Volunteer foster mum, Sarah, shares her story…
Sarah is one of our amazing foster carers, sharing her home and time to rehabilitate Greyhounds that are discarded from the racing industry. Sarah is based in Brisbane and has been tirelessly working with FOTH for some time now, becoming an integral part of our rescue group.
Thank you Sarah.
Tell us more about what inspired you to get involved in fostering greyhounds?
I foster hounds because they are simply one of the most beautiful souls in the world, and it is my cheeky way of having an extra dog whilst I can still technically argue to my husband that we only have one dog (Teddy – our Groodle who is the exuberant foster-brother, host and teacher of dog things).
What/who was your first experience of a greyhound?
I remember the precise moment I first met a greyhound. I was a teen, visiting the vet with my then teeny tiny dog (all my mum would then allow). All the dogs in the waiting room were sitting on the vinyl floor. Then a greyhound walked in. Without request or invitation, the Greyhound walked gracefully to the leather sofa at the end of the room, immediately upstretched their gangly body on the soft furnishing, and lay down with paws crossed. I was astonished, and enthralled. Whilst the other mere canines sat on the cold ground, this magnificent creature of elegant proportions lay serenely and graciously above them. I was hooked. As soon as I left home, I adopted my first hound from the RSPCA – Kasper – he was skinny, terrified and had the most glorious overbite of any dog I had ever seen. We had the pleasure of his company for the next 11 years.
How do you benefit from fostering?
Fostering Greyhounds is truly an honour. You get to be part of the remediation of a dog’s life – a dog that often has had a hard or cruel few years in the industry, and that comes to you a bit scared and in poor shape. You have the opportunity to shower love and comfort and warmth on the most beautiful creature in the world, and then you get to see them bloom – it doesn’t take long to see them relax, become more confident and discover the joys of sniffing the grass on walks, playing with toys, raiding the dirty laundry basket, or doing zoomies across lounges and small children. It honestly fills my heart with happiness. Every time I have a moment of ‘geez, I don’t know if this is going to work’ or ‘this one is a bit too timid or too hard’ it only takes a few days before I am reminded again (and again) that Greyhounds are incredibly resilient and easily learn to be pets when given the chance, and that humans like myself are incredibly impatient and quick to judge!
Have you learnt anything about yourself through fostering (or about greyhounds)?
Fostering has certainly taught me to be more patient. Fostering with FOTH is brilliant – the team is supportive and you can always rely on someone else for help if you need it.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a first time greyhound owner?
And finally, my advice for a first time Greyhound owner is to be aware of the GSOD (Greyhound Scream of Death). Greyhounds sometimes make a sound like they have had a limb dismembered. You will hear the scream and immediately envisage pools of blood or gaping wounds. But actually, the high-pitched scream that emanates from the hound is completely disproportionate to the catalyst. The GSOD may have been prompted by a gentle request to leave the comforts of the sofa, the sight of a blue tongue lizard in the yard, a too-slippery floor, or a flower stuck to a paw. So when you hear it, rest assured that your hound is probably okay and they are not going to die.