Fostering a dog is not unlike raising a child in that it is at times exhausting, heartbreaking, frustrating, fun, and yet joyful, and rewarding at the same time! Interested in fostering a dog? Read on!
While many foster homes do eventually end up adopting a dog, it’s important to remember that this is not a “try one on for size” situation. The foster family will have to foster 3 dogs from intake until adopted prior to adopting one themselves. In the event that a foster home does adopt a dog, they would pay the same fee that any other adopter pays. Fostering is strictly for those who want to help the cause and feel they have the time, experience, space, and heart to do so.
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- You have no experience in basic dog handling or dogs in general.
- You believe that all a dog requires to help him is lots of love.
- You are away from home more than 9 hours per day. Ideally, fostering works best when at least one person is home a large part of the day.
- You have very young children.
- You have three or more dogs of your own, very small dogs or dog aggressive dogs.
- You are expecting a rescued foster to be fully trained when it comes into your home.
- You believe dogs should be outdoors only.
- You do not have a securely fenced yard.
- You are not willing to give your foster dog at least a week to assimilate into your home environment before “giving up”.
- You are not willing to foster until the dog is adopted. This may be a short period of one week or as long as three months. Most of our dogs are adopted within a one and a half to two month period, but we can never give an exact time. We work with all of our fosters and will remove any dog from their home if they are unable to keep the dog, but keep in mind, this is a commitment.
- You are torn between fostering and adopting. While many foster homes do end up adopting a dog, it’s important to remember that this is not a “try one on for size” situation. In the event that a foster home does adopt a dog, they would pay the same fee that any other adopter pays. Fostering is strictly for those who want to help the cause and feel they have the time, experience, space, and heart to do so.
- You don’t feel that you can withstand the emotional turmoil of caring for a dog and then having the dog leave when he/she gets adopted.
- You have fabulous furniture and don’t want dog hair on it. People with pristine houses often find fostering to be a frustrating experience. With Labs, you can count on a puddle by the water bowl and other messes they can manage. The most successful foster homes are those that have a high tolerance level and don’t “sweat the small stuff”.
- You believe that crates and crate training are unnecessary for a dog.
Foster parents are asked to attend an orientation to learn how to introduce dogs to each other, common training tips, etc. Also, Fosters are to:
- Feed the dog twice daily (morning and night) and have fresh water available at all times. Food is provided by LRRF
- Allow the dog to be indoor/outdoors.
- Give the dog daily walks/exercise as much as possible.
- Have a crate on hand for those dogs that should not be left to roam free while no one is home. If you do not have a crate, we will try to provide one for you until you can purchase your own.
- If possible, have a leash and collar on hand. Each rescue dog will come with a LRRF ID tag that must be on them at all times.
- Care for the dog in a manner that is consistent with how you care for your own animals. At the same time, foster parents usually need to provide additional guidelines and training for the foster dog, who is likely to have had NO training previously.
- Adhere to the principles of positive reinforcement training. We believe in treating dogs with kindness and respect.
- Attend any and all training opportunities provided by the rescue. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to attend canine behavior seminars held by other organizations as well.
- Provide transportation to adoption events and veterinary office, when necessary. We try to arrange transport in the event the foster is unable to do so.
LRRF covers all of the dogs’ veterinary needs, medications and food. Occasionally you may be asked to take a dog to a Vet visit or in for spay/neuter. We only work with specific veterinarians and all visits must be approved. We also do our best to provide training and mentoring to you as a foster home. We are very proud of the volunteer team we have assembled. We all work together to provide each other encouragement, advice, and support.
In addition to having some basic supplies on hand, you’ll want to take the following into consideration:
- If you have a cat(s), you’ll want to make certain you have a way to separate cats and dogs. We may not always be able to test a dog with cats prior to placement in a foster’s home.
- Be able to properly introduce your new foster dog to the rest of the animals in the home.
- Check your yard and fencing for any areas that may be unsecured.
- We generally do not use foster homes with small children. If you have older children, please educate them in basic canine etiquette:
- Do not bother the dog while he/she is eating
- Do not bother a dog while he/she is sleeping
- Do not take things away from the dog
- Do not lean over the dog and hug the dog (some dogs may see this as a very threatening posture)
- You will want to have some specialized cleaning products on hand. We often use products like “Nature’s Miracle” (an enzymatic cleaner) to remove stains. That brings up another issue. You’ll want to have a strong stomach as you’ll definitely clean up something gross at some point.
- Be aware that you could sustain some yard damage if you leave your foster dog unattended. Do your best to keep dogs from undesirable behavior if they dig, bark, etc. Crating works well to prevent any damage while you are way from home.