Greyhound Rehoming Pilot Program
What is the program and how was it conceived?
These greyhounds are part of a pilot program between the Victorian based volunteers at Racing 2 Rehome and two west coast USA greyhound rehoming groups, Royal Hounds and Greyhound Pet Inc, to ensure that after their careers are finished, every Australian racing greyhound is given the best opportunity to live a happy and healthy life as a much loved family pet.
Why is the program necessary?
Retired racing greyhounds are greatly desired as pets and make wonderful and loving companions and the greyhound community across the globe share one value, they want the best possible retirement and loving homes for all racing greyhounds.
With Australia and the USA, we have two very greyhound savvy countries who are both passionate about the greyhound breed, yet they find themselves in two very different circumstances.
One country has a ready made adoption network and supply of loving homes waiting for greyhounds, while the other country has healthy, beautiful greyhounds in need of additional loving homes.
Why are these dogs not being rehomed in Australia?
With welcome changes in Australia, greyhound owners and trainers are making it a priority to give their dogs the opportunity for a successful retirement.
The demand in Australia for retired greyhounds as pets is high and continues to grow, however currently there are greyhounds across every state, who through no fault of their own, are falling outside the industry rehoming structure and rehoming criteria.
They are wonderful, happy greyhounds who R2R have found just need a little bit of extra time, or a different environment to help their transition to pet life. As a volunteer rehoming group, they are the dogs believed to need the greatest assistance.
Racing 2 Rehome is always looking for new adoption families and became aware of the massive demand for greyhounds as pets in the USA and the strict adoption protocols in place.
A loving home is a loving home, whether it is in Australia or the US, so the solution was plainly obvious by putting the two pieces of the puzzle together and we have a win-win situation for both dogs and potential owners. R2R thought the rehoming of these Australian greyhounds to loving homes in the USA was an opportunity that deserved investigation.
Is Racing 2 Rehome no longer rehoming greyhounds in Australia?
As its core function Racing 2 Rehome will always continue to work with Australian trainers and owners to rehome greyhounds in its care through its traditional rehoming network to loving Australian homes.
Why are these dogs being rehomed in the USA?
Due to their gentle and loving nature, the greyhound has a long and successful history as a pet in North America and at its peak, rehoming groups in the United States were finding loving homes for tens of thousands of greyhounds annually.
Of recent years the desire for greyhounds as pets has outstripped the numbers of dogs available for rehoming in the USA, leaving many adoption groups without dogs and potential greyhound owners sitting on very long waiting lists.
There aren’t enough greyhounds to meet the demand of the loving homes and potential owners, yet the rehoming networks and resources developed over decades are still in existence and available to help greyhounds as part of the bigger global rehoming community.
So, USA adoption groups have turned to help international greyhounds where there are currently more dogs, than available homes in their countries of origin.
What policies and processes are in place to ensure the safety of the Australian greyhounds once they arrive in the USA?
The greyhounds being rehomed are all desexed prior to leaving Australia, cannot be bred with and are unsuitable for racing.
Both adoption groups have very rigorous policies and processes governing the rehoming of the greyhounds, in some aspects more thorough than those in place in formal greyhound rehoming in Australia.
The Royal Hounds process is an online application, phone interview, and a home visit that includes a class on greyhounds and their care. After being checked, the dogs will go into Royal Hound foster families. They get to know the dogs and their personalities while they are in foster and match them with adoptive families that are a good fit.
The adopter has the home visit representative as a contact for help as well as the family that fostered their dog. These are the people most familiar with the dogs and adoptive families. There is always additional assistance from a group with diverse experiences.
It is a similar thorough and loving process at Greyhound Pets Inc.
Once the dogs arrive at GPI they are quarantined for two weeks where they get love and attention from the volunteers and staff. The vet gives them the once over to make sure they have recovered well from their journey. Then they go into the adoption kennel, where the volunteers and kennel staff get to know them and their personalities, so they can get the best match possible into their adoptive homes.
GPI has very strict adoption criteria and all potential adopters must fill out an application and have a home visit. They also follow up with the adopters within the first 24 to 48 hours, then after about a week or two, then in about a month, to make sure the dog and family are doing okay. If there are any concerns, they will follow up more closely. Adoptive families are encouraged to send pictures and updates as often as they can.
GPI work with families to find the best match for the family, but also the dog. They want our placements to be a win-win for the dog and the adoptive family. All adopters must sign an adoption contract and if they can’t keep the dog for whatever reason, the dog must come back to GPI. Because once a greyhound is a GPI dog, they are always a GPI dog.
All dogs are in their master database and GPI stay in touch with our adopters several times a year and encourage them to update, participate in our events and share their experiences.
Are there plans to rehome more Australian greyhounds to the USA in the future?
This is a pilot rehoming program at this point in time. The welfare of the greyhounds participating is always of utmost importance.
At the conclusion of the rehoming process, a review of all aspects of the program’s implementation will be thoroughly undertaken by all parties concerned to determine any future direction.
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A huge thank you to all involved
As you can imagine there is a lot of work behind the scenes in order for something like this to be sucessful. Our committee volunteers, sponsors, supporters and trainers have been working around the clock to organise everything from meeting quarantine deadlines, attending vet appointments, kenneling, transport, and everything in between.
All this across two countries with different timezones while ensuring all our dogs get the love and care they deserve.