Finding the Right Homes for Retired Hounds in the Delaware, Maryland, D.C., Virginia Area ...and Beyond!
Dog Diaries

Mack's Greyt Escape & Vacation!

by Merle Doughten

This is a story of a boy who hoodwinked his owners (me) into believing something that just wasnít true. You see when this boy and his brother came home with us, he totally convinced us that there was no way he was going up any stairs. Absolutely no stinking way!

When we brought Big Mack and his brother, Jack, home we knew they were spooks. Mack was more so then Jack. If anything scared them, Jack headed for his crate and Mack either froze in place like a marble statue, or ran over poor Jack to get to his crate. Every now and then, they both ended up in the same crate pushing each other to see who could get further back in the crate. We were told not to force anything with them and to take it very slow. Patience was the key. It sounded like good advice to me, if I may say.

Since we had the crates in our living room, and they felt safe there we didnít force the issue to get the brothers upstairs. But eventually, we would want our living room back.

Our other grey, Gracie, learned the steps in a few days and slept upstairs with no real issues in her crate or on a comforter on the floor at night. But during the day she would cry and howl. It appeared as if Gracie didnít like being left alone and wanted company.

We worked the stairs with Jack, and after a week Amanda, my daughter, was able to get him up and down the stairs confidently. We moved his crate upstairs into our room next to Gracieís. She calmed right down.

Every time we tried with Mack however, he froze at the little landing at the bottom of the steps and wouldnít move. Now Mackís size is deceiving. He weighs about 85 to 90 pounds, but instead of having broad shoulders, he has a very deep chest, is very slim and long with a backbone like a slinky. Along with being long, he is quite tall for a greyhound. So if he wants to dig in and not be moved heís got a good body for it, and that is exactly what he did. Amanda tried, I tried, Andrea tried, but to no avail. We tried everything you could imagine from putting treats on the steps, to putting one paw at a time on a step and giving him a push from behind. I even carried him up to the top to see if we could work on getting him down.

Nothing worked. He didnít fight us, he just wouldnít move. If we let him go for a second, he ran right into his crate. We didnít want to have him thinking he was being punished, so we finally decided he would go up when he was ready. We left his crate in the living room. The only problem was at night; he would start crying because by this time everyone was upstairs and he was lonely. On the nights it was really bad, I would go down and carry him upstairs. Then carry him back down in the morning. Needless to say, this got old really quick. It wasnít like I was carrying a sack of potatoes; this was a wiggling, squirming, large greyhound that did not like to be picked up!

The normal routine in our household in the morning during the school year is that I leave for work sometime around 5 a.m. If any of the dogs are up at that time, I let them out to do their business then back to wherever they are sleeping. Once the kids are up, they are fed and watered and another trip outside. Then when everyone is ready, itís time to "kennel up" and all the dogs head for the crates; Gracie and Jack upstairs in our room, Emmy (our little mutt) in one of the kids rooms, and Mack to his crate in the living room.

Then magically, that all changed in just one day. It wasnít until that afternoon that we realized that something was different. I picked up Amanda from school like normal, pulled up to the house, grabbed the mail, and went inside. As soon as we entered the house something was different. The house felt wrong, but we couldnít tell what it was.

To be honest, growing up our home had been broken into and robbed twice, and when we entered the house the day that it occurred, we sensed that something was wrong. This is how it felt that day when I entered our house. Even Amanda felt it.

She went into the great room and suddenly yelled, "Dad, come here!" I knew right then and there that we had been robbed. But when I went through the den our computer was still on the desk, and the TV was still in place in the great room, but there was one big difference: every last stuffed animal and toy in the house was in the great room spread out across the floor. Every Beanie Baby, every dog toy, all the different Build a Bear teddy bears we had collected in the last year, and even Andreaís big white fluffy dog I had gotten her when she was pregnant with Amanda were there. But instead of it being all fluffy it was wet, just like a dog had chewing on it!

That is also when we noticed that everything was in a giant circle. Someone had gone into every room, including upstairs, and brought all these toys and stuffed animals from around the house to the great room. I immediately thought it was Emmy. She had somehow gotten out of the room she was in and made a collection in the great room. I was sure of it!

We both headed into the living room where Mackís crate was located, and to our surprise it was empty. Someone had closed it this morning and just not latched it. But where was Mack? Amanda headed up the steps and started laughing as she got about halfway up. The great big chicken dog, who we knew could not go up or down stairs was lying at the top of the stairs with another Beanie Baby bear in his mouth. Jack and Gracie were both in their crates and whining to be let out!

Neither of us could believe it, Big Mack had done it! He had to have made at least 3 dozen trips up and down the steps to get all those toys. And to prove he did it, he took the Beanie that he had in his mouth, walked right past us and down the steps to add it to his collection in the great room like he had been doing this all of his life. Emmy, who had been let out during Mackís escapade, came over to us from where she had been hiding with her tail between her legs. She probably thought she was going to get into trouble for what Big Mack had done!

I couldnít believe what I just saw. He knew exactly how to get up and down those darn steps. He had been playing us the whole time! In the 5 hours he was out, he had himself a little vacation with all of his stuffed friends surrounding him. He had to have climbed on our beds to get a few of the teddy bears and go in and out of rooms he had never been in before when we were home. It was totally unbelievable and if I had not seen it with my own eyes, I would have called you a liar! No way, not Mack!

From that day on, we never had any issues with him going up and down the steps. I guess he just needed to show us he just had to do it his way!

Greyhounds aren't just dogs, they are a way of life!