My name is Delia Haupt and I’m a 12 year old Italian Greyhound.
I’m a pretty sprightly old lady but I only have one eye, and that makes me kind of nervous in a crowd of dogs, because I can’t always see whats coming at me from one side, so when I hear any kind of movement or commotion that I can’t figure out, I tend to squeal first and ask questions later.
Aunty Pen asked me if I would be happy to give all the DD family an idea of what its like for a nervous dog to stay at the Ranch, from my perspective, so that maybe other nervous dogs would know what to expect, and their owners would get an idea of what goes on when they’re away from their little cherubs.
Now I personally feel that what happens at the Ranch should stay at the Ranch, but well, okay!
I have had to dictate this to Aunty Pen as unfortunately, having only one eye and tiny little paws, I find the Mac keyboard a little difficult to navigate. If you find any grammatical errors, blame Aunty Pen, she’s British and Lord only knows where they all get their ideas on spelling and pronunciation……
So, the first day, drop off at 9am; Mummy had already been here many times with my brother Dauber, so she knew better than to be late and risk Aunty Pen’s icy stare and barely concealed grunts. We came in through the gate and had 15 minutes with the other newcomers to get a little scent introduction to all of the dogs already boarding at the Ranch. Not many people know this, but we dogs have such highly attuned noses, we can get all kinds of information from a pee spot; from the size of the dog, to what diet he or she eats, how high up in the pecking order they are, whether they are stressed or not, if they are sick….loads of stuff!
So, once I had figured all that stuff out, then Levi, Aunty Pen’s employee dog (and ‘head of the fearful dogs and puppy division’), came out to say hello and welcome me personally to the Ranch. He could see I was nervous so he didn’t aproach me head on, he just stood a few yards away quietly with averted eyes and wagged his tail til I saw him, then he gently sniffed me on my flanks. He told me he would look after me, that’s his job here, and that if I needed anything to just bark….
Because I’m nervous, and my sister Lolly the chihuahua is tiny, Aunty Pen put us both in the far yard while all the other dogs got let out into the meadow, whooping and hollering like Spring Break in Panama City. We waited til they had gotten all of their zoomies out and then we joined them in the meadow too once things had calmed down a little.
Because I’m sight impaired, Aunty Pen ties a scarf rubbed in my mum’s scent around her shin and I can follow that because it’s at my level, which makes me comfortable.
First walk down in the meadow is all about getting energy out, so most of the dogs are down there for about 2 hours running and playing while Aunty Pen and Uncle Pete supervise, one at either end of the field. Me and Lolly being old ladies, go back inside after about an hour because we get tired, then we curl up on our beds and have a nap while our brother Dauber cavorts with the rest of the gang.
After morning run and a snack, we have a nap for a couple of hours on the couch or dog beds, depending on what we feel like sleeping on (They love to give you a choice here, as they believe everyone needs a good nights sleep) so we are fresh for the afternoon’s activities. We nap after every play session so that noone gets tired and cranky.
In the afternoon, thats when the REAL fun begins…we do nose work in the woodpiles for meatballs, or we might do some agility on some of the tree trunks and obstacle courses that they have here, or, in the summer, we get to go swimming in the pool if we want to. If we have a raucous crowd, then we get separated up a little bit so that me and Lolly don’t have to deal with any whack jobs rushing past us at a million miles per hour, and at our age we certainly don’t want to be bothered by any of the ‘serial shaggers’ that sometimes stay at the Ranch…or sex pests, as Aunty Pen calls them!
She keeps a tight rein on those kind of dogs, and is always monitoring them to make sure they don’t do that, but as respectable Southern ladies, me and Lolly don’t even like to THINK about such things….
Sometimes we might sit out and just lay on memory foam pillows in the top yard in the sun having a snooze for a while once we are done with activities, as they like everyone to have a big dollop of fresh air and sunshine every day. They say that it’s a critical need for a dog and the foundation of something called a ‘holistic lifestyle’. We dogs don’t have a fancy name for it, we just think its common sense…..
At five ish, when everyone’s good and tired from whatever they’ve been doing, we have to go rest up inside so our stomachs are settled for dinner at 6pm. Dinner is always served in smaller groups, with the chow hounds and fast eaters separated from us more leisurely folk. I have a sensitive stomach so my mummy brings my food in a ziploc baggy, but the other dogs get home cooked meat and veggies with some cooked fruit and herbs every day. They get steak or turkey, chicken breast and sometimes even wild salmon.. it smells so good, all the dogs drool as Aunty Pen walks through with her big pot of food.
After dinner we rest and digest for an hour and a half, then Aunty and Uncle come down and let us out for a pee and a poop in the yard, and then settle on to the couch to watch TV or read a book with us, and we mostly chill out with them on the couches. One by one, every one gets a massage in the evening, (on their laps of course! ) and they pay close attention to any areas they know we might be sore. For me, I like to get my legs rubbed, especially my back ones, but some of the hunting dogs like the neck massage best. Touch is a really good way to connect with us dogs as it’s something we can enjoy on a really personal level and creates a bond between us and our people. Even tho’ Im a bit skiddish about touch at times, when I’m getting a massage I love it, because it releases tension, makes me feel special and I get kisses at the same time, which I love!
We all play out in the yard in the moonlight if we want to, but mostly the oldies by then are really tired so we just stay on the couch getting a rub down and watch the young ‘uns go nuts through the open french doors.
At about 11 oc clock, its time to go to bed, and no one really complains because we are all pretty wiped by then as you can imagine..
For those who can’t settle, they are offered a dish of warm milk and honey at bedtime, but everyone gets a snack to go to bed with as Uncle and Aunty believe no one sleeps well on an empty stomach.
So with fresh water in our bowls, blankets to snuggle down in, cosied up into smaller groups of friends, we have the classical music playing and the place all warmed up for us to drift off to sleep and dream of meadows….. and steak…… and rolling around with our friends……. and catching squirrels and….ZZZZZZZZZZ.