Spring

Looking at the drizzle and grey clouds outside this morning you would have never guessed what a beautiful sunny day we had on Thursday walking the dogs and an unexpected trip to Wales!

Nikki and Woody had a walk around the park a rarity as it is full of tiny dogs off leads which when they run up to Woody and bark at him and run off proves to much, it’s like being in the traps again and he gets most excited! Therefore when we are likely to meet little furry friends off their lead he always wears his muzzle. It makes us sad at people’s attitudes if while on his lead wearing his muzzle he barks at their unmuzzled of the lead dog…as he becomes the problem dog? Having spoken to other greyhound owners this is a common greyhound problem. 

Anyway we had fun and played beat the street, collecting points for the boys school. Double points and lots of people out and about.

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In the afternoon we had an unexpected drive to Wales for another walk with Nikki and Woody and some amazing fish and chips! Nikki and the boys loved the rabbits in the field, Woody wasn’t as excited by rabbits as little dogs but he enjoyed a second sunny walk.

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Nikki news: Nikki meet Noddy, Noddy meet Nikki..

I mentioned me my last post considering hound number 2! Well we phoned Hall Green RGT and let them know we were interested in Noddy and then I swapped a shift at work so we could go and see him and most importantly do the important Nikki-Noddy introduction!

It was just me, the boys and the dog as Mr P was working. We arrived at about 10.30am and were all really excited to see Noddy, it was also exciting to be back at Hall Green RGT as its a lovely place and it has happy memories from getting Nikki :D. When Noddy came out I had to laugh as next to Nikki he is so stocky, a really muscular boy! He seemed pleased to see us and eager to go for a walk so we set off around the field.

Firstly two dogs takes a bit of co-ordination, which for the first five minutes I seemed to be totally missing, I managed to get myself the dogs and the boys wrapped up on a few occasions! However, once we had all got over our initial excitement we got the hang of it and had a lovely walk.

Noddy was very excited at having his photo take and wanted me to get a close up!

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Nikki and Noddy walked very well together and seemed glued to each other all the way, every time we stopped Nikki leaned against Noddy and they were sniffing around together in the undergrowth, I can imagine they will get into lots of mischief together!

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After a few laps of the field I phoned Mr P who was finishing work and on his way to see us 😀 we went back to the office and asked if we could let Nikki and Noddy in one of the fenced off paddocks together, so I could see them off the lead together to check they were friendly! Noddy at this stage became a bit pre-occupied as it was 11.50am and they get fed at 1pm he wanted food! They seemed to be getting all of the dogs back into the kennels and Noddy must have thought he was missing out. They were fine together though off the lead and we took Noddy’s muzzle off (Nikki doesn’t really wear hers much now) and they seemed to act as if they were used to each other and just played with a toy together and showed no sign of any problems with each other. I mentioned before they had the same owner/trainer and wonder if they were ever kenneled together? I have no idea how it works being a racing dog and do not know if they would mix together?

Anyway I was eager for Mr P to see him, but the kennel staff were putting all the dogs back for lunch, it was only midday though so we were able to keep him out a little bit longer  as long as he was settled back in his kennel before 1pm 😀

We went for another walk and they were lovely together, although Mr P did have a concern as he felt Noddy pulled a lot, he didn’t pull at all for me though? On his website ‘cv’ he is described a gentle on a lead so Mr P was a bit concerned (he is being much more sensible than me haha!). I just put it down to him being hungry, Nikki pulls when she wants to get home – in fact if its cold I usually find I have to drag her a bit for the first half of the walk and then when she knows we are on our way home she pulls me!!

I think they look lovely together :

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We have reserved him although I must say we have come away with mixed feelings and will be going back a couple more times before our planned collection date of 27th October (we have Dylan dog again and feel it would be unfair to bring Noddy back home while he is here as it may confuse him!). I think the difference was when we picked Nikki it was an open day, they were open all the day and not rushing to get the back in kennels for food and they were really promoting the dogs on that day. I think we are the kind of people who need to be reassured  and no one really said much to us about Noddy. With Nikki they were all saying how fantastic she was and she would be perfect for us and they were so pleased she had found a home, she was a lovely dog and she seemed to interact well with the boys etc.  I think this left part of us were thinking, is he really a nice dog? is there something they are not saying? Should we be having another one so soon, do they think its wrong but don’t want to say? I don’t know how to explain it really, it was just a very different experience to when we had Nikki. I’m sure Noddy is lovely and he got on with Nikki which would be our number one concern. We did fall in love with him so I think we just need to stop over analysing the situation and use the next few weeks to get preparing for him coming home!:D

Nikki News: The big update

 

Well we have now had Nikki for six weeks so I thought I should really do a well over date update on, how life as an adoptive Mummy to a greyhound has been!

I think I left off at the end of week one where Nikki was getting more and more confident each day. The beginning of week two we took her to the Wolverhampton marathon to cheer on her new Daddy, Nikki found this very scary and all of the people there watching freaked her out a bit. I ended up finding a quiet corner about 100 metres before the finish line and she was then quite happy to stand and watch the runners going past without the crowds scaring her. I ended up doing some educating on greyhounds as well as I was quite offended when a lady walked past with her little girl. The girl asked “Mummy whats on that dogs mouth?” and the Mum replied “Its called a muzzle that must be a very nasty dog who bites people”….I was quite shocked and told the little girl that Nikki was a lovely friendly dog who had never bitten anyone, but she used to be a racing dog not so wheres the muzzle incase she tries to chase smaller dogs/squirrels or gets scared and tries to protect herself. The Mum was a bit shocked that I said this, but I felt the need to stand up for greyhounds 😀

Since getting Nikki I have been so shocked at how greyhounds get a bad name for wearing a muzzle as people thing it is because they are vicious, whereas people get away with letting their dogs run off the lead and chase other dogs/people. In week 3 of having Nikki I was walking Nikki by our local park and a dog came running up to us snarling and growling at Nikki and grabbed onto the leg of my jeans, Nikki (my hero) pushed herself between me and the dog to protect me and then a man in a car stopped and chased the dog away. I was really shaken up and so worried Nikki was going to get bitten. I think this was a turning point for Nikki and when she seemed to become a bit less scared! I think all the fuss she got for being a big brave dog must have given her a confidence boost 😀

Nikki loves a good Tummy rub and will lie like this whining until one of us gets up and gives her a rub! If unsuccessful she will get up and stand over our feet until we give her a rub that way!

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As soon as we got Nikki we found she has a love for both squeaky and cuddly toys (hers or the boys!) and is rather fond of slippers! She was continuously stealing A’s toys dog so I had to go in search of a decent sized cuddly for her to have as her own….we found Harvey Rabbit (F.R.I.E.N.D.S do we really need them? yes!) and since then it has been her very favourite thing

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As far as house training has been Nikki has been very good, we have discovered she has a love for tea and if anyone leaves a cup at greyhound height she will drink it, however tea seems to make her need to wee and has caused her to have a couple of accidents by the back door (each time connected to the stealing of peoples cups of tea so we have to be very careful!) the only other accident was when I was on nights and the boys were hyperactive and noisey, as I was sleeping we took Nikki upstairs for the first time and she slept on the floor all afternoon by my bed. When I woke up I tried to get her to come downstairs but she couldn’t do the stairs herself – we have very steep narrow stairs. I went downstairs to get some help carrying her down (I couldn’t manage a 30kg dog on my own) but as we were going back up she ran down looking a bit sheepish. We later discovered she must have jumped on the bed and done the biggest wee ever. We ended up with a new mattress! Nikki has not been upstairs since! In her defense it was an old mattress which was very uncomfortable and thanks to her I now have a lovely memory foam mattress which is so cosy!

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As Nikki’s personality has come out we have discovered she is a very funny, goofy dog and has us all laughing so often! She has absolutely no sense of her own size and often tries to shuffle around/turn in places and gets wedged between things as she thinks she will fit but doesn’t, she also gets excited in the morning and attempts to run at us  along the full length of the house which is all laminate floor, which always ends up in a  Scooby Doo moment when her legs are going at full speed, but she doesn’t actually move anywhere!

It took until two weeks ago for Nikki to discover the smallest resident of our house ‘Buzz Lightyear’ the hamster! Within an hour of her ‘discovering’ him I had gone out and replaced his flimsy plastic/wire cage with a big tank as she had the other cage off the shelf and open twice. The situation was not helped by Buzz standing his ground, showing no fear and attempting to bite Nikki’s nose! Even though Buzz is now in his tank we have had to move him to another room as I don’t think Nikki could be trusted not to eat him if they were alone. I am hoping they will bond as I would like to move Buzz at least into the kitchen for the winter as the front room he is in now will probably be a bit to cold for him!

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Nikki is also very fond of food! She seems to be a bottomless pit and I am sure she would eat all day if she could, she is always after treats and will lie by my feet when I cook dinner on the off chance she will get lucky and something will fall (or I will cave in and accidently drop something yummy in her bowl!). Current favorites are cheese, yogurt and pasta!

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The boys have really taken to Nikki and often include her in their games (she usually has to be some kind of alien from Ben 10 or an Ood from Doctor Who!). J is also enjoying reading his school reading books to her, and shows much more enthusiasm than when he reads to us, so I think she would make a fab reading dog!

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Last weekend while I was at work, the boys, their Dad and Nikki went to visit their Grandad and went for a walk in the woods by his house. Whilst her poo was being cleaned up Nikki spotted a squirrel and bolted off after it. Nikki proved she can indeed do 0-45mph very quickly, however when the squirrel hopped through a metal gate she also proved she is not so fast at doing 45mph-0mph and hit the fence, ending up with a rather large scratch on her nose 😦 It has all healed very nicely now, but she has a bald line down her nose! Really hoping it grows back!

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At night Nikki has been enjoying snuggling on her bed with her blanket over the top of her…I am seriously considering making her a pair of greyhound PJ’s to keep her cosy when winter arrives!

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Well, that’s it for now as this post ended up getting a little bit long! Will have to try and do some more regular smaller updates I think!

Nikki News: Dog Show

Yesterday we all went to The Hallgreen Retired Greyhound Trust Dog Show at Hallgreen Dog Racing Stadium where Nikki used to race. We were all so excited to go and see where Nikki used to spend all her time, I have never been to a dog race (I was put off when I first heard about what happens to greyhounds when their racing days are over, which was when I first wanted to adopt) so was not sure what to expect inside the stadium.

Nikki seemed to actually get excited when we arrived and I think she recognised it. I still haven’t done a big Nikki update yet, but if I had, I would have told you all how she is still extremely nervous around big groups of people. Well, this wasn’t the case yesterday, she was really quite relaxed and loved all the fuss and getting to see all the other greyhounds!

We had a good look around and met all the kennel dogs (more about that later!) and the boys played some of the games. then we let Nikki have a go at fastest recall. Some of the greyhounds loved it and went all around the track!! Nikki however was not keen, the boys waited half way for her and as soon as she saw them she stopped running and went for cuddles! I think this was lovely as even though she obviously didn’t win anything it showed she is a proper family dog now and not a racer anymore 😀 *proud dog mummy moment*

The only other category we entered her in was ‘Youngest Handler’ with A as her handler. I was so pleased with Nikki for being so gentle with A as he still has a broken arm, you can’t tell in the picture and I don’t think anyone in the show noticed but his right arm is in a plaster cast from his wrist up to under his arm, it has been 8 weeks now and it had to be re plastered as it still hasn’t healed! I think at one point he dropped the lead and someone gave it back to him in his right hand so I was having ‘over protective mum’ stress because if Nikki had run I hate to think what he would have done (he wouldn’t let go of her I know that!). Anyway, no rosettes were won but they made the last few which I think is good for a 4yr old with a dog he has only had 6 weeks 😀

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At the end of the afternoon we sat in the bar so Nikki could have a lie down and a drink of water, it did make me laugh, I bet she never expected to end up there after a race!

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We treated Nikki to a fancy new collar while we were there and she looks very smart in it! We were going to get her photo taken while we were there as there was a photographer, but there were quite a few people waiting and the boys were getting a bit restless! I have made contact with the photographer though as he takes photos of greyhounds racing and I am desperate for a picture of Nikki in her racing days, although there aren’t any of her races on his website so not sure if he will have any. Anyone have any ideas of other ways I could get a photo of her?

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We managed to resist all the hounds in need of homing yesterday despite Gertie making quite an impression on us. We would love a second greyhound and have talked about it a lot, but are trying to remain strong and be sensible (space/money etc). However I am totally in love with Noddy and if her remains at the kennels much longer I am going to have to have him!! I have made it worse as after a bit of investigating I am wondering if he is Farran Nodrog (Kennel Name Noddy) who had the same trainer and owners as Nikki….and was originally in Ireland and then Hall green (same as Nikki) as I have now convinced myself I have split them up and need to reunite them hahaha (lets hope the owners didn’t have a lot of dogs – I know of Bert who is still racing and I have my eye on him as well *step away from the hounds*).

Nikki News: Days two and three and a big day out!

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Day two of Nikki becoming a family dog started very well, as I mentioned in my last update, not accidents overnight and we didn’t hear anything from Nikki all night 😀 We came downstairs at 6.30am (not our usual wake up time on a Sunday but we were too exited to sleep in!) and Nikki was like a different dog. As the boys were still asleep it was just the two of us and she really seemed to come out of her shell, we sat out in the garden and Nikki ran up and down chasing her new toys for an hour. When the boys woke up we went inside and Nikki had her breakfast and then a snooze in her bed whilst we ate and got ready.

Mid-morning we set of to see Dylan dog. When we arrived Nikki did really well, new house, new people, another small person and another dog and she took it all in her stride! We had a cup of tea whilst the boys played in the garden and the dogs had a sniff of each other then we set of for a walk around Warley Woods. It was not somewhere we have been before, but it is a lovely place to walk dogs and very big! Nikki walked really well on the lead and seemed much happy in a park setting rather than the pavement walk the night before. Dylan and Nikki got on really well and Nikki didn’t seem to show any interest in the other dogs we went past (there were lots!). Our walk was cut a bit short as some people came up to us and said there was a dog loose ahead who seemed quite nasty and had apparently attacked another dog, we didn’t see or hear it but made a quick exit from the woods as that was definitely not an experience I wanted Nikki to have! After our walk Nikki was quite happy to lie on the floor by our feet while we sat and chatted with Dylan’s Mummy and Daddy. We were very proud of her doing so well with so many new things going on in one day. Unfortunately my camera battery went flat and I have no pictures of Nikki and Dylan together!

In the evening Nikki was exhausted and nothing in the world was going to get her off her bed to go out for a walk so we let her rest in preparation for Day three!

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Monday was Bank Holiday and we decided to make use of our National Trust Membership and find somewhere to visit where we could walk the dog. Brockhampton Estate is a huge estate just outside Worcester and looked like a good place to visit. It was a little bit drizzly and not that warm when we arrived to we got Nikki all snuggled up in her coat with her bandana on 😀 The car park was quite full of people and the cars did make her very nervous and jumpy, but once we got out into the fields she was happy again and leading the way for us! There were a choice of different length walks and we chose the red one which I think was about 3 or 4 miles, but felt longer as there was lots of mud and A being the smallest kept getting stuck in the mud!

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As we had lots of fields to cross Nikki soon got to discover sheep!!! Again, she was not in the slightest bit bothered by then, although they were quick to run off from us.

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After the fields the track led us into woods with a variety of different sculptures along the way which kept the boys entertained.

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In the middle of the woods we found a den which the boys played in for a while while we sat on a log and watched them, Nikki seemed fascinated by them playing and I think if she hadn’t have been so shy she would have been in there with the boys!

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After our walk we were all worn out so we returned to the car and ate our picnic while Nikki had a little nap in the boot! After we had eaten we drove the mile down the drive to Little Brockhampton which is a lovely manor house surrounded by a moat. Obviously we couldn’t take Nikki in the house but we went into the grounds, first the boys played cricket and football by the moat.

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Then we went into a lovely little courtyard where the tearoom is and we had a cup of tea and sat with Nikki whilst the boys played with the outdoor games which were set out; chess, skittles, hula hoops and archery.

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There were some ruins of a chapel which we had a look around and then it was time to head off home! I was surprised at how much there was to see and do there despite us having Nikki and not being able to go in the house it was still a full day out, definitely somewhere I would recommend to visit.

Nikki News: Day One

So yesterday was the day we had been waiting for, for so long “Nikki Day”!

Everyone was up extra early for a weekend, we had breakfast and set of for the Hall Green Retired Greyhound Trust  . When we got there it was very busy, people and greyhounds everywhere 😀 We filled in the paperwork and then they bought out Nikki! It was so good to see her again, like last time she was a little bit nervous, but that’s to be expected with 5 excited faces all wanting to stroke her! We had Nikki weighed and she is 29kg, heavier than both J and A, we also picked out two coats for her, a waterproof summer one and a nice cosy winter one 😀 Then it was time to say goodbye and get Nikki in the car for the journey home.

Nikki seemed to love the car and was having a good look at everything going and resting her head on the boys shoulders!

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On the way home we stopped at Baggeridge Country Park for a walk, it turned out to be a very short walk as there was a storm coming and Nikki was a bit spooked by the thunder so we thought it best to get her home. On the way back to the car she was sniffed by a big Beagle who was of their lead, she wasn’t too keen but was very good and just stood still until the other dogs owner came and got him!

When we arrived home we took Nikki into the back garden first and she went to the toilet on the grass straight away! We were very pleased and gave her lots of fuss. Next we introduced her to the chickens, but she didn’t seem very interested, although there was a lot of unsettled clucking in the chicken run! Then back inside and we gave her a tour of her new home. The toys we have bought were a huge hit especially a big pink squeaky strawberry cake, after lots of squeaking it Nikki decided to try out her new bed and seemed to approve of that as well. Nikki was definitely quite nervous but was still very friendly and was enjoy fuss and cuddles. We had a visit from her new Nanny and Grandad and she got up to greet them and have more fuss!

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After a busy afternoon of meeting new people and learning how much fun toys are that squeak Nikki had a well earned nap whilst we ate our dinner, unfortunately she didn’t seem to want any dinner herself, but we were told to expect this on the first day.

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After dinner Nikki was back up and about so we decided to take her for a quick walk (as it looked like rain) in her smart new blue raincoat (no photos as my battery went after taking too many photos). Walking on pavements next to busy roads is an obvious new thing for Nikki and she was glued to my side for all of the walk, I think it is going to take a lot of reassurance until she gets used to it.

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We came home and put the boys to bed and had a lovely chilled out evening with Nikki, I expected her to be scared of the television, but after her initial bemusement she really didn’t take much notice.

At bedtime a huge part of my wanted to take her upstairs, as I didn’t want to leave her alone, but I managed to hold back and we left her cosied up on her own bed downstairs and went up to bed, fully expecting to be woken up by her in the night.

At 06.30 this morning we both woke up and hurried downstairs to a fast asleep Nikki and no mess!  She woke up very happy and we let her out for the toilet and were so proud that she had, had no accidents over night 😀 So far today Nikki is a different dog, much more happy and lots of tail wagging and following us around from room to room. Breakfast of her greyhound food mixed with sardines was a huge hit and disappeared in seconds.

Our plan today is to meet up with Nikki’s new cousin Dylan dog for a nice walk in the park. We are looking forward to seeing them together again as Dylan helped us choose Nikki when we first went to Hall Green RGT and they seemed to really get on well together 😀