Friday, May 25, 2012

And Then There Were Three...

Hi, my name is Frankie.  I'm the newest athlete to take up residence at La Casa de Coach Liz.  We met back in March or April and I was still pretty sick back then, but I knew that I would be one lucky dog if I got to go home with Coach Liz.  See, Coach Liz is an athlete and her boy, Buddy, he's an athlete, too.  So Coach Liz and Buddy know what athletes need.  We need exercise, a good support system, quality food, and plenty of recovery time.  But there was something special about Coach Liz and Buddy that made me want them to be part of my Forever Home.

I guess that I should tell you a little about my life before coming to live at La Casa.  I was born in January, 2007 and I come from a long line of successful racers.  I was one of six Greys in my litter and my Brood Mom had a total of 35 offspring.  All of my brother's and sister's names begin with Backwood + their name.  My registered name is Brownlee.  I don't know why I did not get the Backwood part added to my name.  I really cannot remember what happened when I was at the farm or at the track, but I did not get to race.  All I do know is that my owner let me go and live with some humans.

I am not sure what happened to the humans, but one day last September, they let me out in the back yard and they never let me back in.  It was so hot outside.  I am sure that I scratched at the door to get the human's attention, but they did not let me in.  It was hot at night too.  We Greyhounds don't normally bark, but I had to find my voice to tell the humans that I needed to come in from the heat.  But the back door never opened.  After many days without food, and just a little water, another human heard me barking and looked over the fence.  They must have seen how hot and hungry I was.  I heard the new human knocking on the door of the house.

Soon, the human found a way into the back yard and put me in their car.  I was scared.  I did not know where this human was taking me, but they had water and the car was cool inside.  The human took me to a place where there were other dogs and some cats and more nice humans that gave me food to eat and some blankets to lay down on.  I think I was told that this place was called the Bay City Animal Shelter.

The humans gave me shots and took some of my blood, which really hurt, and then let me rest for a few days.  On Friday, October 7th, 2011, I had an evaluation done by a doctor who works with dogs.  October 7th is kind of a special day for me.  It was the day that I got a new name, the one I have now.  The new humans named me Frankie because I was rescued from the backyard of my old house on October 4th.  That is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.  October 7th is a special day for Coach Liz as well, because I found out that it is her birthday.  I guess we had a special connection.

Well, I was pretty sick.  Being stuck out in the backyard for many days, I had received many mosquito bites and as a result, I developed heart worms.  Greyhound Pets of America picked me up from the Bay City Animal Shelter and took me to their kennels where I got to meet lots of other Greyhounds!  It was like being back at the track.  But I too tired to play and have fun.  I had to start treatment for the heart worms.  They gave me arsenic which is poison that kills the heart worms, but I had to be careful and rest so that the arsenic would not kill me as well.  Then I had to take Prednisone.  That made me so sick.  I lost over 20 pounds.  My first round of arsenic was in February and the second one was in March.

When Coach Liz first saw me, I probably wasn't much to look at, but I put my best paw forward and offered her and Buddy a kiss and then I had to lay down.  I heard Coach Liz comment on how thin I was and that when I was standing in the sunny doorway, she could see the sunlight shining through my skin around my tummy and my legs.  I hope that I had made a good impression.  I still had to get well and that was going to take some time.

Well, it seems that time was on my side.  My Foster Mom, Aunt Sandy, had been taking care of me and helping me get my weight back up.  She had been to Coach Liz's house with her Greyhound, Roo and she said it was a real nice place.   Mrs. Pat from GPA made sure to bring me back to the kennel because she said Coach Liz was coming to see all the dogs and to see who wanted to go home with her.  Oh, I hoped it would be me.

I got to go in first and I made sure to offer up some kisses to Coach Liz, Buddy, and this big guy who looks like Buddy and has the same name.  I remember that he was nice and gave me cookies and I heard him say that he could not believe that the other humans left me the way they did.  Some of my kennel mates got a chance to go in and see the family, but they are all kind of young and goofy.  I heard that Hummer tried to increase his chances by offering up his belly for a good rub.  I was secretly concerned that Coach Liz might ask to see Starsky again, but I got called back instead!  Oh, I was so happy!  We got to go for a walk and I made sure to use my best leash manners.

Soon, I had a new collar and I was on my way to La Casa.  It was kind of scary at first not knowing where I was and seeing all the new things, but I tried to be very respectful of Coach Liz's stuff because I did not want to be sent back like Paulie who only got to stay his new home for a month before he ate a squirrel and freaked out his new owner with some crazy behavior.  Coach Liz, Buddy, and El Esposo had all sorts of things ready for me and even let me come up and sleep upstairs so I can be close to them and not feel lonely and afraid.  It has been hard when Coach Liz has to go to work but she said that she is going to be able to spend more time with me after this week.   Coach Liz has been taking real good care of me and I am doing my best to be a Greyt dog for her.

I think that I must be the luckiest dog of all!


Monday, May 14, 2012

A Peek Into the Lab...

Just to allow a quick peek into Muppet Labs, we will update you with the experiments and procedures that are taking place on the Coach Liz Project.

1.  It was determined that Coach Liz was experiencing crappy workouts due to a hiatal hernia.

2.  It was determined that Coach Liz has a casein intolerance and dairy products do not function in the system.

3.  It was determined that Coach Liz still has a gluten intolerance.  Though not as serious as the casein intolerance, it can still cause irritation.

4.  It was determined that Coach Liz was dealing with a large amount of stress.

Action Taken

1.  Coach Liz was told to take advantage of "Me Time" in St. Croix.  "Me Time" was spent in the ocean swimming over a coral reef on three different occasions.

2.  Coach Liz was told to avoid dairy products.  This has been mostly successful.  One brush with blue cheese and another with ice cream were good reminders on why avoiding dairy is going to be necessary.  A substitute for dairy is being investigated.

3.  Coach Liz had the neck of the stomach moved out of the diaphragm to allow for optimal diaphragmatic  breathing.  This was a painful procedure, but so far the two run workouts have taken place have been successful.

4.  Coach Liz has determined that the last day of employment at Big Box Gym/Gym X will be May 25th.  Change will be taking place.

More updates to come.  We here at Honeydew Labs are always stretching the boundaries of science.

Later Gators,


Thursday, May 10, 2012

This is why I Coach...

I am sure that other triathlon coaches would shake their heads at me.  I know El Esposo thinks that I should blow this "job" off for one that pays better.  But I don't do this for the money.  I do this because I can empower people.  I can give them something that they thought was out of their reach.  Call it self respect, pride, courage, bliss....whatever the hell you want to call it...they find in in the last mile to half mile of their "A" Race.

I may be a bit of a drill Sergent throughout the training season and my charges may think that I sit and try to come up with the craziest workouts that I can to give them.  They may think that I am a kill-joy when I give the raised left eyebrow at them when they tell me that they are going to go off and do something way outside of the training plan or they start playing Mr. Potato Head with the workouts.  I know some of them dread those Thursday emails from me.

When they are scared the night before the race, I give the pep talk and the reassuring hug.  When they are about ready to jump out of their skin on race morning, I help them focus and fix any problems that might arise.  When they are crawling out of the swim or running into T2, I am there with my cowbells pissing off the old ladies running the aid station with all of my extra energy to get a smile out of some tired athletes.  When they want to call it quits on the run, I am there to assess their status, give them information that they can use, and even to get them to focus on something else to take their mind off of the discomfort.  Sometimes, I even get to run with them.

And that last mile to half mile is where the magic takes place.

Those are tears of relief, tears of determination, and tears of joy.  As the race announcer said on Sunday, "What does it take to finish a Half Ironman? It takes two friends to make sure you get there."  We look out for each other.  The first finisher of our little TEAM made sure to go back out and stay with our last finisher.  I made sure that I kept someone's focus sharp on the goal and that nothing (pouring rain) or no one (the gentleman she had to pass in the last 250 meters to not be last) got in the way.

It is more than just crossing the Finish Line.  It is about the journey that took place to get there.  With those last few strides, they truly believe that "Anything Is Possible".

I am very proud of my 13 who finished Ironman Galveston 70.3 and my 9 who finished Ironman St. Croix 70.3.  It took guts to ask people for money for blood cancer research and to fit in training between job travel, family commitments, illness, relocation to another city, new relationships, and moving into new homes that needed renovations.

In the end, this is why they did it....
They did it so that Molly and Kaden could have a better quality of life.

You can assist the 16 doctors in the Texas Medical Center that we directly fund to help them continue their research by following this link:

Later Gators,