The Greyhound Supporters (GSNCR) turns individuals and families to foster on our behalf for two reasons:
- We have brought up a haul of greyhounds but don’t have adoptive homes for all of them, so we need to place some in foster care until such time as we have a home for it; or
- A greyhound has been in a home but is being surrendered by its adopters. There are many reasons why a family might have to surrender their greyhound, and the Greyhound Supporters wants to make the transition for the greyhound as easy as possible, while a new home is found.
Being a foster can be extremely rewarding. Foster homes are also important in assessing the greyhounds; they give the Greyhound Supporters and the adopting family a good sense of each hound’s personality, skills and abilities, and any potential issues.
What does fostering involve?
Sometimes, the need is for a foster family to take in a hound on short notice. Sometimes the foster placement is temporary as the hound gets matched to a longer term foster home or to its adopting home. Some foster families are willing and able to take a hound for an indefinite period until it can be homed – but the duration of the foster period depends solely upon the ability of the Greyhound Supporters to find the right home for the foster hound.
Fosters must have patience, understanding and in some cases perseverance.
It is preferred that fosters have some experience with dogs however, the Adoption Coordinator is always available to help and there is a whole community of greyhound owners to provide support and guidance. It is important to note that each foster hound is really an unknown quantity.
What do we expect of our foster families?
There really are no hard and fast rules except a commitment to our greyhounds and an understanding that foster greyhounds are usually an unknown quantity, as they are dealing with stressful situations due to the loss of the family with whom they have lived or they are adapting from the kennel environment to being a pet in a home.
Some greyhounds may be perfectly mannered with no bad habits, and some may have a mixture of good and bad habits and some may have no house manners at all. But, most adapt quite quickly and settle into the routine of their new environments once they learn the rules and what your expectations are. The key is consistency and patience.
Experience and Training Required
It is not necessary that fosters have greyhound experience or even dog experience. However, if you have not had any experience with greyhounds, we do recommend that you do some research and learn as much as you can about greyhounds.
Some of the greyhounds we receive have been in a home, but their adopters can no longer keep them. As a result, these greyhounds do not usually need any special training and are easy to care for.
The Greyhound Supporters will provide a crate or x-pen, quilts, food bowls, elevated food stand, leash and collar, a coat (if required) and whatever medical treatments are necessary, i.e. heartworm preventative. We will also be responsible for veterinarian bills and other expenses while a greyhound is in your care, unless such injury or illness is due to carelessness or neglect on the part of the foster family. We do require that foster family has a fenced-in yard, or is willing to walk their foster greyhound on a leash at all times if not in a fenced-in area.
Tips for fosters
The following are some general tips about fostering:
- Remember that arriving in a strange place is traumatic for your foster greyhound as it would be for a child. As a result, too much fussing and attention can add to your foster’s anxiety rather than reduce it, even though what you are trying to do is comfort the hound. Try taking a low-key approach at first – give the hound lots of time to explore its new environment, and don’t constantly fuss over it (especially as it may come to see this as expected behaviour and then it becomes very demanding!
Kind, consistent, low-key love and attention are perfect. This lets the dog build up confidence in its own time.
- Keep the diet simple and bland at first – do not feed lots of treats or table scraps. Stress and anxiety can cause an upset tummy and diarrhea so be prepared to mix up a batch of “bland diet” (boiled hamburger and rice or pasta). If the hound doesn’t want to eat at first, don’t worry. Take up the food dish and try again at the next normal feeding time – the greyhound may be too anxious to want food, but it won’t starve itself.
- An anxious or frightened greyhound may have accidents, so it is probably a good idea to provide it with more potty breaks than usual, at least until it has settled in and its anxiety levels reduced.
- If you have cats, it is recommended that you keep the greyhound muzzled, on leash and under control any time the cats are around – at least until you are sure that your foster hound does not have an issue with your cats. Better safe than sorry.
- When on walks, use caution when introducing your foster hound to new people and dogs on the street, at least until you know how your foster may react. Greyhounds may be fine with strangers and other dogs in the house, but react adversely when outside.
- It might be best to feed the foster hound separately from other household dogs, i.e. in a separate room or in a different area of the kitchen, as some greyhounds may have food aggression, either due to the anxiety of being in a new situation or because he/she is a “food guarder”. Once you are confident that all of the dogs can eat safely together, separating them at meal times can be eliminated.
- Items like dog chews and bones may also be a cause for inappropriate behaviour between a foster hound and any resident dogs, so be sure to keep all of the dogs well separated if you are offering treats, until you have an idea as to how they will react.
- If you can note down a few things about your foster once you get to know it, the Greyhound Supporters and the adopting family always appreciates it! Fosters will know the dog better than anyone else and often have insights into how to best integrate the hound into its new home once an adoptive family has been found.
Most of the time, fostering greyhounds is easy and enjoyable, and the foster hound will fit right in. But it is common sense to take the precautions mentioned above until you get to know your particular greyhound and its likes and dislikes.
If you would like more information or are interested in fostering, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.