One of the easiest and most fun ways to help promote greyhound adoption is to participate in our Meet and Greets. These events take place almost year round. They can be as elaborate as the Fairfax Fair or as simple as a PetSmart get together. Basically all that is needed is a few greyhounds and their enthusiastic owners. This is something that all greyhound families can do.
Once you do a couple of Meet and Greets you will quickly become an old hand. It’s really very simple–your dog does the initial ‘work’ by drawing in passerbys to admire him, and you do the rest by answering questions and providing information. This is where the greyhound education you acquired before and during your adoption process, as well as the experience you have gained as a greyhound owner, comes into play.
Your job at a Meet and Greet is to be enthusiastic about your fantastic dog, to help interested people by educating them about the wonderful world of greyhounds and assist them in contacting GPA-NoVA if they feel that they can provide a responsible, loving home for a retired racer.
Whether you are a veteran or a newcomer, there are a few basic do’s and don’ts that apply to all Meet and Greets:
- DO be polite and courteous. Working with the public can sometimes be a bit difficult. You will meet all kinds of people, including those who are obviously not well suited to greyhound adoption. It is not necessary to make this determination on your own. Conversely, sometimes those people who seem like perfect potential owners cannot meet the requirements of our program. Our adoption process has been developed to ensure that our greyhounds are placed in the best possible situation.
- DO be honest about life with a greyhound. Not all greyhounds are suitable for homes with young children or small animals. Greyhounds need a calm environment and lots of patience as they learn about living in a home, figuring out the stairs, and becoming housebroken.
- DO know the basic GPA-NoVA requirements for adoption. While a fenced yard is always recommended and desired, it is absolutely mandatory in a home with young children. Crates are another requirement. Many people do not understand the need for a crate. Perhaps you got your dog from a group that does not require crates, or perhaps your own dog did not need one for more than a few days. Remember, you are representing GPA-NoVA and we all need to be consistent with regard to our policies and procedures. If you are unsure how to answer a question, be honest and offer to introduce the person to a more seasoned owner.
- DON’T make any promises to potential adopters. Remember, you know nothing about their family, home, or schedule. As you will recall from your own experience, we ask lots of questions in an effort to get to know potential families. Suitability cannot be determined on the basis of chatting with someone at a Meet and Greet. That is why we have applications, phone interviews and home visits.
- DON’T offer to take your dog to a prospective adopter’s home, unless it is someone you already know. We have teams of home visitors who have been specially trained for this purpose. If you are interested in learning how to become a home visitor and attending our workshop, let us know.
- DON’T use the Meet and Greet to promote your own agenda. While one of the benefits of attending Meet and Greets is meeting and networking with other greyhound owners, the reason you are there is to interest people in greyhounds and educate those expressing an interest in these wonderful dogs. Spending all of your time talking to the other volunteers puts prospective adopters off and gives them the impression that we are an exclusive and unwelcoming clique. Make the effort to focus on the public rather than on each other.
Most of all, have fun! Meet and Greets are an excellent means of ensuring that your dog gets to socialize with other greyhounds, and they provide a good opportunity for you to meet and network with other greyhound owners. So check the calendar for upcoming events and get out there and meet and greet!