- What is a foster home?
- Fostering means taking a dog into your home and treating it like one of your own dogs. The foster Greyhounds live indoors with you and your family. Dogs are fostered for at least two weeks by Racing Home Greyhound Adoption (RHGA), so that we can get to know the dog before placing them in a permanent home. During that time, the dog is given veterinary care, extra food if the dog is thin, special food if the dog is overweight, and lots of attention. RHGA depends on foster homes to house the dogs we take in until permanent homes can be found. If we do not have any foster homes available, incoming dogs must be boarded at a kennel, which is expensive and does not give us a chance to evaluate the dogs. The dog needs a chance to feel settled and secure.
- How long does a typical foster dog stay?
- There is no "typical" time frame for fostering. Some dogs have been fostered for only a few days, while others have remained in their foster homes for up to 3 or 4 months. It depends on how soon we find a permanent home and if there are any physical or behavioral issues that need to be resolved before placing the dog.
- Does RHGA know anything about the dog before it is fostered?
- Sometimes we have information from their former homes, but usually the dogs come to us with a clean slate. It is up to the foster home to discover their likes and dislikes, and any potential issues the dog has. This information aids us in placing it into their permanent home. If the dog has behavioral issues that require a trainer, RHGA will arrange for the trainer to visit your home and work with you.
- Are the dogs healthy and/or housetrained?
- Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Many times, foster homes must provide remedial housetraining and or/obedience training with the dogs. Also, Greyhounds that are housetrained may be nervous the first few days in a new home and there might be a few accidents. RHGA requires that all of your own dogs be current on all vaccinations, including bordatella (kennel cough) because of the possibility of illness. Many dogs taken from shelters have kennel cough and/or pneumonia.
- I work all day. Am I a good candidate for fostering?
- That depends on your home setup and how much attention the foster dog will receive. We ask that our foster homes either have a doggie door or someone who can provide for the dog's toilet duties every 4 hours.
- I would love to foster for you, but I cannot afford food or medical bills for another dog. Is there any way I can still help?
- RHGA pays all veterinarian bills for our foster dogs, as long as you use our veterinarian and have the visit preapproved. If you are unable to take the dog to the vet, a volunteer can do that for you. If you are unable to provide a quality food for the dog, RHGA can provide that as well. We receive donated food from a couple different sources, and usually have some available for fosters.
- Isn't it difficult to give the dog up when a permanent home is located?
- Yes, it is heartbreaking, but because of the foster home's love and dedication to that dog, it will now go on to live with its new family and there will be room to take in yet another Greyhound in need. It does get easier with time. Our foster homes tend to get attached to the dogs that have had some sort of medical or emotional need. RHGA gives our foster homes a chance to adopt their fostered Greyhound if they would like to. We also encourage the foster home to play an active role in selecting a permanent home, since they know the dog's special habits.
- Interested in fostering a Greyhound?
- We would ask that you fill out an application.
Special thanks to Diane Morgan for the following poem:
A Poem to My Foster Dog
I am the bridge
Between what was and what can be.
I am the pathway to a new life.
I am made of mush,
Because my heart melted when I saw you,
Matted and sore, limping, depressed,
Lonely, unwanted, afraid to love.
For one little time you are mine.
I will feed you with my own hand
I will love you with my whole heart
I will make you whole.
I am made of steel.
Because when the time comes,
When you are well, and sleek,
When your eyes shine,
And your tail wags with joy
Then comes the hard part.
I will let you go -- not without a tear,
But without a regret.
For you are safe forever -- A new dog needs me now.