From Track to Couch pt. 2
Bathing and Grooming
Our hounds are brought from our kennel facility directly to the McRorie's, where we bathe them, administer their vaccinations and worming, draw blood, and test them for cat & small dog tolerance. The first thing we do when the greyhounds step off the trailer is to check for any obvious injuries, then they are sprayed for fleas and any ticks are removed.
They are generally quite dirty from the sandy track. We use warm water and often find that the dogs enjoy the feeling. The water should be slightly warm to human touch. Water that is too warm, can cause the somewhat stressed greyhounds to faint.
After the bath we clean their ears. We go through a number of cotton swabs trying to clean the sand and dirt out of each ear. Earwash is squirted into each ear to help work the dirt out of inner area of the ear.
The dogs' ears will need to be cleaned several more times in the following days as the dirt starts to work its way out. Lucky didn't think this was really necessary, but he tolerated it well.
Despite the warm bath, it's a pretty stressful day for the dogs, beginning with a long ride from the track. If you'd been driven for hours, stuck with needles, had pills poked down your throat, and had a cat take a swat at you, you might be pretty testy by this time too! Most tolerate the process with that famous greyhound stoicism, but a few do complain. Lucky, pictured at right, was a fairly cooperative guy.
We also trim their nails. The soft surfaces at the track (sand, dirt and grass) don't do much to wear down their toenails. And often the nails are not trimmed to increase traction. Lucky, like all the other greyhounds, has worn a muzzle as a precaution throughout the day. Greyhounds can nip each other when they get excited and we don't want to risk any cuts.
Finally, we groom the greyhounds' coats with a dog glove. This glove works very well with short-haired dogs like greyhounds. If the hounds come directly from the track, their coats usually may not be in good shape. The coats will need several months to become soft and glossy. Dogs that came from colder climates, like Colorado, often have thicker fur. Dogs who have spent some time at the farm, like Lucky, usually have pretty nice (and full) coats. Lucky was at the farm for about two months.
In Foster Care
Once the bathing/grooming process is finished, volunteer foster families arrive to pick up the dog they will foster. Actually, the foster families often come early to help bathe the dogs.
Dogs that pass our cat testing are placed in foster homes with cats. At times they bring their other dogs with them to help find a compatible foster dog for their family. With few exceptions the dogs bond very quickly with the people and animals in their new home, and rapidly learn to love life in retirement.
The foster family then brings the greyhound home. Since we usually pick up dogs on Saturday morning, the family will have the rest of the weekend to spend with the dog. In the next couple of weeks, the foster family has a number of tasks to accomplish. They will take the greyhound to a veterinarian who cooperates with GPA for neutering/spaying, teeth cleaning, and rabies vaccination. They house train the dog and socialize it to life in a home. At left, Windy checks out the backyard at her foster home with her new pal, Cleo.
Cleo is one foster home's official ambassador to foster greyhounds. At right she shows her talent in helping foster dog Windy feel right at home.
Once a prospective adopter has sent in an adoption application, he or she is contacted by a Placement Representative. The representative, who has discussed the adopter's interests and needs in a dog during a home visit, helps him or her set up a visit to a dog in a foster family's home. And this is the beginning of the Greyhound's retirement!