Foster homes are the backbone of most greyhound adoption groups, and this holds true for CGAP in a big way.
Let's talk about the learning opportunities first. A greyhound off the track will need some minimal training. We don't require you to do extensive training (although there's nothing wrong with that if you'd like to), all we ask is some regular turnouts with praise when your foster hound does his business. Greyhounds are already crate trained from their previous employment, so really, all that's required is to transfer that training to apply to the whole house. Most ex-racers have little difficulty with house training.
A newly retired greyhound might disrupt your home schedule to a degree, depending on how he manages being alone for the first time in his life. If you have to go out all day, and you have no other pets to keep the foster greyhound company, you can expect some anxiety from your hound, in many cases. It takes a while to train a greyhound to be happy on their own, as they have always had company. We can help with that, but it does take some time. Some greyhounds never manage to be alone, and this is important information for us to have in order to make a placement that will work well for both the adoptive family and the hound.
A bit of leash work is sometimes required for happy walks, and an adjustment to a more urban style of walking. Some greyhounds make this adjustment very smoothly, others will need more practice. Again, this is information that's important for us to know. If a hound is very noise sensitive, we need to find a home that's willing to work with him over a period of time for his placement, either that or one that has a backyard, so that there are alternatives for elimination.
A hound's response to cats, smaller dogs and children is also important to know in many cases. If we have an idea of a greyhound's initial response to these things, we then have a better idea of how much work the adoptive family will need to do.
These issues are important ones for us to know about, and a foster home supplies that information. This makes the liklihood of a good fit for hound and family much higher.
Our foster periods are usually quite brief, as we encourage adoptive families to treat the initial transition period of learning about pet life as a bonding experience. People who want pre-trained greyhounds are directed towards other groups.
Getting to spend time with a retired racer is a real treat, these are soulful, loving dogs that can be enchantingly quirky. Fostering is a way of having that experience without having to worry about paying for food or veterinary care, which CGAP covers for all fosters.
The rewarding feeling of helping a particular greyhound learn about pet life, and knowing that you facilitated this change for him or her, is indescribable. This is a rewarding experience that is matched by very few experiences in life. You have helped a hound to be part of a family, and made a difference for every person in that family as well, because without your work, we would not be able to adopt these hounds into loving, good fitting homes. This is what drives most of our foster families to do what they do.
Other foster duties will include things like hosting adoptive families to meet your foster greyhound, and doing some transport of your greyhound, whether to a prospective adoptive home or to a vet if he or she should need a visit(unusual).
If you think you would like to become one of our foster families, we have an online application you can fill out here: https://www.campgreyhound.ca/greyhound-foster/