Thursday, August 30, 2012

Neighborhood Doggie Friends

Living in a townhouse/condo complex gives Luna plenty of opportunities to meet new doggie friends.  Now that she's been around for over a year, it is easy to see which dogs she considers her buddies.  She is always happy to greet another dog, but there are a few that she will drag me across the street so she can say hello.

Luna likes our next door neighbor's beagle, Sadie.  They will occasionally bump into each other if their potty breaks match up.  I think Sadie is a little nervous saying hello to a big dog, but Luna's gentle nature helps Sadie relax.

Another neighbor we usually see walking in the cooler weather owns a black rough collie named Wolfie.  Wolfie was one of the first dogs Luna met when we adopted her and she was very scared of him.  As far as I know, Luna had not interacted with other breeds of dogs before living with us.  She was scared of dogs bigger than a whippet.  Wolfie's fluffy, black coat probably didn't help much.  Over time Luna became more confident and appreciates Wolfie's laid back attitude.  Now she will prance over to him when we see him out on a walk.

We also see two Italian greyhounds out on walks.  The two iggies happily dance around Luna and reach up with their tiny noses to sniff her great big face.  Luna will stand very still so as not to step on the small dogs.  Her tail will wag constantly as she leans in to say hi.  One time, Luna got the zoomies while saying hello to the iggies which got the two iggies riled up.  The three dogs happily spun, play bowed and danced while we just laughed.

Like most greyhounds, Luna is biased towards her own kind.  We have three other greyhounds in the neighborhood; two chocolate brindle females (can't remember their names) and one fawn male named Vinny.    Vinny lives the closest to us so we see him almost every morning.  When Luna sees Vinny she perks her ears up, wags her tail, and starts pulling me towards him.  Vinny has been sick for a long time so he isn't as animated as Luna, but he definitely perks up when she's around.  Luna also gets excited for the two females, but only one of them gets excited back.  The other is a bit reserved about who she accepts in her pack.

It is nice to see Luna interact with the many different breeds in our neighborhood and I'm glad she has picked out her buddies.  It is always a special treat for her when we see them on our walks.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Scaredy Cat

Luna can easily scare herself when on a night time walk.  Her reaction is usually to get low and sprint towards me.  This usually ends up with her taking out my knees from behind or stepping on my flip flops.  It is really annoying especially when we are walking near traffic.  She is also able to spook herself on the most insignificant thing.  Here is a list of things Luna finds scary and things that should be scary, but she doesn't care about.

Scary things Luna can ignore:
  1. Lightning/thunder
  2. Motorcycles
  3. Cars backfiring
  4. Bicycles/Fast moving people
  5. Loud, unexpected noises (crashes, chainsaws, etc.)
Scary things that Luna reacts to:
  1. Weird shadows
  2. Unheard sounds
  3. Unseen movements
  4. When she trips
  5. A parked, unattended motorcycle
After an incident this past week we will have to add cats to the list of scary things.  We have a neighbor who owns a very friendly cat.  Luna and the cat have met a few times before and enjoy sniffing one another.  The cat actually will rub up against Luna if she will stand still.  On our walk we saw the cat and decided to stop to say hello.  

When it was time to get going I called Luna, not realizing that the cat was between us and Luna wasn't watching where she was going.  She stepped on the cat which caused the cat to hiss (and probably swat, but I didn't see that).  While the cat was hissing, Luna was screaming/yelping.  You would have thought these two were in a fight to the death.  

To make matters worse, we were in an area that sounds echo off of the buildings so the whole ordeal was very loud.  More than a few neighbors stuck their heads out their windows to see what was happening.  I just kept walking in the hopes that I would not die of embarrassment.  "Nothing to see here.  Just a silly dog stepping on a cat."  Both animals totally overreacted to the incident.

Neither the cat or Luna was hurt which is good, but I'm sure they will keep their distance for awhile.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Go Dog! Go!

It is pretty obvious when a walk just isn't enough for Luna.  She needs a good run.  The problem is that Luna will only do real hard running in two locations: my parents' backyard and Mike's parents' backyard.  She is too scared to run at a dog park (thanks to our second collision) even if she is the only dog in the park.  She'll do a couple of quick sprints, but nothing that would totally exhaust her.

Yesterday, I tried a new location.  We went to a ball field in my parents' neighborhood that is pretty secluded.  I thought this might help Luna relax since it doesn't look anything like a dog park.  Once again, she did a few sprints, but was not comfortable enough for real running.  I think she enjoyed the opportunity to sniff a new location.

Finally, I gave in and took her to my parents' house where she tore up the backyard.  I wish I had someone with me to film her running.  She doesn't run away from me and then return like my last greyhound did.  Instead, she spins in circles around me, nips at my shirt, play bows, and growls a lot.  In order to get her to run I have to have her chase me.  We end up just running back and forth across the yard.  This time I had her squeaky toy on the whip so she could chase after the toy.

It is exhausting to get Luna's zoomies out and I wish that she would just run around like a normal greyhound. On the plus side, I finally got her least for a few hours.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hostess Luna

It's been another crazy week (are you tired of hearing that phrase yet?).  To add to our busy week we've been dogsitting Chewie while her family is away on vacation.  You may remember Chewie from previous posts.  She is a rescued Shih Tzu that was found running loose on a local highway.  Luna and Chewie are good buddies and have traveled on several adventures together.  However, this was the first time that Chewie has slept over at our house.

Luna was quite content to have Chewie hanging out with us the first evening.  I think she enjoyed the company.  When it was time for bed, Chewie settled into her crate.  Luna stared at Chewie from her pillow as if wondering why Chewie was still in our house.  Doesn't she go home at night?

Luna has also been having trouble giving Chewie space while she is eating.  Chewie is very submissive so if Luna comes too close Chewie will walk away from her food allowing Luna to swoop in.  The "leave it" command has been very helpful this week.

The trickiest part of having Chewie stay with us has been walks.  We are used to walking at a brisk pace which equates to a sprint for Chewie.  The first walk I took with both dogs had me walking sideways with Luna out front and Chewie lagging behind.  Both dogs were frustrated and I don't even want to think about how the neighbors saw me.  To solve this problem I've been using Chewie's retractable leash to give her a little more space.  However, this solution has it's flaws when Luna steps over Chewie or Chewie runs underneath Luna.

I think Luna enjoys having Chewie around, but I know she will be very happy to be an only dog again.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Try Again Next Year

The Somerset County 4-H Fair started this past Wednesday and continues until 10:00pm tonight.  On Wednesday I was on the fairgrounds to judge club displays, work at my church's food booth, and support the dog club members as they competed in a variety of shows.  All the kids asked if I was going to bring Luna to the Fair and I promised that I would bring her on Thursday.

Despite my best efforts, we never set foot on the fairgrounds yesterday.  Some bad thunderstorms shut down the Fair for several hours.  I had hoped that by the time Luna and I arrived after work the fairgrounds would be open again, but that was not the case.  We hung out in the parking lot of a nearby grocery store for awhile before moving to Mike's parents house for dinner.  His parents live about a mile from the fairgrounds.  Luna enjoyed running around in the backyard and visiting with the family so at least she had some fun.

After dinner I had heard that the fairgrounds had been opened so Luna and I headed out for another attempt.  We didn't get very far when we stopped in bumper to bumper traffic.  The bad weather, local car accidents, and closed fairgrounds had all contributed to one of the worst traffic jams.  We sat forever before we finally got to a location where we could escape the traffic.  I took that opportunity to get out and go home.

Today the forecast is rain and thunderstorms all day so we will not be attending tonight.  I feel bad that the kids did not get to see Luna.  We'll have to visit them when they start their club meetings up again in the fall.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Demanding Hot Walks

Poor Luna.  She so desperately wants to go outside for some walks and running around.  However, this past weekend it was so hot.  This was the first weekend in a very long time that I was not working or away so my plan was to just sit inside and enjoy the air conditioning.  Luna was not on board with that idea.

She followed me so close I had to be careful how I moved around the house in fear that I would trip over her.  When Luna wants to get your attention she begins by playing with her toys.  She will squeak the toys and toss them in the air for several minutes.  If that doesn't work, she will hang out by the front door and use her nose to ring the bell we hang on the door knob.  Still ignoring her?  She will come over and rest her heavy head on your lap.  She completes this stage with a heavy sigh and Bambi eyes.  If you are still not picking up on her hints for attention, she will start barking up a storm until your butt is off the couch.

This is what I dealt with all weekend.  A few times I tried to take her for a short walk, but the pavement was so hot she couldn't stand still for even a second.  A neighbor stopped us at one point and wanted to pet her. Poor Luna was picking up her feet because the pavement was burning her.  I'm sure the neighbor thought I was rude because I moved on very quickly.  On another walk, we had just barely gotten started when she was already hanging her swollen tongue out of her mouth.  We turned around and went home.

Luna just doesn't seem to make the connection between it's miserable outside and that's why we aren't going for long walks.  She keeps demanding the walks, but is miserable when I give them too her.  I'm looking forward to a few cooler days so we can let her run.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wine and Greyhounds, What's Not to Love?

After a month of stressful 4-H camps and Fairs it was time for a break.  Luna, Mom and I said good-bye to the menfolk and headed to upstate New York for the annual Grapehounds Wine Tour.  This was our first big greyhound event and it won't be our last.
View from the vineyard.  Awesome!
I couldn't tell you how many greyhounds were there because there were so many.  I was amazed by the number of dogs, the spectacular views, and the good company.
Family of six greys!

Ladies only vacation.  Me, Luna and Mom.
In the mornings we hiked Buttermilk Falls which was fantastic physical therapy for Luna.  She had to navigate rocks, roots, and steps as we climbed around the gorge.  On one of our hikes she saw a small snake which she watched with great intent.  Suddenly she jumped straight up into the air as if she had been bitten.  Upon closer examination I realized that she had shifted her weight while observing the snake and had caused a stick to poke her in the foot.
We didn't see a bear...but we saw a snake.
Checking out the stream that leads to the lake that leads to the falls.
A little water and we're ready for the next adventure.
In the afternoons we dined at a lake view restaurant, wine tasted six wineries and a distillery, and hung out with the greyhounds.  Luna shared her frozen vanilla yogurt with an adorable Italian Greyhound during the ice cream social.  While my Mom loves greyhounds, I saw her falling for the Iggies.  I won Luna a collection of holiday necklaces in the silent auction.  We love them and can't wait to show them off this year.

This old church is now a winery.  Awesome.
Lunch by the lake.
Luna modeling her new bling.
Every night we came back to the Grayhaven Motel (fantastic place to vacation with your dog) and watched the Olympics.  I tried to cuddle with Luna on the twin bed, but she was too tired to jump up one night.  Oh well, there wasn't much room for both of us anyway.
What a pretty puppy.

The weekend was wrapped up with a group hike to one of the falls.  It was amazing to see so many greyhounds on the trails.  We missed the group photo :-( but when we arrived there were still plenty of greyhounds.  A few (including Luna) enjoyed a quick dip in the water.  We had so much fun we are already planning next year's Grapehounds Wine Tour.  
Just some of the many greyhounds on the hike.

The gathering at the falls.

One grey really enjoyed the water.

This is by far the tallest greyhound I've ever seen.  Huge!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Where Have We Been?

In my last post I said you would hear from me again when my sanity returned.  Well, I guess my sanity may never return (or did I have any to begin with), but it's time for me to get back into my regular routine.

Luna, Mike, and I have been crazy busy in the last two weeks.  Mike has been working long and irregular hours.  I have been pretty much living at the 4-H Fairgrounds as we set-up, put on, and cleaned up the Fair. Luna was a good sport through the whole experience and was rewarded with a special trip (more on that later).

First the 4-H Fair.  Last year the weather set new records with 110 degree heat.  Yikes!  This year we prayed for cooler temperatures which were answered with all day rain on Friday.  Bummer.  Everyone was wearing sweaters, rain boots, and disappointment.  We hardly had any fairgoers which made keeping our spirits up very difficult.  An hour before Fair officially ended (not like it really mattered) we started a line dance party in the middle of the Fairgounds.  The kids had so much fun and were warm for the first time all day!  We decided to have a surprise flash mob during the last two days of Fair.  They were a big success.  A new tradition has been born.

But back to Luna.  I brought her to the Fair on Saturday which was just about as perfect a day as you can get.  She hung out with my co-workers and me in the Cloverbud Corner, a hands-on activity area for children in grades K-3.  It comes as no surprise that she was a big hit with the kids.  When she was not greeting the kids, she was taking in the sights and smells of the Fair.  We stopped by Tom the turkey who Luna ignored until he gobbled.  At that point she just about lost her mind and started barking up a storm.  Tom was not impressed.

I took Luna home in the afternoon because our Friday night fireworks had been postponed to Saturday.  There was no way I was going to open that can of worms.  Luna was so exhausted from her day at the Fair that Mike said she collapsed on her pillow and slept.

So what was Luna's big reward for putting up with our busy schedules?  Find out in the next post. :-)