Every greyhound taken into foster care is a dog saved, and every greyhound adopted makes room to save another.
Would you love to have the wonderful companionship of a dog, but due to work, travel or other factors, feel that you can’t make a long term commitment?
Fostering a dog is a rewarding experience that requires few skills. All you require is a love of these very friendly, laid-back dogs, time to take them for a short on-leash walk each day, and a desire to help them transition to pet life. Greyhounds are generally calm indoor dogs, so you don’t need a large yard, even units are fine provided there is a sheltered area for the dog to stay when you go out.
It is incredibly rewarding to watch your foster greyhound blossom as they discover the joys of pet-life. We have compiled the following FAQ to address questions or concerns you might have. If you have a question that we haven’t answered please email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FAQs - Common questions about Fostering a Greyhound
ARE GREYHOUNDS ACTIVE DOGS?
We all have this image of greyhounds as super-active athletes … the truth is most of them like a short wander around the neighbourhood once, maybe twice a day, and other times – if they feel the need to burn some energy they just do “zoomies” (running in a straight or zig zag line, or even round and round in tight circles, including on their bed!) for about 90 seconds and that’s them done for the day!! The rest of the day, they like to sleep, eat, play with their toys or have pats.
DO I NEED ANY PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE BEFORE FOSTERING?
No, no experience is required. Fostering is a “learning on the job” opportunity, and our mentors (and closed Facebook group for foster carers) are there so you can ask questions, share concerns or observations.
HOW LONG WILL I HAVE MY FOSTER DOG?
Foster dogs are typically in foster care for 6-8 weeks, as that’s usually the minimum time needed for them to settle in, learn the house rules and gain the confidence to show their personality. Some adapt much more quickly, and some (especially timid dogs) take longer. If you have a time limit, please let us know at the outset and we will work with that.
ISN’T IT TOO PAINFUL TO PART WITH THEM WHEN THEY ARE ADOPTED?
One of our most experienced foster carers says the best response she can give when asked why she fosters: “I let my heart break just a little so theirs will never break again.”
WHAT COSTS ARE INVOLVED?
We supply dry food, a warm coat, collar, lead and muzzle and ask you to provide bowls, some wet food and bedding (maybe just a folded old quilt). The dogs come completely vet-worked and if further veterinary attention is required, we provide that at our trusted regular vets at Sandown Veterinary Clinic.
WHAT KIND OF HOUSEHOLDS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
All types of households because we adopt out our greyhounds to all types of households. For households with cats though, you may have to be patient waiting for a foster-grey, as we don’t get many greyhounds that are safe around cats.
CAN I FOSTER DOGS IF I HAVE CHILDREN?
Of course, but like all dogs and children (including adopted dogs of any breed) the interactions between dogs and small children must be supervised at all times to ensure that the children aren’t inadvertently doing something that will upset the dog. If you can’t supervise all interactions, you should ensure you can keep the children and dog separate – baby gates are ideal for this purpose.
We want to make sure everything is as safe as possible, so we do a property check. Either one of our volunteers will come out and check fences etc or we may be able to assess your property through photos you provide. Either way, it’s a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
DO I GET TO PICK MY FOSTER DOG?
To an extent. We can usually provide a photo and summary information (age, sex etc) of the dogs needing foster care, but because they haven’t been in a home before, the foster period is the time we all discover what the dog’s personality is truly like and therefore what sort of forever home they need. But we will still try to place the dogs in compatible foster homes e.g. we won’t put a young energetic dog in an apartment, or an old sedate greyhound with someone who is looking for a jogging companion!
WHAT HELP WILL I GET?
You will get a mentor who is an experienced foster carer, our comprehensive notes (what to expect, what to do) and access to our closed Facebook group for foster carers GSN: Kennel to Couch. This is a safe (non-public) place where you can ask what you may be concerned are “dumb questions”, but everyone there is supportive and ready to offer their experience to help new foster carers.
WHAT ABOUT TOILET TRAINING?
Greyhounds trained for racing (i.e. the ones needing a home) are generally trained to be clean in their kennels, with regular opportunities to “empty out”. We provide you with practical notes and suggestions that help establish the routines the dogs need to recognise their new “kennel” and to stay clean in the house.
HOW MUCH TIME WILL I NEED TO DEDICATE TO MY FOSTER DOG?
Most of the time required is just living with the dog, observing their behaviour and giving a small amount of feedback (and some photos) to us, so that your foster dog can be listed on our website and find their best possible home. Two meals a day (which will be over in a flash!) and a short walk and that’s all that’s needed. Their vet work is done before you start fostering so you usually won’t need to visit the vet unless your foster dog sustains an injury that needs vet attention (which is most unusual). Naturally, if that happens, you let us know what is happening and we pay for your foster dog’s vet care.
WILL I HAVE TO TRAIN MY FOSTER DOG?
All greyhounds bred for racing have basic training so that they know how to follow the basic requirements of racing. However, they have never experienced the need for discipline in a home environment (for example, no, the coffee table is not a climbing ramp!), so we rely on foster carers to translate the dog’s learning to a home environment. It’s really just acclimatising the dog to a home, when what they are used to is a kennel. We don’t expect you to train a neat “sit, stay” but getting them to wait a couple of seconds until you put their food bowl down, or not to rush through a doorway ahead of you, is a very valuable contribution to their ongoing training in how to be their best (pet) selves. 😍
If you cannot foster - how about downloading GSN's Foster Poster and putting it up at your workplace or other community notice board in the Melbourne area. We encourage you to put your name on the poster so that interested people can also chat to you about greyhounds.