Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why I Foster Greyhounds

Today's post is the first in a random (no-schedule) series "Why I ___." The first-edition feature?
Why I foster greyhounds.
Yep. Usually you hear about foster kids- children without a legal guardian who have to move between families and homes while looking for adoptive parents. It's the same basic concept with the dogs- racing retirees in need of a forever home. My family's job is to help train these racers to be home-friendly pets when they've never even been inside a house before.

So why do I do it? Here are two good reasons:
Meet Boo (left) and Brody (right), my two current retired greyhounds. Brody is about 7 y/o and Boo is about 4 y/o. Both dogs raced, but neither was very good and both retired early without being bred.

"Fly Bye Brody" was my family's second foster dog, arriving while I was in 6th grade. He fit in with the female grey we had at the time and was such a goofball we couldn't bear to let him leave. Boo was one of our first fosters after my 8th grade year- two of our dogs had passed away that spring. "Sweet Crunch" was her racing name (how do you shorten that?) and had the adorable habit of perking up her ears like the little girl in Disney-Pixar's Monsters Inc.

The dogs that come through our home naturally a bit confused- not only are they in an actual house, but they've been transported from the Florida kennels to stay with complete strangers. One foster was terrified of hardwood floors and hopped from the carpeted floors to the rugs. We've had others that were terrified of the cats, the stairs, or both. Each dog is different, but every single one just wants to make people happy.

The dogs on the track are fed the worst sort of meat on an irregular basis. The beef that's deemed unsuitable for humans and that isn't even used in commercial dog food. Most of them have bald spots on the backs of their hips from the kennels and others have scars from scrapes and fights with other dogs.

And yet, the greyhounds still enjoy life and human attention. They still run in circles- often leaving tracks in their owner's backyards. They beg for attention, treats, and a good scratch. These dogs have a resiliency that few humans possess. While the laws in Florida are changing so that the dogs don't have such a long career, they still need people who (with great patience) can teach them how to live off the track. And if I can help place these dogs in a loving, permanent home, then that's something I want to be doing.

I work with the Greyhound Pets of America Charleston chapter. For information on greyhounds and racing stats, go to Greyhound-Data.

Look and see some cool pics/stats/pedigrees of greyhounds I have owned/do own: Faithful Message (Faith), Levi Rider (Levi), Fly Bye Brody (Brody), and Sweet Crunch (Boo) are a few.

Did you know that while they are called greyhounds, breeders and trainers believe grey, or blue, colored greyhounds are unlucky?


  1. We have an organization like that up here: http://www.gratefulgreyhoundsny.com/

  2. Cool. GPA is a national group too.