Monday, December 30, 2013

December Has Come and Gone

It's been a long time since my last post.  Over a month, in fact.  Life just got away from me and I just didn't have the time, energy, and drive to write out the posts.  Here's a quick recap of what we've been up to.

We went for a hike along the Potomac River.  Hard to believe this dog was once paralyzed.
Luna, Mike and I went to Washington D.C. to visit family and hang out with my Aunt and Uncle's dog, Ginny.  Luna had a great time playing with Ginny's toys, taking walks around the neighborhood, and taking care of any leftovers from dinner.

Foster Dog, Trina
Atascocita Trina (a.k.a Chuckles)
For the first two weeks of December we fostered a lovely brindle greyhound named Trina.  She had been adopted, but was returned quickly when she got into a fight with the resident greyhound.  Unfortunately, the dogs were left unsupervised with food so it is unclear who started the fight.  Both dogs were injured and Trina was returned.  Happily, she was placed in the Prison Program where inmates care for the dogs one-on-one 24/7.  They couldn't find any evidence of food aggression so she was placed with us for a "home situation test".  Again, no food aggression or any other negative behaviors were found.  However, she seemed to lack any kind of understanding of "personal space" as she was constantly in Luna's face and attempted to share the pillows.  Luna was very tolerant of Trina's ridiculous behavior, but I can see another dog getting a bit ticked off when Trina's face was in their food bowl.  After just a short time with us, Trina was adopted by a family that lives just 20 minutes away and owns three other dogs (one is a big male greyhound).  Her family reports that Trina is a mischief maker, but everyone (including the dogs) enjoys her silly antics.  What a great Christmas for Trina!

Snow and Sun
Luna loves to explore the snowy woods.
The weather has been flexing back and forth over the last few weeks between muggy Florida rain and freezing Arctic snow.  Luna enjoys running in the snow and splashing through the mud.  Ugh.  However, there was a week where the snow became ice and Luna was pretty miserable.  She did not like walking on the slippery "snow" and falling through with her spindly legs while trying to go to the bathroom.  We hope to get another good snowfall so we can hike at the mansion again.

Luna thinks every present is for her.
Luna has been traveling with us a lot over the last few weeks.  I've taken her to work since no one is around and she can keep me company.  She also spent Christmas morning with us at my parents' house followed by Christmas afternoon and evening at Mike's family's house.  She had plenty of playtime with Ryder...well...nap time.  Luna wasn't interested in Ryder's attempts to play.  Poor guy.  Luna received some tasty treats, rawhides, a new stuffed moose squeak toy, a new light up collar (for night time walks), and a new bed for when she comes to my office.  Lucky pup.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Little Brother Wants to Play

Ryder and Luna have had several play dates at this point.  Each time, Ryder tries desperately to get Luna to play with him.  She, as always, refuses by ignoring him.  Sorry buddy.

Since Luna won't play, I've been working with Ryder on his "drop it", "take it", and "sit" commands through our tug-of-war and retrieval game.  He's doing pretty well, but has plenty of room for improvement.  Many times he brings the toy to Luna just in case she suddenly decides to join in the fun.  So such luck as of yet, but who knows?  Maybe she'll change her mind on the 100th try.
Ryder celebrates capturing his "prey" by racing around the yard.
"Look, Luna!  Doesn't this look like fun?"
"Are you sure you don't want to play?"
"Is there something we should chase?"
"She STILL won't play.  What's wrong with her?" 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Funky Foot Question

The other night, I noticed something funky going on with Luna's foot.  I'm sure this is a simple and common problem so I welcome any advice before I head off to the vet's office.  My suspicion is a calloused pad which I'm guessing requires soaking and moisturizer.  Any suggestions?
What's up with the white, dry looking part of the pad?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Purple Snoods are In This Season

I have been trying to expand my knitting skills and use up some of the leftover yarn I have collected over the years so I decided to attempt knitting a snood for Luna.  It came out pretty good and I'm quite pleased at how well it goes with Luna's coat.  She looks very stylish.  I can't wait to show it off this winter and I know Luna appreciates having a warm neck on our nighttime walks.

"Seriously?  You want me to wear this?"
Close up of my handiwork.
"Does purple go with this face?"
She's such a sassy fashionista.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Continued Play Date with the Gemstones

After the market, Luna and I enjoyed some time hanging out in Mary Pat's large back yard.  She has four chickens in a fenced in section that the dogs pretty much ignored which was surprising to me since they all have a history of going after chickens.  At least, they ignored the chickens up until Mary Pat went in side the fencing to inspect them.

At that point, Luna was on high alert and even gave a couple of barks at the birds.  Tanzanite offered a few play bows and tested how well the fencing held up.  One of the chickens seemed to understand that the dogs could not get her because she walked right up to the fencing and pecked Tanzanite right on the nose which was both a surprise and hilarious.  Emerald suffered the same pecking when she got to close.  The look of surprise on her face was priceless.  Only Opal waited on the sidelines just in case a bird got loose.

After playing with the chickens, Luna surprised us all with a sudden desire to run around.  Ever since her accident (nearly two years ago) she has refused to run in the presence of other dogs.  Apparently, she felt comfortable enough around the Gemstones that she was able to run until she was good and tired.  I was so happy to see her fully enjoying herself.  She didn't even mind that Fun Police Officer Tanzanite was trying to stop her from having a good time.  Go, Luna!

Unfortunately, I didn't get any video of Luna running.  I was too busy taking in the moment.  Since Luna has shown that she can run with the other greys, we will have to visit again soon so she can enjoy another care free run.
Tanzanite and Opal enjoying the warm sun.
Emerald keeps a watchful eye while she rests her head.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Big Outing with the Gemstones

I've been really busy lately with graduate school projects and coordinating a huge event for work.  As a result, Luna developed another case of cabin fever.  Her symptoms include selective hearing, excessive dancing/prancing around me when I put on my shoes, and desperate attempts for attention.
Opal, Emerald, and Tanzanite relaxing on the way to the market. 
Luna was too excited to relax.
Today was the first day free of commitments so I decided to cure Luna's cabin fever by taking her to visit Mary Pat and the Gemstones (thanks Mary Pat for seeing us on such short notice).  The weather was perfect so we decided to visit Rice's Flea Market in Pennsylvania.  I've taken Luna there a few times before and she loves the attention from the shoppers, the many interesting smells, and the different kinds of dogs that people bring.  It didn't occur to me that visiting Rice's Flea Market with FOUR greyhounds might draw some attention.

We had barely stepped on to the main walkway when we were stopped by several people who wanted to talk greyhounds with us.  Two of the people who stopped by had just lost their greyhound and it was evident that they needed their greyhound fix.  Another family had a young girl who was curious about the dogs and happy to pet each one.  After several minutes chatting with several shoppers, we finally headed off towards the dog treat vendor.
Decisions, decisions....
The girls enjoyed many samples from the vendor before we made our purchases.  Luna never took her eyes off the vendor even when shoppers were petting her.  It's amazing how well she can give someone eye contact when they have food.

We decided to do a full lap of the market, but this proved to be difficult because we were stopped every few feet so someone could pet our dogs.  Mary Pat and I answered many questions and encouraged shoppers to consider a greyhound as their next pet.  I wasn't expecting our little outing to turn in to a Meet & Greet, but it was a great opportunity to help spread the word on greyhound adoption.
Tanzanite makes a great head rest during stops.
*Sigh* Are we going to move soon?
By the time we finished our lap the market was closing up so we loaded the girls up to head home.  All four were finally tired enough to lie down and relax.  Social butterfly, Tanzanite, was so tired from greeting shoppers that she passed out the moment we started the car until we pulled in the driveway.  Luna, on the other hand, stayed alert in case something interesting happened.
Luna finally laid down for the car ride back.
All four dogs are ready for a nap.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

Luna was a good sport and got dressed up for Halloween this year.  Mike pointed out that she has more outfits for October than any other month.  At this point she has a pretty orange collar, two orange and black necklaces, a pumpkin bandanna, and now a Halloween costume.  It seems a bit much for one dog.
Luna sporting her pumpkin bandanna.
Anyway, Halloween fell on a Thursday this year so Luna was able to come to work with me.  My co-worker, Kathy, brought her Siberian Husky, Libby, to work, too.  Libby came dressed as a princess, but promptly threw her crown off her head after only a few minutes.  What a diva!
Luna and Libby all dressed up.
Luna's costume was very simple.  She went as a pony with a cowboy riding on her back.  She looked very cute, but not thrilled with wearing the silly thing.
Happy pony?  I don't think so.
The past two years have had natural disasters screw up Halloween.  Two years ago we had a snowstorm.  Last year we had Hurricane Sandy.  This year we had some rain, but not too much so we ended up with a few trick-or-treaters.  I have so many fun memories of trick-or-treating in my neighborhood as a kid.  Sadly, trick-or-treating seems to be a thing of the past since we haven't seen many kids in the last four years.

Despite the low number of kids, Luna greeted each one at the door in her costume.  It looked like she was happy to see the kids, but unsure of their strange outfits.  She was also probably confused by the fact that we had even a few kids at the door since this is out of the ordinary for our house.

Anyway, I think Luna had a fun Halloween and will definitely model her costume again next year.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Annoying Little Brother

We've taken Luna over to Mike's parent's house a few times over the last few weeks.  The dogs are doing well together, but it is obvious that Luna is not thrilled with Ryder.  She tolerates him, but she's not interested in becoming his next best friend.

It turns out Ryder is over two years old which explains his relatively calm demeanor.  However, he is a young dog who wants to play.  He tries to get Luna to play by offering play bows, gentle nose nudges on her head, and happy tail wagging.  For a young dog interested in finding a playmate, he is surprisingly respectful and gentle.  I believe it is due to his experience growing up with an older dog in his last home.

Luna tolerates his invitations to play fairly well, but she has shown her teeth several times and given him plenty of dog body language clearly stating, "Back off! I'm not interested!".  One of these days she may snap at him if pushed too much so we always supervise them.  Luna has snapped at young dogs before, but she is always careful never to make contact.  She just gives them a quick scary bark/snap in their direction as a warning to go away.

Last weekend, Mike and I went to a friend's wedding and we left Luna with Ryder all day.  When we came back to pick her up, the report was that Luna behaved beautifully, but Ryder had to spend some time in time out when he was bugging her too much.  Afterwards, both dogs settled in for a nap, but Ryder insisted that Luna stay within eyesight just in case she decided it was playtime.

I'm sorry that Ryder hasn't found a playmate in Luna, but I hope that someday they will enjoy each other's company like Amber and Luna did.  I think it will just take some time for Ryder to fit in the family a little more and for Luna to accept that Ryder isn't going anywhere.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Welcome Ryder!

Last weekend, Mike's family welcomed their newest member.  Ryder is a 1 year-old black lab mix who was surrendered by his previous owners in West Virginia.  He only just arrived in New Jersey last week and Mike's mother was lucky enough to meet him at a local Farmer's Market.  By the end of the day, Ryder was settling into his new home.
He's a happy guy.
We brought Luna over to their house to meet Ryder the following day.  To be honest, I was a little nervous about how this introduction would go.  I figured Ryder would be too energetic for Luna and was worried that she would be reactive to a young pup's attempt to play.  With Luna's experiences getting hit by other dogs when running and now the attack from the German Shepherd, she is very nervous about unfamiliar dogs moving around her.

Fortunately, Ryder spent at least three months living with an older Labrador in his previous home so he is understands how to be respectful of older dogs that do not want to play.  After a few unsuccessful invitations to play, Ryder settled on Mike's sister as his playmate.  Luna was clearly uncomfortable with the new puppy in the house, but she went about her business searching for snacks in the kitchen.  For awhile, Ryder followed Luna from room to room the way Luna used to follow Amber.

I think it is going to take some time for these two to find a routine that works for both of them.  I am hopeful that Ryder will get Luna to play a little in the yard when she feels more relaxed around him.  In the mean time, it is nice to know that they are respectful of each other and can co-exist without too much trouble.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fall Hiking

Sunday was beautiful with sunshine and slightly cool temperatures.  It was the perfect day to take Luna for a long hike at the local park with the mansion on the hill.  It seems like we've visited this park once a season so we were due for an autumn walk.
Mansion on the hill.
When we started the walk, I had to keep Luna leashed because there were so many walkers, runners, bicyclists, and other dogs.  By the time we reached the nature trail which goes past the barn and through the field, most visitors had finished their hike and were headed back to their cars.  We were left in peace to enjoy the hike a little more "free ranged".  
Luna checks out the fencing.
The nature trail requires hikers to travel up a steep hill in the woods (at least its shady), walk down the hill to the barn, through the grassy field (very sunny), back up the steep hill (this time in the full sun), and finally back down the hill through the woods.  It's a pretty good workout for both of us.
Headed downhill towards the barn.
Luna goes on ahead.
A quick stop for a photo shoot.
Luna knows how to strike a pose.
Final stretch before we had back downhill.
After we did the nature trail, Luna and I stopped at the stream for a quick drink and a rest in the cool water.  Then, we continued on the standard trail which took us on an easy walking path through the woods and across the main lawn.
Isn't that water cold?
Somebody is a happy puppy.
By the time we returned to the car, Luna was feeling pretty tired.  It has been a while since she's had such an extensive walk.  We'll have to make these hikes a more regular experience.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Slow September

Has it really been so long since my last post?  I knew I was falling behind, but never realized how much time had past.  It's been a hard start to fall with graduate school, a work conference, and other craziness.

I feel like I haven't spent much time with Luna this month and I think she feels the same way.  Normally, she is very excited when I walk in the door or talk about giving her a walk.  She will prance around, wagging her tail, and bark happily.  Lately, her excitement has reached new heights.  She has started rearing up on her hind legs, bouncing into me, and racing around our very tiny living room.  Mike and I call her a little pony when she stands on her hind legs with joy.  We will try to get a picture or video of this soon.

For the most part, Luna has spent her days in the crate, evenings with Mike in front of the TV (or helping in the kitchen), and weekends visiting our parents.  I hope to take her to work with me on Friday so she can have a little time away from the ordinary.  We'll have to make an effort to take her to a park this weekend so she can run off some of her crazies.
Relaxing on Amber's pillow and missing her buddy.

Working with Mike

While I was away at my work conference, Mike decided to take Luna to work with him so he could stay at work late without worrying about her.  I was a little worried about how well this would go since Mike had never taken Luna to work with him before.  Would his office mates be ok with having her around?  Would Luna behave herself and stay put?

Not only did Luna have a great time at work and behaved herself, everyone at worked loved having her around (big surprise).  In fact, Mike brought her to work almost every day of the week while I was away.  Since then, his office mates have requested that she come back to work more often.

Mike sent me a few pictures of Luna at the office.  I have to say that she looks way more comfortable at his office than at mine.  Maybe that is because he brought her giant comfy pillow where as I just give her a blanket.  Then again, we definitely give out more treats at my office.
Just waiting for the end of the work day.
"Is it time to go yet?"

Friday, August 30, 2013

Luna as Fine Art

Mike and I may not have any human kids at this time, but Luna is most definitely our baby girl.  This is common knowledge to all our friends and family members.  So, it should have come as no surprise that several of our wedding gifts followed a "we love Luna" theme.  We received FOUR hand painted/sketched pictures of Luna.  We joke that the decoration of our house has gone from "we like greyhounds" to a shrine for Luna.

The first three paintings were commissioned by my mother's family.  The artist lives in England and is a good friend of my grandparents.  They met the artist on one of their many trips to England.  My grandfather had several paintings done by this artist of buildings and locations important to our family.  To have these three paintings/sketches of Luna done by the same artist means so much to Mike and me.

(These paintings were modeled off of three photos on the blog.  See if you recognize them!)
Oil painting
Pencil (Sorry the picture did not turn out well. It is of Luna roaching.)
The fourth drawing was done by a friend of ours who is a budding author and an amazing artist.  She used one of our engagement photos to create the picture.  We were shocked and honored that she created something so beautiful for us.
Original photo
Each piece is proudly on display in our home.  We love each one because they showcase how beautiful Luna is inside and out.  These are treasured pieces that we look forward to sharing with guests for many years to come.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Good-bye Amber

Three weeks ago we said good-bye to Mike's family's dog, Amber.  We're not sure of her age since she was adopted from a rescue, but we guess that she was somewhere between 12-14 years old.  She wasn't doing too well and it became obvious that she was ready.
Sweet Amber.
As we were hanging out with her, I realized that I've known Amber for nearly as long as she's been a member of Mike's family.  She was adopted about a year before I started dating Mike so I've known her for nearly a decade.  She was always so welcoming to me and made me feel like part of the family when I'd come over to visit.

Everyone had their nicknames for Amber.  Mike and his father frequently referred to her as "Stinky" or "Stupid".  Mike's mother called her "Sweetheart" and "Honey".  Mike's sisters loved to call her "Baby" and "Booger".  My nickname for her was "Ambie Bear" which I always called her when I came over to visit.

In Amber's earlier years, she distinctly disliked other dogs and would not accept them in her home.  By the time Luna came into our lives, Amber had settled down and allowed Luna to join the family.  Luna loved to follow Amber from room to room and in and out of the house.  I wonder if Luna will notice that her constant companion will be missing from the home when we go to visit.

Amber was a fantastic dog who made her family very happy.  She loved nothing more than to receive affection and return that love tenfold.  She will be sorely missed.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Finally at the Fair

Luna finally had a chance to go to a 4-H Fair.  The weather was cool, the rain held off, and Mike and I were motivated to go.  She enjoyed getting pet by anyone willing to stop and say hello.  She also helped us finish our sandwiches.
Luna wanted her picture taken at the dog tent.
As always, her favorite tents were the poultry and small animal tents.  She especially liked the big wall of rabbit cages.
I don't think the chickens want to see you, Luna. 
That's a lot of rabbits.
As we passed by the Mechanical Sciences tent, a young man had an radio controlled car zipping by the entrance to the tent.  Luna immediately stopped in her tracks to watch with her ears up.  Thinking that the car was scaring Luna, the man stopped the car and waited for us to pass.  We explained that she actually enjoys watching the car and asked him to continue.  When the car came back to life, Luna started barking her head off as if to say, "What the heck is that?! Can I catch it?!"  She did not pull on the leash, but all her barking and intense gaze told me that she really wanted permission to put the car out of its misery.  Maybe someday we'll get Luna an RC car to chase.

It was a great Fair and I'm glad Luna had a chance to visit.  She settled down a bit when we got home, but you can tell she is still eager to be included in adventures outside of the house.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wake Up Call

Nothing startles you awake better than a greyhound nose in your face.  Luna is typically very good at staying quiet in the morning.  She will stay on her pillow and wait for me to get up (for some reason she doesn't bother moving if Mike gets up first).
"I noticed that the sun is up."
However, if she decides that we've had enough sleep she will come over to the side of the bed and just stand there looking at me.  Again, she rarely bothers Mike.  If I don't respond, she'll move closer and rest her head on the bed.  If I still refuse to acknowledge her presence she will inch her nose close enough to leave a wet nose print on my arm or face which usually sends me leaping out of bed to her delight.

I'm just thankful that this method of waking up only happens occasionally and that she does does not choose to wake me up by jumping on the bed.

"Perhaps you weren't aware that the day has started."
"Do you need some motivation to get out of bed?"
"You'd better get up before I touch you with my nose."
"You know, you could help me get her out of bed instead of just smiling at me."