Becoming a Foster Parent: Foster Families Needed
When we receive the greyhounds from the track, we give them any medical care they need, their required vaccinations, and a bath. Then they are off to one of our foster homes until we find a permanent home for them. The foster parents provide the greyhounds with "doggie" training to make the transition from track to home easier for the dog and his or her new family.
The main limitation on the number of greyhounds we can rescue from the track is a place to hold the dogs until they can be matched with owners. We have access to a kennel facility where we can put greyhounds temporarily, but we must pay for that and space is limited. Financial resources limit the number that we can maintain at that site. In any case we prefer for the animal's sake to place a dog directly into a foster home.
Fostering means taking two to three weeks to help a dog straight off the track adjust to life as a "45 MPH couch potato." Prospective adopters cleared by GPA will visit your home and your foster dog. GPA/CNHC takes first-time foster parents through the same procedure as adoptive parents.
For an informational packet call 888.507.9597 or email.
Would I Make a Good Foster Parent?
Many have heard the stories about fostering and what a rewarding experience it is. Let us tell you about another aspect of fostering. As you can imagine, the hardest part of fostering a greyhound is having it leave to go to a permanent home. Even though you know that the home has been screened and has met all the requirements for adopting your greyhound, having your foster leave is an emotional experience. This is probably the saddest day of the foster experience. The best day is probably the day the new foster arrives.
These foster families are the true animal rescuers. Without them, greyhounds could not come off the track alive. How hard is it to foster? Most greyhound groups do not use foster homes. Therefore, if you received your greyhound from another group, you have already been through what a GPA foster family does. Most groups keep the greyhounds in a variety of kennel environments, but the first time the greyhound has been in a home, is when it came into yours, unless it was in a foster home.
Most foster homes do not think of themselves as heroes. Most are very nice quiet families that just want to do something nice for the dogs. The folks that get the glory are the ones that transport the dogs from the track and organize the events that provide the funds necessary for the care after the dogs are in our care. However, let's take a look at the dynamics of a greyhound making it from the track to safety. You get a call to see if you can take a foster dog. You gladly say "yes" and the movement starts. The greyhounds are picked up and processed and move into these volunteer foster homes. Greyhounds in the racing kennels that have finished their racing career now have a place to go and are safe.
When the Foster Coordinator calls and is told "no", none of the above happens. One less greyhound has an opportunity to live out it's life as a pet and loved companion. Only you can make a difference in what happens. True, there are many greyhounds, and it is hard to make a difference. Think of it this way, it made a difference to your foster dog.
Please call our Foster Coordinator at 888.507.9597 and volunteer to foster, and please say "yes" when she calls. Look into the eyes of your greyhound and envision what could have happened if no one said "yes" when it was his/her turn. It made a difference to your greyhound.
Foster Parent Responsibilities
As a foster parent, you are expected to help acclimate your greyhound to life in a home. We expect you to: House train the dog. Generally this is not difficult, since your dog has been trained not to soil his crate. You need to teach him that your house is basically a huge crate. Watch him closely during the first several days, take him out at regular intervals, and praise him when he relieves himself outside.
Help him learn to cope with new things like sliding glass doors, tile floors, the television, stairs, and other animals. A greyhound needs time and help to adjust to life with slick floors and stairs. You will find a lot of advice on the internet for how to help them. They are fast learners.
Your greyhound has never learned how to play, since his life as a racer was all business. Take some time to help him learn to play. I've found that the most enticing thing for such dogs is a small stuffed animal thrown in the air or tossed a few feet from them. The urge to pounce on it is almost irresistible for a greyhound.
As your greyhound adjusts to his new surroundings, his personality will begin to emerge. Take note of this so that you can help the GPA placement representative develop a profile of his personality for prospective adopters.
You may wish to begin teaching the greyhound basic obedience commands. Bear in mind that many greyhounds, due to their physical structure, find sitting uncomfortable. Begin with simple commands such as "come," "down," and "stay."
Thank you for your interest in fostering ex-racing greyhounds! Please fill out the following information to be considered for our Foster Home Program: