|Updated March, 2008
It tends to be human nature
to generalize about dog breeds. And to some extent these
generalizations are true, some traits do TEND to show up in certain
breeds. But not always and even when you know this, it sometimes
hits you when you see extremes displayed by members of the same breed.
Such was the case upon meeting Bran. We already had seen
and heard about a variety of personality traits that were markedly
different from Irony's .....but we had never seen in a Greyhound
such a marked opposite in so many ways.
Bran couldn't be more different from Irony, in
every way. Of course, they couldn't have were then owned by a
woman who didn't neutered them anymore different histories either.
Bran (formerly Spot ---who knows why, he's a black brindle!) was
never a racer, although his parents came from the track. They so....surprise......there was
a litter. GPS got most
of the puppies apparently, but not all. "Spot" was given to
someone by the woman who had them. He was returned, given to
someone else then gotten rid of through a newspaper ad, then the new
person placed an ad.....and GPS got him. Spot. Untrained,
unmannered, underfed.....and very loving despite it all.
When we told Michele that we'd be
willing to foster, she immediately thought of "Spot".....he was a
problem, a screamer in his crate, no knowledge of basic boundaries.
Living with him for just a few days, we realize that there is
little chance that if adopted straight from the kennel that he wouldn't
have bounced.......he'd bounced his whole life already and it is the
last thing he needs. When we went to pick him up he hadn't come
back from the vets for his neutering yet....and when the van pulled up
we heard the screaming and Michele told us "that's him." She may have
expected us to back out at that point, I don't know.
From out of the van, amongst all the muscular
ex-racers appeared this wiggling, frenzied, whiny. skinny little
creature. Head looking too large for his thin neck, ribs showing
clearly, no muscle....looking like a lanky half-grown puppy at over 2
years old. He makes Irony look huge, although he's a bit taller
than her....no muscle to speak of anywhere. He could be about 20
lbs. lighter than she is. But he has eyes that melt
you.....possibly his only survival mechanism. His nose is flaky,
possibly discoid lupus,
possibly just stress.
He knows no boundaries, he is desperate for
affection and wants to be good but doesn't have the slightest clue how
to be. He fears for his next meal, constantly searching for food.
Chances are he literally didn't know when or if he'd get another meal!
Somewhere along the line he somehow learned that eliminating on a
leash was bad, but in the house was okay. He doesn't know a single
basic command or hand signal and if remotely exposed most dogs pick up
one or two of these things without formal training (well, that's been
my experience) at some point by the time they're this old. He's
pushy abut affection, desperate for it. He tries to get on the
couch, on the bed, on our laps. Boundaries.....boundaries seems
to be the key word. He knows none.
He doesn't even have basic pack understanding.
He adores Irony, but doesn't catch her signals at all. One
might think he was challenging her dominance, but more careful
observation shows that he just doesn't understand the whole situation.
He'll lie right next to her when
she's chewing and barely reacts when she snarls at him for it...only
looks a bit confused and moves over a fraction.
We have great hope for Bran's
prospects though....despite all the points against him. He is
loving, he wants to please, we think we can break through the years of
mixed signals and neglect that created what he is today. Whether we
break down and keep him or are able to let him go, he will be able to
be a dog that can get the love he so desperately craves.
------------- Update May 13 '99
Since Bran came to live with use he was found to
have a liver problem, which responded well to treatment. His coat
has improved (it's fluffy for a Greyhound), his nose is still flaky but
the vet feels that there is no reason to biopsy, it may just be stress
or if it is discoid lupus or a similar illness the treatment is much
the same. We prefer natural methods, so food supplements, especially
Vit. E are added to his food.
He has learned some manners, but often oversteps
his bounds. Irony is able to put him in his
place when needs be. He still hates the crate, it no longer is used for
sleep time, he sleeps with us (all food is put out of reach, he is very
inventive in finding it though) and the crate is only used when we're
out. He is very affectionate, and very, very taken with
Aaron. We have no choice. We adopted Bran on May 12, '99.
He doesn't notice the difference, I think he knew he was home
from the first time we brought him here.......even though he never got
to stay in one long, he knew this time was it. ~:)
Update Dec 99
Of course, Bran's been as busy as
Irony has been this year. Having come a long way in his health he
did his first ever lure coursing practice run, just a short one, last
spring. He was a lot faster than we thought and real focused on
the lure. He is not as obsessive as Irony is the whole time, he
watches with some interest, but doesn't tend to pull and lunge. Until
it's his turn, and it seems that all he sees is the lure. A great
relief, as we had worried he might want to play and interfere...of
course at this point he was only running alone.
At the one Highland Game we were
able to get to we discovered exactly how lovable this little guy is. He is less and less shy all the time
anyway, but at one point he had a small group of children almost
crawling on him, and no problem he loved it. The kids in question
were apparently for a time separated from their own dog and needed a
"dog fix." On walks we can let small kids pat him and explain why
they shouldn't chase Irony if she starts to back away (and she'll get a
bit jealous and come forward again now). We do discourage kids from
wrapping around Bran, explaining to them that not all dogs will allow
that and showing how to pat them. Um, often with the clueless parents
standing there. Bran will accept almost anything from a child it seems,
but we realize that it's a bad message to give kids about dogs and his
child patience allows us to help educate them.
We are pretty sure he had a kid in
one of his former homes. When we were trying to get them in shape
to run again, after Irony's shoulder healed, we took a frisbee with us.
Bran will free run on his own in the ball park, but Irony stopped
doing this after her injury so we wanted something besides the lure
pole to work her out with (as the lure pole doesn't allow for an all
out run really) and hoped she'd chase the frisbee even though we knew
she'd not bring it back. No interest at all from her, but Bran
took off right after it plucked it from the air and brought it proudly
right back. He knows the game! He does sometime pout and
not bring it all the way back if he doesn't actually catch it.
But he loves this, so now we take them out and while I work Irony
out with the lure pole, Aaron tosses the frisbee for a delighted Bran.
We still haven't ILPed him so we
just ran him in a practice run at the next LC event. He ran a
full course and kept right to the lure. And at the GPS
Greyhound Festival we got to find out that he isn't an interferer at
all. He was totally focused on the lure and even won his race,
although not by much. He also got to meet one of his brothers at
the festival. For pictures from the Festival check this link out.
Bad Kym, no biscuit! It's been
now over a year since I updated the hound's pages. And a busy
year it has been.
As I noted on Irony's page, the
winter was quiet and but in the spring we started getting the hounds
"into training." Bran still loves playing frisbee so getting him
in shape is very easy. We still didn't have him ILPed so when we
went to the LGRA events he could only do practice runs at the end.
He is just so on the lure and he loves it so much. Next
year we will try to get to some events and run him as we did finally
get the ILP just as we got too busy with our house search then house
cleaning to run him. He loves the chase and we really want to
give him a chance to prove himself.
we first got eh ILP back the name on it was "Branduble" ...um, Kym is
not well known for her lovely penmanship. We got it changed to
Brandubh however and he is now eligible to compete in events that allow
ILPed dogs. He is "officially" a real Greyhound. We also
got his parents' names and need to find more information about his
We all ended up involved in a local (Barony of Stonemarche)
SCA event in June. I had originally contacted someone about
whether there was SCA lure coursing in the area for a demo for an event
I hoped to host (which never panned out). A few months later
I got contacted by the same woman asking me for help in getting
something together for their Midsummer event. The GONE had
an event at the same time, so they were unable to be involved, but I
got on the SCA
coursing list and asked for help and the woman working on getting
coursing in the East Kingdom
again contacted us and she ran the coursing. The hounds, Aaron
and I were joined by another GPS family with two Greyhounds to do
a "meet & greet" in garb. The event was great, despite ending
up in a location that was probably not prime and a VERY violent but
brief storm. Due to the storm we didn't run when planned, but the
next day did. Bran absolutely loved the chance to compete against
Irony, allowing for expression of that "sibling rivalry." There
were no problems however, they both were too intent on the lure.
At one point he got it ahead of her and his pride was obvious.
Bran did not seem overly stressed by
the move. We think that he probably still "accepts" the fact that
any happiness he has is going to come to an end, that he'll be kicked
out at any moment that he just took the change in stride. He
didn't seem happy, but accepting. He watched us move stuff,
quietly looking sad, and trying to find the most comfortable place to
wait for the inevitable. That we brought him to a new place and
we're still with him seemed to amaze him. He of course loves
having two couches to chose from, as well as the dog beds and our bed.
The cats interest him, but not as much as Irony.....of course the
cat food interests him greatly when we do take them to my folks house.
We figure by now we have had him longer than anyone ever kept
him, maybe with the move he'll figure out this is a forever situation
He had shown a great deal of
interest in horses, when we took them to a horse show to see someone we
know and when he saw my father's Mini horses here.
Unfortunately, an attempt to sniff one of the Minis' noses led to
his introduction to electric fences. ~:/ Therefore horses
are mighty magic users who can cause pain in little dog's already
messed up noses! We will be working on reintroducing him to the
horses without interference from the fence.
Bran continues to learn and grow
with us and everyday we still wonder at how he could ever have been
thrown away. We have been teaching both hounds a few basic tricks,
along with our regular obedience stuff. Bran is a quick study
once we convey what it is we expect...and he realizes he'll get a treat
for it. As he is actually too food motivated we may try clicker
training him soon. He is forever winning us over and has even
truly wormed his way into Irony's heart....she now cuddles up to him
and even lets him cuddle up to her. Imagine the joy all those
people who threw him away have missed.....their loss, our gain.
As the anniversary of Saoradh's death approached, Kym had a
bad feeling about the day. That morning Bran came out of the bedroom
dragging his back legs a bit looking very distressed. He was taken to
the vet and they thought it was a herniated disk, gave us
anti-inflammatories. Worried it might be worse, but hoping for the
best, we did spend some time feeding him bits of steak and such. By
that evening he was in a coma, he never woke up and died in our arms.
For photos of Bran with the other
pack members go to the pack together page
Contents and design, except
where noted otherwise below , copyright © 1999-2008 Kym Lambert
and Aaron Miller
Spay/neuter button from Dog Hause's Don't Litter
Background modified from a graphic from the World of Celtic Art
Clipart from Clipart Castle