Mesa Boy's Story
New Mexico Greyhound Connection learned of a Greyhound running loose on the west mesa of Albuquerque from several concerned citizens living in the area who said he'd been living out there for 4 months. He was being well fed by the caring people living on 2 sides of this mesa and would show up like clock work for breakfast in one location, dinner in another. We were told that he visited an apartment complex every evening to be close to humans and their activities, but he always laid down a safe distance so as not to be touched. He's been chased by ATVs and has kids throwing rocks at him. Other kids are shooting at him with their paint ball guns, and there's even some who've supposedly taken shots at him with real guns because he's getting into the dumpsters at the apartment complex nearby. Yet he continues to come to the apartments to eat every day and to be somewhat close to people.
When NMGC first visited this area to make an attempt at seeing and hopefully capturing this "Mesa Boy", we saw a beautiful fawn male with pearly white teeth, unneutered, and very confident in his domain. He came running right up to us to greet and "network" with our own greyhounds who we'd brought along for temptation. We were not able to touch him or even position ourselves where we could get behind him to try to slip a lead over his head. We knew we were in for a challenge and hoped that we weren't dealing with a feral dog.
Knowing his schedule and routine, Kent and Lisa Elrod, of NMGC, continued to regularly visit Mesa Boy with their Greyhounds to try and gain his trust, hoping to eventually be able to catch him. Following, is the rest of this story, as told by Lisa Elrod.
Early August 2003
Although Mesa Boy was always happy to see us and our greyhounds, he was keeping a safe distance from our hands at all times. We could be just inches away from him while he was busy socializing with our Hana and Titus, but if we made the slightest movement at all, he would bounce to a safer distance. He would eat and drink out of the bowls as we sat next to them, and showed no signs of food aggression. He especially smiled when he saw a certain little girl, Savannah, who would bring food and water to him and often sit on the ground and talk to him as he layed near her. Even she couldn't touch him. It was so difficult to leave him there at the end of every visit, where sometimes he would whine as if he wanted to come along, but he was just too frightened.
We hoped that nothing bad would happen to him before we could safely have him in someone's home. His mesa would be shrinking very soon, as the ground work had already begun for a huge mall which would soon occupy his territory. Coyotes lived here and were also a danger, as well as the people who were shooting at him. We didn't want animal control involved because we feared they would have him euthanized if they were able to catch him. And it would soon be winter with dropping temperatures.
We contacted animal behaviorists from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, and received some wonderful advice from them as well as from Michael McCann, who's captured many loose Greyhounds. It was the opinion of these experts that Mesa Boy was not a feral dog, but a frightened boy who would be relieved when caught. We followed the advice of these knowledgeable people and decided to try to trap him using the methods they recommended. We put our names on the waiting list for a humane confinement trap with our local animal shelters. Meanwhile, we kept visiting Mesa Boy and kept in touch with the caring people who kept the food and water for him in the two different neighborhoods. It was 4 more weeks before we had our hands on a trap and were ready to make our attempt at capturing Mesa Boy. We were excited and ready to go!
WE GOT HIM!! Mesa Boy is safely napping in a crate in our home at this moment, we can't believe how beautifully the capture went this morning.
This morning around 7:00 a.m. we met at the spot he's used to finding his breakfast and the guys set the trap while I kept Mesa Boy occupied with one of our greyhounds. We moved our van to a nearby location where we could watch with binnoculars and within 2 minutes he was in it and trapped, and barking his head off! As we approached him, he quieted down as a blanket was put over the trap, and the guys carried the trap with him in it to our van (which included lifting it over a barbed wire fence), and once inside our van, he layed down and relaxed for the ride home.
We unloaded the trap inside our garage and put our expen up to make a circle outside the opening in case he bolted out. Two of us were in the expen with a martingale collar and leash and we opened the trap door and calmly talked to him as he slowly inched his way to the front. He wanted out, but he was so frightened.
After a short time he had his head out enough where we could lasso him with a leash, and then immediately slipped the martingale on him which he seemed fine with - we were prepared for doggie rodeo and were so pleased with his reaction!!!
We took down the expen and started to slowly touch him and before we knew it he was comfortable with us petting him everywhere and giving him a good once-over. We treated him with Frontline for ticks and fleas, checked all the nicks and cuts on him, he even let me look in his ears. His tail couldn't have been tucked any further between his legs, in fact it nearly appeared between his front legs, but he seemed okay with us handling him. He even snuggled his head into one of the guys arm pits while I lifted his feet to look for ticks between his toes! I can't tell you how much this warmed our hearts!!!
We walked around in the garage to see how he was going to be on the leash, and although he pulled, he wasn't freaked out by it at all, so we took him into the house. He walked on the kitchen linoleum - which many of the ex-racers right off the track will NOT do - and we took him through the house to the back yard where we had our greyhounds anxiously waiting. There was a warm welcome for him there, of course, and his tail came back out. I praised him for squirting on some trees so we can immediately begin the "THIS is where you potty!" training, and we walked around our yard to show him where the boundaries are.
After a while of socializing in the yard we went inside the house for the tour. We took him to our bedroom where we have a crate set up and when I walked him over to it to see what his reaction would be, he walked right into it!!! I closed the door to see what he'd do and he just layed down. I think this boy is exhausted.
He slept peacefully
for a long time in the crate and as long as at least one of our greyhounds
was in the room he didn't whine. But now he doesn't want to come out of
the crate! He growled when we tried to get him out so we're guessing he
is feeling safe and secure in his new "cave", and he's obviously
We're thinking we'll need to keep the leash attached to his collar at all times so that we can open the crate door and have control of him when he decides it's time to come out, rather than having the run of the room where it would be difficult to catch him without cornering him. But when we open the crate, he won't come out (and we can't reach in) so that we can put the leash back on him. We put the expen up to make a circle at the opening of the crate, hoping he'd come out on his own where we could repeat what we'd done in the garage with the trap, but he only came out into that space when we were leaving the room because our greys followed us and he wanted to be with them. But he stood with his front feet on top of the crate ready to jump out of the pen and when I went to try to slip the leash around him and to keep him from jumping out, he went back into the crate. Food doesn't entice him either, but maybe it will later tonight, along with a full bladder?
The fun begins...!?!
9/1/03 - Day 2
First thing this Sunday morning, after sleeping all night, Mesa Boy came out of his crate immediately when the door was opened and emptied his gallon of urine on our carpet while we hooked a leash onto his collar.
We walked outside
and he sprinkled on a few bushes while I praised him. He wasn't interested
in any food (even freshly cooked chunks of beef), or water yet. I rubbed
and brushed him with the rubber knobby glove for awhile, he's really dirty
and seemed to enjoy this, and we just walked around in the back yard with
We're moving around the house doing our stuff and either Kent or I have him on the leash at all times. I think it won't be long before we can let him move around freely because he seems to really be
relaxing - or he's in shock! As I'm sitting at the computer now, he's laying down nearly asleep, next to one of our greys. Once we can get him to come to us, we'll try letting him off the leash.
We're not sure if we should keep a leash on him in the crate or not, we're concerned about him getting tangled. But we're also concerned about him bolting out of the crate before we can get a leash on him, then he'd be loose and we'd have a heck of a time catching him. We don't want to make a habit out of this morning's method of getting a leash on him, lol!
9/2/03 - Day 3
We've had a good day with Mesa Boy so far! We spent the day with him on a leash attached to either myself or my husband, Kent. We rubbed on him, we brushed him, he napped at our feet, we walked in the back yard numerous times and he got plenty of praises for pottying outside, he even put his front feet in the kiddie pool! He finally ate a good amount this afternoon, I fed him one bite at a time in his bowl, from my hand.
We're having to be very careful at touching him and always start somewhere on his back and then slowly move to his head, or somewhere else, then he's fine. At one point when I was rubbing on his back, he actually turned his front end and head toward me so I could rub on his head, and my heart melted.
Around 2:00 we put him in his crate so we could deliver one of our foster boys to his new home, and Mesa Boy was happy to go in there and have some "cave" time it seemed. Before we put him in it, we attached a short 12" piece of leash with no handle to his collar so we'll have something to grab when he comes out besides him, and he won't be able to get tangled in a long leash.
Around 6:00, we thought we'd see if he wanted to come out yet, he's been so content in there all afternoon enjoying his rest. We opend the door to his crate and I hand fed him some pieces of fresh cooked beef and some kibble, one bite at a time dropped in a bowl just outside his crate, and he actually took some right from my hand for the first time!!!! I didn't put my hand inside the crate at all so he could continue to have that as his safe haven. He didn't want to come out yet, but he ate a pretty good amount and had a good drink, so we called it a success and left him in the crate where he felt comfortable.
Awhile later he started to whine so we went to see if he wanted to come out to potty and when I opened the crate, he came right out and I was able to grab onto the short section of leash and guide him right out of the pen around his crate door and get a leash on him again!!!! We went outside and he pottied and had some more social time with our greys as we did more exploring in the back yard. I just cannot believe how smoothly things are going so far.
I really believe he'll settle into home life pretty quickly after seeing how well he did with this first full day. Once we have control of him, he allows us to touch him and lead him around. He even seemed to enjoy watching an Animal Planet show about Owls earlier today with Kent.
We're thinking that this boy is feeling very relieved to be able to turn off his 24 hour a day radar that he's had to have on for the past few months. I feel confident now that he'll be settled in a short time and be totally adoptable. We're feeling very positive right now.
I can't tell you how much we appreciate all the emails we've received with suggestions and well wishes for this boy. We're totally new to this sort of situation and it's so wonderful to know that there are so many people out there to offer help, support, and encouragement. It's overwelming.
9/3/03 - Day 4
We have no idea where he came from. It's possible he was left behind from a group we understand breeds greyhounds for hunting dogs and takes them to the open spaces to chase rabbits and coyotes while they accompany them on horseback, but of course we have no way of knowing. He is not an ex-racer, no ear tatoos. We've been receiving numerous emails from so many concerned people with their kind thoughts and wonderful advice for us, to which we are extremely grateful. This is a new experience for us all and we're so thankful that there are so many people taking the time to offer us support and advice. It's overwelming to us to know there are so many people who care about this one dog!
Today was a great day with him. He will walk up to us now for some attention (still always on a leash when he's out of his crate) and is taking his food from my hand as was recommended by the animal behaviorist. In a couple more days we'll probably be able to take down the expen we have up around the opening to his crate in our bedroom because he's not bolting out ready to escape anymore. He comes out slowly and happily where I can easily grab the short section of leash we keep on him while in his crate.
Either Kent or I have him attached to our waist when he's out of his crate and he's relaxing more and more as the hours go by. It won't be long until we can let him be free in the house at this rate. I can't believe how he's adapting. We think he's very relieved to have been caught and giving up his control to humans. He's definately starting to trust us, and soon he'll have more confidence in that trust.
Our next hurdle will be taking him to the vet for neutering, shots, blood work, etc. Not sure when we should do that because he may be difficult to get out of the kennel at the vet's office without some growling, or worse. We may need to put that off for awhile.
9/4/03 - Day 5
Today we graduated to Mesa boy from dragging a leash behind him instead of being attached to my waist. I'm staying close by him to keep a close eye (what a pee-hound he is!), but I'm no longer concerned about not being able to catch him in our house (still not ready for loose in the back yard yet - no telling what escape skills he may have learned). He keeps an eye on me and if I leave the room for too long he gets concerned. After awhile, he forgets about me and goes to sleep. I'll keep increasing my absenses so he won't develop separation anxiety. He actually came to me earlier today WAGGING HIS TAIL and I just melted! And this morning we went for a short walk around the block and he did just fine in between my 2 greys. He's strong when he pulls, but that should be easy to work with.
He's making great progress for his 4th day in our home, we're amazed. It's really heart warming to see him beginning to trust us.
I spoke with our vet, Dr. Andera Speed here in Albuquerque, and she is very willing to let me bring him in at the last minute and stay with him until it's time to put him under for his surgery, and she'll first give him a sedative and I'll stay with him until he's asleep. She also suggested that I bring his crate to put inside the kennel after his surgery so when he wakes up he can go in it if he wants.
A couple days before surgery, I'll take him in so she can get some blood work done to make sure he's in good enough health to handle the anesthesia. We'll probably want to muzzle him for this, just in case, so between now and then I'm going to work on familiarizing him with a muzzle and getting in and out of the van. I may need to bring along one of our greys, we'll see. I may even do a dry run of taking him over there to meet our vet and give him some treats and then come back home. We're in no rush, he seems to be very healthy, but we do want to get it taken care of.
Now we'll start socializing him with other people and expose him to various things/situations and see how he reacts. I can't tell you how rewarding this is for both Kent and I. It's such a benefit for us to have this opportunity.
9/5/03 - Day 6
We've removed the expen from around the crate opening and he just comes right out now with his tail wagging! And he'll push his head against me to scrub on him. Any sudden or unexpected touching startles him so we're handling him very slowly, and always approach him sideways, touching anywhere but his head first. Then we can touch and rub on him anywhere and he loves it. He wants to be laying in the same room where we are, and he still enjoys some time in his crate during the day (and always at night) for a nap.
We all went for a walk this morning and on a short stretch that had a little more traffic, he showed lots of concern at cars passing by us so we're suspecting he had some close calls while being on the run. We'll take baby steps in that direction.
We're keeping a leash on him still, but he can walk around while we can keep an eye on him and his hind legs ;) and catch him before he sprays anything (he does that sideways approach to furniture warning us about what's coming next) and get him right outside where we'll have the opportunity to praise him for spraying the bushes! So far, we've only missed one time where he was faster than we were. He's eating better and his tail is definately out from between his legs most of the time now, and he's becoming very fond of being in the house. When we walk around the back yard for "potty-praise" time, he wants to go right back inside when he's done. Just like our two couch pototoes - gotta love it :)!
9/6/03 - Day 7
Mesa Boy, or as Kent refers to him, Mesa Dude, is feeling comfortable enough to do some counter surfing - just making himself right at home here :). He reached right up there and pulled himself down a loaf of bread, thought he'd make himself a sandwich. We started our lessons for getting him to the vet. I wanted to see if he'd get into the van while it's inside our garage, if our dogs went in, and he just followed them right in! They layed down, and so did he. Of course my greys were really disappointed when after only a few minutes of laying in a stationary vehicle they had to get right back out. Next we'll do a spin around the block and see how he likes that. I've been showing him a muzzle with some Easy Cheese in it and I don't think there will be a problem getting him into it on Tuesday so our vet can draw some blood from him - that's all we're doing for the first visit.
He's now standing in front of the back door when he'd like to go outside, but this doesn't always mean he needs to potty, sometimes he just wants to walk around and come back in. Today he played with Hana and Titus for the first time! Titus has been showing him his favorite stuffies and inviting him to romp around with him for days and yesterday Mesa was close - his tail was thumping on the floor but he didn't get up to play. Today he accepted the invitation and all three of them jumped around and had a play moment then layed back down and took a nap.He's eating a little bit more at meal times now, but not as much as he should be eating. I'm wondering if he was used to nibbling throughout the day at his various buffets, and maybe that's why he wanted that sandwich around lunch time.
He's awake more now where he had been sleeping a good part of the day, so we're thinking he's getting caught up his lack of good sleep out on the mesa. I have a feeling that the more rested up he gets, and the more comfortable with our home he becomes, the more trouble he's going to be getting into - this little James Dean, Rebel without a Collar :) It just keeps getting more fun every day for all of us!
9/7/03 - Day 8
Mesa Boy crawled onto the couch last night next to our Hana! We normally don't allow fosters to get on the furniture because we don't know if that will be acceptable in their new home, but in Mesa's case we don't care. We're establishing the first criteria for his forever home: he must be allowed to be a full fledged couch potato in every sense of the word. We had some new "firsts" today. We walked to our neighborhood Starbuck's for coffee on the patio with some other greyhound friends and he did just great. One stretch of sidewalk was on a busier street, which he'd previously been frightened of so we've been taking him up to that street and telling him how brave he is, but not walking along it. Today we went all the way and he trusted us and walked along just fine!
On the patio at Starbuck's we kept him somewhat out of the limelight that usually occurs when we're there and people are coming over to visit and ask about the dogs, but after awhile he was walking up to some of the approaching people that he felt comfortable with and letting them pet him. He is comfortable around confident people. If he's not comfortable with someone, he'll lean into me so hard that if I moved he'd fall over.
Later this afternoon we took him for his first ride in the van (well, second if you count the ride in the trap) and went for a hike in the mountains and had a picnic. He followed our 2 right into the van and after seeing them get comfy laying down, he did the same. On the ride home, he rested his head on top of Hana's back, awwww :)!!! This afternoon he wanted to get into the same bed as Titus had already layed down in, and we thought Titus would do his normal grumble that he'll give to any other dog, "hey, I was here first, get your own bed", but instead he allowed Mesa to snuggle right in next to him. We almost cried it was so adorable. I swear our 2 are giving Mesa the special treatment, they really like him and cut him slack. He's eating a normal amount at meal time now, and he's going to the back door when he needs to go out!!! Yaay!!! We take him outside frequently and praise him lots and lots when he pees. He still tries to hike a leg on the loveseat, but we're catching him in time. We're wondering what the great attraction is; maybe another foster boy snuck a sprinkle on it when we weren't watching.
As macho as Mesa acted out on the mesa - peeing on every single sprig of growth and then kicking up buckets of dirt and struttin' his stuff around - here he's being submissive to our two. Titus will invite him to play and put a leg on him with his ears up and alert, smiling, and Mesa will wag his tail, happily being the submissive one. It's fun watching his personality come out, one day at a time.
He's quickly becoming the mama's boy and following me around. He nestles his head into me for rubbings, and lets me work on the many globules of tree sap in his coat. He's definately getting more confident in his trust for us, but especially me.
I sure am receiving alot of emails saying Mesa Boy is already "home"!! It's scaring me ;). Kent and I had agreed awhile back that we'd stick to just our 2 greys for awhile so we can continue to do fostering, and because it's easy to include 2 greyhounds in most everything we do, and people we'd go out of town to visit, etc., etc. I know I'll cry my eyes out when it's time for him to go to his new home, but now you've all got me worrying that I won't be able to do it! I'm going to have to really work on keeping my head focused on that goal. HELP! ?
9/9/03 - Day 10
We're enjoying all the stories we've received about all the rescued dogs that resulted in failed fostering. Like many of you have said, we won't know how we'll feel about Mesa Boy going to his new home until that day comes. We're hopeful that we'll find that perfect home for him where he'll thrive and be a happy boy. We'll be extremely picky and won't let him go into just any home, it will have to be a very special one for this Mesa Boy. But as quickly as he's learned to trust us, we have no reason to believe that he won't be able to trust his new family too, right? When that time comes, we'll see how we all do!!!
This morning I took Mesa to his first visit to our vet and he rode in the van like a champ. He was frightened by everyone at the vet's office and hugged my leg the entire time. All we did today was draw some blood so they can make sure all looks good for his "brain surgery" on Friday, and check for heartworms (they'll do his shots, etc. later while he's out). We took him around through the whole clinic and walked in and out of the large kennels so he'd be familiar with everything. All that was just fine with him, he just didn't like other people touching him. I brought a muzzle and the can of Easy Cheese which I put on him (the muzzle, not the cheese) while she was taking the blood, just in case, but he didn't try to snap at all, just hugged my leg harder. And boy, does he love that Easy Cheese! I squirted some on my vet's fingers as soon as we got in there and could see that he was shying away from her, and he licked it right off her fingers.
We're now letting him walk around in the back yard without being on the leash but we're staying right with him. He hasn't shown any interest in standing up against, or jumping over, the walls or anything, but I'm not confident enough yet that he hasn't learned some great fence/wall jumping techniques while playing James Dean - Rebel Without a Collar, that he may try if our back is turned. I'm just being super cautious, I don't want to take any chances at all of him getting loose.
He's starting to play a little bit with our two when in the back yard. Our young Titus is especially anxious to get to some serious play with him but Mesa isn't ready for more than just a little running across the yard together yet. Hana loves all his testosterone I think; she likes those rebel types.
Mesa is wagging his tail more and more, and especially after any absences, like first thing in the morning or after any other time in his kennel. He comes out of there so happy to see us and rubs up against us all! He's such a joy to see first thing in the morning. They all trot along with me to the back door, rubbing and bumping each other.
He's learning to stay back out of the kitchen while I'm preparing food and the ex-pen barrier we've put up is keeping him from heading to that love seat he likes to try to mark on in our front room. He hasn't gotten away with marking in the house for several days and he does go to the back door consistently, so we're making progress with the house training! I was trying to catch some urine first thing this morning to take along to our vet's but he was so fast each time that leg went up that I got about a tablespoon total, which, thankfully, ended up being enough. I hope none of the neighbors were watching, it would have been quite a show.
Mesa LOVES going for our walks, and the three of them prance along perfectly side by side, it's very beautiful to watch them all together. He's getting more comfortable when we have to walk along the road with a little more traffic on it, but I think he's learning that the park will be the next destination so he has something to look forward to - all those p-mails to read!
I don't know if I mentioned before that we have 3 cats in our house and we were watching very closely to see how Mesa would be around them. Of all dogs to be cat safe, Mesa Boy is! I had a feeling he'd be okay when one of the people living in the apartment complex near where we caught him had a tiny white dog who had apparently chased Mesa Boy out of the parking lot one day, but you just never know. The cats can walk right in front of him and he shows no interest. Our's are the same way, however, when the neighbor cat comes through the yard, they're dying to catch it - I hope they never do :(. (We've spoken to them about the danger their cat is in, and they said they're "training it to stay in their yard". Yeah, that'll happen.)
If Mesa Boy did indeed come from some people who use their dogs to hunt, I can see why he got left behind. He was probably sniffing the desert flowers and chasing butterflies ;). If that's what happened, I'm so glad he wasn't a hunter, or he wouldn't be laying at my feet at this moment, with my cat right above him on my desk.
Life is good.
9/16/03 - Day 17
Two and a half weeks and Mesa Boy is doing fabulous!
On Friday, he had his surgery (neutering) which went just fine. He had all his shots, etc., as well, while he was out. Our vet first gave Mesa a shot to make him very, very relaxed, and I stayed with him until he didn't know what was going on and they were ready to anesthesize him. I set up his crate in one of their kennels so when he woke up he could go into it, which he did. I cried when I left him at the vet's office, affraid for him to wake up and only see scary strangers. Our vet allowed me to come and get him after his surgery while he was still half tanked, and when he saw me he came right out of his crate (after everyone else had left the room). He slept for the remainder of the day and evening with a few sips of water and was a little slow the next day as well, but then he was back to his normal self. Well, minus a pair of parts, that is ;)
We've been socializing him alot more, with people coming to our house as well as taking him (all our dogs) to visit friends. He does so well with other dogs, and is getting better and better at socializing with people. He will allow some people to immediately pet him on his head while with others, he will be shy for a few moments while they rub on his back, then he'll warm up to them. He's getting lots of positive "snap shots" of moments wih humans to put into his photo album of life experiences, and is getting more and more comfortable with people every day. He's definately not a spook and will soon be fine with interacting with most everyone. He's doing great on our walks, we can even walk along the road that's a little busier on our way to the park and he is very confident now. He's great on a leash, no pulling at all. When people stop to ask about the greyhounds, he gets his head right in there with Hana and Titus for the pets! He's automatically more trusting of someone with a dog.
Mesa is my shadow and follows me from room to room. Definately a mama's boy. If both of us are leaving the house, Mesa goes into his crate, he's not ready to be free in the house yet.
The other night I was up reading in bed and had put up the baby gate across our door to keep the dogs in. I didn't put Mesa Boy right into his crate as I usually do, instead I watched to see what he would do. Our two were already in their usual sleeping spots, and we had an extra dog bed in the room in case Mesa wanted to lay on it. He curled up on the carpet next to my side of the bed and layed there for a few minutes, then he got up and went into his crate on his own. He's still enjoying that security. He's eating really well and is putting on weight, and is discovering the joy of treats! We have the can of Easy Cheese that we bought to put in the bottom of the muzzle and we don't like to eat it so we're putting it on the dog's biscuits to get rid of it! Mesa LOVES the Easy Cheese.
He's now running laps in the back yard with our young Titus, they have a ball together. It wasn't long until Mesa figured out how to make a short cut through an opening in the bushes and get in front of Titus, it was very funny!
This Sunday is our adoption group's yearly reunion, picnic, and fund raiser. It will also be our celebration for Greyhound Planet Day. Mesa Boy will be meeting lots of other greyhounds at this big event. He hasn't met one yet that he didn't like :).
9/18/03 - NEWS FLASH!
My wonderful husband, Kent, came home from work and snuck a name tag on Mesa Boy's collar while I wasn't looking. The tag has my name, Mesa's name, all our phone numbers, and our home address :)! He's staying, he's staying!!! It's official!!! Yippee!!!!
I've been crying all evening, I'm so happy. Kent was going to get me a Christmas card and put a big bow on Mesa Boy, he's so clever and fun. We've both been envisioning our adoption group's big event this weekend, with people looking Mesa over, considering offering him a home. It made us both sick to think about it. We love this boy, he can't go anywhere. He IS home.
Now you can all tell me "I told you so!" LOL We're celebrating by eating giant bowls of ice cream, Mesa is chomping on a bone.
Now, where's that tee-shirt that says "I failed fostering 101"? If anyone wants to thank my husband for being so wonderful, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org :)
I can't possibly express in words how Kent and I feel about all of the support, encouragement, and wonderful emails that we've both received from so many of you. Thank you. It's overwelming that there are so many compassionate people who genuinely care about this one greyhound, this one individual life, who really does matter. Our eyes fill with tears as we read all of your emails.
You all knew way before we did, that Mesa Boy WAS home :). We were definately fooling ourselves thinking we'd be able to place him in any other home, and you should see the criteria that we'd set for his new home, ha ha! Mesa belongs here, there's no question about it, and whatever adjustments we need to make to our lifestyle are so irrelevant.
I cried today when I looked behind me while driving our van where all our 3 were, and Hana had her head resting on Mesa's neck as they were laying snuggled together. The princess, Hana, our drama queen, NEVER does that with ANY dog. She's very fond of Mesa. There's no way we could let him go anywhere. He's home.The morning after Kent snuck that new name tag on Mesa, he must have known he was staying - something changed. He suddenly began to play with a stuffie for the first time, and he and our young Titus ran laps throughout our house, playing tag and having a WONderful time together, which has never happened before. He knew.
I can't tell you what Mesa Boy has brought into my life, into Kent's life, and into our home. You all say "thank you" to me and to Kent, but honestly, we are so thankful to Mesa Boy for finding us, it's truly OUR benefit that he is here. The rewards are so great just watching this boy that we feel guilting hearing any 'thank you's' to us. It's our fortune to have this special boy in our lives.
Today we had our Greyhound Planet Day celebration, which was also NMGC's yearly reunion picnic and auction/raffle fund raiser. And by the way, thanks to soooo many people on this Greyhound list for responding to my begging emails to donate items - we did really well thanks to you all! Anyhow, Mesa was attached to me the entire time, literally, and he did so well with meeting so many greyhounds and so many new people (still shy but getting lots better). It was such a relief to tell people he's no longer available for adoption, he's found a home ;)~! Is there a better feeling than having a greyhound that wants nothing more than being next to you? Mesa Boy is happy to be home, no doubt, and we are thrilled that he's chosen us.
9/28/03 - Week 4
Today is week 4 and we're so proud of Mesa Boy's progress, and so is he - his confidence continues to improve daily.
Over this past week we've been working on weaning Mesa Boy from his crate. We'd been keeping him crated if we needed to leave the house up to this point. We started with very short intervals of time with him being in the house with our two and me coming and going. He's done so well that we can now be gone for 3 hours without any problems at all.
He still sleeps in his crate at night time, but we've now taken the door off of it so he can go in and out of it anytime he wants to during the night (we keep them all baby-gated in our room at night). He enjoys sleeping in his "cave" and walks right into it at bedtime, and in the morning he comes out to put his nose on my face to say "good morning" :). Then he lays on one of the dog beds until Kent and I get up. He is such a love.
We're also trusting him in the back yard without being right next to him because he's shown no interest in jumping or climbing any of the walls. The three of them enjoy running around together and he and Titus are especially good playmates. He's become increasingly playful with Titus, who is totally thrilled to have another greyhound on the same page as him and his 2-1/2 year old energy.
I've now begun working on some obedience and he will allow me to guide him into a "sit", and although he's not consistant, he understands "back" and "wait" when I demand they all stay out of the kitchen when I'm preparing food, or when we're at the front door preparing to leave for a walk. (The other evening, however, he got away with grabbing an entire 1-lb. package of sliced smoked turkey while I was unloading groceries! I was busy unloading and he seized this great opportunity, lickety-split.) He loves the dog treats now and jumps up and down at meal time in anticipation of his bowl full. He's becoming a little more animated.
Mesa is trusting Kent more these days, but he is still very much a mama's boy, staying in the same room I'm in most of the time. He's sloooowly warming up to people, especially if they just ignore him and let him come to them. He's much more comfortable with people when he's flanked by Hana and Titus on a walk, but his confidence is improving as he becomes more comfortable with his new surroundings.
Sometime next week we'll go visit some of the people living near the mesa where he lived and was generously fed for those 4 months. There is one special and very gentle little girl, Savanah, 8 years old, who especially loved this boy. When he would see her out on the mesa - bent over patting her legs and calling to him - he would smile, bow his head down sideways and happily approach her at a trot. She couldn't touch him, but if she sat still on the ground he would lay down near her while she quietly spoke to him and kept him company. It was heart warming. She wanted so badly to touch her friend, and now we want her to be able to.
That's the news on this anniversary of Mesa Boy's 4th week.
10/13/03 - Week 6
How the time flies!
Mesa Boy's visit to see Savannah, the little girl who befriended him while he lived out on the mesa, went very well. Savannah was so happy to finally be able to pet her friend, and Mesa even took a treat from her which thrilled her to no end. It was heart warming.
He is still very much a mama's boy and has become so much more affectionate and comfortable, and his coat is so soft to rub on. I know his favorite spots to pet, and he's just a delight. He's also still much more comfortable with women and young people and will warm up to any woman much faster than most men. He will finally allow Kent (who affectionately calls him "Mesa don't touch me don't look at me Boy) to pick up his feet to clean off the mud before coming inside when it's been raining. (Kent reached for Mesa too quickly or something one day when Mesa was outside and Kent couldn't get him to come to him so he could clean Mesa's feet, which were muddy. Kent finally just opened the back sliding glass door and stepped out of the way so Mesa - muddy feet and all - could come inside without being touched by Kent. For awhile after that, Kent reverted back to leashing Mesa Boy when he took him outside.) Kent has also been hand feeding him more, as I'd been doing initially, and Mesa's trust in him is improving significantly. He's starting to go up to Kent more often for some attention now too. Mesa is no longer sleeping in his crate during the night, he's now sleeping on one of the dog beds in our bedroom. He is the first one to put his nose on me in the morning and is such a delight when he first wakes up. We still keep the crate in there and available, but he hasn't gone into it for about 2 weeks now so we'll be packing it us soon :). He hasn't pottied in the house in weeks now. and he's done very well during the times that we've both been away from the house. We sometimes leave the house but spy on him from the window and we've observed him just laying down on his bed after we've gone.
He's increasingly playful, especially with our young Titus; the two of them are such great pals that it's really something. They have become the best of buddies.
Before we put food down or give any treats, we like to ask our dogs for some obedience and I've been working on a "sit" with Mesa Boy. He's now going into a sit with only a gently touch on his hind end. I've had to gently inch my way with him so this is a big accomplishment for us! He now understands "back" and "wait" for when I'm in the kitchen preparing food (our's or their's) and I want them all out of that area. When I tell him "back" he will now pounce over to the carpeted area out of the kitchen, then he'll spin around and playfully throw himself into a "down" position, it's very cute. To him it's a game, and he's getting very good at playing it. I was giving him bits of kibble every time he was doing this, and now he'll do it for some praise and a kibble every now and then. He's learning "come", "outside", "inside", "wait", and "go to bed" better also. Lots of little baby steps. So for now, things are going great for "Mesa Don't Touch Me Don't Look At Me Boy"!
Mesa Boy continues to be such a delight in our home. He loves when we have "school" during the day and now knows sit, shake, down, back, wait, and he'll stay in a down/wait for a few minutes now. He has nice house manners now, and Kent even has Mesa Boy - as well as Hana and Titus - catching treats in the air.
He has become extremely playful and he and Titus are especially great buddies, racing around our house and yard playing tag and hide & seek. He chases his tail in fast circles until he catches it, he throws stuffies in the air and catches them, he bounces around like a bunny.
He is really showing his inteligence now with a new trick. If Titus has his favorite end of the couch, Mesa will grab a stuffie and toss it in the air as he runs to catch it. He does this all over the living room/dining room area until Titus decides to join in the fun and jumps off the couch. Mesa Boy immediately drops the stuffie and jumps up into his favorite spot! We thought it was just a coincidence, but he has done this probably 20 times now so we think he's just a big smarty pants. Poor Titus, falls for it everytime.
Mesa is still very much a mama's boy, and although he has made big improvements, he is still very shy with everyone but me, including Kent, who still calls him "Mesa don't touch me don't look at me Boy". Kent is so patient with him and Mesa is getting more comfortable in tiny baby steps. Out away from home, on walks, etc., Mesa is much less shy, allowing people to walk up and pet him. At home when someone comes to our door, he runs to greet them with Hana and Titus, but as soon as he receives his head scrub from the visitor, he quickly retreats to one of his favorite spots, hoping not to be touched any further by the person who is "not-my-mama".
Mesa Boy enjoys our walks, rides in the van, and is friendly with every dog he meets. His coat is thick and shiny and he is very healthy. He puts his nose on me to wake me up in the mornings and sleeps by my side of the bed each night.
He's just the sweetest boy imaginable and we can't imagine our family withouthim. For those of you who are going to the Greyhound Gathering in Kanab this May, look for us. Mesa Boy will enjoy meeting you!
It's hard to believe that it's been almost one year since Mesa Boy joined our family. He has learned so much in this time. He did wonderfully in Kanab at the Greyhound Gathering at the beginning of May, meeting many of the people who have been following his story. He especially enjoyed meeting so many other greyhounds. He is such a happy boy and looks at all other dogs as his friends.
He is still a mama's boy but is doing much, much better with other people. Especially when we're out in public, it's like he has a split personality. Kent calls him "Lars" at those times. He enjoys getting attention from everyone, except little yappy dogs - they terrify him, lol.
Mesa Boy has become quite a talker, especially in the morning when he wants his breakfast. He makes some almost human sounds.
Mesa is quite inteligent and has learned some new tricks such as sitting up to beg for a treat. He loves to go for long walks and for rides in the van, where he enjoys looking out the window at the passing scenery. Sometimes he whines when he sees large open spaces. We wonder if he's missing that freedom he once had, where he could run and roam where he wanted, or if he's nervous and affraid of being left behind. He never shows any signs of wanting to leave our home or yard, he just wants to be near his mom now :)
Here he is below, perched up and smiling on the rear seat of our van.
This month marks TWO YEARS since we captured Mesa Boy, it's so hard to believe.
Mesa Boy had his first camping trip in the mountains and did just great! I did some tent camping with a friend who was on school break, and I decided to take Mesa with me while Kent stayed home with Titus, Hana, and our current foster, Paris. Mesa loved it so much and he did really well. He was always attached to my waist, or in his ex-pen, or we were all in the tent. He loved walking with me in the forest, so many interesting smells. We chose a campsite that must have been the chipmonk breeding farm of New Mexico, because they were just everywhere. Scrambling around on the ground, chasing one another up and down trees, and even coming up to within 2 feet of Mesa Boy's ex-pen. Mesa was beside himself with joy and excitement, until he realized that he would not be able to run and chase them as he soooo desired. He and I shared a cozy bed together at night, and the nights were cold enough where he chose to be completely under the covers with me. He's such a snuggle bug :).
Of all our greyhounds, Mesa has become the one I can take with me anywhere. Titus has a short attention span and bores quickly, Hana doesn't like little kids, and whoever the current foster is will have his or her unique preferences as well. But Mesa Boy can go with me in just about any situation. He enjoys the assisted-living home where my 98 grandmother lives, he can do elevators and wheelchairs, he loves kids and other dogs, and it's a rare occassion where he shys away from a person. He's my hiking buddy too, he has much more endurance and agility than our others, and he's great at being attached to my waist.
What a long way this boy has come.