GFNJ HOME STRETCH
Fall / Winter 2012
Letter From the President
I am sad to tell you that GFNJ founder, Barbara Wicklund, passed away on August 22. Like you, I am grateful to her for introducing me to greyhounds and for what she and her husband, Al, did for greyhound rescue. In my 16 years, I have had 22 greys, many of whom came through Barbara. We will hold a memorial to her at our picnic on September 23. In this newsletter, you’ll find a tribute documenting Barbara’s extraordinary devotion to dogs.
On a much more pleasant note, I’m proud to say we welcomed 307 greyhounds into our family since last fall’s picnic. GFNJ couldn’t have such success without the huge contributions made by you. You come to our events, foster dogs and volunteer to help in many ways. You donate raffle items and hold Meet & Greets to help us spread the word about what great pets greys make. You are our ambassadors.
When asked to help a heartworm-positive little girl, it was through your generosity that Thunder was provided with life-saving treatment. Our first online auction was quickly put together for her. What an overwhelming response! It generated close to $5,000! These funds were enough to take care of Thunder’s expenses, spay and neuter ten greyhounds and pay $500 in dental care for a returned dog with such severe mouth infections that he could barely eat. But, it never ends — I get calls every day from all over the country about dogs in desperate need of special medical care.
We have 52 foster families, some of them new to that special group of people who take in newly arrived dogs, dogs needing special care and returned dogs who lost their families. Our foster families are the pillars of GFNJ, making our organization more effective than many others. If you’ve never fostered, please consider it — the more foster homes we have, the more greyhounds we can rescue.
This year, longtime Board secretary, Donna Patt stepped down from her position. I’m so grateful to her for the hard work and support she has given us all, not to mention the love she showed her 100 foster dogs – one was my first grey. I consider Donna not only a mentor but a good friend. Terryl Jackson was welcomed into the secretary position, which she adds to her role as foster coordinator and craft show vendor coordinator. Terryl’s enthusiasm and experience in these multiple roles will serve us well.
We’re working hard on another exciting Craft Show and Pet Expo to be held at the Westfield Armory on November 17 and 18. We are proud to welcome our Presenting Sponsors: NorthStar VETS, SAFE: Shreiber Animal Foundation Enterprise and Valley Veterinary Hospital.
Thank you for everything you do to benefit our wonderful cause. What could be better than finding a home for one of our sweet greyhounds? What would our lives be without those kind eyes looking up at us? I know mine wouldn’t be the same; I bet you feel that way, too.
Help! I Need Somebody!
By Lynn Heiler
One common mistake adopters make is when an issue develops with their new grey and they don't know the proper techniques to correct the situation, so they wait to ask for help. Having greyhounds for years or growing up with other breeds may not give you the experience you need to “fix” the problem. If you’re new to our favorite breed, some advice can come in handy.
It’s simple; if you have a health question, contact Linda Lyman. If you have a behavioral problem, contact Heidi Gehret. At GFNJ, we pride ourselves in offering continued support to our adoptive families. DON’T WAIT! Call immediately!
Talking to friends on GreyTalk or Facebook will get you lots of opinions, but that can often be the wrong advice, which can lead to an unhappy family, a grey continuing to behave badly and maybe even the decision to return a dog because you didn’t take the necessary steps.
While we hope every family and dog adjust to each other smoothly, sometimes issues arise that can be corrected by following a few simple steps. And please don’t think, “I’ll try this first” or “I don’t need advice, I have other greys” or “I should be able to deal with this, I’ve had greys for years”. And don’t feel awkward about calling, that’s what we’re here for. We want everyone to be happy.
Even the most seasoned grey owners can come up against something they’ve never dealt with before. Here’s a perfect example: Linda Lyman, yes our president, has owned greys for 16 years but recently mentioned to Heidi that one of her newer greys became food possessive while the other dogs' food was being distributed. So, to keep the peace she was separated by a baby gate – at which time, this quiet dog barked, jumped and just got out of control. Linda was quite willing to take Heidi’s advice and it worked like a charm!
But don’t just take our word for it: here are two different adopters who faced behavioral issues which Heidi solved by having them look at the situation from a different prospective.
Bill and Steam
GFNJ: Why did you contact Heidi initially?
Bill: My 7 year old son was bitten when he harassed our dog, Steam, after the dog had gone to lie down. It was a small cut above his eye, which bled profusely at first, making the whole incident very traumatic. I put a muzzle on Steam, put my son in his room, and sent an email message to GFNJ, explaining what had just happened and that I needed to know what to do to return Steam because I felt I had to protect the family. I didn’t want to return him, but I had no idea what else to do. Heidi quickly called me.
GFNJ: What kinds of questions did Heidi ask?
Bill: Heidi essentially interviewed us, conversationally. We talked about how many people in our home, our ages, how many floors/rooms in our home, where the dog’s bed was located, where he sleeps, where we sleep, where we spend most of our time, do we use a crate, do we use a muzzle, how does the dog interact with people, how does he interact with other dogs. It was easy to do, because Heidi listens very well. After she collected all the information, she gave us her feedback and recommendations; some of it was hard to hear, but all of it made very good sense.
GFNJ: So, what was the outcome?
Bill: The physical changes were easy – Steam’s bed location was changed, providing him time alone. Nothing Heidi asked of us was difficult, but we all have bad habits, and some of them can be tough to break. We learned a lot about our dog and ourselves. We read many books preparing for our Greyhound adoption, including “Greyhounds for Dummies”, but none of them really addressed the dog’s social and personal space needs the way Heidi did. After talking with her, it quickly became clear that our habits and how we interacted with Steam led to his bad behavior.
GFNJ: Is your family happy?
Bill: Our family is very happy that we were able to change our behavior and keep Steam with us. We recently welcomed a second Greyhound, Danger, to our home and have used the same methods with him. Steam is content and much more obedient than he was before working with Heidi. He gets along well with Danger. Having the two of them here together has been very good for all of us.
GFNJ: What was the biggest thing you learned?
Bill: Being a responsible pet owner requires us to manage our behavior, create a safe/quiet area for him and maintain clear rules of how/when we interact with him. Dogs are animals and must be treated as such, for our safety and theirs. Treating them that way doesn’t mean we don’t love them, but love is a human emotion. We can best share that with our pets by maintaining our authority, providing clear consistent direction, rewarding good behavior and discouraging bad behavior. Thank you Heidi, and thank you GFNJ!
Steam’s Gotcha Day
Bob and Buddy
GFNJ: Tell me why you contacted Heidi initially. Were you reluctant to ask for help?
Bob: Buddy was my first Greyhound and my first dog. He was in a foster home with four other greys for two months prior to adoption and had no housebreaking issues. A week or so after Buddy's arrival he began to have accidents in the house when I wasn't home. I suspected it was a separation anxiety issue and tried tosolve it on my own to no avail. I wasn't reluctant at all to call Heidi, I was grateful that GFNJ had a behaviorist willing to help.
GFNJ: What kinds of questions did Heidi ask?
Bob: She was very specific and detailed in her questions. She asked about crating, about my interaction with Buddy before leaving and after returning, whether or not I used the same door to exit the house that I use to take him out for walks, among other things. She wanted to know exactly, step-by-step, how I put him the crate and how I let him out
GFNJ: Did you follow her advice? Was it difficult to do so?
Bob: Sure did. It wasn't difficult at all. Heidi has a way of instilling confidence with her non-judgmental demeanor and positive outlook. Confidence goes a long way when working with dogs regardless of the issue. She's also as sharp as they come, and can get right to the root of a problem without a lot of the frustrating trial-and-error that the rest of us rank amateurs put ourselves and our dogs through.
GFNJ: So, what was the outcome? What was the biggest thing you learned? Are you happy?
Bob: The problem was solved over a weekend's time. No more anxiety, no more accidents. I learned the importance of follow-through when correcting an unwanted behavior. I'll leave it to Heidi to explain her techniques but once she taught me to follow through when correcting Buddy's anxious behavior he quickly learned to relax. I couldn't be happier. "Inappropriate elimination" is no fun to clean.
Buddy in Action
At GFNJ, we offer experience and life-long support for adopters and their greyhounds. If you have a health question, contact Linda Lyman at 856-751-5134 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a behavioral question? Contact Heidi Gehret at 803-589-9033 or email@example.com.
GFNJ Annual Fall Picnic
Sunday, September 23th 11:00 am to 3:00 pm ~ Rain or Shine
Duke Island Park, Old York Road, Bridgewater, NJ
Spend The Day With Other Adopters & their Wonderful Greyhounds
Pot Luck Lunch ~ Great Vendors ~ Exciting Raffle ~ Games
Blessing of the Hounds ~ Barbara Wicklund Memorial Tribute
Adoptable Greyhounds ~ Including Prison Foster Dogs – Available to Pre-approved Applicants
We’ll collect Pro Plan Weight Circles ~ Used Cell Phones ~ Coke Rewards ~ Used medications, gently used coats & collars for Spanish Galgos & our Prison Foster Dogs
Would you like to bring food for the Pot Luck Lunch? Go to www.gfnj.org for the sign-up sheet or contact Patty at firstname.lastname@example.org or 732 566-2226
How about volunteering to help set up & break down for the picnic? Contact Ellen at email@example.com
Bring a chair for yourself & a blanket for your Greyhound
(Monetary donation requested for your meal)
Become A GFNJ Ambassador
by Patty Comerford
The first time many greyhound owners saw a greyhound was at a Meet & Greet, an informal gathering of volunteers and their greys where folks can learn about the breed and adopting a greyhound. These events are invaluable to GFNJ giving us the chance to talk about how wonderful greyhounds are as pets…and generate adoptions.
If you’re interested in hosting a GFNJ-sanctioned Meet & Greet and find a place that might be appropriate, first run it past Linda Lyman or me at GFNJ.
Place – a Meet & Greet (M&G) can be held almost anywhere there is room for folks and their dogs. Within a larger event (e.g., Applefest or street fair) or a regularly scheduled monthly location in pet food stores and malls as long as there’s space available for walks and the event or store employees and visitors are pet friendly.
Permission is needed from the person in charge of the event, store, or venue to have dogs in attendance and to put out a donation jar. There may be paperwork/permit to fill out. If it is a regularly scheduled M&G you need to fill out an insurance form for GFNJ.
Dogs – the idea is to show off our greys to potential adopters, so keep that in mind when you decide what dog to bring. The ideal M&G grey likes being petted, is good with other greys and children, noise, other breeds, and crowds.
Putting a shy dog in a busy pet store isn’t fair to the dog. The same goes for anxious dogs who do not do well surrounded by other dogs and strangers. If you are in charge of the GFNJ M&G, communicate that to the other grey owners who attend.
Donations – a visible donation jar may prompt visitors to contribute to GFNJ. All donation money should be mailed to GFNJ shortly after the M&G with a completed M&G form which you’ll find on our website.
GFNJ Ambassadors – remember, you’re representing GFNJ at your M&G so be polite and helpful. Try to wear something with GFNJ or greyhound related on it. We sell t-shirts.
GFNJ is dog racing neutral and that is what you should represent when you are at a M&G.
Keep an eye on your dog and things going on around you. If your dog isn’t small animal safe, watch out for a little dogs. Politely ask an owner not to let their dog near yours. Children should not sit on your dog’s blanket – the most even tempered grey might react badly to a child pulling, poking or hugging them.
Do not stand in the doorway of the store or block access for customers. Make the store manager and employees your friends who are glad to have you there.
You should have knowledge of our breed, so read “Retired Racing Greyhounds for Dummies” and listen to more experienced greyhound owners. It’s fine to say, “Sorry, I just don’t know”. Remember all greys are not alike.
It’s a chance to catch up with greyhound owners, but please don’t ignore folks with questions or coming to pet your greys – they could be a potential adopter!
Let Folks Know – Send me details so I can put it on the GFNJ Events page. Post it on our Facebook page and ask the store if they have a bulletin board or email blast to customers that you’ll be there.
Materials – GFNJ supplies printed materials: adoption pamphlets with greyhound ownership basics, adoption applications, and upcoming event flyers. You need to bring:
- some type of table or flat surface – some stores will make it available to you
- a large jar that says “Donations”
- a sign/tablecloth/poster identifying your group as Greyhound Friends of New Jersey
You and your dog should leave a Meet & Greet knowing that you were part of a pleasant, productive event. The best scenario is that your Meet & Greet will generate an adoption, maybe not immediately but one day soon.
Contact Linda Lyman at firstname.lastname@example.org or me, Patty Comerford at email@example.com or 732-566-2666 if you want to start a M&G, if you want a GFNJ shirt or have questions. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you run out of materials.
~ BARBARA WICKLUND ~
Barbara Wicklund, founder of Greyhound Friends of New Jersey, has passed away at age 81 following a long illness.An experienced breeder and exhibitor of champion Basset Hounds, Irish Wolfhounds and Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen dogs (PBGV), Barbara adopted her first Greyhound ex-racer in 1987 from Louise Coleman, founder of Greyhound Friends in Hopkinton, MA.Volunteering to help Louise, Barbara was responsible for introducing rescued greyhounds to the New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and metropolitan New York areas.As she placed more and more greyhounds in the region, GFNJ was incorporated as a separate entity, and Barbara remained president of GFNJ until her retirement in 2006.
During her long tenure, she began a number of GFNJ rescue initiatives, including their innovative Prison Foster Program, which provides rehabilitative benefits for incarcerated youth at the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Annandale, NJ as well as needed socialization and obedience training for rescued dogs.remains New Jersey’s oldest and largest greyhound rescue organization, placing about 300 ex-racers each year.
In addition to greyhound rescue, Barbara helped introduce the PBGV breed to the United States in 1984.During her 40-year involvement with the American Kennel Club, she served as founding member and former secretary of the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Club of America, founding member and past president of the Irish Wolfhound Association of the Delaware Valley, past president of the Plainfield Kennel Club and member of the Somerset Hills Kennel Club.
Barbara was also the founder and past president of the Tri-State Basset Hound Rescue League, founding member and former secretary of the Berkshire Valley Basset Hound Club and served as the AKC delegate from the Basset Hound Club of America beginning in 1978.She was a delegate from the Berkshire Valley Basset Hound Club to the N.J. Federation of Dog Clubs, Inc., serving as Federation president for three years.
A journalist for 35 years, Barbara worked as a reporter for several daily newspapers in New Jersey and as editor/publisher/owner of a weekly newspaper in South Plainfield for 10 years along with her husband.She is survived by her husband, Al, who was her partner in life and in rescue.
A memorial tribute for Barbara will be observed on September 23rd at the Greyhound Friends of New Jersey Annual Fall Picnic, Duke Island Park, Old York Road, Bridgewater, NJ.
Great Shots from Spring 2012 Picnic by Adopter Sara Davis
By Pamela Levin, DVM, CVA, CCRT
In general, we are all living longer and healthier lives, thanks to the art of modern medicine. , this is also true for our companion animals.As a result of living longer, older pets often develop conditions such as arthritis and obesity, which can cause pain, affect mobility, and alter their quality of life.In veterinary medicine, we are now using a number of non-invasive procedures such as rehabilitation and acupuncture, in addition to conventional medical therapy, to help our pets live their best life.
Acupuncture, an ancient art used in humans and animals for more than 3,000 years, is based on the belief that the healthy body is a perfect balance of “yin and yang” or Qi, and when there is illness or pain, there is an imbalance in the body’s energy.Acupuncture seeks to restore this balance by the use of needles applied to specific points on the body. a western perspective, research has shown that acupuncture triggers a number of changes in the spinal cord and brain that lead to the release of chemicals such as endorphins, which are the body’s natural “pain killing” hormones.
Performed by specially certified veterinarians, acupuncture is very well tolerated by most pets and usually painless.Many pets even fall asleep during treatment.The needles are typically left in place for 30 minutes, and treatments are usually done weekly for four weeks to start, and then tapered as needed for maintenance. Many long-term acupuncture patients are seen every 3-4 weeks to manage their conditions. can be used to treat a variety of disorders, but is most commonly used for painful conditions such as arthritis as well as neurologic conditions such as weakness, disc disease, and degenerative spinal cord disease. is not a “cure-all,” but we do see positive results in about 80% of our patients.
Physical rehabilitation adapts human physical therapy techniques and equipment to increase function and mobility of joints and muscles in animals.Using tools such as physioballs, balance boards, therapeutic floor exercise, and the underwater treadmill, we are able to improve joint range of motion, muscular strength and endurance.In particular, the underwater treadmill is a wonderful tool that allows a pet to exercise in a virtually weightless environment, which minimizes stress on painful joints.The heated water and massaging jets serve to improve circulation and loosen tight muscles.This tool is commonly used in helping arthritic pets, obese pets and those recovering from orthopedic or neurologic surgery.
Physical rehabilitation also uses techniques such as soft tissue massage and low level laser therapy to enhance healing and promote pain relief.Low level or “cold laser” therapy uses light energy to promote cellular changes in tissue.The result is improved cellular energy and circulation, as well as enhanced healing. It is a non-invasive technique that is very well tolerated by our pets, and can be very effective when used in combination with other modalities and/or medication.
We now have a much better understanding of pain in animals and have many non-invasive ways to approach its treatment.The best approach is most often a combination of several different techniques, but the goal is always the same – to promote the well-being of our pets, and help to live long, healthy active lives.
Dr. Levin is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist & Certified Rehabilitation Therapist
NorthStar VETS Veterinary Emergency Trauma & Specialty Center
315 Robbinsville-Allentown Rd., Robbinsville, NJ 08691
Vegas & Peeper Kacer — such good friends.
Lending A Special Hand
GFNJ is especially fortunate to have a dedicated group of people who open their homes (and hearts) to foster the greyhounds we rescue – some newly arrived, some senior or in need of special care, some returned for a variety of reasons. These kind people get the dogs ready for “real” life, and if you have a dog who was fostered, you know the difference it makes. It’s hard to say who gets more out of it, the foster people, the dogs, or you, the adopter.
Some foster situations require special arrangements. There are times when a GUR (greyhound underground railroad) is arranged where volunteers drive a dog from one location to another, where the dog is picked up by another volunteer and driven to the next person and so on until they reach their destination. You may have heard about Thunder, a special needs greyhound we were asked to take, but first we needed to get her here:
Gerritt, an Air Force Major, was heading to Montgomery, Alabama for graduation from his Master’s program. A series of snafus led to his driving rather than flying.
Both greyhound lovers, Gerritt asked his wife Robin, to see if any needed transport north. Sure enough, there was a heartworm-positive girl in Mobile looking for a ride, so after the ceremony Gerritt hopped into the car and headed south to pick her up. Thunder stood between the two front seats, as the new friends made their trip, seemingly offering her two cents on his driving.
The first time they stopped for a rest, Gerritt put his seat back, she laid her head right next to his, and they both snoozed.
Many hours later, with a lot of smiles and love, Gerritt met up with GFNJ foster mom, Joy, in Harrisburg and made his special delivery. He and Robin were very excited to have been part of getting Thunder where she would receive life-saving medical treatment.
Here’s how Joy tells it:
I started fostering greyhounds in 1996 and prefer those where I can make a difference -- the seniors, the returned dogs who’ve lost their way, and those in need of medical attention – sometimes it comes in handy that I’m a nurse practitioner. So when Linda Lyman asked if I would foster a heartworm-positive 2-year-old fresh off the track, of course, I agreed. Heartworm is one condition I’d never dealt with, but I was willing.
When I met up with Gerritt, it was obvious that Thunder was a treasure to him – and would soon be to me. Lucy, as we call her, sailed through her arduous heartworm treatment. She morphed into a confident, affectionate girl who loves the three children next door and is completely small dog safe.
Although Lucy had a life threatening medical issue, she’s doing very well and perfect in every other way. I feel so good having helped her; it’s why fostering is so valuable to the dogs and so fulfilling to foster families.
Without a kind volunteer and a foster home, GFNJ couldn’t have saved Thunder…what would have happened to her? We’re always looking for more fosters. Most of our rescues have no issues at all except they have no one to love them. Will you help them on their way?
Thunder was adopted on August 25 and is living happily in Brooklyn with her new family, Michael and Elizabeth Rosner. Here they are with Joy (standing).
What a happy day!
If you’d like to help GFNJ save money by receiving your newsletter through email only, or need to update your correct email or home address,
please notify Patty Comerford at email@example.com with changes.
Join our social network pack on Facebook & Twitter!
Don’t Forget to Renew Your Annual Membership!
Become a GFNJ Member or Renew your Membership Today ~ Your membership dues go for the care of the greyhounds
Please mail your check, payable to Greyhound Friends of New Jersey, Inc. with this form to:
(Please Print Your Form Clearly or use an Address Label)
Greyhound Friends of New Jersey, Inc., P.O. Box 4416, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034-0669.
Phone __________________________ Email Address ________________________________
Amount Enclosed $________________
□ $25 donation - members receive a GFNJ license plate holder
□ $50 donation - members receive a GFNJ T-shirt
□ $100 donation - members receive a GFNJ sweatshirt
□ No thanks, I don’t want a premium — please use the entire donation to help the greyhounds
T-shirt/sweatshirt size: □ S □ M □ L □ XL