Grey-Save of Northwestern Pennsylvania

The Adoption Process

 

 

 

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General Information

Based in the Erie area, Grey-Save places greyhounds within the northwest Pennsylvania, northeast Ohio, and northwest New York areas from Erie, Pennsylvania west to Ashtabula County in Ohio, south to the Interstate 80 area, and east to the Jamestown, New York area. If you are in or close to this area, we can assist you. If you are outside of that area, we can refer you to groups that are closer to your residence.

We have limited our service area in this way because we take pride in the level of support we offer adopters, and it is just not possible to provide that level of service to distant locations.

Cost: $250. This price includes:

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Application Process

Most adopters are not familiar with greyhounds. We believe that education about the breed and about retired racers in particular is a very important part of the adoption process. Thus, our entire adoption program is geared towards helping the adopting family to understand greyhounds so that they can assist their greyhound during the adjustment period from racer to pet.

Upon receiving your inquiry, Grey-Save will send you an information packet that will provide you with some basic information about greyhounds and Grey-Save. Also included in this packet is an adoption application.

Our application is also available online. If you live within our designated service area as mentioned above and are interested in adopting a greyhound, you may download our application, complete it and mail it to the address that is listed on the application.

Please note, for the safety of all concerned, it is the policy of Grey-Save not to place a greyhound in families with children under the age of 3 years. All families with children will be carefully evaluated. Our policy is not one of discrimination but of necessity - for the safety of the children, for the safety and well-being of the dog, and also because of the expectations and requirements of insurance providers.

The application serves two purposes. First, it allows you to tell us what you are looking for in a pet. Do you want a male or female? Large or small? Do you have a color preference?

Second, the application allows us to learn about you and specific needs you may have. Are there children in the family? Is your yard fenced? Does anyone in your family have allergies?

All of this information is essential and helps us to work with you to select a greyhound that will suit your family's desires and needs.

Once you have filled out and returned the application, a Grey-Save representative will contact you to arrange for two home visits.

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The Home Visits

Grey-Save conducts two home visits. One is done in your home, and the other at one of our homes. We ask that all members of the adopting family be present during these visits, as the information we will share will be important to everyone who will be caring for the greyhound.

The thought of home visits can be intimidating to some people. Don't let them scare you. They are nothing more than a tool that allows us to make the best possible match between adopting family and greyhound. Actually, they are a valuable tool for you as well.

First, they allow you to actually see greyhounds in your home. This may be the first time you have ever seen a greyhound up close. Seeing them in your home helps you to decide if a greyhound will fit into your lifestyle and if a greyhound is right for you.

Second, the home visits allow us to continue the education process. We will cover information that is both dog related in general and some that is specific to greyhounds. Many of our adopters are first time dog owners, and we believe that having solid information about what to expect and how to care for your new pet is essential. And again, having this information will help you to decide if a greyhound is the right pet for you. We will also explain the balance of the adoption process to you and can answer questions that you may have developed since our initial contact.

During the home visit at your home we will look at items like door latches to ensure that they close securely. We may walk your fence line to ensure that there are no gaps or other areas that might allow a greyhound to escape. We will point out anything that we see that may be a concern and provide suggestions on how to remedy the situation if necessary. If you have other pets, we will see how they interact with our greyhounds.

The Grey-Save representatives who conduct the home visits will not be able to inform you whether your application will be approved. The approval process is covered next.

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The Approval Process

All applications and the results of the home visits are reviewed by the Board of Directors at the next scheduled board meeting. This review process is designed to be as certain as possible that there are no questions or concerns that need to be addressed. Remember, our goal is to arrange an adoption that will be good for both the adopting family and the greyhound. We do not want pets being returned any more than you would like to have to return the dog because things did not work out. This board review process allows us to be as sure as posible that a greyhound is the right pet for you, and to discuss what type of greyhound will best suit your family.

Once your application has been approved, we will contact you to inform you of that decision and the expected chain of events that will occur.

Are adopters ever turned down? On rare occasions where we felt that it was in the best interest of the greyhound and/or the adopting family to decline an application, we have done so. In that regard, we operate very much like most private breeders. We want to make the best decision possible for everyone.

Again, denials are rare and are fully explained to the adopting family when they occur. A denial does not mean that a family cannot apply again at a later date.

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Waiting for Your Greyhound

Once you have been approved for adoption, it is simply a matter of waiting for a dog and foster home to become available. How long that takes is dependent upon a number of factors that we will cover next.

We will contact the adoption kennel to see if they have a greyhound available that is suitable for you. We will also check with our foster homes to see if there is a suitable one available. We try to foster the greyhound in a family as close to yours as possible. If you have children, we will try to have a family with children foster your greyhound. If you have other small pets, a foster home with small pets will be selected whenever possible.

The decisions you have made will also play a part here. Your choice of sex, size, and color will come into play. If, for example, you have decided that you want a large blue brindle female, you may have a long wait. That combination is quite rare and could take months to find. If, on the other hand, you decided that you want a medium-sized greyhound of either sex with no (or several acceptable) color choices, it will be much easier to find the greyhound that suits your desires.

Remember that your choices are only a part of the equation, as the dog must also meet your NEEDS as far as being cat or small animal safe, good with children, etc. Temperament and meeting your needs is much more important than finding the right size and color of dog. We will not bring back a greyhound for you unless we are comfortable that it will work in your family. On occasion, we may actually call you from the adoption kennel if they have a dog that suits your needs but does not match your desires to give you the option of taking that greyhound or waiting.

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The Foster Home & Interactive Fostering Program

We believe that our fostering program is one of the best in the country. It helps to guide the greyhound and adopting family through this transition period in a way that is comfortable and exciting for both of you.

If there is a dog in the adoption kennel that is right for your family, we will bring it back. We personally select and transport your greyhound because we believe that both are important ingredients to a successful adoption.

Your greyhound will be delivered directly to the foster home, and an appointment will be made with the veterinarian for the medical work as quickly as possible.

We will notify you when the dog has arrived in Erie, but it will be up to the foster home to decide if you may visit it at that time. Each greyhound adjusts to the transition from the racing kennel into a home in its own way. Most have an easy time of it, but some are frightened or nervous for the first few days. If the foster home determines that your greyhound is doing well they may invite you to meet and visit the dog immediately. But if the greyhound seems to be uncomfortable, they will not arrange for such a visit, as meeting additional people will only confuse the dog and make its initial first few days even more difficult. We know that not being able to meet your dog immediately may be difficult, but please trust our judgement and experience and allow us to do what is best for the greyhound and ultimately, for you and your family.

The foster family will also make observations to be as certain as possible that this is the right dog for you. If they see any indications that this dog will not work for you, we will let you know immediately and either give you a choice of working with the dog (if the issue is a minor one) or, if the issue is one of great concern, we will advise you that this dog will remain in foster care until a suitable home can be found and another greyhound will be brought back for you.

Our fostering process serves four purposes.

First, it allows the greyhound to begin healing from the surgery. This is very important. Your greyhound MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO RUN FOR THREE TO FOUR WEEKS AFTER THE SURGERY. The greyhound uses what is called a double suspension gait. It runs very much like a horse in that its rear legs cross its front at full stride and the dog is in fact airborne a substantial amount of time. That type of running places a great deal of stress on the stitches, and the stiches may be torn free creating a life threatening situation.

Second, our fostering program helps the retired racer to begin the transition to pet life. It will learn about everything around it, as almost all of it will be new to the greyhound. Housebreaking will be verified. If you have a multi-story home, the foster family will begin teaching the greyhound to climb stairs. It will learn to interact with adults at a new level and may be learning to interact with children for the first time. If being cat or small animal safe was a priority for you, the greyhound will be observed to ensure that it is in fact cat and small animal safe. In short, the foster home will be observing, guiding, and altering just about everything that your greyhound does.

Third, our foster program allows us to continue educating you about greyhounds and how to care for yours. The foster home will also educate you about your greyhound in particular during the fostering process. At the end of the foster period, they will go over a list of items about your dog that will cover turn out times, feeding, your greyhound's personality, and many other aspects about your greyhound.

Fourth, our fostering program is interactive. Once your greyhound is comfortable in the foster home we WANT you to visit the dog as much as possible. This allows the greyhound to begin developing a relationship with you, and that will make the transition from the foster home to yours much easier for the greyhound. It also allows you to meet your new friend and develop that same relationship on your end.

The foster family will decide when your greyhound is ready to be released to you. They currently own or have owned greyhounds before. They will know your dog best and we trust their judgement. The average foster period lasts for two weeks, but may be longer if the greyhound needs additional time for any reason.

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Release to You

When the foster home feels that the time is right, your greyhound will be released to you. Payment in full is required at that time. No deposit is required in advance and no money will change hands before this date.

At release, you will be asked to sign a standard adoption agreement that covers a number of areas, but most importantly states again that we expect you to keep your greyhound on a hand-held leash or in a fenced area at all times, and that the dog must be returned to us if you decide not to keep it at some point in the future. The greyhound may not be sold or given to anyone else without our prior approval. This clause is designed solely to protect the greyhound.

At release the foster family will cover basic information that is specific to your greyhound once again verbally and you will be given a copy of that information in writing. You will also be encouraged to contact the foster family or any of us at Grey-Save if you any questions or concerns.

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Follow Up

Your foster family or others from Grey-Save will check with you periodically during the first few weeks to ensure that all is going well and to see if you have any questions. This is not because we do not trust you. It is because we know that we, and now you, are interacting with a living entity that has its own personality and characteristics. Adding a new member to the family can be, shall we say, an interesting experience at times, and we can help you with that aspect of your relationship with your greyhound. We have been through this many times and we have knowedge and experience on our side. Don't be afraid to take advantage of that. We welcome your questions and concerns. No question is too small or silly. We would much rather have you contact us about a problem while it is still small rather than wait until it grows into something unmanageable.

Follow up and assistance from Grey-Save is always available throughout your greyhound's life. We also maintain a database of medical and behavioral specialists and information in the event that this becomes necessary at some point.

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Service To Grey-Save & The Community

After receiving their greyhound, our adopters have one other choice to make. You will decide whether you want to be an on-going part of Grey-Save. Some adopters wish to simply take their greyhound and enjoy their life together, contacting us only if they have a question or decide to adopt another greyhound. That is perfectly fine. We understand and respect that. But we also offer our adopters the opportunity to do some really neat things with us if you would like to participate.

We normally have two greyhound-included picnics each year. At these events you can meet other adopters and exchange stories and photographs while your greyhound enjoys the opportunity to visit with 15-30 of his brothers and sisters (supervised at all times).

If you are interested, you are welcome to assist us at information tables where we introduce our greyhounds to the public. These typically take place at local fairs and civic events, and at Petsmart and Walmart.

We also offer you the opportunity to participate at pet therapy by taking your greyhound to visit those in local nursing homes. This is the most rewarding of our events, but it can be difficult and is not for everyone

Grey-Save has conducted school visits for thousands of area children. These visits focus on the history of the greyhound, caring for a pet, and animal safety. Greyhound adoption is NOT discussed during school visits.

We also show off our greyhounds at several parades during the year. Don't be shy. The parades are nothing more than a long, slow walk with frequent stops that allow you to share your greyhound with people that may never have seen such a dog before. If you are really uncomfortable meeting new people, we can accomodate you by placing you away from direct public contact.

We also have other events throughout the year. We encourage you to at least consider joining us and helping more of these wonderful dogs to find homes. If you are not sure, try it at least once. We think you'll be surpised at just how enjoyable these events can be.

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2008 Grey-Save of Northwestern Pennsylvania