Sunday, February 24, 2008

Fostering FAQ's

We know that a lot of people are considering fostering dogs, but haven’t made the leap for a variety of reasons. We thought we would answer some of the questions that we always get asked, and hopefully this will ease some of your fears.

Q) Don’t you get too attached to the foster dogs? How do you give up the dogs?

A) This is the question that we get asked the most. The answer is that a few years ago we talked about how we could help Greyhound Rescue adopt out more dogs. We had done various things such as attend meet and greets, but wanted to do more. We thought that fostering dogs might be something that we could do that would really help. We took in our first foster dog, a nine year old dog named Glazier that was returned to the group. We fostered Glazier for three weeks and then adopted him out to a terrific family that has had him ever since. We toasted the dog and the family after they left our home and it was a great day. We thought that it would be really hard to let him go, but that wasn’t the case once we met the family that adopted him. We knew that he was going to a great home and that we could now foster another dog. We focus on the fact that we are helping adopt out greyhounds and are helping spread the joy of greyhound ownership to more people. We also focus on the fact that each time we adopt out a dog, it opens up a space for another dog from the track. Opening up our home to fosters has been the most rewarding thing we have ever done. We have more fun than anybody should be allowed to have with the foster dogs. Yes, it is some work, but the payoff comes with all the successful adoptions we have had.

Q) What exactly is the purpose of fostering greyhounds?
A) Fostering dogs has two main purposes. The first is to provide valuable feedback about each greyhound to Greyhound Rescue and to potential adoptive families, so that we can place the right dogs with the right people. We can get a better evaluation of each dog when they are in a home environment as opposed to the kennel. The second purpose is to ease the transition from the track to the permanent adoptive home. All of us who have greyhounds know about their quirks, and having an experienced greyhound family acclimate the track dogs to a home environment is very beneficial to the adoptive family, especially if the new owners are first time greyhound owners. In the case of greyhounds that have been returned, it is always better to put them in a foster home, rather that in the kennel. In short, fostering increases the chances that each adoption will be a successful one.

Q How do your dogs get along with the new foster dog? Do they tolerate the new dog?
A) They get along fine. Greyhounds are used to living in packs, so another dog is no big deal. That being said, anytime you bring a new dog into an existing pack, there can be some conflict. We muzzle all of the dogs until we are confident that they are acquainted with each other and getting along. This can take an hour, or several hours, depending on the dogs. When the dogs are let out for the first few days, they all wear muzzles just to be on the safe side. We play it by ear after that.

As we think of more questions, we will post them. If you have a particular question, please do not hesitate to ask.

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