Skip to content

Michelle’s Happy Tales Report
3/4/19 Mostly Happy Tales From Inside And Around The FoG Kennel.

This blog is an odd assortment of FoG’s greyhound “hot topics”. I get emails and phone calls every day on these subjects. The rumor mill is running hard and fast. So – Let’s clarify a few things – – in no specific order –

1. There is no dumping of racing dogs in this area. There are rumors that the kennels are killing dogs rather than give them up for adoption. In this area I am certain that rumor is absolutely FALSE!! Many owners and workers love the dogs, too. We have not heard anything credible about dumping dogs.

This southeast part of Florida is impacted by the Miami track (aka Flagler Dog Track and/or Magic City Casino), the Hollywood track (aka Mardi Gras and/or Big Easy Casino) and in a lesser way, by the Naples Ft. Myers track which is actually located in Bonita Springs on the West Coast but owned by a partnership of the same people as the Miami and Hollywood tracks. Miami and Hollywood both stopped running as soon as they could. They both have on site casinos and they are happy with that.

All of these owners and partnerships and managements are in a state of flux and have been for a few months so some of my information may be out of date or may change. Basically, Broward and Dade counties make money from their casinos which were approved by the electorate a few years ago. Casinos make money. Dog racing loses money. Disconnecting racing from the casino business works well for them so they stopped racing pretty quickly. Hollywood’s last racing season ended April 2018. Miami has been closed so long I couldn’t even find a date!! A couple weeks ago, they announced that the Naples/Ft. Myers track would be demolished at the end of this racing season. And imagine how excited the developers were when Florida Kennels became available!!

2. Friends of Greyhounds is still here. At this time, we do not have any greyhounds available for adoption. Jerry and I picked up our first dogs in November 2001 and the kennel was empty February 2019. It was a great trip. Hopefully it was good for our karma. Approximately 2400 (my paperwork isn’t up to date) dogs found homes with our help. We are very proud of that and we are very grateful for all the people who helped us along the way. But for now we are ready to enjoy our retirement. The organization will be semi-active for a while just so we are here for any returning dogs that may need us. We know that things happen in families and we will always be here for the greyhounds. We still have the kennels and bowls and yard and I love to dogsit so I get to play with more dogs!! Retirement is taking on a whole new look. If you have questions or problems and think I can help, please feel free to call. We are still here for the dogs.

3. There are still Greyhounds that need homes. Locally, we are friends with Elite Greyhounds based in Loxahatchee. Run by a family from their horse ranch, they have a great setup with a large kennel. They are getting dogs from Palm Beach Kennel Club and from overseas. If you are looking to adopt, I strongly recommend you start by looking there. Sonia knows what she is doing and she will help you find the right dog for you. Visit: www.elitegreyhounds.org She stays busy so her dog listings may not be up to date. Just call and arrange a visit.

Our nearest track that is still racing is Palm Beach Kennel Club. They run year round, 15 races a day, 6 days a week and they have a high dollar clientele, simulcasting of horseraces, and a busy poker room. If you are looking to adopt a greyhound, http://adopt-a-greyhound.org/directory/list.cfm?usState=171 this link will take you to a complete listing for the state. (Don’t be frustrated by the listing. They add new groups as they are created but many of the entries are for groups that are already out of business.) And I even discovered another entry on the Florida list with our phone number on it and they are in the panhandle!

4. We do not need any additional volunteers. Volunteers have been a great help for our kennel for many years. (Our first student volunteer is now an Attorney!!) We love them and we are grateful for all they have done for us. But we only have house dogs, sometimes a few boarders, and potentially, a return or two. We appreciate the offer but we do not need any student volunteers at this time.

5. Be sure to watch for information about gatherings and play times. Greyhounds need to visit with other greyhounds sometimes. Keep your name on our email list and we’ll let you know about upcoming events. I’m hoping to do a gathering here at the house soon but we have a few projects to complete first.

PS: Kiss your dogs for me – Michelle (& Jerry, Chumlee, Yahtzee & Joy.) And wish a happy retirement to Jinx, our big black cat who has personally cat-tested a whole lot of your dogs for us!! He had the toughest job in the kennel.

Love, Peace & Greyhounds,
Michelle

Michelle’s Happy Tales Report
2/24/19 Mostly Happy Tales From Inside And Around The FoG Kennel.

Empty Kennels!

Last week I walked out to the kennel and it was empty. As a garage/ laundry room, it was still active and full. Jerry’s tools are still there and the washer was temporarily quiet but the dryer was humming away. There are long shelves on the wall, full of “things” both in and out of boxes. There is a two-story kennel which is still full of blankets and toys and extra dog food. There is a wire crate set up but it is used as a work table for the seeds and nuts Jerry puts out for the birds and squirrels in the back yard feeders every day. But there are four walk-in dog kennels built from chain link fencing and they are empty. Now that felt really weird.

It has been years since there was not a single dog in the kennels! When Jerry and I decided to help greyhounds get from the track to homes, the very first thing we did was to stash our extra “stuff” in a rental storage area so we could build kennels in the garage. (Eventually, we put a small shed in the yard to get out of the rental area) It took a couple months to get everything set up but we wanted to do things right. Our first adoption, Mohican Snickers, a very cute brindle girl, was delivered on November 4, 2001. We were on our way!!

In 2003 Florida passed a law that dog tracks had to have an official adoption group so Flagler and Hollywood offered FoG the position. They gave us use of a kennel building complete with office, kitchen, kennel workers, dog food and a kennel already full of dogs in the Florida Kennels compound in Hialeah. Now instead of only having four or five dogs for someone to look at, they had 40 to choose from!! It was a complete turn around for us and we faced a steep learning curve. Our first year there, 2003, we did 105 adoptions. Now, bear in mind that Jerry and I were both working full time and we ran dogs to vets and did adoptions and events on the side. We had a signup sheet in our garage for noon walkers!! Our volunteers were awesome and they made it work. We could never have done it without them.

And it did work. We are so proud and happy to have made a difference in the lives of just under 2400 of these beautiful, loving dogs!! And those dogs have made a difference in the lives of a lot of people. Jerry and I are very, very grateful to all the people and dogs who completely changed our lives. We never envisioned this but we have loved (almost) every minute of it!

The kennel had not been empty til now and it kind of feels weird but it also feels right. I even turned off the secondary air conditioner! We will still be here if a dog needs to be returned or you need help in any way. Things happen and we understand. It may be for any reason from doggy behavoir to an owner’s illness, but we will be here for the greyhounds. And I am hoping to do some dogsitting, too. Dogsitting lets me play with even more greyhounds than just those here at the house and that leaves Chumlee more chance to nap!

Kiss your dog for me! We’re here if you need us.

Love, Peace & Greyhounds,
Michelle

Charlie

Charlie (formerly “Dunnit All” ) receiving recognition from the Miami Dade Fire Department with his mom, Fire Captain Shawn Campana. Together they have been working on a program to use dogs to help relieve stress in crisis situations.

Me and Charlie hamming it up
Charlie on stage
Commissioner Sally Heyman insisting I schedule a meeting mid March with her office to discuss the program, she loved Charlie!

LOCAL 10 INVESTIGATES – With greyhound racing ending, hundreds may need new homes

Advocates fear politics could put adoptions in jeopardy
By Louis Aguirre – Anchor/Reporter

LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. – Sonia Stratemann has dedicated her life to rescuing retired greyhound’s from Florida’s race tracks. She has taken them in when they’ve grown too old to compete or after they suffered a terrible injury, rehabbing them until she’s able place them in a loving home.

Click Here To Read This Article

Michelle’s Happy Tales Report
2/4/19 Mostly Happy Tales From Inside And Around The FoG Kennel.

Good news – we have an adopter for Speedy, our older (but smaller) black dog!! He’ll stay with us a little longer just so King is not all alone in the kennel. So who among you would like the honor of adopting the LAST Fog-dog??

King Displays Some Attitude

Victory King is a handsome, sleek, strong boy with a great, happy personality. He’d be here in my home if it wasn’t for the cats. Yes, he is looking for a home without cats or small dogs. He is seven years young and very sweet. Although he is from Macau, he has learned English quickly and very seldom barks. He is healthy and smart and playful. He’ll make an awesome addition to your family!

I hope some of you will give us a call and come meet King. He will make a wonderful house-dog and we will still be here to support you and the dogs. We aren’t going anywhere. Jerry & I have adopted out roughly 2400 greyhounds through Friends of Greyhounds. I had a few helpers doing home deliveries off and on but the vast majority of the dogs, we delivered ourselves. I even drove dogs in the van to other groups in other states. The deliveries were the very best part!

All those dogs had a lot in common. They come out of the kennels with no idea of what’s coming next. Their whole world is changed and all they can do is wait to see what the future holds and to trust us that everything will be all right. After the deliveries, we still have that obligation to be there if the dogs’ need to come back or the families need some kind of help. We will honor that obligation until our last grey gets up to the Rainbow Bridge.

So come meet King soon. He’s so excited about his future. I’ve tried to explain it to him but I don’t think he’s really gotten the idea of what “home”, “house” and “family” mean yet. If you’d like to be the one to teach him all about that, please give me a call or drop me an email. King will make a great house dog.

Love, Peace & Greyhounds,

Michelle

Black Dogs Need Love, too!!

Adoption groups around the world have known about the problem but now someone has given it a name and brought it forward. Black Dog Syndrome (BDS) is also referred to as the BBD (Big Black Dog) problem. FoG has seen it for years in our own adoption kennels. King and Speedy, who are living in the kennel now are like so many other black dogs in shelters, having already spent more time waiting for new homes than lighter-colored kennelmates generally do.

BDS was studied by graduate students at The George Washington University. (In other words – it’s not just MY opinion!!) They concluded that BDS occurs in shelters and rescue groups throughout America and affects black dogs, as well as cats. It is possible that there may simply be more black pets in the shelter and rescue population. However reports from across the country illustrate the problem, and multiple national organizations have long recognized BDS as an issue that adversely affects the adoption rates of black pets.

What is Black Dog Syndrome?

In a survey, Petfinder member shelter and rescue groups reported that most pets are listed for 12.5 weeks on Petfinder, whereas, less-adoptable pets (such as black, senior, and special needs pets) spend almost four times as long on Petfinder. Research showed that Black Dog Syndrome may be caused by a combination of:

  • Size
  • Unclear facial features
  • Dimly lit kennels
  • The “genericness” of black pets
  • Negative portrayals of black pets in books, movies and other popular media such as the black dogs in Hound of the Baskervilles, Harry Potter, The Omen, and even on the common “Beware of Dog” sign.
  • Black cats are readily associated with witches, superstition, and bad luck.
King (Gold collar) & Speedy (Red collar) are waiting for homes!

So what you can do?

Display your love of black pets proudly to demonstrate that there is nothing wrong with them.

Encourage friends to look past their first impressions of a black pet.

Tell people about BDS! It’s generally an unconscious prejudice and most people will move past it once they are aware.

Remind people that their parents were right:- personality is more important than appearance. It’s just as true for pets as for people!

And Remember – Black dogs need love, too!!

Thank you to the Petfinder.com site for compiling this information!!

Michelle’s Happy Tales Report
1/25/19 Mostly Happy Tales From Inside And Around The FoG Kennel.

Happy Belated Peanut Butter Day!!

Yes, yesterday (January 24th) was National Peanut Butter Day and I hope everyone gave their greys a nice big blob of peanut butter in celebration!! Greyhounds do love their peanut butter. (Remember that if you’re having problems giving a pill.)

King Displays Some Attitude

And we have one other important holiday coming up – – yes, once again it is President’s day on January 31st ! Not the National one – – But the celebration of the birthday of Jerry Deitch, President and founder of Friends of Greyhounds. A few of us will be lunching at Olive Garden to celebrate. I can’t invite all of you to lunch but I can invite all of you – and your friends and family members – to send him birthday wishes by email that day. His addy is: fogdaddy1@gmail.com . I won’t tell him (he doesn’t read my blogs) so a bunch of email birthday wishes should be nice surprise for him.

Well – in other kennel news- – – We still have two very handsome boys in the kennel that are looking for homes. Speedy (8 yrs old) and Victory King (7 yrs.) will make great house dogs. They are both on the smaller side, shiny black, playful and happy. They are very quiet and hardly ever bark. They are healthy and ready to go. Neither has very good teeth but the vet cleaned them when they were neutered and they both love gnawing on bones from our butcher. Like our US dogs, these two Macau dogs are loving and attentive. Neither of them is cat tolerant and probably not smaller dog tolerant. But some of you out there must have room for a new greyhound. They really don’t take up much room. Our regular adoption fee is $225 but because they are not “regulars” we will consider a deep discount.

Speedy

I know many people will not adopt a black dog. Now we are offering you a black, adult dog. We will still deliver (within a reasonable area) and we will still be here to help if you need it and to accept the dog back if there’s a problem. So, go ahead, give one the boys a try! Remember, there is a special place in heaven for people who adopt black dogs!

And another update on kennel activity – – Most of you know that FoG has a working relationship with Broward Pet Cemetery in Plantation. (Click here for the “Greyhound Memorial” on the FoG website) It is a beautiful and caring location for our greys to spend eternity – or until we get there to claim them!! They also have an onsite crematorium which I prefer. That way I KNOW I’m getting MY dog back! But I digress. . .

The point of this is that we are getting ready to inter some more of our pets. We don’t open the grave each time there is one dog’s ashes to go in. We open it periodically and put in a “bunch” of dogs. At this time, I have 13 dogs’ ashes here at the house ready to go over. If you have cremains (that’s the correct term for them) and are ready for them to go to their permanent resting place, I urge you to let me know. There is a form on our site for all this but we have done enough with this wonderful family that manages the place that they are lowering our prices a bit. So count up your boxes and fill in what you can of the form and get hold of me. We’ll work out the cost when we know how many we are interring. Placing them in this site gives them a permanent, guaranteed location where their presence is honored forever. Florida has some very strict laws preventing the development of lands that are dedicated as Cemeteries and that includes pet cemeteries.

Remember that we can put in any cremation remains and we are not breed snobs. Dogs, cats, parents, etc. If you look on FoG’s site, you will see that there are already 29 greyhounds, 1 non-grey, 3 cats and 1 human! Our current human is Fred Weatherbee and after he passed, we took his girl Mitzi into our home. She left us a few weeks ago so she will be joining her first daddy again! Call me (Michelle – 954-937-9663) if you have any questions or concerns about our program. I think it is financially and socially practical. Jerry & I will both be with the dogs, too! I also think that the grounds and the neighborhood are just beautiful and I look forward to being there. You can stop by and visit and see for yourself!

Have a greyt week – – and give your dog a kiss for me!!

Love, Peace & Greyhounds, Michelle

Greyhound Memorial at Broward Pet Cemetery

Michelle’s Happy Tales Report
1/8/19 Mostly Happy Tales From Inside And Around The FoG Kennel.

LAST OF THE MACAU GREYHOUNDS

Victory King and Speedy have come a long way to find a home here in South Florida. They were both professional racers at the Macau Canidrome. Now that the Canidrome is being closed, they and a number of other racing Greyhounds were sent to America to find homes and families where they can live out their lives. Yes, these are retired racing Greyhounds that speak Chinese and possibly Portuguese. Their best chance of a successful adoption would be to place them with owners that have greyhound experience. And they would love to come live with you.

The Macau racers are a bit smaller than our local guys. Speedy stands about 33″ tall and King is another inch or two taller. Only people who already have greys would notice the difference. They are both sleek black dogs with a white blaze on their chest.

They are quiet and seldom bark, and both came to us with full documentation including an international health certificate, and their own “passports”. They have had every immunization your vet could think of and they each have an internationally recognized microchip. One interesting thing we discovered is that they are not on heartworm prevention because Macau doesn’t have heartworm!

Both of them were recently neutered by our dear Dr. Willie at VCA Promenade in Lauderhill. He did what he could with their teeth but that is definitely their downside. Apparently dental care was not important in Macau. Dr. Willie has gotten them started with as good a dental cleaning as he could but you will need to follow up and keep an eye on those toothies!! They love shank bones from the butcher and that will help a lot.

They are really showing some personality as they discover the toys in their kennels. Squeakers don’t last long and based on what we have seen, neither of these guys will be able to live with cats or small critters. Regarding adoption, we will still be adopting to the standards in our application and Manual. These dogs have been raised differently than our American racers but most of the same standards apply. We will of course be here for any dog that needs to be returned or to give help in any way we can.

Victory King

The adoption fee is normally $225 but we really want to see these guys land in good homes soon. I can’t wait for them to learn about living outside of a kennel. So we will give preference to previous greyhound adopters and lower the adoption fee to $175. Give us a call or drop me an email if you have questions or if you’d like to come meet the new boys in town. They will need a crate to get started with but we can probably loan you one if you don’t have yours any longer. Please consider coming to meet King and Speedy. Call Michelle at 954-937-9663 to arrange a visit. If nothing else, you can tell other people all about the Macau Greyhounds!!

Victory King is 7 years old, born March 14th, 2011, and he is very healthy, strong and handsome. He is a patient and quiet guy but loves attention and has been caught enjoying a sqeaky toy when no one is looking. Being a Pisces, he is wiling to curl up on the couch and watch soap operas with you or take you to the park to chase birds or nap in the sunshine. A very giving and selfless guy.

Speedy

Speedy (yes, that’s all the racing name we have) is also black, healthy and shiny. He was born August 1, 2010 and is 8 years old. He is a Cancer which predicts that he will be intuitive, sensitive and “home loving.” He has now been uprooted from his former life and sent across the world to people with strange languages, rules, food . . . So, can you imagine how grateful he will feel when he finally gets a real home? I predict that Speedy will be a great partner to go through life with. He has come a long way and deserves a wonderful home. How about yours?

Speedy Enjoys a Head Rub

Michelle’s Happy Tales Report
1/2/19 Mostly Happy Tales From Inside And Around The FoG Kennel.

Yuki (Pearl River) & Shawn

Happy New Year to our whole extended FoG family! First of all, congratulations to Shawn Campana who adopted Zhujiang Winds (we called her Pearl) on New Years Day. Pearl is now called Yuki and her greyhound brother, Charlie will be showing her around Davie. We wish them many happy years together.

Victory King

We are starting the New Year with two boys looking for homes. They are Victory King (7) and Speedy (8) and they are the last of our Macau greyhounds. Both are on the smaller side with shiny black coats, a white blaze on the chest and few white toe-tips. The Macau greyhounds are a little smaller than our domestic dogs but they are very playful and happy to be here. I can’t make promises but I will say that here in our kennel, they are the quietest dogs we’ve ever had.

Our usual vet process to get a dog ready for adoption is neutering, dental and shots. Well each dog comes with an International Certificate of Vaccination which amounts to a canine passport. It has lots of documentation about shots and health exams – far more than what we require of domestic greyhounds. So they have been to the vet to be neutered and have their teeth cleaned. The neutering went fine but their teeth are just awful. The vet did what he could but caring for their teeth will be a challenge for a while. Before we even took them to the vet, we gave them big shank bones to chew on to get the dental cleaning started!! They loved that!

They are microchipped and you may register the number in any databases you choose to use. They are crate trained and ready for a home and of course you can change their names. The adoption fee is still $225.

Speedy

When the dogs were shipped to us they came in huge, brand new dog airline kennels that were ours to keep. If you know anyone who is going to sending a large dog anywhere by airline, I’d be happy to make them a deal on a kennel!! These kennels are amazing, huge and IATA rated.

King and Speedy are happy to be here and they love our kennel. I can’t even imagine how thrilled they will be when they get into a real home with people of their own to love and be loved by. At this point, we do not believe that either of these dogs will be cat or small animal tolerant. But they can run like the wind!! If you’d like to meet these two, please call/text/email me and we’ll set up a time for you to visit. You can really make a difference for one of these dogs. They have come a long way to be part of a family – maybe yours.

Love, Peace & Greyhounds,
Michelle

MACAU GREYHOUNDS

Well we have one holiday behind us and the New Year celebrations ahead. Then perhaps we can consider getting back to normal or something similar to that. Of course, here at the kennel, the big fuss is about the Macau dogs.

We still have three that are presently available for adoption. Because the dogs are few and the interested adopters are many, I have not put these dogs on Petfinder like we generally do. I prefer they go to current adopters who have some experience with greys and may be better prepared for unexpected behaviors. They appear to have very high prey drives and probably should not be placed in homes with cats or small dogs. I would be reluctant to place them with children under 9. Generally our cut off is 5 but these guys have been raised differently than our domestic dogs.

Macau dogs are smaller in stature than our American greyhounds. They are sweet, outgoing and happy. None of them have major scars or personality hang-ups that we have seen. They have extensive documentation of their immunizations as each dog has its own “passport”. They are microchipped and you will just have to register the dog to you with whatever US listing service you want to use.

Each of the dogs has been to our vet for spay or neuter, teeth cleaning and general health checkup. They came to us with horrible teeth but our vet did what he could as an initial dental cleaning. You’ll probably need to invest in dental chews and may want to do some followup cleanings.

When you look at their photos, you will see that all of them have raw areas on their noses. They had black noses when they got here but they apparently are not used to chain link fencing and they find it fascinating that they can rub their noses on it through the links. I’m sure they will grow out of that and have black noses once again!! They are not young compared to our American dogs’ retirement age but they have very little gray fur and look much younger. They get along well with all the other greys they have met around our house. We turn them out with our house dogs and everyone seems to get along (knock on wood!!).

So here is the “private listing” of the greyhounds that are looking for homes – – –

Speedy – Black male – born 8/1/10 – 9 years old.

Victory King – Black male – born 3/14/11 – 7 years old

Zhujiang Wins – Black female – born 2-24-12 – 6 years old. We were first told she was 8 years old but her official documents say she is actually 6. “Zhujiang” translates to Pearl River so we call her “Pearl”. As always, you are free to re-name your dog.

Call us if you would like to meet and possibly adopt one of these dogs. Adoption fee is still $225.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Please note that we will not be taking in any more Greyhounds from Macau or other tracks. Friends of Greyhounds is still here to accept dogs that need to be returned and re-homed for whatever reasons. We will still be dogsitting for greys and available for questions or problems. But Jerry and I are retiring from taking in new greyhounds.

Love, Peace & Greyhounds,
Michelle