Our Volunteer Spotlight!
Tamara Foss is one of American Greyhound’s volunteers from the Champaign Urbana, IL area, and does excellent work spreading the American Greyhound gospel from all the way down there. Tamara lives in the City of Champaign Urbana, IL, along with her two greyhounds Callen and Kensi.
Tamara first started to learn about, and admire greyhounds when she was attending high school in Northern IL., always thinking they were a very athletic, admirable breed. Fast forward several years later and Tamara finally had the opportunity to meet some greyhounds first hand, as a couple of her friends at work, as well as other friends in the Champaign Urbana area had greyhounds, and Tamara became hooked. She decided that she wanted to adopt a greyhound, or even try fostering first to see what the breed was like. She was also interested with the thought about getting a greyhound puppy, but wasn’t sure about this as she had heard they can really be a handful. In late 2011 Tamara had been searching greyhounds for adoption when she came across a PetFinder ad listing a couple of 3-month old greyhound puppies available for adoption. Tamara still wasn’t sure about the whole greyhound puppy idea, and wasn’t sure they would get along with her cats either, so she spent a month of indecision on the whole idea. Finally, knowing how rare it was to come across greyhound puppies, and still not being able to get the thought of those puppies out of her mind she contacted the shelter for more information and to her surprise, the puppies were still available for adoption. On January 22, 2012, she and a friend headed to Decatur, IL to take those puppies in on a fostering basis. The two puppies were named Pharaoh and Czar, with Tamara taking Pharaoh and her friend taking Czar. Pharaoh was the less flashy of the two pups (and the one that didn’t get car sick either), and was a lanky dude with flat back feet and a tail that he really needed to grow into. Well, Tamara pretty much fell in love with him right away, and he was her first greyhound adoption on February 5, 2012, being renamed Callen.
Tamara and Callen also got involved with, and soon came to love LGRA straight racing and lure coursing – activities which Callen adored and had a huge part in making their relationship such a strong one, versus one where she wanted to pull her hair out trying to deal with a wild child puppy. Tamara recognizes that running is what greyhounds love to do, and it is uniquely part of their history.
Tamara was a busy puppy Mom with Callen for a few years but kept considering adopting or fostering a retired racer, as well as a group to volunteer with since she was now very enamored with the breed. She was running into roadblocks with various adoption groups as so many groups had limited areas they would adopt to, and others were not set up for fosters but were instead set up where the dogs stayed in one central kennel, so a hands-on opportunity to help and learn more about retired greyhounds really wasn’t available. Tamara also had two other dogs and a couple cats – along with Callen – so fostering seemed like a much better way to ensure a new family member would mesh with her current crew. She had talked with American Greyhound representatives before she adopted Callen and they seemed very nice so they were at the top of her list to touch base with. Thankfully, she started communicating with American Greyhound again and talked with (President) Jeff Coggins a bit, and volunteering as a foster with American Greyhound became an option!
In March of 2014 Tamara started fostering for the group, with her first foster being “Sweetart” who was a dog that was in the Macon County Animal Control and Care Center, and then transferred to American Greyhound. Well, it wasn’t hard for Tamara to become a “foster failure” with Sweetart and she ended up adopting her later that March, who then became her “Kensi.” The most special thing about Callen and Kensi is that she has never, ever, had two dogs that truly seem to love each other so much – they are snuggling constantly and are such a joy every day. Callen for sure had a say in Kensi becoming a part of the family as they were so darn cute together. From the beginning, Kensi always seemed to be a rock for Callen, and they always make Tamara smile at least once a day if not more!
When asked what she thinks about being a part of American Greyhound, she states “I appreciate that American Greyhound is a foster-based adoption group as I think there is so much vital information that can be relayed to adopters, that fostering situations shed light on versus kennel-based adoption groups. She also thinks the TGIE program is a wonderful program that benefits the greys AND their prison inmate handlers – so it is a win-win for all involved. Additionally, Tamara appreciates that American Greyhound has always had a heart for helping all sighthounds. It also helps that the group has dedicated, caring, friendly leadership and an overall great core of dedicated volunteers. Also, hands down, one of the things she loves and appreciated most about American Greyhound was talking to Jeff (Coggins) about whether it was OK to participate in running games with an adopted greyhound such as the LGRA straight racing and lure coursing which she really loves to do with her dogs.”
Tamara is a very active volunteer, always busy participating with American Greyhound Meet and Greets, and various other events in the Champaign Urbana, IL. area, which provides an opportunity for her to discuss the awesome breed that Greyhounds are, as well as give people a chance to meet and learn about them. In addition to this, she has been a foster to thirteen greyhounds over the years.
When not found participating in Meet and Greets with her Callen and Kensi, she can be found having fun with them by going for walks, playing in the yard or attending race practice, often times with her camera ready to capture the dogs in motion, or cuddling with each other.
We would like to thank Tamara for all that she does for American Greyhound, and also for helping to make a difference in the lives of the dogs she cares for and about.