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Fostering without a resident GH to teach the ropes

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Hello all.  Forgive the long post, please.  We are back in the fostering routine and I would love some thoughts/input on our situation.  We previously fostered a few times several years ago prior to our GH passing away.  We never had any issues with the handful of dogs we fostered, only one of which was fresh off the tracks, and she adjusted well (the others were bounces).  Fast forward, and it seems like it could be a different story now that we are a "2 working adults with no resident GH" foster home.  Our first foster had to be moved after a week because she exhibited signs of SA and the coordinator wanted to try her in a home with another dog, which seems like was the right move for her.  Because we both work, we could not do the TRUE alone training protocol, and she was panicking every day, peeing in the crate, attempting to escape the crate, etc.  We are getting another GH foster this weekend, and our fingers are crossed that she will be ok in our home.  We understand that dogs fresh off the tracks go through a radical change when they enter the world of being a pet.  My question involves how many can successfully be ok in a home without another GH to ease the transition?  Foster dogs in our home will have to be able to make it 5-6 hours alone in a crate.  We do everything we can to assist them to be happy/calm, ie: alone training "lite", feed in crate, place a blanket over the top, play "Through a Dog's Ears" on repeat, walk 2 miles before being crated, leave a frozen PB Kong, minimize the drama when leaving and returning, etc.  I plan to get a DAP diffuser to help as well.  We know that there will likely be some whining and crying for awhile.  I am not concerned about that.  I am more concerned with the escalation to higher levels of distress.  Suffering through SA seems cruel and potentially damaging to the dog's psyche as she leaves the track.  The last thing we want is to harm a dog psychologically at a vulnerable time.

One way that I am looking at this is to think of us as a foster home that can "test" whether a dog can more easily adjust to being an only pet for those adopters who don't have another pet and who work outside the home.  This seems like a niche need that we could help address.  The idea of having a string of dogs who cannot tolerate being alone while we are fostering them is daunting, though.  It was tough to move her, and we felt like we had failed her in some way.  I guess I am just looking for thoughts about how we should be thinking about this going forward.  Thanks much!!

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I've never fostered, but as someone with a full time job who will only have one dog at a time, my one criteria is for a dog who can handle that. But most foster homes have multiple dogs, and many of those people are home for much more of the day than I am. So I would love to have someone like you to foster for me! If you are willing to take it on, I'm confident there are many potential adopters who would benefit. Not to mention dogs not being returned when they are adopted out to working people and they can't cope.


 
Lila Football
Jerilyn, devoted Mistress to Lila (Good Looking)
 
 

 

 

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I think you are providing a very valuable service for your group! Many adopters only want one dog (at first, anyway :D) and most people work, so having a dog that was fostered in that environment would be great. Most greyhounds like being around other greys, but I think most do fine as only dogs. You will get a few that have SA, but don't feel like you have failed, you have helped them too, now the group knows not to adopt them as only dogs.

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Completely agree with previous posters. Kennels can tell you about energy levels and cat safety, but can't give any reliable indication of SA. If dogs were fostered in a house like yours, they could do even better at matching dogs with owners because they would know. You might run into more instances where you have to give up a foster sooner than you planned because of SA but ultimately doing the dog and future owners a great service.

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I think it sounds like a wonderful fostering situation!  So many that foster have other greys in the home, but many dogs get adopted out to homes without other greys.  

Of course, work with your group to try to get the right dog - obviously not all will work - but that's OK!  LOTS of dogs WILL work fine in that situation!  And - your experience will make them much better pets than a newbie getting one to be an "only" that wasn't fostered.  Did that my first time lol.  

I've never fostered without another grey in the house, but when DH and I are ready for dogs again - it'll be an "only".  Looking forward to hearing your tips!  
 

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It has been quite a month.  Our fist foster girl was quite anxious when we left, so was moved to another foster home with a resident GH to see if that would alleviate her anxiety.  It did not, and in fact, she regressed even more.  During the time she was there, we fostered another girl who was a dream ~ totally confident and secure the minute she walked into the house. She was adopted over the weekend to a single woman with no pets, and I am confident that this will be a win-win for both human and hound.  We now have foster dog #1 back, and are working on getting her more confident and secure.  Because we work outside of the home, we cannot do TRUE alone training.  She gets really panicked in the crate when we leave, so was started on Trazadone today to see if it helps with the acute anxiety when left.  We cannot leave her uncrated because she has a history of soiling both in and out of crate, as well as some concern about destructing the environment.  This little girl is a challenging one, but we want to see her though.  It may be that she ultimately needs to be in a home where her humans are retired or work from home and can be with her most of the time.  SA is b***h.  But is is good to know going in to an adoption whether or not a dog can handle being alone.

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it sounds like the SA afflicted girl needs to be in a home with many GH rather than starting her on meds. GH live in packs and the transition sounds like it was just too much for her. Crates are security of many dogs. She most likely needs to just blend in with a group of dogs. 

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On 10/9/2019 at 7:42 AM, cleptogrey said:

it sounds like the SA afflicted girl needs to be in a home with many GH rather than starting her on meds. GH live in packs and the transition sounds like it was just too much for her. Crates are security of many dogs. She most likely needs to just blend in with a group of dogs. 

I would not disagree with that.  The issue is finding a foster home that can take her right now as she gets ready for her forever home.  At least with us, we know some of her idiosyncrasies, and she is never alone more than 4-5 hours.  But in that time, she is a very unhappy little girl.  Since we got her back, she has not peed in the house or crate, and she has not pooped in the house.  She was doing both of these things at the previous foster home.  One theory is that she does not like males, and we are a two female household.   We consider it progress that despite being so panicked in the crate when alone, she (so far) had been able to hold her bowels and bladder.  Keeping our fingers crossed that this continues.  If so, we might venture to testing her outside of the crate, with her muzzle on, as she also has a history of chewing pillows, wood furniture, upholstery, etc.  I should also say that she was diagnosed a week ago with an enlarged clitoris, and the group is consulting with Dr. Cuoto on how to best proceed with treating this.  She has responded well to gabapentin and remadyl to help with the sensitivity and shrink the size of the enlargement.  It is one of the reasons they struggled to find another foster home.  Her medical care, which includes applying topical lidocaine to her labia, was prohibitive.  Now that there is some treatment on board, this may also be why she is no longer urinating in the crate/house.   She is only 22 months old, so still has a lot of puppy in her.  She never raced either, so does not have the maturity that can come with training/racing.  I have to say, she could very easily steal our hearts bc she is so funny and sweet otherwise.  She lives to fetch a ball.  She knows how to fetch, retrieve and release, which I think is quite smart of her.  But she is a handful in many other ways:)

 

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Just thought I'd throw this out there...We have a foster family who was having some trouble with the crate.  She attached an ex-pen to the crate and left the door open.  He was still confined but wasn't shut in the crate.  He has settled right down.  They do have 2 other dogs though that are free in the same room. 


<p>Mom to Kyle (Diehard Kyle) & Angel Gracie (KB's Sankey) Foster Mom for AFG

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Our foster girl is still struggling in the crate.  Unfortunately, our house is pretty small and we have exactly one place for a crate, with little room around it for an additional ex-pen.  She is going today to another foster home for 6 nights while we are out of town.  There are 2 other dogs in that home, and the human does not work.  I anticipate this will go well.  However, as far as I know, she will be returning to us next week . . . unless babysitter falls in love, which is a distinct possibility since she is about as precious as the come.  Once we return from our trip, if we get her back, we are going to slowly try to start testing her outside of the crate, muzzled, and monitored while we are just out of the driveway and can return quickly if possible; kind of a modified alone training  . . . knowing she may likely have to go back in the crate (and panic) until we can make some progress.  Oh, and I should say, the vet switched her from Traz, which did not seem to be helping, to Prozac.  She did so after seeing the videos we took of how distressed she was in the crate.  

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Update on our foster girl.  She was VERY HAPPY at the dog sitter.  They tested her out of crate with their two dogs, and she did fine.  They then tested her out of crate w/o their dogs to keep her company, and she could be heard howling a quarter mile down the road.  She just cannot be alone.  So, the consensus is she has to be in a home with at least one and maybe more other pups.  They group found another foster home that meets this description and she was moved there yesterday.  I was told that she and her new GH foster sissie hit it off immediately and were romping together in the yard.  This really warmed my heart.  I have been so worried about her.  But I trust the universe that she will land in the just right forever home for her.  And we are getting a new foster girl tomorrow.  Hooray!

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Congrats!  You are being smart and thoughtful!  

I'm so happy that you're continuing fostering!  Not every dog fits every home and that's OK!!!  

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An update on our crate/being alone hating foster girl.  Let's call her Little B.  She did GREAT in the last foster home, and after seeing her last weekend at the mng, my attachment to her only grew.  She literally crawled into my arms, laid in my lap and stayed by my side for 2 hours while her foster dad ran the mng.  She was also very social and engaged with all the other GH's and humans.  Her overall sense of well-being is miles and miles better than even a month ago.  We are lined up to get another foster in the next couple of weeks, and basically made the decision that if the stars aligned, we would adopt them both.  Well, I was notified yesterday that a previous adopter has expressed a desire to foster with intent to adopt her.  My heart hurts a little, because I was hoping that those stares were going to line up and we could bring her back to us and be a 2 young greyhound home (both girls just turned 2).  We were willing to make adjustments for this to work, and were prematurely getting excited about the possibility.  I was already planning out in my head where to put the second food bowl and how to lay out their beds so that we could navigate around them in our smallish house.  I was fantasizing about watching them zoom around our large back yard, taking them on walks together at our local greenway, and watching them snooze side by side. When I heard that she will be going to the previous adopter, though, I was also glad for her. I know this woman is really smitten with Little B, and her little girl and B will likely be fast friends.  If she can't be with us, this is the place I would most want her to be.  Plus I now get to see her at our group events :) The catch is that there is a 9 month old puppy (another breed) in the house, so if the mix just does not work for any reason, then maybe she will end up with us and the  little girl who is coming our way soon.  So, that's where we are at in this saga right now . . . 

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