New Dog Day Part One

It All Starts With A Date

New Dog Day is a day that everyone looks forward to. It is a day of anticipation, excitement, and wonder. For those who are unfamiliar, New Dog Day (NDD) is the day that newly retired racing greyhounds arrive here in Indiana. These are the dogs that the kennel in Florida has hand-picked for our group to receive. We typically get anywhere from eight to twelve dogs arriving that day. Since we only receive dogs once every two months, it is a very exciting time for everyone involved. However, what most people don’t realize is that NDD takes a LOT of preparation work. From the kennel workers, to the transport volunteers, to the prison team: it involves an enormous amount of planning, coordination, and cooperation. Therefore, we thought it would be fun to do somewhat of a different blog post to show everyone a little bit into my (Erin’s) life as a Foster Director.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

New Dog Day typically starts with an anticipated “drop” date. Those of us who have been around retired racing greyhounds long enough still call these events “drops.” Whether we use the term drop, haul, or NDD, it all means the same thing: it is the day all the new dogs arrive. Once our group president, Mary, coordinates a date, or even a couple of potential dates as was the case with our most recent NDD, she starts working on her end. I can’t even begin to imagine how much work Mary puts into these events. So I won’t even try. If you really want to know, email Prison Greyhounds. Or you can just trust me when I say, it is a lot of work. However, on my end, I start by asking people to volunteer to be a foster home. This usually involves sending out a mass email to everyone who has volunteered and is signed up to foster with our organization. Some people have fostered once, some have fostered many times. I never know who will want to foster unless someone speaks up ahead of time to tell me – which doesn’t happen often, but occasionally does.


Why Volunteering Is So Important

At this point, I just pray for some volunteers. There have been times where I haven’t gotten a single response. If we have nobody volunteer, that means I can’t bring any dogs up. For our group, we always bring up dogs to supply our prison program. The number varies from four to eight greyhounds. However, the hauler can fit eighteen greyhounds, so I have the potential to put ten more dogs on the truck. Unfortunately though, we never have that many people volunteering to foster. This fact just makes me so sad – to know there are dogs waiting to find their forever homes, yet nobody willing to bring them up here. Unless we can bring them up, they wait in the kennel. (Most times we will share a haul with another group, so the load is split. But that doesn’t always happen). So at that point, I start begging. If you’ve been a recipient of my quasi-desperate emails, now you know why. And I’m sorry. Eh…kinda.

Nice was one of our short term fosters. She only spent a night with us before she headed to Wisconsin for surgery on her broken leg.

After I’ve gotten a few volunteers, I put together a list of how many home fosters I am requesting and if they need to be cat-tolerable or not. I know most of my volunteers’ home situations pretty well at this point, so I usually don’t have to ask. Cat-tolerable status, for obvious safety reasons, is the one thing we request. That is it. We do not request age, gender, color, weight, or any other crazy thing you can think of. To me, it doesn’t matter. I would also like to think it makes the kennel workers jobs much easier. We don’t cherry pick dogs, nor should we. The only exception to this is if we request a particular dog, which we have been known to do. In the more recent months, I personally have requested the “special dogs” to foster. That is how we ended up with both Mookie and Sally. They were both dogs that we originally weren’t going to receive, but were fortunate enough to bring up and foster. So, if there is a special needs dog, or a dog that’s been overlooked too many times, we request that dog. We once brought up a haul with seven no-cat black boys because no other group had picked them. We were told they had just these seven boys left in the kennel, so I requested them all. And then started begging for homes to take them. What can I say – I’m a big softie. I’m also proud to announce that every single one of those boys ended up adopting within a few short months.

Troy, one of the no-cat black boys helping me at work.

I Have The Easy Job

I’d like to say I do all the hard work for New Dog Day, but there is no way I’m claiming that as fact. Mary does it all. She’s the one putting together the volunteer sheets. She’s the one gathering all the handouts, medications, and paperwork for the foster dog and adoption packets. She’s the one making sure she has enough prison volunteers to transport the dogs. She is the one coordinating with the prison staff. I just show up. Well, not really, but you get what I’m saying. I always say I don’t want the responsibility of a lot of what she does, and I’m not joking. I’m perfectly happy leaving all the hard work to her. Thanks Mary.

Mary, on the left, teaches a New Adopter class as a foster dog and I both listen.

Fortunately for me, New Dog Day itself has become a natural routine. I show up early and gather all the necessary materials from Mary. I make sure all the foster volunteers check in with me and hand them their assigned foster packet. I explain how the dogs are offloading on the truck and demonstrate how to use the “greyhound grip” if the volunteer is new to hauls. I tell people to setup their buckets of water in the grass and ensure they have a cup of kibble in their pockets and poop bags in their hands. (Both are a necessity!!) After all that is done, we wait for the haul.

And now the group waits.

Stay tuned for Part Two of New Dog Day…

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