After we lost Ňrlaith, it was the first time we didn't have at least one Greyhound living with us since we adopted Irony
in 1998. Because she was easily stressed by pack changes, even when positive, we had
not wanted to bring in another after
we found out she only had a short time to live. And, of course, we were
focused on her, making her as happy, comfortable and spoiled as possible for as long as possible. So it was just Gleann and Sachairi. And Merlin was given free run of the entire house.
I had noted when the manager of Greyhound
Placement Service, NH
had posted last winter about "Sunny," who had seizures. Probably not
the most glowing recommendation for most people, but animals which are
hard to place have a special space in my heart. Other "losers"
where all older, around 10 or 11 and given, well, everything, that
seemed like a dangerous age for us at this point. So I kept her in mind as we
randomly threw out the need to get another hound, to carry on the
In July we were finally ready to start making plans. When I contacted Michele, at GPS and mentioned Sunset Seduction she was ready to go! So on July 22, 2014, Aaron went down to pick up our new brindle girl.
She is relatively young for our pack, full of energy. She was rather nervous when
she first arrived, spent a lot of time pacing the house. The way our
house is designed, if both bathroom doors are open, as they especially
are in the summer to help air circulate, you have a circle and she
walked or trotted it quite a bit at first. Still does at times when she
finds those doors open.
While we had "friendly warnings" that taking on a
dog with seizures was "setting ourselves up for another
heartbreak"....well, getting any animal is, the don't live long enough no
matter what, you get no guarantees. Ever. But not many would take her,
and not just because of that. She's an over the top goof! Sings in her
crate after her Kong is empty. Sings at other random times. By sing I
mean high pitched and undulating...really, very musical but sometimes
painful. But that's okay. When she's done she's done. She is also
definitely worse than Ců when it comes to food obsession, possibly even worse than Bran was! She is obsessed.
However, there is one thing, one problem, a severe and disturbing defect ....her couch mode is totally dysfunctional!
As for the seizures she hadn't had any for months before we got her and hasn't had any yet (as of Jan 3, 2015). *knockswood*
She will not get on the couch or bed, the coveted thrones of our past
hounds. She will not voluntarily get on them at all. We got her to lie
down on the bed once and I have picked her up on my lap on the couch,
one time crawling out from under her so she could lie on it and
snuggle. She loves to snuggle,
just not get on the couch. Or off. She has a bit of trouble
getting down when we do get her on, possibly due to her meds which make
her a bit klutzy. This may be the reason for her
reluctance. She also does seem to have to do the spin thing before
settling, which could also be disastrous! So we need to invest in more
dog beds and a beanbag chair or something so we can get down and
snuggle her more comfortably on the floor.
In the few months she's been with us, despite the couch mode
dysfunction, she's been a great continuation of our Greyhound legacy
here. The boys love her, they are healing from their past loss as are
we. We never forget those who passed, but the best way to honor
them is to give homes to those who are still here.
These are the updates I most hate making.
Gráinne never learned to be really comfortable on couches or the people
bed, she could jump into the high van with no problem but somehow the
open space of the couch or bed were too much for her. She
probably never would have even if she lived to a ripe old age. We
lowered our bed a bit and at bedtime would put two dog beds on top of
one another so she was at least closer to me when we slept. She
seemed to like that. She totally was into being with the pack.
This included the cat. One reason we got her was that she was potentially cat-safe and Merlin
who had been living in another section of the house had moved in fully
with us in this section after we lost Ňrlaith. All our previous
hounds had been too high prey drive to live with a cat. We took
it slow letting them be around each other, but eventually it was clear
that they were fine. They were "odd" with one another, seeming to be
confused and sort of purposely ignoring each other, but we know now
this was an act.
She also loved to snuggle her head into one of us while we rubbed her
ears. She'd stand and ask for this, you'd have to stop everything
and just focus on giving her love. And then she was done and would lie
down and contently go to sleep. Really, she wasn't a very demanding
hound, she just wanted love and attention...and food, a lot of
food....she did love food.
We can't say we weren't warned, but then we knew it....taking on any
animal, especially one with special needs already, is always risking
heartbreak. Not even a risk, because, really, because it's pretty
much an absolute given with most animals.
"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives
even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live
no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never
fully understanding the necessary plan"
The seizures never really became much of an
issue, except for one time. She had one, it was rather terrifying when
it happened, we got
through it, got her meds adjusted and she never had another one. At
least not that kind. She did have mysterious swellings on her joints
and face and/or neck, sometimes with pain, sometimes apparently no
pain. Sometimes she would appear to be lame or have a "stiff neck" with
no swelling. We kept taking her back to the vet to try to figure it out
with no luck. The question of if she was possibly hurting herself
during seizures we didn't see was ruled out as there just wasn't that
much time we were not with her and none of the events lined up with us
being gone or sleeping (it's not like I have ever slept well or
soundly, to begin with). Another symptom was that Gáinne loved
walks with us and the boys, some days happily going for long ones, but
some days she was also just to lethargic, she'd stop and that was it,
no movement until we turned. to go home.
The loss of Sachairi
was a huge blow to Gráinne. Our pack has alway mourned hard but due to
her health issues, she seemed physically blown to some extent, rather
than just emotionally. She was starting to come around
more, however, that April when it was time for her, Gleann and the cat
to get their annual check-ups. Due to the mystery issues she had been
presenting and Gleann getting his wellness blood work due to age, we
had an Anti Nuclear Antibody screening to check for lupus and when that
was negative decided to do the wellness panel on her as well.
It came back as showing leukemia. This was terrifying and we were right to be terrified but not due to leukemia, it turned out.
We took her to an oncologist at Peak Veterinary Referral Services in
VT, who determined it was Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) her blood levels were not something to worry about
or act on immediately, so we began to have it monitored regularly while
we focused on getting Gleann diagnosed and treated for his hypercalcemia which was, at that point, more urgent.
Within a couple of months after Gleann had his surgery Gráinne's
numbers did show some rise. We worked on fundraising to get her started
on chemo. Then she began getting skin lesions and her numbers
sored, this was about the time Aaron broke his leg as well. We
had more tests and it turned out that she also had Cutaneous Lymphoma,
which was much more aggressive than the leukemia. She had an
incident where, well, something happened in her brain that wasn't like
her seizures, just two days before she was to start chemo. It was
more like a stroke. This likely
was the lymphoma causing a lesion in her brain. We took her the
oncologist and it was decided to give her one chemo dose, with the
knowledge it was unlikely to do anything long term. It would, however,
give her a few days for us to say goodbye. We made arrangements to
release her from her ravaged body later that week. Unfortunately, she
had another similar brain incident, so hours before her scheduled time
we took her to the Littleton Emergency Vet to let her go on March 2,
It's hard to write all this, which is why it took so long to get it
down. None of this does her justice. It's truly impossible to
really capture what a delightful and quirky hound she was. Who
sang like a coywolf, who watched over her fluffy boys, who quietly
accepted the "strange dog" (aka cat). She never learned to get on
a couch or bed on her own, and never really relaxed when we
lifted her on., but she was the walking stomach that we expect
Greyhounds to be right until her last day. We so wish we had more
Contents and design, except
where noted otherwise below, copyright © 1998-2017 Saigh Kym Lambert
and Aaron Miller
Background modified from a graphic from the World of Celtic Art
Clipart from Clipart Castle
top pic of Grainne from Greyhound
Placement Service NH