While The Cat’s Away……Cheeto Will Play

The Magic Of The Meet And Greet

Cheeto only attended one Prison Greyhounds Meet and Greet but she made sure to make the best of it. In the days leading up to the January Bike Line Meet and Greet, a handful of interested people started reaching out to us on social media. Everyone wanted to meet Cheeto so desperately that there was even a family waiting for us as we pulled up to the event. To our delight (and nobody’s surprise), Cheeto hit it off with a family of two little girls that are going to give her a run for her money.

So Now…

The last couple of weeks since her adoption approval has included a trip to South Bend,

plenty of attempts at climbing onto the couch,

Fosters are not allowed on the furniture. But Cheeto asks if her paws are on me, are they technically on the couch?!

and a multitude of bad habits learned from Six Pack and Callie. We’ve done our best to discipline accidents in the house and correct her counter surfing. And on a scale of one to ten, her lovability is a nine! But we were curious how she would do when Erin would leave all of us for four days this week.

A Conveniently Timed Work Trip

In case you didn’t know, Erin started a new job a few weeks ago. She’s pretty excited about the position itself but even more so because of a few familiar faces. A part of the reason we didn’t really scream this news from the mountain tops is because Erin will continue to work for the same company she’s been working with for nearly twelve years.

For the most part, I had come to terms some time ago that Erin has to periodically travel for work.  If anything, in the past, I looked forward to her work trips, as I would usually meet up with her in whatever city her conference or meeting was being held in. So I was pretty pumped when she told me she would have to go to Phoenix for a couple days for work and that I should join her at the conclusion of her conference.

Unfortunately, with this little weekend getaway, we knew I wasn’t going to be joining Erin from the get-go. I can’t really be angry with Erin about the situation when all of the blame is on the dogs! Because the trip was scheduled so soon after taking her new job, we had little time to find a sitter for Callie, Six, and Cheeto. Our two go-to kennels, The Greyhound Resort and Erin’s mom were both booked up for the weekend.

A Belly Band, A Dog Diffuser, and Solitary Confinement

Our dogs, like most other dogs, are creatures of habit. They love that Erin works from home. And her presence has to be reassuring to foster greyhounds, especially ones that are used to a human being around a lot. With that being said, whenever she leaves for one of these work trips, the dogs are thrown into a tailspin. Depending on how long the foster greys have been staying with us, they adapt better then Six and Callie do to having just one human present. And “present” is a loose term here, because even though I’m able to work from home a little as well, not having Erin around full-time and myself only part-time, creates some interesting mood changes.

Cheeto wanted to play dress up to celebrate her first Indiana snowfall!

Now, I love Six Pack. He’s my best friend and I do feel a little guilty about making him the object of a lot of our jokes. But homeboy asks for it sometimes! Case in point, the belly band. Even though we adopted him over a year ago, his separation anxiety still gets the best of him. Factor in a foster that is getting more attention then him and he can’t contain himself while we’re gone. He tolerates me putting the belly band on him, but that’s the extent of this being a positive experience this week. Even though I’m essentially working remotely for only four hours, I’ve come home to not only a soaked absorbent pad, but also pretty saturated cloth belly band. I didn’t even know he drank that much water!! So every day this week, I’ve washed the band, used a couple baby wipes to clean Pack’s undercarriage, and clean up the few spots left behind. I can’t stop loving the guy though, because he looks so remorseful when I’m cleaning and who knows, maybe he’s doing this just so I give him special treatment!

Six Pack loves having staring contests….Cheeto’s his newest challenger.

Before owning greyhounds I had never heard of a DAP diffuser. It’s actually a pretty useful little plugin we’ve used with fosters (and Six Pack) that have separation anxiety. The Dog Appeasing Pheromones (DAP) are used to keep a dog calm under stressful situations, for example, in Cheeto’s case, she was left in the crate alone with a peanut butter filled Kong while I was at work this week. To be fair, it has to be a strange situation for her….Six Pack’s running around with some weird blanket wrapped around his privates…..Callie, Erin, and I are nowhere to be seen…..and the radio is on for some reason. So it’s my opinion the diffuser, which has been very effective with several of our past fosters, may not be Cheeto’s jam. I’ve come home every day this week to Cheeto crying and the both of the beds that are in the crate are crammed up against the wall of the crate that faces the diffuser.

DAP diffuser hidden behind the wall of beds

We do have an exercise pen that if Erin was going to be gone for one more day was going to get used for Cheeto’s sanity.

We need more cameras!

Not only is it fun to watch our dog’s hijinks while we’re away, they are helpful security aids as well. One thing we don’t need the cameras for is to know what Callie does while we’re away. Normally, if we’re fosterless, she spends her day on the couches or foster child’s bed. When we have a foster grey and we’re away, Callie spends her time barking and antagonizing the crated foster dogs.

It’s a fine line between solitary confinement and sensory deprivation when we separate Callie from everyone else. This past week, Callie spent the day in our master bedroom. She had her food and water bowls (because heaven for bid she eat breakfast at the same time as Six and Cheeto), three cozy beds, the television on (is it cruel I left it on “Bravo”?), and a peanut butter Kong.

Cheeto Learns Something New Everyday

Our fosters normally fall into one of three categories. Prison graduates, returns, and straight from the track/kennel. We’ve found that all three can be unique and tend to have differing characteristics. Knowing the greyhounds history does help with training and acclimating the grey to the home environment. Cheeto came to us after being in a kennel for five months. So although she is extremely affectionate having been used to being around her human handler for so long and getting her to eat on a regular basis was no issue, there have been plenty of trainable opportunities for her and us.

We came to learn that if Cheeto seemed a little lost in the house, she wasn’t going stir crazy, she just had to go!

To offset some of the questionable behaviors instilled by Six Pack and Callie we’ve been able to accomplish the following:

  • Cheeto can now successfully ascend and descend stairs without assistance.
  • We’ve been able to extend our previous 6 a.m. (even on the weekends) wake up call to 8 a.m.
  • She sleeps through the night without a peep.
  • She rides in a car extremely well, especially in comparison with Six Pack, who doesn’t lay down and insists on sticking his head out of the window.
  • She’s only been on a handful of walks, and although she gets a little skittish around rush hour traffic, she doesn’t sniff anything she isn’t supposed to, which is in stark contrast to a certain elder dog of ours!
  • And she recognizes her name and when she is being called. Albeit, it’s normally to stop her from counter surfing!

Cheeto did well for her first week of primarily “Six and Cheeto time.” This week she continues to recover from her spay and teeth cleaning with Dr. Carter. Hopefully, when she’s recovered from her surgery, she’s in a great place to join her forever home. Stay tuned!

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