| Updated March, 2008
It tends to be human nature to generalize about dog breeds. And to some extent these generalizations are true, some traits do TEND to show up in certain breeds. But not always and even when you know this, it sometimes hits you when you see extremes displayed by members of the same breed. Such was the case upon meeting Bran. We already had seen and heard about a variety of personality traits that were markedly different from Irony‘s …..but we had never seen in a Greyhound such a marked opposite in so many ways.
Bran couldn’t be more different from Irony, in every way. Of course, they couldn’t have were then owned by a woman who didn’t neutered them anymore different histories either. Bran (formerly Spot —who knows why, he’s a black brindle!) was never a racer, although his parents came from the track. They so….surprise……there was a litter. GPS got most of the puppies apparently, but not all. “Spot” was given to someone by the woman who had them. He was returned, given to someone else then gotten rid of through a newspaper ad, then the new person placed an ad…..and GPS got him. Spot. Untrained, unmannered, underfed…..and very loving despite it all.
When we told Michele that we’d be willing to foster, she immediately thought of “Spot”…..he was a problem, a screamer in his crate, no knowledge of basic boundaries. Living with him for just a few days, we realize that there is little chance that if adopted straight from the kennel that he wouldn’t have bounced…….he’d bounced his whole life already and it is the last thing he needs. When we went to pick him up he hadn’t come back from the vets for his neutering yet….and when the van pulled up we heard the screaming and Michele told us “that’s him.” She may have expected us to back out at that point, I don’t know.
From out of the van, amongst all the muscular ex-racers appeared this wiggling, frenzied, whiny. skinny little creature. Head looking too large for his thin neck, ribs showing clearly, no muscle….looking like a lanky half-grown puppy at over 2 years old. He makes Irony look huge, although he’s a bit taller than her….no muscle to speak of anywhere. He could be about 20 lbs. lighter than she is. But he has eyes that melt you…..possibly his only survival mechanism. His nose is flaky, possibly discoid lupus, possibly just stress.
He knows no boundaries, he is desperate for affection and wants to be good but doesn’t have the slightest clue how to be. He fears for his next meal, constantly searching for food. Chances are he literally didn’t know when or if he’d get another meal! Somewhere along the line he somehow learned that eliminating on a leash was bad, but in the house was okay. He doesn’t know a single basic command or hand signal and if remotely exposed most dogs pick up one or two of these things without formal training (well, that’s been my experience) at some point by the time they’re this old. He’s pushy abut affection, desperate for it. He tries to get on the couch, on the bed, on our laps. Boundaries…..boundaries seems to be the key word. He knows none.
He doesn’t even have basic pack understanding. He adores Irony, but doesn’t catch her signals at all. One might think he was challenging her dominance, but more careful observation shows that he just doesn’t understand the whole situation. He’ll lie right next to her when she’s chewing and barely reacts when she snarls at him for it…only looks a bit confused and moves over a fraction.
We have great hope for Bran’s prospects though….despite all the points against him. He is loving, he wants to please, we think we can break through the years of mixed signals and neglect that created what he is today. Whether we break down and keep him or are able to let him go, he will be able to be a dog that can get the love he so desperately craves.
Update May 13 ’99
Since Bran came to live with use he was found to have a liver problem, which responded well to treatment. His coat has improved (it’s fluffy for a Greyhound), his nose is still flaky but the vet feels that there is no reason to biopsy, it may just be stress or if it is discoid lupus or a similar illness the treatment is much the same. We prefer natural methods, so food supplements, especially Vit. E are added to his food.
He has learned some manners, but often oversteps his bounds. Irony is able to put him in his place when needs be. He still hates the crate, it no longer is used for sleep time, he sleeps with us (all food is put out of reach, he is very inventive in finding it though) and the crate is only used when we’re out. He is very affectionate, and very, very taken with Aaron. We have no choice. We adopted Bran on May 12, ’99. He doesn’t notice the difference, I think he knew he was home from the first time we brought him here…….even though he never got to stay in one long, he knew this time was it. ~:)
Update Dec 99
Of course, Bran’s been as busy as Irony has been this year. Having come a long way in his health he did his first ever lure coursing practice run, just a short one, last spring. He was a lot faster than we thought and real focused on the lure. He is not as obsessive as Irony is the whole time, he watches with some interest, but doesn’t tend to pull and lunge. Until it’s his turn, and it seems that all he sees is the lure. A great relief, as we had worried he might want to play and interfere…of course at this point he was only running alone.
At the one Highland Game we were able to get to we discovered exactly how lovable this little guy is. He is less and less shy all the time anyway, but at one point he had a small group of children almost crawling on him, and no problem he loved it. The kids in question were apparently for a time separated from their own dog and needed a “dog fix.” On walks we can let small kids pat him and explain why they shouldn’t chase Irony if she starts to back away (and she’ll get a bit jealous and come forward again now). We do discourage kids from wrapping around Bran, explaining to them that not all dogs will allow that and showing how to pat them. Um, often with the clueless parents standing there. Bran will accept almost anything from a child it seems, but we realize that it’s a bad message to give kids about dogs and his child patience allows us to help educate them.
We are pretty sure he had a kid in one of his former homes. When we were trying to get them in shape to run again, after Irony’s shoulder healed, we took a frisbee with us. Bran will free run on his own in the ball park, but Irony stopped doing this after her injury so we wanted something besides the lure pole to work her out with (as the lure pole doesn’t allow for an all out run really) and hoped she’d chase the frisbee even though we knew she’d not bring it back. No interest at all from her, but Bran took off right after it plucked it from the air and brought it proudly right back. He knows the game! He does sometime pout and not bring it all the way back if he doesn’t actually catch it. But he loves this, so now we take them out and while I work Irony out with the lure pole, Aaron tosses the frisbee for a delighted Bran.
We still haven’t ILPed him so we just ran him in a practice run at the next LC event. He ran a full course and kept right to the lure. And at the GPS Greyhound Festival we got to find out that he isn’t an interferer at all. He was totally focused on the lure and even won his race, although not by much. He also got to meet one of his brothers at the festival. For pictures from the Festival check this link out.
Updated Dec 28, 2000
Bad Saigh, no biscuit! It’s been now over a year since I updated the hound’s pages. And a busy year it has been.
As I noted on Irony’s page, the winter was quiet and but in the spring we started getting the hounds “into training.” Bran still loves playing frisbee so getting him in shape is very easy. We still didn’t have him ILPed so when we went to the LGRA events he could only do practice runs at the end. He is just so on the lure and he loves it so much. Next year we will try to get to some events and run him as we did finally get the ILP just as we got too busy with our house search then house cleaning to run him. He loves the chase and we really want to give him a chance to prove himself.
When we first got the ILP back the name on it was “Branduble” …um, Saigh is not well known for her lovely penmanship. We got it changed to Brandubh however and he is now eligible to compete in events that allow ILPed dogs. He is “officially” a real Greyhound. We also got his parents’ names and need to find more information about his lineage.
We all ended up involved in a local ( Barony of Stonemarche ) SCA event in June. I had originally contacted someone about whether there was SCA lure coursing in the area for a demo for an event I hoped to host (which never panned out). A few months later I got contacted by the same woman asking me for help in getting something together for their Midsummer event. The GONE had an event at the same time, so they were unable to be involved, but I got on the SCA coursing list and asked for help and the woman working on getting coursing in the East Kingdom again contacted us and she ran the coursing. The hounds, Aaron and I were joined by another GPS family with two Greyhounds to do a “meet & greet” in garb. The event was great, despite ending up in a location that was probably not prime and a VERY violent but brief storm. Due to the storm we didn’t run when planned, but the next day did. Bran absolutely loved the chance to compete against Irony, allowing for expression of that “sibling rivalry.” There were no problems however, they both were too intent on the lure. At one point he got it ahead of her and his pride was obvious.
Bran did not seem overly stressed by the move. We think that he probably still “accepts” the fact that any happiness he has is going to come to an end, that he’ll be kicked out at any moment that he just took the change in stride. He didn’t seem happy, but accepting. He watched us move stuff, quietly looking sad, and trying to find the most comfortable place to wait for the inevitable. That we brought him to a new place and we’re still with him seemed to amaze him. He of course loves having two couches to chose from, as well as the dog beds and our bed. The cats interest him, but not as much as Irony…..of course the cat food interests him greatly when we do take them to my folks house. We figure by now we have had him longer than anyone ever kept him, maybe with the move he’ll figure out this is a forever situation after all.
He had shown a great deal of interest in horses, when we took them to a horse show to see someone we know and when he saw my father’s Mini horses here. Unfortunately, an attempt to sniff one of the Minis’ noses led to his introduction to electric fences. ~:/ Therefore horses are mighty magic users who can cause pain in little dog’s already messed up noses! We will be working on reintroducing him to the horses without interference from the fence.
Bran continues to learn and grow with us and everyday we still wonder at how he could ever have been thrown away. We have been teaching both hounds a few basic tricks, along with our regular obedience stuff. Bran is a quick study once we convey what it is we expect…and he realizes he’ll get a treat for it. As he is actually too food motivated we may try clicker training him soon. He is forever winning us over and has even truly wormed his way into Irony’s heart….she now cuddles up to him and even lets him cuddle up to her. Imagine the joy all those people who threw him away have missed…..their loss, our gain.
Updated March, 2008
As the anniversary of Saoradh‘s death approached, Saigh Kym had a bad feeling about the day. That morning Bran came out of the bedroom dragging his back legs a bit looking very distressed. He was taken to the vet and they thought it was a herniated disk, gave us anti-inflammatories. Worried it might be worse, but hoping for the best, we did spend some time feeding him bits of steak and such. By that evening he was in a coma, he never woke up and died in our arms.
For photos of Bran with the other pack members go to the pack together page
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