Bull Creek couple advocate benefits of greyhound fostering

Joan Gillis with her latest foster dog, three-year-old greyhound Jack. Picture: Matt Jelonek
Joan Gillis with her latest foster dog, three-year-old greyhound Jack. Picture: Matt Jelonek

ORIGINALLY bred as hunting companions and usually sighted in public wearing Government-mandated muzzles, greyhounds have developed an unwarranted reputation for ferocity.

Reality could not be further from that perception, according to Bull Creek dog fosterers Bryan and Joan Gillis who have welcomed six greyhounds into their home since 2013.

Low maintenance, friendly and with a tendency to spend hours napping on the couch, Mrs Gillis said greyhounds made ideal family pets.

“Generally they’re very affectionate dogs that love to be cuddled,” she said.

“They don’t need a lot of exercise, 15 or 20 minutes twice a day is plenty but even if you can’t manage that they’ll be fine; they’re not the sort of dog that is going to go mad in a house if they haven’t been walked.”

“A lot of them are fostered or adopted by working people so they do get left at home alone for periods of time.”

Mrs Gillis, who fosters the dogs through not-for-profit Greyhound Angels, said their only real requirement was a well-fenced backyard and a little bit of patience in the early stages.

“When you first take in a foster you have to be willing to be patient and accept that they’ve never been a pet.

“They’re very clean dogs that are quick to house train if you set up a routine.

“As a foster carer your job really is to socialise the dog; they’ve generally been in a kennel all their lives and have had very little human contact and no exposure to other breeds of dog or the beach, the park anything like that.”

Mrs Gillis said Greyhound Angels was always on the lookout for foster carers, although her husband did have one warning before signing up.

“There are lots of foster fails out there; people who foster dogs and then end up adopting them,” he said.

April is Adopt a Greyhound Month. For more information about fostering or adopting, visit www.greyhoundangels.com.