New Dog Day Part Two

If you haven’t read Part One of New Dog Day, please go back and read that first. This will make a lot more sense.

“The Haul is Here!”

From our group’s designated location at the drop site, we can usually see the truck coming down the street. Usually an eagle-eyed volunteer spots it and yells out “The haul is here!” Instinctively, everyone moves to the side to allow the truck to drive down the long school bus parking lot and stop in its designated spot. Over the years we have had different kinds of haulers, but the one we currently use is by far my favorite.

The current hauler is a retrofitted bus, meaning both the haul volunteers and drivers, and the dogs are all enclosed together. This allows the crew to be able to tend to a dog during transit, or notice a dog in distress on the long distance trip. The setup also means that once the crew has reached their destination, the volunteers can remove the dogs from their crates in the safety of the enclosed bus. There is no worry about a dog getting loose while we are trying to collar him! One by one, the dogs are collared and leashed, and carefully offloaded at the drop site. This is the safest (and warmest, or coolest depending on the weather) way to welcome these dogs to their new home. Carefully and in order, the dogs hop off the bus and onto the soil of their new state. Goodbye Florida, Hello Indiana!

President of Prison Greyhounds, Mary, walks the new arrival off the truck and hands to the assigned dog walker. Adoption Director Jan stands close by to make sure all dogs are given to their assigned volunteer.

Sometimes the dogs are very excited to come off the truck. This is why we always use our “greyhound grip” and have extra volunteers on hand!












“Adoptions Are Open!”

Once all the dogs have been carefully removed from the hauler, we announce “Adoptions are OPEN!” and the madness, or fun depending on how you look at it, begins. There are usually several families that attend New Dog Day looking to bring home their next furry family member. I realize that many groups have adoption procedures very different than ours, and I can’t say one is better than the other. However, with our group, adoptions are first come first serve. In this scenario, things move quickly. Whoever speaks up (or should I say, pays up) first and is pre-approved, gets the dog. At times this has been chaotic, but we’ve found it is the best way for our group to do it. No one person has “rights” to any particular dog. We always tell interested adopters to get approved before the haul for a very good reason. So many times we have found that once the dogs unload, people fall in love with a particular dog. Unfortunately, for anyone who is not fully approved, another adopter can swoop in, put their deposit in, and call the dog their own.

Foster mom Devon walks her assigned dog at the drop site for potential adopters to meet. For the prison dogs, this is the only chance for anyone to meet the dogs prior to their prison graduation two months later.

We spend about an hour at the drop site, allowing all the families to meet the dogs before we depart. This is also to the benefit of the dogs. They have been traveling overnight and are ready to walk around, stretch out, and have a long bathroom break. Greyhounds are wonderful travelers and can usually go the long trip without needing to go to the bathroom. However, every now and then, a dog will have a bit of traveler’s diarrhea. Let’s just say that you never want it to be a white dog and you never want to be the one who has to transport him from the dropsite. Unfortunately for us, with one of the first foster dogs we ever had, both were true. Yuck.

White dogs are uncommon, and are adopted quickly. Unfortunately, they also look the dirtiest coming off the haul!

After we take a group picture, we load up the buckets of water and head out. The dogs destined for the prison hop into volunteer cars, and drive the hour and a half to Putnamville Correctional Facility where they will live for the next two months. For the home fosters, we head to PetPeople for a well-deserved bath.

Ryan, third from the left, stands with foster Jo for our group picture.

Bath Time

We are so fortunate to have PetPeople as one of our sponsors. They welcome us into their spacious bath bays where all foster dogs are bathed for free. They are all so kind and welcoming and I never feel like we are a burden to them. They will often come to the back of the store, where the bays are, to see and meet the new arrivals. And if the dogs are really lucky, they might even bring a treat or two.

PetPeople has three spacious bath bays for us to use. Foster mom Anjanette walks her dog into the room for a well-deserved bath.

One by one, I allow the foster family into the bath bay to wash the dogs. If the person is new to fostering, I’ll show them how to get the dog into the bay, latch the dog for safety, remove the nylon collar, adjust to the right temperature, and finally how to completely wash the dog. It isn’t a hard process – just one that becomes a bit easier if you have help from someone who has done it a few (or a few hundred) times. If we are lucky enough to have a volunteer to trim nails, the foster dogs will also get a pedicure.

I encourage new adopters to bathe the dogs themselves, as it gives the family their first chance to bond with their new dog.

At this point, the dog is exhausted, a little damp, and ready to go “home.” For the foster dogs, I make sure the volunteer knows to send me an update the following evening letting me know how the dog is doing and if there are any issues. Most of the foster families have done this many times, so sometimes I don’t even have to say a thing. They know exactly what to do. For the adopted dogs, they have a choice. They can take the dog home right then, or they can have the foster family take the dog home and keep for up to a week. I certainly understand that taking a dog home straight off a haul can be stressful if you have never done it before. I also realize that many people don’t quite have all the necessary items, especially the giant crate, needed for their new family member. So we agree to keep the dog for a week. However, the foster families are volunteers and asking them to keep someone else’s dog for longer than that isn’t ideal. If there are extenuating circumstances, I work with the adopter and foster family.

We wait until all other foster dogs are gone before we go in and finish up. Sometimes waiting is the hardest part for our foster.

After everyone has finally left PetPeople, we wash our foster dog (if we have one), load him up in the car and head home. Ryan and I are both exhausted, dirty, hungry and thirsty. New Dog Day is incredibly fun, but incredibly tiring. But our day isn’t over yet. We still get to introduce the foster to our home, and more importantly, to Six Pack and Callie.

Jo-“It has been an exhausting day!”

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