Chinook Winds Greyhound Rescue Foundation

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Blaster Blog

This is a blog about Blaster. He is our special needs dog. Blaster is extremely shy and fearful, to the degree that his fear is almost crippling, and doesn’t allow him to cope with every day things very easily. It will take a lot of work and months of time before Blaster is going to be at all comfortable with his new life and all of the changes that go with it. The newest entries are at the top of the page. If you want to start at the here.


June 17

Blaster's Blog Finale

We apologize that we have not updated Blaster's Blog in such a long time but we couldn't report on what wasn't happening. We are happy to report that over the past month, 8 months after his arrival , Blast is changing and is making significant improvements once again. He has actually made some pretty big strides. Will Blast ever be that Wal-Mart Meeter/Greeter that just makes you want to own a greyhound? - never. Will he ever just run up to anyone just for the fun of it, to say hello and request a pet for a lean? - never. Will he ever hop up on the couch just for a cuddle and some chat time? - never. Will he ever be that happy, go-lucky 2 yr old puppy, that I know and love, out in public for all the world to see? - probably not.    

If you first take a minute and read through Blaster's Blog from the beginning you'll notice such things as unpredictability with progress, the inability to socialize, his fear of man and beast alike, his fear of food, his fear of touch and attention, his fear of voice and generally just his inability to cope with the world. Does this sound like a grey that you would want to adopt? You want to believe you should!   

Rather than focus on the things he'll never do, I'd like to introduce you to Acme Blasting as I have come to know him and as my husband has come to observe him. I think he'll always be a one person companion. I'm not sure that he'll ever be able to trust anyone totally other than myself but Jim and I work tirelessly on his trust issues.  

I did have Blast to a second behaviorist vet that felt Blast really needed some "doggy Prozac" to help him cope with his world. We did give it a good and honest try but Blast, being so distrustful, stopped eating. He just knew there were pills to be had somewhere in there. He's not a dog that would allow you to pop a pill down his throat so we have chosen to let Blast conquer his world on his own terms. We have some greyt training suggestions and resources so we work on those as well. Medication may still be helpful to us but Blast is not at that point yet.  

Acme Blasting ( Blaster, Blasty ) is one of the greytest and bravest dogs that I have ever met. He is conquering his world slowly and at his own pace but he IS conquering it.  

Our adventures somewhere along the line have created a 2 year old puppy. When there is just myself and our other 3 greyhounds at home, he doesn't have a care or a fear in the world. He has a heart of gold, loves to play and bite and tug and do all those activities one would see in a young pup. He smiles and teases and invites play unconditionally - Unbelievable !! Yet once the world steps in he still just shuts down and refuses to share himself.  

Blast is affectionate and will now demand it. He'll grind his head so hard into my chest or lap that you just can't do anything else but respond with a laugh and a cuddle. The rougher I scruff his ears the more excited he gets. He gets so excited that he'll tuck that butt and hit the hallways at top speed. He can almost always be seen doing laps around the house with a stuffie in his mouth. Having said that, there is not a stuffy in my house that hasn't been de-stuffed; no matter, dead stuffies are just as good to toss around, play with and even bury. He and Beth ( 10 1/2 yrs old ) are joined at the hip. They run and race and play toss together and generally sound quite rough with each other at times. He has to put her head or her neck in his mouth at least once per day and she has to give him "what for" in response. And then they are off. It is not unusual to see them in their dig hole together - one burying toys and the other digging them up. Beth, I believe, has done the most in helping Blast come out of his shell. He gets along famously with the other resident hounds, fosters and visiting canines. He believes that they are all play machines  just for his enjoyment. We take him to Parkland rink and he runs like the wind.  

Blast has impeccable house manners. He has just lately started to meet visitors at the door and if they ignore him he'll come close enough to investigate and with any luck they might even get to pet him. Jim can now pet him outside - major move on Blast's part. He has taken to going to Jim for hand fed treats and this is HUGE in Blast's world. He is the best dog in the world to walk. He seldom, if ever, goes to the bathroom out of his yard and it would never occur to him to put his head down and smell the world. He just trots along in a perfect heel - so beautiful to see. Of course, his blue brindle coloring attracts the whole world. Does he still have periods of odd unpredictability - yes and I expect he always will.  

His eating has been a trial and most likely always will be. It has taken 6 months for us to get 1.8 kg of weight on him but his ribs no longer hang out as in some of the previous photos. He changes his food preferences as often as we change our socks so the menu of the day is always a challenge. He loves to stand and be brushed. He gets into his bed at night and awaits my arrival for massage time. Hips/tail/belly were all off limits for the longest time but he'll now lift his leg to get a belly rub. We play on the floor head to head and he has started pulling my hair - fun for him! He is cockroaching more often all the time. He goes to see Dr Mark every 5-6 months and has a nice little twilight nap while we do his nails and check his teeth and do all those things that we need to do to him but he won't allow.  

Blast is Adopted !! What made us decide that we just couldn't part with him? - Blast himself! I've  known for a long time now that Blast wasn't going anywhere, probably from day 1, but my dilemma was how to convince one's mate that 4 greyhounds was a good thing? "The 4 Greyhound Yard  Escape" clinched the deal. Blast was one of the 4 escapees and he was the one that didn't come back and he was the one that raced out of sight. It was heart wrenching but life changing when he came home because he couldn't bare to be out in that big bad world all by himself. The fact that he trusted me enough to come home made me realize that he already was home!!  He has fit well into our pack and when I just sat back and watched my pack co-exist, they had already decided that he was here to stay - no question! When Fire quits lifting her lip at a dog passing her while on her throne, the couch, we know that they are here to stay ! Besides being a "special needs boy"  he is an awesome boy and I can't imagine not having him here. He has taught us many life lessons and I can't wait to continue this journey.  

Chinook Winds is always in need of "Special Needs Homes" for dogs like Blast or other dogs that just need extra care/time and attention to get them on the road to adoption. There are different degrees of "special needs dogs". They may be a senior with no issues. They may be shy or withdrawn or just unsure of themselves and just need some extra time in foster care to get some confidence. They may just be on a medical hold.  Blast is only one of numerous special needs dogs that we have fostered and each and every one before him has found their forever home. We often thought that we would be adopting our special needs dogs but they have all gone into awesome homes. It just takes longer sometimes for that perfect home but the wait is well worth it. NO, you don't have to adopt them but you must be prepared for extended periods of fostering!! If you think this would be something that you might be interested in, then please investigate the possibilities. The rewards will be all yours!!   

We would like to Thank everyone who has helped us along the way, in particular Chinook Winds Greyhound Rescue - whatever Blast needed, Blast got !! There has been so much interest in Blast's progress that it has boggled our minds. Watch for Blaster's "Greyt Tail" update in a few months.  

Cheers Everyone & Hug Those Hounds! Judy, Jim, Sterling, Fire, Beth & Blast    


January 19

Behavioralist’s Report - Summary

Well I was glad to hear that we are on the right track with Blast but he might need his own website by the time he is adoptable.

Because he will still eat from the hands of strangers Colleen (our behavioralist) is very confident that Blast has it in him to become adoptable and adaptable. If he wouldn't eat and would completely shut down the story may have been a whole lot different.

We are on the right track and are using the proper approach with letting him do this on his own at his own rate. She does agree that he isn't the type of dog that we can speed up or force as proven by the crate incident.

Colleen was surprised that closing the crate caused such a traumatic event for Blast. She was quite apologetic but does believe that now the crate is gone we shouldn't bring it back. He has a wide open xpen in the livingroom and she says that is fine as any dog could have that much space. We just have to step back with him and start over.

The fact that he doesn't live like a hermit but likes to be out in the living area is a good sign as well. He has many positives. He'll walk with anybody at the walks and will go to M/G's and not totally freak. It is the social interactions and activities that we have to keep him involved in also.

She has suggested we find a food that we can hand feed him for awhile so that everything again is not free but he'll learn to trust. Kibble just isn't cutting it for him and we need something that is just too hard for him to resist. He is eating poorly and this is related to his not being sure of his environment and always having to know what is happening in all 4 directions and I suppose his inability to settle with just the normal sounds of every day living. He looks good and hasn't lost any weight but it takes energy and patience every day to get enough food into him. He could use a couple more pounds. He is a big dog. I stopped using toppers as he would literally put one piece of kibble in his mouth at a time, suck/lick off all the good stuff and then spit it out. He got the trots yesterday just from the amount of chicken he got with Colleen so I'm thinking the raw may just be the best bet..... to be cont'd J

Bottom line is that she has greyt hopes for Blast but it will be slow and steady and probably with many backslides; hopefully all worth it in the end. In the end it could be possible that he'll have to have an all female home but for the moment we plod on with exposure to all things greyt and wonderful.

Blast is not a "spook". I have done some research myself on spooks and spooks are reactive dogs - aggressive - this is not Blaster.

Blast has given a low growl at Jim - short and clipped, not that guttural growl that warns you off. Jim just backs off and then tries again which Colleen agrees is the approach we need to take.

In short we just continue on. Trust and social skills are our projects which in turn will build confidence. We are thrilled at Colleen’s assessment that Blaster has such potential! It gives us hope for him.

January 15

The behaviorist had suggested we start to challenge Blast so that he could start to meet his fears and deal with them.

She suggested that we start by taking away some of his safe spots like the crate in the livingroom and xpen in the bedroom. We decided that taking them all away might be too traumatic so we would start by just closing the crate door. He would run to his crate when we tried to put his leash on or if there were new people in the home, strange noises etc. At 3 months of being with us, she thought he should be able to handle some small challenges.

This backfired on us. He was totally upset, bouncing off walls etc and just beside himself. He couldn't deal with the loss of his comfort zone. The behaviorist was even surprised at Blast's total fear reaction to this incident. Blast still has not recovered the relationship he had with my husband prior to this incident. We probably took a step back about 2 months.

What do we do now? We step back with him and once again encourage and support him in his attempt to regain trust and confidence.


Friday, January 13

Well, it was way too cute watching Blast watch his crate being dismantled last night. I took out all the bedding and he went in and tapped his feet as if to say "put it back!"

He watched me take it down and followed it to the storage area like we had just taken away his blankie. He wandered a bit not knowing where to go so he went to his xpen in the bedroom. I waited for awhile for him to move out and then I proceeded to take the xpen out of the bedroom and again he watched me with greyt interest. I set it up in the livingroom and he thinks the xpen with its big area is the best thing since sliced bread. I fed him last night before he went to bed and after everybody else was gone to bed. I set up his breakfast at the opening to the xpen this morning and he wolfed his breakfast one piece of kibble at a time. I have never seen anything like it. He chews each kernel until it's pulp. Compared to the girls, he is almost painful to watch eat. I also left him alone to eat which up until now he would only eat if I stood right there and reminded him each time he left his bowl that everything was OK.

When I went to bed he went on his cushion in the bedroom but before long was out in the livingroom in the xpen all by himself. He obviously still needs some enclosure but this morning he was in the bedroom on his bed.

The best part of today so far has been the big 2 paws on the bed this morning and the warmth of his breath on my face to say hello !! Well, of course, I was so shocked I bopped him in the nose and he squealed and it took some real coaxing for him to come back.

He did cockroach in the computer room this morning for about 30 minutes so he can't be that stressed and once again he has never tucked his tail!Go figure! He just amazes me. We'll see how he is tonight when everyone is home and no crate. I am on my way out now and this will be his first time with the run of the house and muzzled. The xpen I have is open ended and only 30" high so he has it as a safe zone but no use closing the door when we're not here - he'd be over it in a flash.

Thursday, January 12

I have a little boy (Blaster) here who has either decided to spread his wings, get brave and start to growl, or we have something else happening here. In the past two days we have taken a step back about a month which is disappointing after having come so far in the past 2 weeks. We have tried to figure out what it was that has spooked/scared/frightened Blast and I even checked with my dog walker but there is nothing that quite jumps out at us. So we just carry on, step back with him and start once again to get comfortable with some of the things that once again scare him. We don't know what we're really dealing with here until the behavioralist can maybe give us a little more insight. And more than likely this is just Blast who doesn't need a reason to change his course. He wouldn't eat today for anyone. He doesn't want to go in his crate or his xpen and I believe that it is because we close the door behind him, yet the first place he runs to feel secure is his crate. Looking back on the last week or so I think Blast has actually been trying to decrate himself and I just didn't see the signs. His crate is only closed when we go to work and his xpen is closed at night because he will get up and rip around the house in the middle of the night with his toys and sometimes another greyhound in tow!

So we have taken the first step that was suggested and we have removed the crate. We took the crate out of the livingroom, put the xpen from the bedroom in the livingroom and now he sleeps in the wide open spaces in the bedroom, which he does with no problem in the computer room anyway. The growling has been around the crate so we'll just see.

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