Why Greta’s Kingdom?

Greta in summer of 2010. She loved getting out in the mountains. This was her last summer.

i’m sure many of you have noticed this week the constant bombardment of posting i’ve done on the auction for Greta’s Kingdom.  and so i thought i would say a little something about Greta’s specifically in a post.

i often get asked why the name Greta’s Kingdom?  i chose this name, as it’s named after my greyhound Greta who passed away the beginning of this year in late February.  many are often surprised by this answer, because of my obvious penchant for cats in general, and while I grew up with cats and having them around me i consider to be part of my normal environment, as an adult i also grew to appreciate the finer qualities of dogs, in part, due to my adoption of a retired racing greyhound in December of 2000 that i named Greta (after Greta Garbo, and a year or two later the second middle name Saint would be added).

the thing about Greta was her unbelieveably kind and forgiving nature.  upon my initial adoption introduction with her, she was absolutely terrified of anyone and everyone.  not to mention just about everything.

Greta in her sanctuary: her crate. It's where she went to feel safe, to rest, and to get away from any kind of other drama or activity going on in the house she didn't care for

the life of a racing greyhound is a grueling one.  the word kind, generally does not come into use very often when describing their life.  these dogs are expected to show signs very early on of being achievers when it comes to racing.  if they don’t meet up to standards, certain death is likely for them.  one of my vets went to school with a classmate who grew up in a family that bred racing greyhounds and my vet was able to pass along to me some of the details of their lives.

-if a puppy was born deformed or thought to be a looser in any way, their necks were “rung” and they were thrown into the trash heap.

-underperforming dogs, were often sold to colleges and labs for testing in attempts by owners to recoup some of their investment.

-dogs in training were often fed at feeding troughs like cattle.  the more aggressive ones got the majority of food, while the more mild mannered usually wound up underfed.

-most racing greyhounds are kept very lean i.e, underweight, in attempts to assure more wins at the track.

at her first vet visit, after initially arriving home with me and getting preliminarily settled in, it was determined that the last rib on Greta’s right side had been broken and never properly set.  this allowed it to  heal improperly and now the tip of that rib stuck out.  Greta was also extremely malnourished and the vet said to allow her to eat as much as she wanted.  being underfed, now meant that for the rest of her live, Greta would constantly overeat.  at times to the point where she would make herself gag, so feeding her for many of her years had to be monitored so she wouldn’t hurt herself or choke to death.

despite her very ruff beginning, the thing that got me about Greta was her ability to accept and befriend so many around her.  not so much people, at least not at first, but other animals.  she had been cat tested and was cat approved so i knew there wouldn’t be any issues, but with alot of dogs cat tested just means tolerant.  not so with Greta.  she was always a favorite of many of the cats that passd thru my home.  beginning with Ashley my senior gray lady.  Ashley while not interested in cuddling with Greta, always showed her affection for her by rubbing up against her and following Greta around.  this is the only dog i’ve ever had that Ashley showed such a fondness for.

Sherlock is another who tremendously favored Greta, and surprisingly, she would even allow him to sleep with her on her bed in her crate.  for Greta, her crate was her sanctuary: her place to go when anything was going on she didn’t like, or simply just to sleep.  no one ever entered her crate, not even another dog.  however, Sherlock was a different matter, and from the time he was a kitten, he would march on in and curl up next to her.  it amazed me how she would never kick him out!  no other animal would have dared even tried!  of course, Sherlock has always percervered to a point to prove to me that there is an acception to every rule; especially when it came to him! lol

it took Greta several years to get over her fear of humans in general.  but those that she got to know, she instantly became a favorite of.  very surprisingly, this included my mother who was NOT a dog person at all.  my mom not only grew up with cats, but had pretty much spent her entire life shared with a cat, so for her to take a liking to Greta was very rare.

Greta in her younger years

i guess i shouldn’t be completely surprised, since greyhounds are often described as “cat like” in their nature.  they can be very independent, to the point of stubborn, and in showing their affection it’s not uncommon at all for them to rub up against you like a cat.  altho some will jump on you, this trait was not in Greta’s mild, shy nature.  she wasn’t the type of dog who got in the way.  she preferred at gatherings to either stay in her crate, or in later years, mingle but still stay out of the way in general.

i believe that in part due to her independent, cat like nature, was why my mom took such a liking to her.  eventually my mom would come to even pet her and stroke her, and talk to her like one of her cats.  as Greta aged, my mom also often identified with Greta’s ailments which were so similar to her own.

despite arthritis in her hips and her back end not always willing to go where she wanted, Greta still was determined to keep up with the rest of us that summer of 2010

eventually my mom would suffer major setbacks healthwise that affected her memory, but she always would ask about Greta or would remember her whenever we came over to visit.  The only thing she does now forgot, is that Greta has passed on to which I must inform her of, over and over again when she asks.

it was Greta’s body that eventually gave out.  Not her heart, but moreso her mind and her limbs, motorskills, and ability to control bodily functions.  she continued to fall more and more frequently, and have episodes that we believe were seizures.  she had been falling alot the weekend prior to being put to sleep, and on the day before, wouldn’t get in the car to go for a ride in the sunshine which she loved so dearly.  it was then that i knew she was done:  done trying to fight and just wanted to rest.

i called this the Greta pose as this is how she usually rested

and so i let her go.

it was around this same time that i had been toying with the idea of a rescue and a name, and the more i thought about it, the more i came to realize how Greta was able to always bring everyone together.  in all the 11 years i shared with her there wasn’t a single person who didn’t like her. (there one was dog that didn’t, but that dog had issues with all dogs, so i see it as a shortcoming in that one dog lol).  with the exception of that dog, creatures of all types accepted her and she accepted and friended them, and in the least like of scenarios, she would even share with them.  it was in this spirit that i came up with the name Greta’s Kingdom.

if there was one place on earth where an animal in need could come and find comfort, support and sanctuary, just like the crate and bed of Greta’s, then i wanted this place to be it. and so hence the name, Greta’s Kingdom.

i have always said that i will always have a greyhound in part due to the years that i had Greta, what she taught me, and because i truly find them to be one of the most fascinating and marvelous of pets to share your life with.  Granted right now I don’t, but that hasn’t stopped me from at least looking at the ones up for adoption.

i know that when the time is right, i will adopt another.  until then, i will continue to try and do what Greta was able to do: accept and love all.

Shelter Politics

due to the fact that i am unemployed at the moment, i have been hitting up the petfood bank that comes to town once a month to help out.  this last time, a friend went in my place as i had a previous commitment.  needless to say, it didn’t turn out well.  apparently the petfood bank has issues with me doing rescue work while i’m unemployed and informed my friend that “the food is to help people who are going thru hard times so that they can feed their pets, so that the pets don’t wind up in a shelter”.

the previous time that i had gone to the food bank, one person asked me “should you really have fosters if you’re unemployed?”

the person making the comment was the director of this shelter, and i thought to myself “people don’t come to the food bank to receive judgement, they come here to get petfood and help without judgement” not to mention the fact, that she had know idea of my circumstances when she made this comment!

1.  i had just very recently become unemployed and the foster animals that i had had long been in my care

2.  what does it matter if i’m doing rescue work and taking in extra animals?  from where i sit, at least the animals are in a warm house, being provided for and not outside in the elements being starved to death or god only knows what?

3.  the fact that someone cares and is doing something alone should be deserving a pat on the back ittself!

4.  what do they want me to do with the fosters i have?  just turn them out in the street? not to mention  we’ve contacted this organization for assistance with other animals that we couldn’t help because we are at capacity and your organization already told us no!

5.  does anyone else out there see the hypocrisy in all this?  ANYONE AT ALL?

later on this week, i had a 40 minute conversation with the director and needless to say, it wasn’t the most productive.  it’s obvious that she and i have very different views of animal rescue in general, not to mention just exactly who should and shouldn’t be doing the work!

she thought that my goal to start another rescue, was just “confusing to everyone” in the area-where we live, because there are so many…allegedly.  while i will give credit where credit is do, in the fact that this one shelter does do a fairly good job, there are still things that they do which I don’t agree with at all.  i told her that the reason for other rescue groups popping up was most likely because those folks had tried to do foster work with other organizations and probably didn’t like the policies that were in place or how they were treated: one of my main reasons for creating Greta’s Kingdom.

i also explained that just because someone disagrees with the way her organization does something and that person chooses to do it differently, doesn’t mean that it’s wrong.  i also explained that about 95% of the costs for care, spay and neuter, shots, etc., came out of my own pockets for my fosters, which she didn’t think was right-I don’t know why-and that “i shouldn’t have to carry that burden”.  my only reason for informing her of this, was because she acted like i had done a bunch of fundraising to provide for my fosters and was just trying to get more of a free ride with the food.  yes i have used their discount vouchers for spay and neuters of the fosters i have, but isn’t that what they are for?  once again she says that it looks like they are giving me money for my rescue…so i guess the fact that they are  helping a fledgling rescue is more important than spaying and neutering dogs and cats????  i don’t get it.

she then went on to offer to take my foster dog Pixie.  she said that she knew a few people that would most likely be interested in adopting her since she was a pure american eskimo dog.  i said if she would like to refer them to me, i would be more than happy to sit down with them, have them fill out an application and go thru the adoption process.  oh no.  she wouldn’t have that.  she wanted Pixie to be surrendered to her shelter and “processed”, and then adopted out as one of the shelter dogs.  now this shelter charges $150 adoption fee.  so they would take Pixie, have to do relatively little in the way of providing for her, and make an easy $150 adoption fee, without having to invest much into her.

why was this director so set against referring the people to me?  could it be that she was motivated by that easy $150?  ironically, i have referred people to both her shelter and the local shelter when people were looking for something that i didn’t have available for adoption.  does anyone else here see the hypocracy??  for me, it’s about the animals first, regardless of where they are or who has them in rescue.  i guess not everyone feels this way.  (the local shelter won’t have anything to do with me pretty much).

last but not least, this is the same shelter that took in all the cats from the great kitty roundup i did when i was contacted by more people who wanted kitties to come into rescue than i could take.  most recently, two of those kitties were still waiting to be adopted.  the director informed that they both were adopted this week.  i still see them listed on petfinder and will be calling tomorrow to inquire about them, to see if that really is the case…could she have been lying?  i guess i’ll find out.

what is sad overall tho, is this hypocrisy that established rescues have towards new rescues.  it shouldn’t be such a competition.  it doesn’t need to be a competition, and who it hurts the most, is the animals.  i have spoken with at least two other rescues in the area, that have run into the exact same thing.  it’s ridiculous.  when will people in the animal rescue business realize that we’re in this all together, and quit putting obstacles in front of each other?  isn’t the ones society puts in front of us in general already enuff?