New Dog Day Part Three

As with the last post, if you haven’t read Part One or Part Two of New Dog Day, go back and read that first.


After the excitement at the drop site and the dog wash, it is time to head home. We are tired, hungry, covered in dog hair, and ready to take a nap. However, we still have a long day ahead of us. Thankfully, the route from PetPeople to our house is only about a ten minute drive. So we load up and head home. Once we arrive, there are usually two very eager greyhounds in the window waiting for us (Side note: our friends and family members tell us all the time that they see Six Pack and Callie in our front window when they drive by. Watching cars is one of their favorite hobbies.) We park in the garage, open the hatch door and either allow the dog to hop down, or lift the dog up and out of the car depending on the circumstances. Some dogs don’t yet understand the whole car concept, so they don’t know to jump down. Other dogs have had recent surgery or have repaired fractured legs, so we don’t allow them to jump. Either way, once the dog is safely out of the car, we walk into the backyard.

Mookie prefers a little help getting out of the car.

The process of introduction usually is the same with every dog that we bring home. We first walk the dog around the entire perimeter of the backyard while fully leashed. This allows the new dog to understand where his boundaries are. It also ensures that a dog doesn’t go running full speed in the backyard, only to come face first with a fence that he didn’t realize was there. Trust me on this one. Thankfully it hasn’t happened to us, but I can’t say that for everyone. Next up is the pool introduction. We carefully walk the dog around the perimeter of our in-ground pool. When we had the pool installed, one of the non-negotiable items was an automatic safety cover. This cover is installed in the sides of the pool and can be opened or closed with a switch. The cover is pulled relatively tight so that it creates a barrier should anyone, or anything, fall onto it. It also is designed to hold up to 250 pounds, so there is no concern about a dog falling through. Most every foster dog has ran across the cover, and thankfully, it has held up every single time, with no issues.

Six Pack tries to explain to the fosters that running across the pool isn’t a good idea, but just like his sisters, the fosters rarely listen to him.

After we have shown the new dog the yard, it is time to introduce the dog to Callie and Six Pack. We muzzle all dogs, and let Callie out first, then Six Pack to meet the new foster. The dogs are muzzled, of course for safety, but we introduce the dogs one by one so that the new dog doesn’t get overwhelmed by two dogs coming at him at once. We allow all the dogs to interact in the backyard for some time, and then we let the dogs into the house.

Money chose to lay in the grass rather than play with our two troublemakers.

Their First Home

Some dogs we’ve fostered have been in a home before. Whether it was a returned dog, or a dog that’s been on a farm and allowed in a home, a few of our fosters have understood the home environment. But for newly retired dogs, everything is new. We start by closing every single bedroom and bathroom door we possibly can. This way, the dog can explore the main living areas without becoming overstimulated by too much space. It also allows us to keep an eye on the dog so we can try to prevent any bathroom accidents in the house. We let the new dog wander, supervised of course, on their own. Most dogs constantly pace for the first hour or two. It is exhausting trying to follow them from room to room, but this is normal. They also happen to drink a lot of water, so frequent trips outside are necessary. We have a crate setup in our living room and leave the door open so the foster can have their own space and feel safe. Most newly retired dogs love their crates, and spend a lot of that first day inside of it. If the dog seems too overstimulated, we will guide the dog in there and shut the door (even while we’re home) to give him some time to just chill out and not have to worry about our dogs bothering him.

Sally really enjoyed her crate time. She also liked making sure she got the crate first so Six Pack couldn’t use it.

We also commonly feed the new dog in his crate for the first few days. The dogs are used to being fed in their crate at the kennel, so that’s what we start with. Gradually, over the next week or two, we move them farther from the crate and into the dining room where our dogs eat. We always supervise meal time because one dog (I’m looking at you Six Pack) likes to steal food and the other (ahem, Callie) is fiercely protective of her bowl. Along with learning to eat outside the crate, we also gradually introduce the dog to the other rooms. We usually start with the bathrooms because inevitably one of us will go in there and forget to shut the door again when we are done. Next we move to the first floor bedrooms and my office. And finally, we teach the dog to go up the stairs. That is a process so we’ll spare the details on that for later.

An End to a Very Long Day

We never plan anything for the afternoon or evening of New Dog Day. The new dog is still completely stressed out and the last thing he needs is for us to leave. So we stay in, catch up on our DVR, watch some sports, and just hang out. Once it is time to go to bed, Ryan carries the dog upstairs to our bedroom. Now, let me tell you – sleeping that first night is ROUGH. It is honestly the only thing I dread about New Dog Day. The foster never sleeps through the night. If we’re lucky, he will just be restless. If we’re not so lucky, he’ll cry all night long. We’ve had both and everything in between. Because our two dogs are very protective of their sleep space, we put the foster dog in an exercise pen to sleep. It is very similar to a crate, but has no top or bottom and the shape can be configured. It is perfect for a bedroom because it is much lighter and more maneuverable than a crate. We prefer to put the foster on my side of the bed, where he can see Six Pack. Having an eye on the resident dog is helpful because it helps put the foster at ease. It makes the new dog feel less alone, even with a human in sight. So, finally, after a very long day (and an even longer day for the new dog), we settle in and get some sleep that night. Or not. Let’s hope for a good sleeper this time around. It has been a very long day and this Foster Mom needs some sleep!

We may be losing some sleep with new dog arrivals, but Callie seems to be doing just fine.

Please join us as we welcome thirteen newly retired racers to Indiana on Saturday, January 18. Go to Prison Greyhounds for more details. We’re happy to announce that we personally will be welcoming a very special little lady named Cheeto. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more info on her. As always, for real time pictures and updates on New Dog Day, follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This article has 1 comments

  1. Katherine Reply

    You guys do amazing work. This is such a fun peek into what goes on behind the scenes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *