There is something special about your first adopted Greyhound. Bracken went to the bridge today, September 27, 2011. He passed away under anesthesia about 15 minutes into a dental. He has had one every year since we adopted him in 2005 without a problem. This time it was different. I am so thankful that I took him for his morning walk before he went to the vets office, I had never done that before. It got a chance to sniff his road before his final journey. Bracken is the one that started it all for me. The trips to Abilene, the trips to Florida, the adoption of his little Sis, Mindy (Puzzle Patch) and more recently Peanut (BL Mary Go Round). I have so much more to say about how he was cared for and loved both before and after retirement.
Since I donate this site I am taking the liberty to dedicate all the work here to his memory as well as everyone else’s first greyhound that has made their way to the bridge. They are all running together now.
Bracken was born on May 8, 2001. He was owned by a Mr. W. E. Cryer. We are not sure where he was raised and trained, though we think it was someplace in the New Hampshire area. We did not receive any of his paperwork when we adopted him. From 2003-2005 Bracken ran 84 races, according to what is in Greyhound Data, though we believe the number is actually quite a bite higher. Bracken was not injured and arrived to us in great shape. According to the records we can find of his career he was a distance dog, primarily running the 670 yard races. In those races he ran 9 firsts, 11 seconds, and 7 thirds. He also ran some 550 Yard races. In those he ran 3 firsts, 2 seconds, and 6 thirds. He was a Grade A dog at Lincoln Park when the track closed in 2005. He only slipped to Grade C in his career for two short periods of time and returned to the top. We didn’t know all of this when Jesse went to pick him up that day in May or June of 2005. We knew we were getting a Brindle male like we asked for. When Jesse pulled up at the adoption kennel there was a big brindle male who was alone, avoiding the other dogs, just enjoying the sun. Jesse knew immediately that he was the one, and it was love at first site.
I wish I had pictures of Bracken as a puppy, unfortunately I don’t and never will. Allow me the pleasure of sharing a few and select ones. Everyone, PLEASE take pictures of your Greyhounds, it helps.
Bracken on his first day home, he didn’t understand using his doggy bed:
Bracken with his first rawhide:
Bracken with the kitty (Who says Greyhounds don’t like cats?):
Bracken with his new sister at Cape Cod:
Bracken at Christmas with his newest sister:
Bracken a month ago (August 2011) doing what he loved to do, even at 10:
Rest In Peace my gentle boy. We will meet again at the Bridge.
|Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.|
|All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….Author unknown…|
September 28, 2011 – Since I wrote this yesterday a few people have asked me to continue to write so that this may help others. I will do so, as I can. This is difficult.
Last night the vet called us to deliver the devastating news at 4:00pm. By 4:20 we were with Bracken at the vets’ office. After we said our goodbyes we came home and picked up the two girls. I believe that it was important for them to have a chance to see why he was not coming home. Perhaps why is to strong of a word because I still do not know for sure. But, both girls sniffed him, whimpered, and cried and turned away. We went outside. I collapsed into the grass, Jesse does not know that yet, and we all held each other. The dogs did not move from my side.
I finally got up and walked the girls from the private viewing area entrance into the main entrance of the building because I needed the girls not to be afraid to go to the vet. The entire office staff and vets loved all over both of them for about 20 minutes. Our vet was in tears, and they offered to take care of all final expenses and arrangements. Bracken should be home on Monday in our choice of urns from an individual cremation (which I made sure of!)
The girls came home and we finally got them to eat by putting a can of jack makeral into their food. For the first time ever Mindy was not hungry. I am glad she ate. After dinner comes walk time at 6:30pm. I did not go with them on the walk, Jesse wanted to take them. He told me that it was strange. Peanut took over Bracken’s normal spot on the road where she could look out for Mindy and give her a poke in the rear if she needed to direct her away from anything. Mindy has the habit of not watching where she is walking. Then came the evening, we watched TV until about 11 and went to bed. Mindy would NOT get into her bed. She was waiting for Bracken who is normally the first into the bed next to her. She was confused. I finally got her to go lay down.
Jesse tried to get Peanut to cuddle and she won’t. Once in bed she becomes a total grump. This led to her growling at Jesse, which led to major issues as Jesse is very afraid that the girls won’t like him because he was the one who took “bro-bro” to the vet. It took me a long time to get things quieted down again and remind Jesse that it is normal for her to growl if you get into her space in the evening and he needed to back off. I need to get her to stop that. It was not a good night for anyone. Mindy came over to me every hour, believe me, it was every hour and stuck her nose to me by sticking it under the blanket. I really believe she was trying to make sure I was still warm or something like that. In hindsight I hope it was the right thing to do to take them to see Bracken. I will never know.
For me, today has not been good. I had to go back to work today, I normally work from home but I had a few things I had to do at some of our campuses. It was tough for me to function. I finally gave up around noon and came home. We ended up taking the girls for a long walk and then I spent 30 minutes tossing the track lure around the back-yard for Mindy and Peanut. I put their muzzles on them and let them go to town. Mindy was really not into it, though she got some exercise and Peanut did join in a bit until I decided it was going to get rough. Peanut is the boss, and she now has taken over the yard as well (that was always Bracken’s). You know, I just finished this without crying, I guess things do start getting better.
We will continue with our week tomorrow and I am REALLY looking forward to taking them to an LGRA meet over the weekend as I need to get the girls out of their funk and I think that might do it. Perhaps I will write more tomorrow or the next day.
October 9, 2011
It is now a week and a half since Bracken went to the bridge. He came home one final time to us on Tuesday. It was another moment of tears for everyone and I suspect Mindy and Peanut also shed a few tears. He has now taken up residence next to Smokey, our cat who was my nap-buddy for close to 21 years.
Last weekend we took Mindy and Peanut to an LGRA meet, both did OK and I am so proud of them. Mindy is amazing when she gets to the field, she wants to GO and she is not happy if someone else is running and she is not. Peanut on the other hand she runs because everyone else is running. She knows she is retired and she follows the other dogs and then ignores the lure at the finish line and runs over to whichever one of us is at the end of the course.
What does this whole experience have to do with Bracken? Well it shows me even more how each one of our dogs is different, each one has their own personalities. I have to hand it to the trainers in the kennels for learning and knowing each dogs personality, all 60-70 of them. I believe the good trainers know this. Bracken had his own personality and based on the change of behavior here he had a real impact on the two girls. We have come to realize that we were very wrong about who the pack-leader was. We thought Peanut had taken over the first day she was here, but that was probably not the case. Bracken was the pack leader until the very end. He was not bossy about it but we know he watched out for the girls. He always walked behind them to make sure he could watch them, he always was the first to go to anything new, and then the others would check it out.
I came back from the meet and had not really said goodbye yet. I was finally able to when Bracken came home. I felt his presence, I had conclusion and I think I am now able to move on. I am no longer looking for the third pup when I feed them, I am not putting together three treats, I now know that there are only two dogs here. The third is waiting for us at the bridge.
Yesterday I took the two girls together for the first time to the park that Bracken and I used to go to. I had gotten so busy with other things in the last few years I kept promising to take Bracken again and never really got around to it. Yes, I took him probably once during the summer but not like we used to. I won’t make that mistake again with the girls. I am going to spend time with them, they are going to go more places, and they are going to have fun. I plan on taking Mindy and letting her try coursing, she loves to run so much. But to do that I have to get her in shape a little more – which means I may have to get into better shape myself. I will not ever have the feeling when another one goes to the bridge, “wish I had taken the time to go to the park one more time with him.”
Brackens’ passing also has made us look at things differently from a medical standpoint as well. Today the girls had their first turkey necks. They only have 38 pounds more to go to finish the 40-pound box I had to buy. Why Turkey Necks? Because it will help clean their teeth. Jesse and I are not sure we want to do the yearly dental visits any longer so we are going to do everything we can to keep their teeth and gums clean on our own. We have decided that the risk of anesthesia is far too great. I do not want another dog to pass away under anesthesia and once at the vets this is totally outside of my control.
As for our vet? Well, I think we will continue to use her for anything that does not require anesthesia. For anything that does require it we are going to take the dogs back to our old vet that is about an hour away. It is going to take me a long time to trust again and I really want someone else to look at her protocols and make sure she is doing it right for greyhounds. Again, having someone feel a little bit bad is better than another dog loosing their lives. Also, deep down inside I know that Bracken did not die because of carelessness, it was accidental but again my gut says that it could happen again so I am going to be careful.
This will probably be the entry on this page. It is time to continue living for the future and with the two girls, who eventually, God willing, Mindy and Peanut will be joined by a third – my racer on the farm right now once she is retired. You will be able to see and hear more about Mindy and Peanut in other pages on this site.
Take care Bracken, run free, run happy, and PLEASE take over the fields around Rainbow Bridge the way you owned the yard here. Someday, hopefully a long time in the future you will be joined by others, but know that as our first you hold a special place in all of our hearts. Please send good dreams back to Mindy and Peanut, Peanut is still not eating properly and we are worried about her – she misses you. Please send thoughts to our still officially un-named pup and look over her on the training farm and then on the track. We want her to retire safely. Help her run smart.
We will see you again…. When you suddenly stop in the field, look off towards the distance, your ears will quiver and all of a sudden you will take off across the field and we will be re-united.
Love you forever!
The Spirit Of A Greyhound
I was standing on a hillside in a field of blowing wheat,
And the spirit of a Greyhound was lying at my feet.
He looked at me with kind dark eyes, ancient wisdom shining through.
In the essence of his being, I saw such love there too.
His mind locked upon my heart, as I stood there on that day,
And he told me of this story about a place so far away.
As I stood upon that hillside, in a field of blowing wheat,
In a twinkling of a second, his spirit left my feet.
His tale put my heart at ease; all my fears did fade away
About what lay ahead of me, on another distant day
“I live among God’s creatures now, in the heavens of your mind
So do not grieve for me my friend, as I am with my kind
My collar is a rainbow’s hue; my leash is a shooting star
My boundaries are the Milky Way, where I sparkle from afar
There are no pens or kennels here, for I am not confined
But I’m free to roam God’s heavens, among the Greyhound kind
I nap the day on a snowy cloud, gentle breezes rocking me
And dream the dreams of earthlings and how it used to be
The trees are full of liver treats and tennis balls abound
And milk bones line the walkways, just waiting to be found
There is even a ring set up, the grass all lush and green
And everyone who gaits around becomes the Best of Breed
For we’re all winners in this place; we have no faults, you see
And God passes out those ribbons, to each one, even me
I drink from waters laced with gold, my world a beauty to behold
And wise old dogs form my pride, to amble at my very side
At night I sleep in an angel’s arms, her wings protecting me
And moonbeams dance about us, just as stardust falls on thee
So when your life on earth is spent and you stand at Heaven’s gate
Have no fear of loneliness – for here, you know, I wait”