We’re Fostering Our Fiftieth Greyhound!!

I Didn’t See This Coming

My life changed forever on November 14th, 2003. That was the day that a beautiful, tall, pre-pharmacy sorority girl surprised everyone we knew and agreed to go to a fraternity formal with a loud, pharmacy school flunk out. I think I even had a lip ring at the time.  Fast forward a few years and, still to my surprise, we are still together and now married.  All of the things that adolescent Ryan wanted for adult Ryan was starting to take shape. After marriage, I figured that we would do all of the traditional things together. We would buy the house with the picket fence, raise a couple of kids, and have a cat and dog. It makes me laugh to think that the only thing that came to fruition from that plan was the dog part!

Picket fence? Ha! Erin some how convinced me to build a fence out of used pallets. Raise a couple of kids? Ha! A portion of that goal did come true. We’re very committed to fostering children through our state’s Department of Child Services (DCS), but there’s no desire for biological children coming from this camp anytime soon.  And the cat? Let’s just say we’re not really cat people. Out of all the unexpected twists and turns of the last seventeen years, our involvement with Prison Greyhounds has been one of my favorites.

It is because of volunteering with Prison Greyhounds and Erin’s role as the Foster Director, that we’ve been able to foster fifty greyhounds. Yes fifty! When we adopted Callie in 2013, I don’t think either of us knew how far down the greyhound rabbit hole we were about to go. Fostering and volunteering for Prison Greyhounds seemed to happen naturally. We’ve always felt comfortable participating in Meet and Greets, fostering (sometimes multiple) pups, and promoting greyhound adoption. So it’s no surprise that our fiftieth greyhound foster would be under unique circumstances.

Prozac, Pimples, and Patience

Erin made the mistake of telling me out loud that she wanted our fiftieth greyhound foster to be a “special” dog. Well Erin, God was listening, and boy are we fostering a peculiar greyhound. Her name is Ace and she arrived at our home after having been labeled as aggressive by her previous adopter. She came to us with dietary restrictions, prescriptions for doggy Prozac and trazodone, and an acne filled skin infection on her stomach that was probably the worst we’ve seen. She also came to us extremely stressed out and so fearful that she bit us anytime she thought we were going to bother her.  Erin and I worked with Mary (the president of Prison Greyhounds) to put a game plan together. The plan involved weening her off of the medications, cleaning up the infected pimples on her belly, taking her to a veterinary behaviorist, and just being patient and cautious with her before making her available for adoption again.

Looking back at all the dogs we’ve had, obviously Erin and I have a favorite foster. We have differing reasons why our favorites are who they are, but one thing we do have in common, is that our favorites have unique personalities. This is also the case with Ace.  Ace is unique. There are essentially a dozen moving parts with her that we need to address. She’s curious, so prior to having our new fence installed, one of us had to go outside with her every time she needed to go to the bathroom. We were constantly in fear that she would force herself through the aged pallet fence. Feeding her has also been a challenge.  She came to us on a prescription food, which we immediately stopped giving to her, as it was clear it wasn’t meeting her dietary needs.  However, it has taken us several weeks to figure out a feeding schedule that agreed with her. On several occasions, she would wake up in an irritable mood with a gurgling stomach.  She was getting a bedtime snack, so we knew our normal “go-to” tricks weren’t going to work with her.  Thankfully, after three months of trying different things, we think we have almost completely resolved that issue. She still gets a biscuit at night before bed but now she receives two cups of bison-based food first thing in the morning (no matter how early she wakes up). But for me, the issue that takes the most effort, is the mood swings.

Ace can be the sweetest, most affectionate greyhound we’ve ever had. She will crawl up in my lap for pets. She will lick Erin’s face when she is happy. Ace will give a fantastic greyhound smile. But Ace is food and toy possessive. And Ace can be boisterous towards strangers – just ask our poor delivery people. For these reasons though, it’s been decided that it’s best if she is adopted to a family that has the willingness to endure her outbursts and understand the reason behind her behaviors. Ace has come such a long way in the three short months that we’ve had her but her next family needs to understand her and be able to give her everything that she needs.

As we mentioned before, Ace is now seeing a veterinary behaviorist.  Her appointment, as well as her follow-ups have been extremely productive. After completing her antibiotic treatment for her skin infection, her stomach has cleared up tremendously.  Previously, Ace wouldn’t even let us touch her belly – it was one of her trigger zones.  She would bite anytime we even came near that area.  However, Ace is now allowing Erin to manually clean some of her clogged pores!  She now enjoys going for walks and loves her routines. She knows that every morning, after going outside for her AM bathroom break, she’s allowed to sneak into Callie’s comfy bed until mom and dad are done brushing their teeth.  Luckily Callie doesn’t mind as she too has snuck into someone else’s bed – ours!

The last three months have been interesting to say the least. Although we haven’t posted an update since September, we hope to catch everyone up quick in the coming weeks. Having Ace in our lives has definitely made quarantine life more interesting. We hope that all of our friends and family have an “Ace” in their lives to help get through this pandemic. I think it’s fitting that foster number fifty would not only have a particular personality and require therapy, but because of the timing, she would provide a kind of therapy for us as we live through one of the strangest times of our lives.

This article has 5 comments

  1. Mary Aragon Reply

    You two are so good with those dogs. It is wonderful that you are patient and willing to work with Ace so that she has a chance at a normal life. She sounds like a handful.
    The yards look great up here. We are just waiting for the snow.
    Stay safe. It is getting really bad here.

  2. Katherine Reply

    I love the story and your incredible patients. You guys are fantastic foster parents, to dogs and children. ❤️❤️

  3. Beata Reply

    Wow it seems as I am reading my story of adopting our rescue greyhound Elsa ( they look very similar). She came from a track in Florida to Colorado and spent 3 months with fosters. She came with hookworm which we are still battling.
    Our vet seems to think it’s drug resistant hookworm. So besides health challenges Elsa has some fear based aggression or space aggression as our dog trainer called it.
    She has also bit me several times.
    Definitely we are having less incidents and as time passes she is trusting us more and we have learned her body language and her triggers.
    Just recently we found out that the dogs from her kennel where found positive for cocaine use. In that industry nothing happens after the kennel pays fines dogs continue to race and they continue to dope them.
    She also has nightmares where she wakes up several times a night screaming.
    Anyway thank you for posting, it is quite helpful to feel not alone in what we are doing.

  4. Pingback: Foxi's Story - Fostering FolliesFostering Follies

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