“Abs Six Pack”

Six Pack was actually never supposed to be in our home.  He was destined as a prison dog.  Prison dogs are just that, dogs that go into the prison.  They transition from the kennel to a home environment by way of a correctional facility.  There, specifically trained inmate handlers transition the ex-racers to become pets during a two month period.  Six Pack has what we call a “bomb proof” personality – doesn’t scare easily, extremely personable, and likely not to be overwhelmed by the environment of the prison.  He did exceptionally well during his time at Putnamville.  His inmate handlers loved him, and he adored them right back.  During their two months at the prison, we have a group of volunteers that work to match adopters with available dogs, and Six Pack matched with a wonderful guy who was very eager to have him in his home after his prison stint.  Everyone thought this was a great fit.  Everyone, that was, except Six Pack.

The First Return

Separation anxiety is common with retired racing greyhounds.  The dogs are used to being around lots of people and other dogs, so when they transition to a home environment where they are by themselves for periods of time, it can scare them.  Working from home can be a great way for adopters to help a dog cope with separation anxiety. However, in Six’s case, it wasn’t enough. He would become extremely distressed when he had to be crated while his adopter would leave the apartment, even for very short periods of time. They tried all the usual things that we tell adopters to try to help a dog get over the anxiety of being alone.  But it just didn’t work.  So Six Pack’s adopter made the reluctant call to our group president Mary to explain the whole situation, and why he thought Six Pack would be better suited in another home.  She agreed that it just wasn’t the fit we origionally thought it would be.  Mary then called Erin and asked where Six Pack could go.  As we didn’t have any current foster dogs in our home, we happily said we would bring him to our house.  On the bright side, the gentleman would later adopt another greyhound from Prison Greyhounds and it couldn’t have been a better match.

After a few days of having him in our home, we quickly learned a couple of things.  One, that his friendliness made him a great meet and great dog. Second, on more then one occasion, he proved that he was not as cat-safe as he had tested. And finally, that he confirmed having signs of separation anxiety. With this in mind, Erin would often take Six to Meet and Greet events, which were a great place to meet potential adopters. As much as people loved Six Pack he wasn’t the right fit for most of the people we interacted with. Luckily after a few months, there was some interest in Six Pack again. A family that already had one greyhound was searching for a second to keep their dog company. The family successfully introduced their greyhound to Six at a Meet and Greet, and just like that, Six Pack had a new home for the second time. This adoption seemed like a sure thing. Experienced greyhound owners, another grey for Six to play with, and children (we would come to find out later that Six Pack loves kids!).

The Second Return and Miss Candy

I don’t think the adoption lasted two weeks.  It likely did, but that’s how short it felt. I question what really happened. Apparently Six had tried to bite one of the family members. We won’t go into detail about it.  What was done was done.  Just like that, Callie had her brother back for a second time in March 2018.

After we had Six Pack back for a while, we started to notice a few odd things about him.  His ears were particularly dirty and seemed to bother him.  He also had a really hard time holding his urine for long periods of time.  His stool still was terrible.  And he still had separation anxiety.  We took him to the vet, upon the approval of our group president, where the doctor confirmed our suspicions.  Double ear infection, a likely urinary tract infection (though they couldn’t confirm that one), and he STILL had hookworm. Monon Animal Hospital treated Six Pack and we observed an immediate change in his behavior. No more growling when you pet his head/ear area. Six would now invite you to pet his belly when before treatment, you couldn’t get anywhere near him when he was laying down. He would even have a summer fling at the June dog drop, when he met his girlfriend Candy.

A Trip Back To Florida?

By the fall of 2018, Six had been available almost a year and the longest of Erin and I’s thirty plus fosters. Out of the blue, an experienced, nice, greyhound owning couple were certain Six Pack would complete their family. They were looking for another male greyhound, as they had recently lost theirs and their current female grey was lonely.  Again, everyone thought this was a great fit.  Unfortunately, Six’s third adoption would involve injuring another grey and the possibility that he would have to be returned to his Florida kennel.

The specifics of what happened with Six and his third adoption still baffle us. For some reason, Six Pack and the resident dog got into it.  Unfortunately, as the female grey was small, docile, and timid, she didn’t fare well in the fight.  Another call to our group president, another agreement that the dog should be returned, and another acceptance from us to take him back to our home.  Most importantly, the female grey that Six had fought with has recovered. But everyone was slighly scarred.  Six pack’s third owner’s reaction during the exchange said it all. “Should we leave Six alone with Callie?” Thankfully Callie is a very strong-willed dog and has been on the other side of a few foster fights herself.  So, Erin and I waited for Mary’s advice.  He already had the stigma of a three time return.  Now he had the label of dog and human biter.  We knew we were in trouble.  After several months, Mary began calling around asking if any other group would like to take Six Pack.  This would give him a shot at being around people that didn’t have a skewed view of him, as he had shown no signs of aggression towards us or Callie since being back in our home.  Nobody wanted him.  So Mary called the kennel where he came from and asked for ideas.  They told us they could take him, but at the risk of him spending the rest of his life in a kennel.  We just knew we would never let that happen.

His Final Adoption

Erin, Callie and I took the first two of Six Pack’s adoptions the same way we took most others. Sad but happy. But after the third return, someone was trying to tell us something. So as Erin and I took our trip to Fiji, we kept Six in mind. And thanks to The Greyhound Resort and Grandma Char (aka Erin’s mom), we came home with a decision that we now had two kids. Most friends laugh when I joke about Six being my best friend. But I can’t remember the last time Erin laid her head on my shoulder and stared at me with the kind of admiring eyes that Six Pack has. It took us 14 months, 3 returns, and 2 pulled front teeth, but we finally realized that Six Pack was a Jesswein.

This article has 3 comments

  1. MARY LOUDEN Reply

    What a journey! Great to read about it all over again, now that I know the happy ending! ….Love your writing talent.

  2. Linda Reply

    Love the pics. So glad that six is now part of the family. He’s a great puppy.

  3. Susan Dobbs Reply

    That sweet boy is too smart! He knew where he belonged long before all of us silly humans did. He’s a lucky dog! ?

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