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Celebrating Golden Greyhound Foster Carers for Seniors Month

The Coalition of the Protection of Greyhounds would like to recognise seniors who have opened their homes and hearts to fostering gentle Greyhounds straight from the racing industry. And it’s timely to do so, given that October is Seniors Month in Queensland and South Australia, while Victoria had its Seniors Festival last month.

Right now there’s an urgent need for greyhound foster carers. The greyhound racing industry is responsible for continued over-breeding of these dogs which no longer have a home after their career has ended.

While the owners may think older pups have no value, our foster carers beg to disagree. In South Australia, Karen and Ray Carter have been proud dog owners since they first got together in 1990. They used to have Golden Retrievers but after they were gone, Karen and Ray opted for a lower-maintenance breed since both were already retired and wanted to downsize.

(L to R) Greyhounds Dawn, Max & Sabrina
 in their jammies with their
humans, Karen and Ray
“We decided we wanted rescue dogs, as there are so many beautiful pups needing homes. We wanted a breed that didn't shed too much, that enjoyed a short walk, was content to laze around, didn't bark much and annoy the neighbours, and was happy in a small garden. Greyhounds ticked every box,” Karen said.

In 2015, they fostered their first Greyhound as volunteers with Kennel2Couch Greyhound Connect. Since then, they’ve fostered seven beautiful greys, but had three ‘foster-fails’ – this is when the foster pup is so charming that the family can’t help but adopt it.

Karen said that fostering has been an eye-opening experience about the degrading conditions under which Greyhounds suffer in the racing industry, but it’s also had other positive and unforeseen outcomes.

Ray with Max and Dawn before their walkie

Besides offering their lovely company, the pups have enriched their social lives and even improved family fitness. The pups need their walkies, after all!

“There are many local support and walking groups. Friendships are easily made. We’ve met many new people and made friends with like-minded folk who love the greys as much as we do. Now I'm retired and they are a big part of my social circle and my exercise regime,” said Karen.

Victorian residents, Sheila and Nat McGovern, started volunteering as foster carers from the beginning of August this year. After losing their much-loved Spud - another Greyhound rescued from the racing industry - they decided to start fostering as volunteers with Greyt Greys Rescue, in Victoria. 

They agreed that this is a perfect way of helping the greyhound cause and having a companionship without the permanent responsibility of adoption.
It was through fostering that they met Curly, the second greyhound they’ve welcomed to their home. Once again, they got to see a grey ‘blooming’.

“They go from being a commodity to a member of the family. When they first arrive they are quiet and a little fearful of their new environment. They watch and quite quickly start picking up their new routine,” said Sheila.

Sheila McGovern kissing Curly (lead image: Nat MgGovern with Curly)

"When they leave they know their name, they know cuddles and kisses, they know to go outside to go to the toilet, they know they're loved, and best of all, they know they like this new life.” she continued.

Curly hasn’t only won the couple’s heart: “The grandkids love Curly and he's so happy to see them when they visit. He knows they're going to play with him,” said Sheila. Charming boy!

Generally, the Greyhounds stay with the foster families for about two to eight weeks, which, of course, can vary. Curly, for example, started the adoption process with his ‘forever’ family after seven weeks with the McGoverns.

CPG asked if they weren’t concerned about the process, if Curly would miss them or if they worried if the new family would know his little quirks and preferences.

“Of course, we were thinking that, but these majestic beings are so clever that they'll teach their new humans the ropes,” said Sheila.

Nat with Greyhound Curly: who wears it better?

Karen finishes with a few tips for those who are interested in sharing their golden years with a little speedster.

“Fostering a Greyhound is the perfect way to find out if you are suited to greyhound ownership without making a permanent commitment. There is one to suit everyone,” she said.

“There are so many support groups and people willing to assist you as we all have one goal which is finding them a happy forever home,” she said.
  • To volunteer with the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds, see here.

written by Barbara Sarsan, CPG volunteer writer, September 2022 for Australian Dog Lover.

About Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds

CPG is a dedicated group of people across Australia who work together to inform the public about the cruelties of Greyhound racing – FacebookWebsiteInstagrammedia coverage.

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