Our Foster Carer’s stories
We asked our foster carers to share their thoughts on fostering.
I started fostering three years ago. I had moved from a big farm to a smaller block and needed some company and stimulation for my dog. Fostering seemed like a great way to have a friend for my dog without the expense and commitment of owning a second dog.
My biggest concern was my inexperience with greyhounds (I have only ever had farm dogs) and GAP was amazing at educating and helping me understand the breed. Initially I was worried about the heartbreak of giving a dog up, but have since discovered that the joy of hearing how they are doing in their forever home (plus the excitement of getting a new foster hound) makes this the best part of the job. There is nothing more heartwarming than running into old foster dogs around town or at the GAP runs and seeing how happy they are with their forever family.
A typical foster experience involves starting with a stunned mullet that needs to be pushed up the stairs, doesn’t know its name and shyly follows the other dogs around the house. A few days later it’s turned into a happy-go-lucky tail wagger who gallops around the lawn, knows what “time for a walk” means and is constantly trying to claim a spot on the couch!
Aside form all the obviously fun parts, my favourite aspect is getting to know each dog’s personality and therefore helping GAP find the perfect home for them. It’s a pleasure to watch them shine as they settle in, and know that a bit of life education from their time in foster care makes settling into their forever home so much easier.
I have made wonderful friends, met fabulous dogs, and learned more than I ever anticipated in a job that has no real downsides. If you are ever thinking about fostering then I would definitely recommend giving it a go. It’s been a great experience and one I plan to continue for a long time yet.
A brief message to prospective foster carers. Watch out, you’ll lose your heart to these amazing dogs! Our story began at the Riccarton Market earlier this year when we SAW a hound for the first time. Before long our two-year-old son was almost hanging
off the beautiful Muldoon and we had applied to adopt our own (after talking about getting a dog for a while).
Our boy Sid came to live with us soon after, and about seven weeks after that we took our first foster – the stunningly beautiful and super smart Mary. She fitted right in ….immediately. Which was great as the kennels had flooded and Sid was recovering from a serious accident. We very nearly adopted Mary too, but sadly can’t share our home with two hounds permanently.
Our two kids Master, now aged three, and Madame, aged eight, LOVE the dogs and they love them too, especially when the kids go to bed. That’s when Sid can REALLY settle for a sleep.
Here’s the great thing we’ve discovered about greyhounds, they’re completely wonderful, gentle, lazy, loving. When I look back at photos we’ve taken of Sid and Mary, they still make me smile, we’ve met great people and awesome dogs. It’s been a real privilege and pleasure having our dog. We’re so looking forward to helping another hound adjust to life off the track soon.
Being a full-time university student, fostering has meant that I get all of the advantages of dog ownership without having to worry about what to do with a dog during university breaks, and about the costs of feeding and of veterinary care. The foster programme works as in the old proverb – a village raising a child. The kennel manager, foster care co-ordinator and foster carers (to name a few) all know the dogs, and all witness them learning to become family members – an extremely rewarding process to be a part of. It’s also very comforting to know that there are many people available for advice.
The greyhounds themselves are truly lovely creatures – quiet, kind, cuddly and quirky. The best things to come home to. And it’s very easy to find their apex heart beat – encouraging for a vet student! While it is difficult when a foster dog is adopted or goes to another foster home, it is nice to know that they are happy (and most likely on a couch) somewhere, and that you helped them to get there.