GFNJ Foster Guidelines
You’re about to become a very important person in the life of a greyhound getting ready to be adopted through GFNJ. Instead of keeping our dogs in a kennel, we look for people like you to help them get a head start to a new life and, ultimately, to a forever home. While in your care, the grey will learn a lot, perhaps most valuable that people are kind and caring. The key to a successful transition from track life to living in a home is making your foster dog feel secure, comfortable and for them to understand what is expected of them. They look to you for direction.
A reminder: once you were approved to become part of the GFNJ Foster Program, you should have had a conversation with our behavior expert, Heidi Gehret. If you haven’t, please contact her immediately. She will talk to you about helping your foster become part your household, learn the house rules and interact well with your own dogs, children and other family members. We guarantee that even experienced grey owners will learn a great deal from her.
Here is the GFNJ contact information you will need:
Here are our guidelines to make it an easy journey:
Please keep the dog’s racing name or a close variation of it, since the adopter will likely change it.
Crate your foster when you are not home, unable to supervise, and during feedings. GFNJ will provide the proper size crate if you don’t have a spare one. If you cannot crate the dog, let Linda and Patty know so they can decide which dog would be best-suited for you.
All greyhounds, especially dogs fresh from the track, do much better if they are allowed to sleep on a dog bed on the floor in your bedroom at night. Greyhounds are accustomed to sleeping with their "packs" and can become anxious if left by themselves at night. They should not sleep in your bed.
Do not allow your foster on the furniture, he shouldn’t have to unlearn bad habits when he’s adopted.
Muzzle your foster for at least the first three days he is in your home. Greys can be very stressed in a new environment, and when stressed they can react. Muzzles help keep everyone safe during the transition period.
Muzzles must be used when turning your foster out in a fenced yard with your own dogs. If you don’t want to muzzle your own dogs, then your foster dog must be turned out separately. If your foster is riding in the car with other dogs, all dogs must be muzzled.
Contact Patty with an update within 36 hours of bringing your foster home, and check in with her every couple of weeks until he is adopted. Tell her about the dog’s successes and areas where he needs more time to adjust or learn. The more we know about the dog, the easier it is to find the right home.
We ask you to send a written update on your foster to Linda and Patty for our website by the end of the first week and occasionally after that. Potential adopters want to know how your dog’s doing, learning, and enjoying life. Include a photo if you like -- it’s nice to see a dog in a home environment.
If you think your foster is in need of medical attention, please contact Linda and GFNJ will pay all approved vet visits. If you choose to use your vet without Linda’s prior approval, you will be responsible for the charges.
In the case of a life threatening emergency, take the dog to your vet or an Emergency Veterinary Hospital immediately. Call Linda from the vet’s office as soon as your dog is in the hands of a professional. She must approve any suggested procedures.
You will receive a summary of the dog’s medical record, so you’ll have inoculation and medication dates. Heartworm medication was given to your foster the day he arrived at GFNJ and he should receive it every month after that arrival date. Some foster families choose to donate the monthly heartworm pill. If you cannot provide it, contact Patty, and she will give you the medication for your foster.
Most foster homes provide food for their foster dog. If you need assistance with the cost of food, contact Patty to make arrangements. We have had success feeding Taste of the Wild Salmon kibble or their less-expensive Costco version, Nature’s Domain. We recommend a female be fed at least 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups twice a day and a male at least 1 3/4 to 2 cups twice a day. This is a recommendation and if your foster is a young, big boy he may require more food. Consult Linda if you have a question about the amount of food that is appropriate.
In order to expose your foster to more people and potential adopters, we ask that you bring the dog to Adoption Day events, meet and greets, and other events when your schedule allows.
Your foster should not be taken to dog parks where other dogs are running free, not even other greyhounds, since he can be attacked by other dogs, resulting in severe injuries. And, their strong running instinct can lead to a race, which can result in broken legs.
Linda will match an applicant to your foster and ask you to have a phone conversation with the potential adopter. Once you talk to the potential adopter, report back to Linda asap.
If you’re contacted by an adopter regarding one of your former fosters who is having behavior problems, have them call Linda immediately. Do not offer any kind of behavior advice. Linda will have them get in touch with Heidi.
Contact Heidi at the first sign of a behavior problem with your foster greyhound or with your own dog’s interaction with him.
Suggested reading: Greyhounds for Dummies by Lee Livingood; Heidi's Behavioral Articles (http://www.greyhoundfriendsnj.org/info/display?PageID=13232)
Thank you for taking on this responsibility and for opening your home to a new greyhound. Whether your foster is straight from the track or a grey that has been relinquished to GFNJ by its former owner, being in a home is the best place for him until we find the ideal forever home.
We really appreciate your support and all you do for greyhounds.