienced owners have their share of pretty traumatic experiences too, but risk can be managed. Our first alarming incident came before we’d said yes to Lemmy, but I’ll get into that and the ill fated pigeon another time. Lemmy’s first kill was rather spikier.

There is a specific look that someone gives when they’ve witnessed something a bit traumatic and don’t know what to think. Well, my husband’s face was a blend of that and an attempt to soften his face. He’s not very good at hiding his true expression though. He was out with Lemmy just over two weeks since adoption, in the evening. We frequent a lovely place not too far away with open areas, enclosed bushy walks and water. They were wandering through a narrow part on-lead, when in an instant there was a rustle, a short lunge from Lemmy into the bush beside them, then a crack. That was the moment Lemmy killed a hedgehog. Remarkably he came out of it with two scratches on his nose that didn’t bleed, unlike the unfortunate hedgehog.

High alert, doggo senses tingling

Within days of this came kill number two. Again it was my husband who had control when this happened, and again he swears there was no avoiding it. A small mammal, maybe a field mouse ran across Lemmy’s path, or at least tried to. Lemmy ate the poor thing whole. I was rather weary of his bowel movements for a day or so. If this happens to you don’t fret, you’re apparently unlikely to see any evidence. I know, not really a silver lining is it.

Urban doggo

Thankfully that concludes Lemmy’s wrap sheet for murder, I plan to keep it that way. We’ve had plenty of heart racing moments without actual harm to anyone. Take the off-lead beagle puppy. As I mentioned before we take walks locally where narrow bushy tracks open into fields, and just as we emerged into an open area the owner of said beagle thankfully thought to grab her pup. He was absolutely gorgeous and extremely playful. We chatted and shortly she let go of her dog to say hello, by which time I had insisted on putting Lemmy’s muzzle on. It hadn’t occured to me that some dogs might decide to help him out of his muzzle which is what this pup attempted, essentially boxing Lemmy’s face. Not a great start to a greeting. I pulled Lemmy away, but the bouncy young lad was too much temptation to play for Lemmy and he bounded after him. I can’t tell you for sure whether he ended up looming over the upturned pup in a playful way, or if there was some ill intent, and luckily no one had to find out. Trusty muzzle. I did not see any attempt to bite the pup, and as he was still on his lead Lemmy was swiftly removed from the pups personal space. The owner and I chatted briefly about the encounter and parted ways in a positive manner. Had I not used his muzzle, who knows.

Another time where I met an owner intent on off-lead walking we were all far better prepared. The lovely lady had her two whippets on-lead, handsome entire lads who quite fancied the opportunity to mount Lemmy and demonstrate they still had their relevant body parts. I wasn’t bothered by this and I didn’t think Lemmy was either, though perhaps it planted the idea in his head he would show them who’s boss. We walked together toward a secure gated and fenced area, with Lemmy muzzled and on-lead. Once she let her boys off, I cautiously did so with Lemmy keeping him muzzled and close. Once they began testing eachother’s speed I sensed the boys might get their feelings hurt, which is exactly what happened. Writing this now my mind is drawn to the quickest way to upset a man showing off his fast car – be faster than him. This works incredibly well with the majority of obnoxious drivers who go too fast in a straight line then corner like they’re in a bus. So anyway, these two beautiful dogs knew they were fast, but when Lemmy demonstrated he was much faster he scared the one dog out of his wits. I’m not sure if ‘tagging’ eachother during play is normal for larger sighthounds, it wasn’t a violent collision by any means, but with Lemmy’s height and weight it must have been scary for the whippet. Lemmy was quickly put back on his lead, but the whippets were very anxious after this so we calmly left. I admit, I’m feeling a bit bad remembering and writing about this but the lady understood there was no bad intention (and crucially no injury). She has since chatted to my husband and Lemmy and I’m glad to say we humans can all be friends. I don’t think her lad is quite up to the idea though.

On most walks and outings Lemmy behaves better than I expected so early on, like the early Sunday morning trip to Weston-super-Mare. We started off at the old pier, looking out across the sand and rock, gradually meandering over to the beach where a sparse but even smattering of dog owners and walkers were taking in the strange heat of mid-September. The vast majority of the dogs were off-lead. Lemmy stayed on his 10 metre lead and carefully selected who he would ignore, greet, and have a little play with. Despite the 10 metre radius he spent most of the time firmly at my side, maybe looking for my cues, maybe just a mummy’s boy. I’m happy about it either way. I’m often assuring people the muzzle is a precaution, that Lemmy is a softie and yes their child can get close. However a stressful environment, like a beach with ever changing canine occupants, could trigger something in our beloved Lemmy to ruin everyone’s day, or if the circumstances allow, much worse.

I think the bottom line is, I myself can be pushed to a reactive state, to anger and confrontation. To assume that my dog who has a wonderful temperament and is learning how to interact very well with strange and hostile dogs wouldn’t do damage to another dog would be irresponsible. We haven’t known Lemmy for long, but he’s come a long way already, and I am proud of how he’s doing.
RIP Spike and Mousey.

New Dog Essentials Review Part 1

In the short space of time since becoming a greyhound mum, I’ve spent plenty of time googling food choices, harnesses, collars, treats, beds, mats, coats and pyjamas (!). I’m even changing my car to better fit my lifestyle with our leggy lad. Yes, I really am taking the ‘mum’ part seriously.

Greyhound Rescue Wales kitted us out with all essentials, including a collar from Slouching Hound, a Cosy Dogs harness and a lead. I have no intention of changing the lead, I’d just like to take this moment to urge against extendable leads, which can be dangerous for everyone – they can burn through skin, tangle and trip up owners and dogs alike, and even pull muzzles OFF DOGS HEADS. I felt the need for capitals there, when this happens an animal can die. Caps indeed. GRW also provided about a weeks worth of wet and dry food to get us started. Burns is a highly regarded reputable Welsh brand that GRW both use daily and provided to me. It’s a great choice for your dog, I simply decided to explore other options,

One recommendation I had was Skinners, and in choosing a hypoallergenic vareity – ‘ Field & Trial Chicken and Rice’ Lemmy is getting food free from wheat, dairy, egg, soya, preservatives, colours and artifiial flavours and with low crude ash content. What he is getting is a comfortingly short list of ingredients I can understand, decent ‘good’ addatives including vitamins and minerals, and to be frank a mid range food in terms of price. Having looked around at a lot of wheat and soya free foods, Skinners is perfectly comparable to a few foods over twice its price. Alongside this we feed some wet food with the occasional raw egg, especially when my daughter tries to help with baking an an egg ends up all over the worktop, and some oily fish.

With treats we knew we’d want to give little and often as we work on training and encourage his good behaviours. I chose Britten & James Premium Grain Free treats, which are 80% meat, sweet potato, potato and chicken stock. These are teeny but apparently very tasty! We warned the oils in them will mark a thin fabric treat bag so line your bag or use a bag with a coated material. Lots of people train with small pieces of cheese, and when working on something Lemmy finds challenging like recall in a new environment we do too. For me they are an occasional treat I wouldn’t offer all the time.

The collar we got from Slouching Hound absolutely does the job. It is lighweight, seems comfortable and the material is fast drying. I couldn’t help but put my own personal stamp on his look, even though the rainbow represents a few things I am very much in support of – LGBTQ+ rights and pride, sunshine on a rainy day and more recently used to represent support for the NHS. It will remain in our small but growing collar collection as a bright reminder of his early days with us to be worn again soon.

I chose two collars from an Etsy seller based in Spain, the shop is called Wakakan. They have a range of sizes in their martingale collars, an abundance of choice for prints and you can also choose the coloour of the metal hardware. Having spent enough for free delivery, I was extremely pleased that this meant DHL express service. In three working days my collar was ordered, shipped, and received in the UK. I wholeheartedly recommend them.

One item I didn’t expect to use quite so much is Lemmy’s Vetfleece. I opted for the non-slip multi paw version rather than the greenback fleece which is loved by vets everywhere. It can be cut to size, is lightweight, fluffy without shedding, non-allergenic, non-toxic, quick drying, doesn’t harbour bacterial growth, is easy to wash, and in grey with white paw prints it is pretty cute and blends in well enough at home. The greenback version can be washed at 90 degrees and even autoclaved, so bear that in mind.

I’m feeling that this is already a little lengthy of a post, so I’ll cover some of the other purchases I’ve been over the moon with in my next review post and others I’m not so keen on. If you have a specific question or item you’re wondering about please let me know and I’ll be happy to chat about it.

We’re having too many adventures to leave out so I’ll be posting about our walks and trips over the next few days too.

Lemmy’s First Road Trip

Over the last week Lemmy has had too many adventures to talk about in one go. Today I’d like to talk about heading to a favourite location of ours, in Builth Wells Mid Wales for a stay in a dog friendly hotel. Our wedding anniversary posed the perfect excuse to get away and enjoy the scenery with our boy.

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