Fill the GAP!
It can be a very daunting time for a Greyhound when they first enter retirement life and many of the dogs which come into our care need some extra help in a home environment before they’re ready for their fur-ever homes. This is where our Foster Care team come in! We have a dedicated group of volunteers all over the state who regularly foster a greyhound in their home for a few weeks, helping to Fill the GAP between racing and pet life.
What is required to be a Foster Carer?
- Foster Care assignments are generally for a period of three weeks. GAP provide food, muzzle, snuggly coat, and lead. Carers provide an old blanket or mat for sleeping, and some toys to play with (even empty soft drink bottles or cardboard boxes).
- Volunteers need to agree and sign our Volunteer and Foster Care Agreements, which are available to view and download on the application page.
- We prefer carers to have at least a small outside space, with secure fencing, and a shaded area. Some carers in apartments are appropriate if someone is home during the day to toilet the dog. Otherwise, it is not necessary to be home all day to be a foster carer.
- We require a variety of family situations for different foster dogs – carers with children of different ages; carers with cats; carers with other dogs of different sexes and breeds; and plenty of carers with no other pets or children. We match each dog to the most appropriate care home.
- Carers are asked to provide 1-2 short walks a day of up to 20 minutes, preferably in an area where dogs of other breeds (with leads on) can be observed by the Greyhound at a distance, then gradually closer if the dog behaves calmly. Some basic grooming and dog massage or cuddles, and practice on stairs, is always appreciated.
- Every Greyhound is completely different – it’s not unusual for some foster dogs to seem a bit aloof or unsocial at first. Remember – this is all new to them: stairs, laminate floors, carpets, other pets, and kids. Once they adjust their personalities will start to emerge!
- Foster dogs must always be muzzled and on leash when off your private property.
How many dogs do I need to foster?
Foster Carers are volunteers who work with multiple greyhounds for short periods at a time. Whilst there is no specific number you’re required to foster, it’s a great support to GAP if you can care for 3-4 greyhounds in a year (each for three weeks). Some of the greyhounds our carers work with may already have a permanent home waiting, so if you think you’re looking to adopt, fill in an adoption application and our team will contact you. All GAP adoptions begin with a trial period to ensure your Greyhounds fits into your home and family.
Do I receive any training?
New volunteers need to attend a face-to-face induction and training session at GAP where you learn about the basics of foster caring. These sessions are 3 hours long and volunteers can sign up for the next session that suits their availability. You also receive a copy of our foster care manual, and we hold some skills sessions throughout the year on different topics relating to greyhound behaviour and care.
How do I get my foster dogs?
GAP currently hold weekly Foster Care swaps at Sandown Greyhound Racing Club (Springvale) on Thursdays as well as weekly on Saturdays to Sandown Greyhound Racing Club (Springvale) and The Meadows Greyhound Racing Track (Broadmeadows). Dogs may also be collected from GAP in Seymour and by arrangement at Mt Mercer.
What if something goes wrong?
Carers have access to a 24-hour after hours phone number in the case of any accidents or vet care required, which is covered by GAP. A dog may be returned if they prove unsuitable for your home – this is why we foster, so don’t worry! Carers also have support from peers on our Facebook group and experienced carers who offer mentorship to new volunteers.
What’s in it for me?!
- Foster Caring can sometimes be a challenge but it is also hugely rewarding, especially when you find out a dog you have fostered has been adopted into their new family!
- There are rewards based incentives for our foster carers – the more dogs you foster, the more rewards you get!
- At GAP, we know how to treasure our volunteers. We hold fun, free events throughout the year for all our volunteers!
For further details, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.