Posted on September 30 2022
It's 8 pm, and your foster greyhound is passed out on the *entire* couch after their post-dinner zoomies. You're sitting on the floor but not mad about it because you love your long-dog and reckon his quick-stix deserve a break after all those doughnuts earlier (the running-around-in-circles type, not the iced-circles-of-bread type).
You're wondering how you could ever give them up for adoption, though you probably won't miss those farts (switching foods can give greyhounds gas, and fosters may have their diet switched up frequently, so it's not their fault!). Fostering greyhounds is not without challenges, but it's deeply, deeply rewarding, which is why there are so many #FosterFails (fosterers adopting their 'temporary' greyhound). If you know what to expect from the ups and downs of fostering, you can manage most hurdles pretty easily and spend most of the time enjoying your derpy doggo and their unique personalities.
Your foster greyhound's first night in the home can really set the tone – making the space feel safe and comfortable before they arrive is key to a smooth transition into your home. Here are our tips for welcoming your foster hound home:
Have a big, soft bed ready for their arrival
Your new adorable but bony buddy will appreciate a thick, soft place to chill out. Have a designated doggo area ready to go with a dog bed, some blankets, maybe some pillows and ideally a comforting toy or treat that will encourage your greyhound to stick to this spot and relax. If you already have a dog, don't leave food lying around, as this could lead to a fight.
Let this space be your dog's space – no hoomans allowed unless totally necessary (like you're taking them out for a toilet stop or walk). Some quiet time to settle in can go a long way with your greyhound – whether they're coming to you straight from a racing kennel or from a previous home, it's a big adjustment.
Make sure everyone in your home knows that greyhounds can sleep with their eyes open, and you should never approach them suddenly when they're lying down.
Let them explore
Becoming familiar with their new home will help your greyhound settle in. When you first bring them home, try giving them a 'tour' on the lead. Give them time to smell all the new things and get used to the space. It's a good idea to start the tour with where you want them to go to the toilet.
Starting the tour with the outdoors area is a great way to ease your doggo in. Ideally, you can stay out here together until they're ready for the toilet. Keep them in the space you want them to use as the toilet and wait outside with them until they go. Then, immediately praise them, so they learn this is their new toilet space.
As your dog settles in, it's a good idea to bring them out to the yard for the toilet about every three hours, or when they've just woken up, right before bed, or just after they've eaten.
Keep your hound warm
Greyhounds have thin skin and low body fat, so they can get very cold! They also do lots of lying around – about 18 hours a day. You can help keep your hound warm with a thick bed, blankets and a Hound-Tee. A Hound-Tee is important because blankets fall off as your doggo gets comfy! A good way to check if they're cold is by feeling their ears – if the ears are cold, so is the doggo.
Establish the feeding routine from night one
The feeding routine is a crucial part of welcoming your foster hound. Racing dogs can often have anxiety or aggression around food as they may not have been sure when food was coming or not been able to eat in peace at the kennel.
Always feed your greyhound before you sit down to eat, so they don't get confused about why you aren't feeding them, too. Feed them in the same spot at the same time each night – establish this routine from night one and keep it consistent.
Saying goodnight (read: not saying goodnight)
The golden rule of leaving your greyhound alone is to act casual. Do not make a fuss by saying goodbye or giving them lots of pats or attention before going to bed (or leaving the house in general). Before bed, take them out to the toilet, bring them to their bed, let them get settled and then simply leave.
They might cry a bit the first few nights – consider giving your neighbours a heads up. Do your best to ignore cries or scratching at doors, so they don't learn this is a way to get attention. You can leave them with a chew toy or pig's ear, leave a night light on and some quiet radio, so they feel cosy, calm and not so alone.
Why is fostering so important for greyhound rescues?
Foster carers play a vital role in supporting the rescue of greyhounds. While helping them adjust to their new lifestyle, fostering is also a great opportunity to get to know their personality so they can be placed with the right families in their fur-ever home. If you’re interested in fostering a greyhound, scroll down to check out recommendations for local rescue groups.
Enjoy your time together
Strap in for weeks of those hilariously greyhound-y habits like roaching on their back with all four legs in the air or chattering their teeth as a sign of affection (ironically enough, not always a sign they are cold!). Thanks for fostering these gentle giants, and whether you get them ready for a loving forever home or experience your very own #FosterFail, you’re about to make some amazing memories.
Local Rescue Groups