Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A visit to Grandma's house

Next week, Mila is going to stay at Mike’s mum’s place while we head off on an overseas holiday for a bit. If I could, I would bundle her up and take her with me, but she would take up all of my luggage allowance (and some) just on her own…and where would I keep my shoes??!  So it’s off to Grandma’s (!!) house for some R&R – life’s tough when you’re a greyhound, isn’t it?!

Grandma’s house is a lot of fun (there are internal stairs to hoon up and down, a yard to run around in and a BIG RED RUG that is the most comfortable thing in the world to laze about on) so I have no doubt that Mila will have a good time without us. She may not even want to come home at the end of it… I am eternally grateful to Mike’s mum for agreeing to look after Mila for such a long period of time. We are away for 28 days and the kennel bill for that period of time was going to be a huge one, so it is fantastic to have someone who is willing to give up her time for us (thanks Mum!!!). Other family members have offered their services too, whether it be for walks or back-up accommodation – so that is really nice too.

The house is starting to look pretty empty already!!
I have spent some time over the last week putting together a list of things that Mila needs to take with her on her excursion (in addition to trying to get myself organised of course). It has made me realise just how much “dog stuff” we have accumulated over the past 5 months and how much greyhounds LOVE their accessories. Mila will have to make do without a few of her creature comforts (the big green couch in particular) while she is away – but she will still have quite a bit of luggage to take along with her. So far, we have a bag with muzzles, food treats, doggy do bags, carpet cleaner (just in case), a brush, dental sticks and her most favourite squeaky toys. Add to that – bedding, pyjamas, raincoat, regular food, her kong, food bowl and crate – and she is going to end up with more stuff packed than we will! Fair to say, our house will be pretty empty by the time we leave.

In case you were worried, Otis the bunny is being looked after too – by my sister who is house-sitting for us while we are away (thanks!!!). I’m sure Otis will appreciate having a bit of a break from the inquisitive Mila and from having to pretend that she is big and tough all the time.

Can I pleeeease take Trevor with me??
So, it will be radio silence here for a while as we swan off to enjoy our respective adventures - but I can guarantee that we will have plenty of stories to share upon our return (if Mila remembers us of course!)

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Doggy Day Care

On Fridays, Mila Grey goes to a place called Club Fido in Porirua - a Doggy Day Care where dogs of all different shapes and sizes go to socialise, exercise and have a great time. In my mind, it is a place straight out of the Hairy Maclary books, except with fences and human supervision.

Bitzer Maloney, all skinny and boney - from Lynley Dodd's Hairy Maclary
I have to admit that I initially really struggled with the idea of being the sort of owner that sends her dog to Day Care. I already have a reputation amongst my family and friends as a Crazy Greyhound lady and, rightly or wrongly, this seemed like a bit of a tipping point to me. I resisted for a while, citing monetary and time constraints as reasons not to go down that path, when really I just didn’t want to do it. You see, MY dog is just FINE at home without that sort of thing - thank you very much! She would go along to something like that just to curl up in the corner and sleep all day – right?!?!

But then a friend of mine told me about how Club Fido had done wonders for her dog’s social issues and had made interactions with other dogs at the park enjoyable, rather than stressful. Her dog had been a few times and would recognise the man who came to get her every week – wagging her tail enthusiastically and leaving without so much as a goodbye – to return that evening completely shattered and totally relaxed. ‘Well worth the money!’ she told me ‘You’d be mad not to’. Mila wasn’t getting a lot of exposure to other breeds (mostly due to the severe shortage of fenced dog parks in our area) – and even though she is a Greyhound, I always felt a little bad about leaving her by herself 5 days a week without more to do, so I decided to take the plunge.

I emailed the owner, Paul, and discovered that he was a Greyhound person too – owning a few himself and knowing all about their mannerisms and tendencies. He confirmed that they had an opening the following Friday and we were all booked in.

Friday morning rolled around, and the van arrived to pick Mila up and take her off on her new adventure. The van itself was a sight to behold. I don’t know what I was expecting but it was like a school bus for dogs…little caged compartments to different sizes so that the dogs could all enjoy the ride out to Porirua. Mila was bundled into the Greyhound-sized compartment at the back and off they went.

Upside down on the couch after our first visit to Club Fido - a sign of true relaxation!

When I got home after work, Mila had been dropped off and was sound asleep on the couch. I could see remnants of sand and dirt in her coat and on her paws which told me that she had at least been busy exploring. A report from Club Fido confirmed that she had taken to the new environment like a duck to water, played nicely and was particularly interested in her new Greyhound mates – just the kind of thing you want to hear when your child dog goes somewhere new without you.

The true test came the following Friday when the van arrived again. Mila was UP, helicopter tail going full force, doing a little dance around the room. When she saw the man at the door, she was ready to go, without even a look back to see if I was okay. We were on a winner, alright.
So, my dog probably IS fine at home without that sort of thing (thank you very much) but it is SO much more fun that what she would otherwise be doing on a Friday. And if that makes me a Crazy Greyhound lady, so be it.