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April Marks Adopt-A-Greyhound Month: Foster Carers Are Greyhound Angels



This year, we teamed up with the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds (CPG) to celebrate 'April is Adopt-a-Greyhound Month' by recognising the incredible work done by foster carers.

CPG [1] is a dedicated group of volunteers across Australia who work together to inform the public about the cruelties of Greyhound racing.

Greyhound rescue groups across the country are always on the lookout for committed, reliable foster carers who can help dogs make the transition from kennel to couch. Most volunteer-run rescue groups don't have kennels, but place Greyhounds with foster carers.

Fostering is a crucial part of the greyhound adoption process, as they help dogs become familiar with living in a home environment and ensure they go to the perfect 'forever family' when adopted.

CPG volunteer, Christine Trumble, gives us a first-hand account of how she came to adopt an ex-racer and how the foster process helps.

Christine and Eddie's story

"Rescue Greyhound Eddie is a perfect match with our family because his foster carer Brian did a great job.


Due to Greyhound 'angels' like Brian - a foster carer with greyhound rescue group Gumtree Greys - our Eddie settled in very quickly.

At first he slept with our son in his room on his own bed on the floor, as we thought Eddie might get anxious at night.

This only lasted the first six weeks or so and now Eddie sleeps on his own in the lounge room overnight.

We started a routine and kept to it. We learned what foods he liked and didn’t, how many walks a day he needed and how much close attention he wanted.

However, when I first considered adopting a Greyhound, my mind immediately went to GAP (Greyhounds As Pets)Greyhound Racing Victoria’s official adoption program. In fact, there’s an industry-run GAP in almost every state across Australia.

I was unaware there were other avenues open to me in order to receive a rescued hound. I remember calling GAP on the phone and the staffer telling me “Oh yes, we adopt them out straight from the kennels”.




That made me a little hesitant. Not having owned a dog since I was a child, I was not confident about adopting an adult dog that had never lived in a domestic situation.

Greyhounds have spent their lives in kennels and paddocks with other Greyhounds. While state racing body rules often require owners to prepare dogs for rehoming, little is usually done.

Instead, in a home for the first time, Greyhounds must learn to handle slippery floors, steps, noisy domestic appliances, as well as extra challenges when walking along the street like cars, joggers and dogs (which aren’t Greyhounds)

Foster carers help a dog through many of these adjustments.

If you're thinking about adopting a Greyhound, each state in Australia offers a choice of various community-run adoption groups that rely on the tireless work and dedication of volunteers and donations. Some of these groups might be lucky enough to have a sponsor or two. 

You can search for an adoptable Greyhound by postcode at www.everygreyhound.com.au

I found Gumtree Greys via a friend with two rescued hounds They operate in Queensland and Victoria, seeking foster and 'forever homes' for Greyhounds from the racing industry.




Many people don’t realize that many of these dogs never made it to the track in the first place because they weren't fast enough.

Gumtree Greys believe a foster program is a crucial part of the rescue process.

Without foster carers, dogs are often unable to be rescued from their current situation which can mean the difference between life and death, particularly if a trainer is not prepared to wait for a home to become available. Even the racing industry knows it has to do better on rehoming!

Annie with rescue Greyhound
Fostering is also important in matching the right dog to the right household. Not only does the Greyhound get a chance to adjust to domestic life, the foster carer can advise potential adoptees on the temperament and suitability of the dog.


Foster carers learn about a foster Greyhound's personality profile, its likes and dislikes and whether it could be homed with other dogs, young children or cats.

Foster carer Anne Hedley, who's also a volunteer with the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds, said private volunteer-run groups don't expect dogs to fit a mould.

"Instead, these rescues take the approach of rehoming all Greyhounds while respecting each dog's individuality," she said. "A Greyhound doesn’t have to pass assessment tests to enter a private rescue but is given a chance with good foster carers to become a great pet."

This is important because the racing industry re-homing bodies often euthanize dogs that fail the entry test.In fact, there's far too much euthanasia of healthy Greys in general.

Meanwhile, volunteer foster carers take a Greyhound for a few weeks, or until they feel the dog is ready to move to a permanent “forever home”.

Nathan, another foster carer with Gumtree Greys, says the best thing about fostering Greyhound Victor was seeing how much he came out of his shell over the weeks he was with them.

"He was so much fun to have around the house and his bright personality brought us so much joy," said Nathan. "Victor saved us through the lockdown, was full of love and affection and was an absolute angel to have around, even with the hilarious zoomies, howls and roaches!"

Sometimes a foster carer will grow so attached to their foster Greyhound, they can't bear to part with it and they permanently adopt it! This is called a 'foster fail'. 

One of Gumtree Greys' keenest supporters, Greg, said he's a serial foster fail-er.

"Since getting Phoenix, we’ve tried to foster another couple of hounds - graceful Eve and kooky Doc - and been utter failures,” he said. "And if I could get that country place and a converted doggie bus, I’d happily fail another twenty."

Interested in fostering or adopting a Greyhound? Why not visit the Gumtree Greys’ website at www.gumtreegreys.com.au

Just complete the questionnaire and don't worry about searching through all the available dogs - the volunteers do a wonderful job of match-making adopters and dogs.

One of their volunteers will personally visit you in your home to see if the hound they have in mind for you would be a good fit.

Greyhound Eddie with foster carer Brian 
Brian, one of the volunteer coordinators from Gumtree Greys in Victoria picked up on our personalities and then chose Eddie for us. It’s been a perfect fit!


Brian said when you adopt from an agency like Gumtree Greys, you become a member of a supportive community.
"It doesn’t matter what an adopter might need to know. There’s a real sense of being part of the ‘Gummie’ community," he said

"Whether it’s hound health and behavioural advice, or opportunities to stay connected with ‘the pack’ through organised walks (like the Great Global Greyhound Walk 2019 - lead shot), markets and fundraising or awareness events - there’s someone who’s happy to provide advice and suggestions.'

Brian said if you want to adopt, but are concerned about ever being able to holiday again, just put a post out to the Gummies and you’ll generally get multiple offers to look after your fur baby.

The lives of these beautiful dogs rely on groups like Gumtree Greys. A quick look at the reality of which groups re-home more Greyhounds is testament to that.

For instance, in Victoria for the 2018-19 period, only 1,644 Greyhounds were rehomed by industry re-homer GAP, whereas 2,631 Greyhounds were rehomed by voluntary groups.

Also, during that period in Victoria, GAP euthanized 142 dogs of the 1,201 which entered its program (figure sourced from FOI response by Greyhound Racing Victoria to CPG).

So how's Eddie now? As COVID restrictions eased and we all returned to work and study commitments, Eddie has had to get used to longer days at home on his own.

He's never tried to get up on the couch, although he does love to jump up on our double beds when they’re empty and have a nice snooze after the early morning walk.

Eddie’s doing fine, but very happy to see us when we return. Those long cuddles we get as he welcomes us home are so rewarding. And all thanks to a wonderful foster carer.

written by Christine Trumble and Fiona Chisholm for Australian Dog Lover, March 2021 (all rights reserved).

[1] Find the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds on Facebook, Instagram, website and in the media.



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