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A fabulous foster

Debbie Payne said her addiction to fostering greyhounds is ‘probably purely selfish’, but 96 greyhounds later, selfish couldn’t be further from the truth.

Around 13 years ago, Debbie and her husband Mike (above with their greyhound Tom) were going to purchase an Irish Wolf Hound and the breeder told them he or she would need a mate.

With this, the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) volunteers adopted their first greyhound Barney while they waited for the pup to be born, only to go down a different path altogether.

“We fell in love with Barney and cancelled the proposed purchase of the wolf hound,” Debbie said.

“Since then we have been fostering for around 13 years.”

Debbie said they’ve ‘failed to give four greyhounds back’ because they decided to keep them as their own.

“All 96 of them are my babies, even though I don’t own them,” she said.

At one point, Debbie said she had to make sure she picked up another greyhound on the same day she returned her current foster dog to ease the pain of having to give them back.

“I’d foster one for three weeks and I’d pick another one up as I dropped them back,” she said.

It would appear it doesn’t get any easier to let them go, as Debbie admitted she even shed a few tears when she took her latest greyhound back a few weeks ago.

The greyhounds also forced her husband Mike to do a backflip.

“He wasn’t a dog person until we started with the greyhounds, now he’s a big softie,” she said.

Debbie said she decided to foster to help greyhounds find their second home.

“I felt that I really wanted to do something to get those dogs out there, and make people aware of them,” she said.

“I get so much out of it, it’s probably purely selfish because it’s so wonderful for me to see them grow.”

Debbie encouraged anyone who has considered fostering to give it a go.

“They’re the easiest dogs to own and just the best pet. They’re great for anybody no matter what.”

“You could get a greyhound for kids or for people with a disability, they’re so gentle.”

Debbie said she believed that greyhounds had come a long way and added that people now cross the road to come and give them a pat and see what they’re like.

“They’re a wonderful breed and thoroughly enjoyable,” she said.

“They’re so adaptable, I feel like that’s the best way to describe them.”