Erk is a sweet, friendly guy. Cats: Erk did well in cat testing, but he has never lived with a cat. Use the muzzle initially and strongly discourage any interest. Don’t be too quick to trust him alone with the cats.
First night: Erk wants to play!
He slept very well through the night in his kennel with no problems. Erk is very inquisitive and wants to see and smell everything. He’s had no problems with the laminate floor, and is already getting the hang of stairs (not perfect yet, but he’s working on it). He is very good about staying quietly in his kennel when it’s quiet time, and has learned where his bed is in the living room.
He can’t wait until he’s recovered from being neutered and can get out and PLAY!
He tried to mark once in the house last night right after he came in and hasn’t had a problem since; we have been making a point of taking him out on a regular basis.
He has settled down quite well and seems quite happy lying around in the living room while we do dishes and work on projects. He met the cats last night and was quite interested in these strange beings, but didn’t know what to make of them. When he gets excited he really wants to get them to play with him, we’re working on teaching him that they are off-limits. His happy-play-with-me dance is quite cute!
Day 2: Erk is quite bright and is learning very quickly. He’s starting to let us know when he needs to go out, and goes into his kennel on command. He’s still really not sure about taking treats from the hand yet, but we’re working on it. I think once he figures out that it’s okay to take food from my hand he’ll be quite easy to food-motivate for training 🙂
Bustout Erk aka Zoey: Epitaph
(as written by Chris Luckett)
Rescued ex-racing greyhounds are unique dogs. Although they come without the usual baggage of a puppy, they do come with challenges. They’re already toilet trained, stand quietly while you groom them and clip their nails, and are perfectly leash trained – no being dragged around by these dogs! But of course, even Greyhounds have a learning curve. Most have never seen stairs, or mirrors or been left alone without at least other canine companionship for long.
Usually surrendered to the adoption agencies (the lucky ones) around the age of 2- 3 depending on how, or if, successful they were at the track, all they want is love, security and a really comfy couch on which to recline with all fours in the air once they feel at home.
As a breed, they have been bred for excellent health, speed, athleticism and good temperament. As working dogs, they’ve been trained to race and submit to their human handlers. They come in different sizes and natures as any dog does.
We were fortunate enough to have two of these beautiful animals in our lives, Chess and Zoey. While Chess (aka Checkmate, racing name High Noon Heat) was a slim and shadow-like Brindle boy with a calm and loving nature and docile personality – an absolute love -, Zoey (originally named Joey by his first family, then Zowie Bowie by us, racing name Bustout Erk) was a flashy ‘tuxedo’ fellow, jet black with a white tail tip, bib and socks.
Both were heartbreakingly handsome. Zo was a bigger guy in every way – build, personality (plus) and exuberant love of life and his ‘people” (which included his cat buddy Rivet). While still a typical ‘couch potato’ in his off time (the comfortable antithesis of early life lived in a crate except when racing or being exercised), Zoey was gregarious. He loved to meet people and other dogs. And although definitely an ‘alpha’ personality (unlike Chess), he was always friendly, only asserting through his body language that he was definitely ‘top dog’. He was best buddies with our male rescue cat ‘Rivet’ (now 4 1⁄2 whom we got as a 6-month-old when Zo was around 5).
And he loved Don and I equally – often spending time with Don down in the ‘man cave’ or up with me in my office or beside the bed whenever I was there to sleep or have a nap. He always had time for his other friends too – his best dog walking buddy, Lily (along with her people, David & Cindy, his alternate caregivers when we would be away) and my Mom who lived next door for many of his years with us, and his office buddy Leslie who used to babysit him at the Insurance office where I work when we needed to be away during the day.
His only flaws were separation anxiety, which ebbed and flowed over the years, and the sad fact that the only major health issue they’re faced with is Osteosarcoma (bone cancer). While the cause is unknown for sure, it’s suspected that, for those that have raced, the physical pounding of their fragile limbs can lead to bone fatigue and subsequent cancer. Chess was fine and lived ‘til 14.
Zoey, sadly, was not. What we though was a simple pulled muscle lameness issue, suddenly went from inconsequential to acute the day before my birthday. The x-rays taken the next day however (my birthday, April 9th, 2019), revealed a spreading bone cancer in his right upper leg and shoulder. Three strong pain-killers daily kept him pain free and playing like a young dog again (he was 9) until April 20th, when he slipped on the floor and came up severely lame again, despite the drugs. The vets had thought he might have one to three months of quality time left. He, and we, had just 11 days. But we made the most of them and they were wonderful. That night, not being able to climb the stairs to his spot at the foot of our bed, Zoey spent a very uncomfortable night on his bed in the sitting room, with Don keeping watch over him until we could catch the ferry to take him to Van Isle the next morning.
Clearly, it was obvious that the worst scenario had occurred (a spontaneous fracture within the bone) and the pain killers were no longer working as they had been. It was with heavy hearts we took him for his final (always loved) car ride to the vet’s on the 8 a.m. ferry. He died with all the grace and dignity that he had lived his life with us, leaving with a peaceful, finally pain-free final sigh as the drugs did their work. Now buried beside Chess in the pond paddock by the barn, along with Chess’s cat buddy Grady, with a spot left for Rivet beside him when the time comes.
R.I.P. Zoey. You will be missed, but always with us in our hearts.