Fostering and re-homing greyhounds in the South Lake District, Cumbria
(in a long-term foster home)
Pearly arrived on Sunday 3rd April 2011
Went to his new home on Sunday 7th August 2011
Sadly Pearly was returned to us on
Friday 8th April 2016 following the decline in health
and passing away of his owner. He is now in a long-term foster home with Julia and her
family where he will be cared for and loved during his twilight years.
Pearly's arrival and a brief history
Click images for a larger view
Pearly is a black ex-racing greyhound with tiny white spots on his back, hence his name. He was born on the 5th October 2006 and weighs 27.6k, is neutered, house trained, inoculated and microchipped. Pearly is quite a nervous dog until he gets to know you then he becomes a friendly, happy, playful and loving dog .
When he first arrived he used to bark at our bed and breakfast guests who came with dogs, but this we felt was strange dogs coming into his new 'kennel' until we came to realise he was warning them not to come too close and hurt his leg. As Pearly got used to seeing them it began to disappear because he is getting used to seeing them.
Pearly walks nicely on the lead with our greyhounds, but if on his
|own he looses confidence and gets quite anxious if he sees other dogs on his walk. Pearly suffered extreme pain and trauma when he damaged his leg and this sometimes makes him a bit defensive when he meets strange dogs because of the anticipation of being jostled and the pain he once suffered recurring. As a result, when on his own we keep behind the other dogs if possible and at a distance that keeps Pearly inside his 'comfort zone'. In time we have been told his comfort zone will reduce as he comes to forget the pain he suffered and realises that not all dogs are out to hurt him.
Pearly is a gorgeous dog who gives us a lovely welcome each morning, loves to play with us and we are helping him to overcome his anxiety of meeting new dogs that he thinks may cause him pain. Pearly is being fostered with Julia and her family along with their 2 lurchers and labrador, all of whom he adores.
|3rd April 2011
Pearly's owner brought him here this afternoon so we could foster him until he finds his forever home. When he arrived he was very nervous and wanted to cock his leg every five minutes He was so bad in the house one of his owners took him in the garden on the lead where he could do it to his heart's content. His owner was telling us that Pearly, when they first got him was very, very nervous and shied away from people, but has got better in the time they've had him.
When they left I took him round the garden and praised him every time he did a wee. However, he is, as we call it a 'leg cocker' in that he wants to cock his leg on everything and every couple of minutes, which is nerves and will abate once he settles. As he was panting and pacing I attached his lead to the hook by the side of the kitchen fire where he could lay on a dog bed and reach the water bowls.
5th April 2011
We had a better nights sleep last night. Pearly slept in our bedroom and never moved, but then he couldn't because I tied the lead to the leg of the wardrobe, which mean't he could sleep on the dog bed in front of the wardrobe, but couldn't wander around in the night and aggravate the others. Indi is a monkey for grumbling and snapping at them if they wander around in the night, bless her she's telling them to behave, but we wish she would whisper and not shout!
After I walked him round the garden on the lead first thing he went back on the dog bed and I put his lead back on while I did the b & b guests their breakfast. I did this as I was on my own this morning and knew I wouldn't have time to sort him out, so in leaving him this way I knew he had the freedom away from the crate, a nice dog bed to lay on and it was a lesson in how to behave when we are serving breakfasts. The last thing I wanted was for him to wander around the living room or bedroom cocking his leg everywhere without my knowledge.
After all the breakfast things were cleared away Pearly came into the kitchen, wandered around and tried to cock his leg again, but we had 'words' and he hasn't done it since apart from when he walked past Sandy on the settee to find him growl at him, causing panic and another leg cock, and more words!
Tonight he's a different dog, been in the garden with no lead and comes running to me when I call his name, crashed out on the floor with the others as greyhounds should be, and not a word from any of them, he even tried to get Blue to play with him! What a difference it makes once the 'penny drops' this is a nice home. Sunday afternoon and Monday were hard because of his nerves, but today he's been a pleasure to have and I think we shall enjoy his company once he settles and his character shows through.
8th April 2011
This afternoon Stuart returned from working away and as he entered the house all the greyhounds ran to say hello with the exception of Pearly. This is the first time he'd met Stuart so he barked at him then ran behind Sandy for safety!
9th April 2011
This afternoon while on our walk we came across lambs on the road, having got through a hole in the hedge. When the lambs ran Pearly showed no interest, unlike some of the others!
14th April 2011
This morning Pearly went to the vet to be neutered where he weighed in at 27.6k. He wasn't too bad in the waiting room, but when the time came to walk up the passage to the consulting rooms he became quite nervous and not sure of things at all. The vet who met him was female, which was a bonus because of him being so unsure of men. All went well with the operation and we collected him later in the afternoon.
17th April 2011
This afternoon we gave Pearly a bath, which he wasn't too sure about at all, but he had a lot of dry brown skin on his back that really needed washing off. Although he wasn't too happy about having the bath and nerves caused him to lay down in the water towards the end I think he really liked feeling cleaner after and enjoyed a shake, then a run around the garden.
26th April 2011
This morning when we took Pearly's stitches out we discovered a hard lump in his scrotum which felt like a testicle. Stuart had noticed it a few days ago and we thought it was just swelling following the operation, but today it wasn't soft, and there was a lump inside. A trip to the vet this afternoon confirmed he had indeed been neutered and the hard lump was a reaction to the sutures used to tie everything off - nothing to worry about, and it would settle in time.
Driving to the vet Pearly stood in the car most of the way and was quite anxious. A little anxious in the vet's waiting room he soon settled, saw a couple of dogs, but it was difficult to tell his reaction towards them as he was nervous to begin with so his body language was hard to read. He was looking, but there was no pulling, barking or growling. He was fine with the whippet and labrador in the pub the other night so we will watch him again when he is more settled to see if the reaction today is just nerves of the surroundings he's in. Sometimes when he sees dogs over the gate between the hall and the conservatory he will bark, but we think this is excitement more than anything else because he will then back off and be quiet along with the others once given the water spray treatment.
Over the past few weeks we've been watching Pearly very closely to try and work out why he's behaving the way he is when he meets other dogs because he's sending us very mixed vibes. Having watched him carefully, mulled things over and having had a long chat with a behaviourist who we've been involved with since we started fostering greyhounds he confirmed our suspicions. He gave advice on how to resolve the issues, confirmed Pearly had experienced severe, continuous pain and an extreme trauma when he fractured or broke his hock and during the recovery period following it. He isn't an agressive dog, but a defensive one. When he gets within a certain distance of another dog and is outside his 'comfort zone' he growls and snarls at them in warning to keep away. He still vividly remembers the pain he suffered and it is believed that being amongst other dogs while he was in such pain and being jostled has caused him to become defensive so as to warn them to keep away to prevent the risk of them knocking him and bringing on the pain again.
The behaviourist suggested we give NO corrective measures, but go softly, softly, gently gently, and when out, if his body language indicates he's becoming anxious we have to back away from what is causing the anxiety to a distance whereby he feels safe and can relax. Doing this over and over again over a period of time, and we've been told it may take months Pearly will slowly learn that when in the proximety of other dogs he has no need to be defensive when they first meet.
Pearly is absolutely fine with Maisy, Shane and Hazel who are Julia's lurchers and labrador and doesn't bother being all together in the close confines of the back of the car.
So to dogs he knows he is fine, it is just strange dogs and dogs that come at him 'in his face' that give him most anxiety in anticipation of the pain they may cause him if they knock him.
13th July 2011
Julia mentioned today that Pearly had a good walk this morning. It was a tricky one, because they met a Spaniel approaching along a path with ferns on both sides making it impossible to walk to one side, and at a distance. Julia trampled some ferns down enough for her to get Pearly, her and Maisy who was on a lead into. Hazel, Julia's labrador wasn't on the lead, but stood in front of them waiting till it was time to move on again. The Spaniel and it's owner came level with them and passed with just a tiny grumble from Pearly. He was the best Julia had ever seen him while so close to another dog and she wondered if the position Hazel and Maisy were standing in blocked him from the spaniel as it passed, making him feel more safe.
19th July 2011
We received an email from Julia this morning letting us know that Pearly is having more and more good days. She took him to the bus stop this morning and he stood about 1 meter away from a spaniel he has met before, and there were no grumbles. Then on their walk they passed a staffie behind a gate. Pearly had a little grumble but then wanted to go up to the gate to say hello and had a sniff, again with no grumbles. So a good day so far.
31st July 2011
We received an email today from Julia letting us know that Pearly walked past 2 dogs yesterday with no fuss. He was on the lead with her other dogs, so may have felt safe with them and he was praised for being good.
7th August 2011
This afternoon Pearly went to his new home where we hope he will have a long and happy life.
9th August 2011
We received a phone call today letting us know that Pearly wasn't well, he'd not eaten this morning and wasn't putting any weight on his front right leg. His new owner said he was asleep on the settee last night and a cat walked in the house. Pearly saw it and flew off the settee after it and they were wondering if he'd banged himself on something in the kitchen as he chased the cat outside. From the conversation it sounded as if he may have fractured his leg so we arranged for him to see our vet. The vet kept him in as they wanted to get the swelling down and xray the leg.
10th August 2011
Received a phone call this lunch time from Pearly's new owner saying the vet had phoned. The xray showed no sign of a fracture, but they found three puncture wounds in his leg. As a result they had put him on a slow antibiotic drip that would take all day and this evening at 7.30pm he should be okay to come home. At 7.30pm I called and collected him and took him, along with two lots of antibiotics and some Metacam, back to his new owner, whom he was pleased to see.
15th August 2011
We received a phone call this afternoon from Pearly's new owner letting us know that he's made friends with the lady across the road. The swelling on his leg, although still there is going down, and he is going to their vet on Wednesday for a check up. He's still on the medication given him and they say he seems happy, is eating well and giving them nice greetings. He's had no further accidents during the night, but he's done a couple during the day, which may still be nerves or it may be his new owner wasn't too sure of letting him in their back garden off the lead while his leg was so bad, so he may only be doing a 'token gesture' instead of doing what he should be doing. It may also be he hasn't yet learn't how to tell his new owner he wants out or they haven't yet learnt how he's telling them. This will come in time.
17th August 2011
Pearly's new owner phoned this afternoon to let us know she'd taken him to see her vet today for a check up as requested by our vet. As his leg was still swollen, but not as bad, she's been given another week's supply of the two types of antibiotics and is to take him back in a week's time for another check up. Since his leg became swollen his new owner's only been walking him round the garden on a lead so as to allow him to rest it, but today he's been out in the sunshine and had a run around the garden before coming back inside the house to flop on his bed and rest a while. She says he seems happy enough, but they are still getting the odd accident from him during the night so they are thinking of putting up the crate I loaned them and make his night time bed in there as Julia did. Julia found the crate gave him security and the accidents in the night, which are nerves, stopped instantly.
10th October 2011
We received a phone call this afternoon from Pearly's owner letting us know he has settled in well and his leg, where he was bitten is now healed and all is well again.
16th January 2012
We received a phone call today from Pearly's owner letting us know she had to take him to the vet today. He was charging down their drive as he often did, but this time skidded into the corner of the garage cutting his left leg. The vet put him on antibiotics and metacam to ease the pain and wants to see him again in three days to ensure all is okay. While at the vets they weighed him to find he was 29k.
17th April 2014
We received a phone call today letting us know that Pearly is doing fine and he loves his mad 5 minutes running round the house or garden.
8th April 2016
This morning we received a phone call from Pearly's owner's neighbour asking if we could take Pearly back because his owner wasn't well and had been taken into hospital. Things didn't look too good and her husband was unable to look after Pearly. Of course we said yes, and an hour later Pearly arrived back here.
He had some excess weight on him and his coat looked a bit dull, but that's to be expected if his owner was ill and unable to look after him properly. He was very anxious, kept whimpering and was a little grumbly towards the other greyhounds to begin with. However, given half an hour and he was fine with ours and beginning to explore the house and garden.
He didn't eat much of his dinner and this evening it took him a while to settle for the night, but he's been through quite a lot today and we don't know how he's been these past few days. His world would have been tipped upside down.
11th April 2016
Pearly is still not eating well, but he seems more settled and whimpering less. He loves being in the garden watching Stuart at work or exploring the garden and small paddock with the other greyhounds.
This morning he went to the vets for a full check-up and his first inoculation because his has lapsed. He weighed in at 27.9k and the vet recommended a dental.
15th April 2016
This morning Pearly went to the vets for his dental where he weighed in at 27.4k. All went well with his dental and he had two upper back right teeth removed and gum surgery. While he was there he had a blood test because of his age and it came back with a high creatine reading reading of 292 indicating kidney desease. As re-homing him is now out of the question we purchased on-line some renal food for him.
21st April 2016
Pearly went back to the vets today for a check-up to see if his mouth was healing following his teeth out and his gum being stitched. He weighed in at 27.1k. The vet was pleased with his progress and had a long chat with Stuart about his creatine reading. Pearly is not behaving like a dog with kidney disease, he is so happy, running around and keeping up with the others. As he is showing no outward signs of the disease the vet asked us to stop giving him the renal food and to feed him normally until they take another blood test in about 4 weeks time. Apparently, with him showing no outward signs of the disease it may be temporary as a result of him leaving a very sedate lifestyle and coming in to an active one. When this happens the kidneys get rid of the old sedate muscle tissue and them doing this can sometimes produce the effect of a higher creatine reading.
Sadly Pearly's owner was more ill than anyone realised and she passed away a few days after Pearly was returned here.
26th April 2016
Pearly went to the vets this morning for a check up. He weighed in at 27.1k the same as his last visit. While in the waiting room he said hello to a labrador. The vet commented on how his coat was becoming more shiny and his urine sample was normal, which is fantastic news, so we will see what his next blood test shows in about 3 weeks time. All our fingers are crossed that his blood reading will have improved.
29th June 2016
When Pearly was at the vets today he had another blood test. His creatine reading this time was 207, which is down again so the vet said to continue giving him his normal food and to check his blood again in another couple of months or so. I know it hasn't come down as much this time, but it's still coming down which is wonderful news.
31st July 2016
Julia who fostered Pearly when he first arrived here emailed a few days ago to ask if she could long-term foster him which is wonderful news. It's a quieter household than ours, she knows him and he knows her and her home - just perfect for him. Julia and her daughter called in for him today and took him home with her. We later received an email saying:
"I took all 3 for a walk when I got back and they all greeted each other, no grumbles, and off we went. In the house he is trying all the dog beds. He likes Shane's crate so I have set him one up.
He has eaten his tea, and yes he waited for some milk to finish it, so they all got some!
He barked at a small dog we met on the walk but I can remember him having a bit of an issue with other dogs near him so he calmed down as we kept walking.
Not had one grumble from him yet at home so that's good. He has found the garden for wees and poos which is also good. "
5th August 2016
This afternoon we received a photo of Pearly relaxing in the sunshine in his new long-term foster home. Lovely to see him so happy and that he remembered Julia, her family and their
|Click images for a larger view
Pearly in our garden
15th April 2011
15th April 2011
15th April 2011
15th April 2011
In our garden
8th May 2016
8th May 2016
8th May 2016
29th May 2016
Out for a walk
10th June 2016
Pearly in his long-term foster home with Maisie
31st July 2016
31st July 2016
31st July 2016
Enjoying the sunshine
5th August 2016
A walk on the fells
18th August 2016
18th August 2016
18th August 2016
3rd November 2016
home. This is the perfect outcome for Pearly, we couldn't have wished for better.
18th August 2016
Julia say Pearly likes his usual morning walk across the fell. He has now mastered the slate stile over the wall so they can do longer walks some days.
26th August 2016
Heard today that Pearly is settling in well now and even shares the beds outside with both of Julia's other dogs without grumbles.
8th September 2016
Julia emailed today letting us know Pearly is looking well and loving his walks.
1st October 2016
Julia emailed today letting us know that Pearly is doing well, still grumpy if thry meet a dog out on a walk but he is improving. He can now tolerate passing at about 5 meters without a grumble but any closer and he really is not happy.
6th October 2016
This afternoon Julia took Pearly to the vets for a routine blood test and called in here on the way to change out his food because she says his stools are quite soft. She brought the bag of Burns Rice & Chicken back and we gave her a bag of Burns Pork & Potato to try. He weighed in at 24.5kg, which is nearly 3 kilos less than he was in April, however, he is now doing 3 walks a day with Julia and this may be one of the reasons because he is now quite well muscled.
7th October 2016
The results of Pearly's blood test arrived back today and his creatine reading was 240 which is 33 higher than the one taken in April. His urine sample was dilute and had protein in it and he was classed as 2 to 3 out of 4 in the stages for gauging renal issues. He's going to be put on antibiotics and once these are complete he's to go back to the vets for another urine test and to check his blood pressure.
11th October 2016
This morning I received an email from Julia with an update on Pearly which said:
"I fetched his antibiotics on Friday and he has them for a week.
He then needs to return for a repeat urine test and a blood pressure check which will need him staying for a few hours. I thought I would book him in during my half term, last week in October, then I can leave him and go shopping for the time he is in.
He is eating the new food well, I now soak it for a few minutes and he never leaves any so hopefully might get a bit of weight back on him but I read that weight loss is a big problem in dogs with kidney problems but he is eating well so that's good. Still got soft poos though.
He loves his walks which I think are the highlight of his day. He goes crazy when he thinks it's time to go out but just walks quietly with me all the way. Just loves to be out."
21st October 2016
Julia says Pearly seems to like this food better and now eats every meal. His first poo on a walk is a little firmer but the rest are just very soft still.
He is looking so well, it's hard to think he is ill.
24th October 2016
Today Pearly visited the vets for have a repeat urine test and blood pressure check.
Julie says: Good news, this morning he had the most normal poo he has ever done and I could pick it up easily. He weighs 29 kg which is better than the 24.5kg he weighed last time. So the vet said the new food is agreeing with him.
His blood pressure was high (240) but he was quite anxious all the time he was there so this could be misleading.
His urine still had protein and blood in it, despite having a week of antibiotics so this does indicate he has kidney disease and the vets will decide on the way forward. They are going to send the other urine sample take to the laboratories for futher testing.
I also asked her to look at his foot on his bad leg. It has an open sore that he has had since I got him and it never heals properly. He does lick it occasionally and sometimes it is worse than others but it never goes completely. She said that if it was an infection she would have expected it to heal with the antibiotics he has just had for his urine. She has given him 2 weeks of a different antibiotic and I am to take him back in 2 weeks for her to check it. " In the mean time I suggested she put Manuka Honey on the wound on his leg to see if that would help the healing process.
28th October 2016
Julia says "he has started leaving half of his food again for the past few days, after eating well for quite a while now. So I am back to giving him a bit of milk in the left overs but sometimes he is not even wanting that.
He is still keen to go out for his walks which he loves. "
31st October 2016
The vet phoned this afternoon to let us know the protein in Pearly's urine is abnormally high, it should be 0.5 or less, his is 1.6. The vet wants him on Fortekor tablets for a month and have his urine rechecked 3 weeks from starting them to see if the Fortekor is having any effect. It is still okay to give him his Joint Aid and we must weigh him each time he visits the vets as this is a good indication of how he's getting on.
Even though he seems to be doing okay on the pork and potato the vet wants him on a renal diet now so Julia is going to give him the dry with a scraping of the tinned on top to give a variance in texture. Pearly has what Meg had, bless her and I used to give her the dry food with some warm water and some of the tinned mixed in as we did with the meat and Burns.
1st November 2016
Julia is off to the vets tomorrow to get more tablets. She is going to check about the Antirobe antibiotics he is on for the sore on his bad foot because he's been on them for a week already and the sore is still not healing. It's not been long since she started using the manuka honey on it so I suggested she carry on as it can take a while. There isn't much left of the Burns food so she is going to bring it tomorrow on her way home and swap it for the renal food because of his recent test results.
Julia says that at the moment he is lying in the lounge enjoying a roasted bone quite happy and has been for two walks in today's lovely sunshine. She has started putting him a housecoat on at night as they don't have the heating on overnight.
23rd November 2016
Julia sent a message today saying: "Pearly not himself this evening. He didn't get out of bed when Nicola came home. Usually he rushes to see her and she lets him out for a wee. But he just stayed in his bed.
He did get up when I got home and he happily went for a walk but I did notice he was a bit slow. When we got home he went straight to bed, has not eaten any tea and is still on his bed. He has been up for a drink. He keeps fidgeting and quietly moaning. Not like him at all and I am worried about him.
I will keep him warm and keep an eye on him."
She took a urine sample from him into the vets today so we are awaiting the results.
24th November 2016
Julia sent a message saying: "Pearly has eaten a half portion of food this morning, after several attempts ending with using the milk trick. He developed a limp over the evening, on his good back leg. His toes became swollen. I could hear him licking in the night. This morning they are normal size but his bed has bloody/watery patches on it. Not sure where that's from. He wanted to go for a walk though, bouncing around taking my hand in his mouth, first to the door. Just got in and he was as normal out on our walk. Will keep you posted as to how he's doing."
26th November 2016
Julia sent a message saying: "Pearly seems a lot better. He is still not eating as well as he was but he is eating most of at least one meal a day. His enthusiasm for his walks hasn't reduced though. He loves the frost. His foot seems to have settled down now."
1st December 2016
Julia messaged me to let us know that: - "Pearly visited the vets this afternoon because he's been eating very little for the past 10 days. This morning only 2 dessert spoons of tinned renal food. The vet gave him a thorough examination and took blood. She could not find any reason why he should be off his food, creatine was 249, last time 240, so only a slight rise. His weight was the same as before 26.45kg surprisingly.
He is to continue with his renal tablets but mix his previous Burns food with the Renal ones and give him normal tinned food.
Tonight he has eaten a normal size meal. The first in 10 days. He must have been fed up with just renal food in his bowl!"
17th February 2017
Julia messaged me to let us know that she: - "Took in another water sample today. Still some blood, protein and bacteria. The vet suggested 3 weeks of antibiotics in case he has a deep seated infection. Then take in another urine sample to check for blood. If he still has blood then she might need to scan his kidneys to see if any thing might be causing the blood to be there."