Our Beloved Jon Cabarrus

On April 18, 2020, Jon, 72, reached the end of a valiant 16-year battle with myelofibrosis and then a debilitating stroke following the 2017 Tubbs fire.  Words cannot express our sadness on the loss of this good man.  He left his much-loved wife, Judy, two daughters Jennifer and Denise, two grandsons, Bowen and Hayden, and greyhounds Cici, Gracie, and Nigel.  Jon must have been lonely up in doggy heaven, because Nigel joined him about a month after his death.

Jon and Judy met their first greyhound at a GFFL Meet and Greet in Berkeley in 2009 and it was the beginning of Jon’s passion for this breed.  They adopted Leeta in 2009, Clair in 2010, Cici in 2012, Jaden in 2013, Gracie in 2015, and Nigel in 2017.  It will come as no surprise that more than one of these dogs was a foster fail!

When GFFL moved our dogs up to Windsor, we knew that there was a fairly large greyhound community in Sonoma County, some with GFFL dogs and some with Wine Country Dogs.  I remember coming up and meeting with Jon, Judy, and Ilene to plan the first GFFL entry in the Human Race.  I knew then that we would have great support for our dogs up here.

Jon was a tireless advocate for the dogs and it helped that he was retired and had the time, passion, and energy to devote to the group.  He loved doing the dog transports and Meet and Greets – both in Santa Rosa and frequently in Napa and Sonoma.  He also did most of the home visits in the Santa Rosa area and helped with many of the adoption meetings. He continued to attend the Meet and Greets in Santa Rosa even after he was wheelchair-bound.  He was also always on hand to welcome new dogs coming into the program.  One can only imagine his frustration in not being able to help more with the dogs, but he never, ever complained.  Although he tired more easily towards the end, he was always upbeat and cheerful.

Jon once told me that he was an introverted guy before getting involved in greyhound rescue and adoption.  But he was so enthusiastic about talking with people about the joys of adopting a greyhound that his shyness disappeared.  Everyone who met him is a witness to his loving kindness to both animals and people.  He is greatly missed.

Will We Be Getting More Dogs?

The answer is “yes”, but we don’t know when.  We still have dogs waiting for flight buddies in South Korea.  Flying Irish Greyhounds and Rawan at Saluki International Rescue in Dubai would love to send us dogs as soon as the COVID crisis settles down enough that it is feasible.  Margie Easter is anxious to get back to Scooby and bring back some galgos for us.  It’s hard to be patient!
2020 Reunion and Virtual Fundraising

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and the ever-changing CDC guidelines we have decided to cancel our Annual Reunion in October.  Although we could accommodate the social distancing, the size of the attendance is not permitted.

In light of the “new” environment we find ourselves in we will be holding raffles online via our online store  www.gfflstore.org.  You can sort by category “raffle”.

As of July 15, there will be five items in the store for which you can purchase virtual raffle tickets.  Each ticket is $1.00.  You can purchase as many for each item that you want, then check out.  All items will be available for 1 week. On July 22, a name will be “pulled” at random.   Then, on July 30, we will have another five items for which you can purchase virtual tickets.  If these two raffles go well we will have new items on the 15th and 30th of each month.

Winners will be notified via phone or email.  If you are paying by check, the item will  be shipped when the check is received.  We will be working on other fundraising programs.  Stay well and safe and let’s raise some money!

Separation Anxiety Post COVID-19

Many of you may be spending more time at home because of the COVID-19 epidemic.  Now that more businesses are gradually opening up and people are going back to work, our dogs will be undergoing a change in routine.  This can lead to distress and anxiety when they are left alone even if they did not have issues before the “stay at home” orders.

The Los Angeles SPCA has a great article with some tips to start transitioning your dog to accept more alone time.

  • Create a daily routine for your dog that includes consistent times for; waking and going to bed at night, meal times twice daily, outdoor daily walks and play time with toys and a person.
  • Whether you are working remotely and are at home or you are leaving the home during the day, try to follow the same routine as best you can every day so that your dog has some consistency. This then helps your dog be able to predict the day’s activities and this in turn reduces stress for your dog as they know better what is expected from them each day.
  • Make sure to have provided enough activity including mental stimulation and physical exercise before leaving your dog for an extended period of time. This may include a walk outdoors for at least 20 minutes with opportunities to explore and sniff for as long as your dog needs to, practicing obedience training and playing with your dog and a toy.
  • Always confine your dog to the same safe room or place that includes your dog’s bed with familiar scents and bedding, a variety of rotating new and non destructible favorite toys that your dog likes and access to fresh water whenever you leave your dog alone.
  • Provide audio enrichment and create a calm atmosphere for your dog by turning on some soothing classical music, an audio book or the television every time you leave home. This will help to indicate to your dog that this is a time for relaxing and will help to drown out any noise from the outside.
  • Every time you leave home provide your dog with a high value edible item such as a frozen stuffed Kong or healthy chew, treats hidden in a puzzle game or at the very least several high value treats left on your dog’s bed. This is to help keep your dog engaged for the first few crucial minutes when you leave the home and also keeps them close to their bed which helps to prevent them following you out the door as you leave. When returning home remove any enrichment items and save for the next time.
  • When leaving the home use the same phrase to say ‘good bye’ or ‘see you soon’ each time and do not provide your dog with excessive attention when departing or returning home.
  • Practice short departures and longer departures using the same routine and within the home also by closing the door behind you as you go to another room even for as little as a few minutes. This will help to start to desensitize your dog to being left alone.
  • Practice obedience training with your dog using positive reinforcement training methods so that it is an enjoyable experience for you and your canine companion. This will help your dog to learn and motivate your dog to perform these rewarding behaviors which then helps your dog to feel more confident and secure. You can teach and practice with your dog to Sit, Down, Come, Stay, Go to Bed and more and for as little as 10 minutes daily. Then you can try asking your dog to ‘Go To Bed’ in a nice tone of voice, reward with the high value food item on his/her bed as you leave home.
  • Practice teaching your dog a ‘Find It’ game so that you can hide favored toys and/or food rewards in the home. Your dog may spend some time trying to locate them, which will keep your dog busy and mentally engaged.
  • Use available resources if needed from family, friends, neighbors, a professional dog walker or pet sitter by, asking for help to spend at least an hour with your dog in the middle of the day to provide companionship, physical exercise and play when you will be gone for many hours.
  • Don’t overexcite or overstimulate your dog as this can have the opposite effect by making it more difficult for your dog to relax when you leave. Observe your dog’s behavior after physical exercise and activity to determine what type of physical exercise and activity is best and how long is optimal for your individual dog. A healthy balance of mental stimulation and physical activity is usually more beneficial such as a combination of obedience training and outdoor walking.
  • Don’t punish your dog for house training accidents, destructiveness or excessive barking. It will not change this behavior and will damage your relationship by reducing trust and exacerbating fear and stress. Instead use preventative and management techniques by removing valuable items and securing your dog in the confined space properly and by following the above guidelines. Also remember if your dog is in distress this is not a chosen behavior for the purposes of punishing the owner – these are human interpretations of canine behavior.
Rest assured that if your dog has developed Separation Anxiety this behavior problem is treatable but will take time, patience and action on your part to help your dog overcome this problem.

By Sara Taylor, CABI CPDT-KA, SPCA LA Director of Animal Behavior & Training

2021 Calendar Photo Call

If you have already sent in photos… NO need to send anymore. Thank you!

ALL PHOTOS MUST be sent to gfflcalendars@gmail.com
Send up to 2 or 3 of your favorites.

1- Your Hound (with Name & City)

2- Rainbow Bridge Hound (DOB and date of death)

3- Does your Hound have a non-hound sibling?  Chihuahua, Cat, Rat, Rabbit, Iguana, Snail, etc? You get the idea. Send us a photo of them napping, playing or just hanging out together.  Include your hound’s sibling’s name.

Please, NO people in any of the photos.

We will work to get the calendars completed earlier this year. Thank you!

What to do if Your Dog Gets Loose – Helpful Reminders

The fastest way to get your dog back home is to maximize the number of people looking for it.  This is why we ask adopters to notify us right away at 1-800-446-8637 when a dog gets loose.  We know that it’s instinct to immediately get in the car and drive around, looking for the dog.  But before you do this, let us know.  While you’re looking, we can put together a poster and organize volunteers to distribute them in the area.  We can also send these to the local shelters, veterinarians, and post on social media (Craigslist, PawBoost, local lost and found pet sites, Nextdoor, etc).

Ask people to not approach or call to the dog, but call the adopter.  The posters will also emphasize this.  Most dogs, even the ones who are confident, will be scared when they are in unfamiliar territory.  If approached by a stranger, they may run away, putting them in even greater danger.

If you are the adopter and you have eyes on your dog, first have other people, if around, back off, sit down, and turn their backs on the dog.  Second, try to bring your own energy level down.   It will also help if you have favorite treats with you.  Don’t rush up to the dog; don’t look directly at him; sit down sideways to the dog or lay down on your stomach or back and sing softly.  You can use words that are associated with fun things – “walk”, “treat”, “cookie”, etc.  Let the dog come up to you and then slowly put a leash on him.  Carry a slip lead with you, just in case the dog doesn’t have a collar.

Here are some additional tips from the Missing Animal Response Network, who specialize in capturing skittish, hard-to-catch dogs:  The problem with panicked dogs is that most rescuers call the dog to try and get the dog to come to them … big mistake!  Never call a stray dog. Don’t look at it, don’t pat your leg, clap your hands, and don’t walk towards the dog.  If the dog has a skittish temperament, typically he is in “fight or flight” mode and will be running in fear.

This is what’s going on.  The dog is running because people are looking at him, going towards him, calling him, and he is getting more and more afraid.  When you add an adopter (or a rescuer) into the mix who is panicked (and conveys that in their voice), it just freaks the dog out even more. What you want to do instead is use calming signals and try to do everything you can to calm and attract the dog. Lip licking, singing, yawning, feigning like you’re eating food off the ground are such signals.  Let the dog come up to you – it may take some time, so be patient.