Prison Foster Program

PRISON FOSTER PROGRAM

Our prison foster program is featured in an
edition of the national publication
CG Magazine...

 

We strive to provide quality foster homes for our retired racing greyhounds. These dogs require attention, training, and love before being placed in a permanent adoptive home.

Upon retirement from the race track, greyhounds are first placed in a foster home for assessment, where they are cat tested, small dog tested, and exposed to children.

When they are ready, GPA-SC foster greyhounds then participate in a new and innovative program. Guided by successful programs in Ohio and Kansas that provided input and support, Greyhound Pets of America-South Carolina/Carolina Greyhound Adoptions teamed up with the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDOC) to develop the Greyhound Prison Foster Program.


A similar program was featured in Best Friends Magazine. Thanks to Kathy Perrich for getting the GPA-SC program mentioned in the Letters to the Editor section of the magazine.

Peggy, Prison Pups Program supervisor at the Correctional Institute, welcomes a newly arrived hound to South Carolina.

SCDOC provides criteria for becoming a greyhound handler and selects the inmates to participate in the program from a pool of volunteers. The inmates then receive greyhound-handling instruction prior to the greyhounds being placed with them.

GPA-SC/Carolina Greyhound Adoptions foster greyhounds are housed full-time with female inmates trained as handlers who remain with the greyhounds at all times. Our foster greyhounds are not housed in individual cells, but in a ward or cottage, so they have access to a variety of experiences.

This provides them with the attention and socialization they require, while providing the handlers with an ongoing daily commitment.

The greyhounds go everywhere the inmates go, including classes, training, visitation, and daily exercise. Active greyhounds are given adequate exercise, allowing them to calm down. Shy greyhounds receive assurance and develop confidence.

They meet many families and children during visitation, and socialization is very important. The prison has a track in the gym so the greyhounds can run and play with each other.

A professional obedience instructor provides weekly obedience classes, and the greyhounds receive daily training from the handlers. This teaches the inmates how to interact with the greyhounds in a positive way. Greyhounds receive instruction on how to sit, down, wait, and stay as part of their basic training.

A GPA-SC/Carolina Greyhound Adoptions representative visits every week to evaluate foster greyhounds' progress, discuss any issues, and answer questions. The greyhounds remain with the handlers for a period of two to four weeks. They then are placed in a private foster home for a week prior to adoption to allow them to adjust to the "lack" of attention before going to the new adopter.

The difference between a volunteer "foster home" and the "prison foster program" is much like the difference between a "day care" and a "Montessori School." Both options take good care of the greyhounds, but one provides them a higher level of learning. We try to get all of our greyhounds into the prison for whatever length of time we can so they can take advantage of this opportunity.

When these greyhounds are adopted, the new owners receive a written diary from the girls detailing the dogs' daily activities. It is truly amazing what the handlers and dogs have been able to accomplish. The adoptive families are encouraged to provide photos and letters about their newest family member. This in turn provides the inmates with a sense of a "job well done."