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Canine Behavior/Situation with elderly greyhound


Hi Dr. Jill - first of all, thank you so much for your time and expertise.  I'll try to be brief.  I adopted a female senior greyhound four years ago - she is soon to be 13.  The first two years we were fine - no issues, a stable home environment. In mid-2012, everything in my life fell apart. I lost my job, and have been unemployed since.  The first year, we lived in a home - not a pleasant home - with a male roommate and his dog.  Lady (my hound) did not bond with this dog or the man. After a year, we moved so I could work at a greyhound boarding facility in exchange for room/board. Lady did bond with the owner, and her pack of five dogs, all hounds. In December, this situation fell apart, and we had to leave abruptly and under stressful circumstances.(I was working for a crazy person, I found out). Unfortunately, the only place I could find to live short-notice required that I temporarily re-home Lady with someone else - a woman and her two hounds.  She is safe, in a good home, well-fed, and taken care of.  I was encouraged to return her for adoption and I refused, because she's my dog. I take these commitments very seriously. I just need some time to get back on my feet.

My question is - is this entirely too much instability for a dog, particularly an elderly one? I hate that she has been put through this due to no fault of hers. My goal is to get her back as soon as possible so we can live peacefully together in her last years. I have a "friend" who is telling me to just leave her where she is, which I don't even know is possible. Does this all sound like it would be too upsetting/confusing for her, and should I just let her go?  I would hate that, it would break my heart, and it is already broken over this.  

It took some time, but she has adapted better to where she is now. She's back to eating and spending time with the family there. I stay in contact with her temp home and she is fine, no issues and seems to be in a better mood than initially.

Your thoughts would be appreciated so much.  Thank you. Linda

Well...I am so sorry for the chaos in your life!  I wish I could help.

You've done a courageous and loving thing by finding this older Sight hound a loving home with others like her.  I was Whippet rescue in tri-state (NY, NJ, CT) for many years back in the 90s.  The Sight hounds definitely prefer one another!  Your dog has found a safe place.

Now:  is it humane or fair to want her back?  It is humane, it is fair, but: it has to be absolutely stable and the LAST time the dog is asked to make a transition.  You have to be sure of that.  You also have to be absolutely certain that your dog truly IS as "happy" as it appears she is.  This means: you should be free to arrive "unannounced" to visit your dog!  If you are NOT free, then I question the veracity of the reports of the foster person.  Now: admittedly, being this "business", I've seen the worst.  The worst "rescue" people; the worst "rescue" situations; the worst "shelters"; the worst owners; the dogs of any breed or mix who are in need of a dog shrink!  So, take that into consideration.  In other words, I trust very few people lol.

Drop in whenever you can.  Remain bonded to this dog BUT only if you know you are going to be able to resolve your issues before too much more time passes.  If you are unable, and IF you absolutely know your dog is in a VERY GOOD HOME, then you must make the ultimate sacrifice: allow her to remain there.  Be sure to donate $ or dog food on a regular basis to this person who is kind enough, and caring enough, to give your dog another chance.  Will it break your heart?  Yes.  Are there worse things?  Oh yes my friend, much worse.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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