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A Little About Fostering...

One of our foster homes has documented the rescue of one of his fosters, in this video on YouTube he discusses why he rescues and the love that goes into these wonderful animals

The following was posted to the BC-L and is duplicated here with permission from the writer, Rebecca Shouse.

"I know there will be better explanations, but here's a "Newbie's" perspective on fostering.

I've been actively fostering dogs for just about a year. Fostering, to sum up, means you take care of the dog as if it were your own, but with the intention of eventually turning him or her over to a new permanent family.

You can be anything from a short term way station, with your only responsibility being to keep the dog as healthy and happy as possible, or you can be a complete rescuer. It's entirely up to you, but anything at all helps and can save a dog's life!

Here's how it goes:

You get a contact about a dog that needs a new home. Sometimes, if you've put your name out, you'll get calls from Humane Societies or shelters, or another breed rescue, or just somebody that heard about you. Or you see an ad in the paper. Or your rescue group (if you decide to affiliate yourself) sends you a contact. Or a stray shows up on your doorstep.

You evaluate the dog. Sometimes, if you work with a group, there will be someone else who takes care of this, because it's very important to make sure that the dog is actually a BC and is not in some way unplaceable. They will then contact you (as above). Many rescue groups will be as careful about matching fosters to foster homes as they are about placing them in permanent homes.

If you work with a group, you should be able to specify "no dogs over 45 pounds" or "no intact males" or "no longer than a week" and of course "no more than one at a time!" Of course, you often find yourself stretching your own rules! But your group should respect your wishes.

Depending on how you're operating, you may then have to pick up the dog and take it to the vet for exam, shots, and altering (if needed). The money for this ideally comes from the adoption fee. *Snicker* Around here, our vets are outrageously expensive and we're lucky to break even. Thankfully, our group goes into some rural areas where the vet costs are not so bad and so they can cover our losses. Some vets will give discounts to rescue.

After that, it comes home to live with you! Some groups have elaborate rehab programs which you must follow, for most others the dog just participates in day-to-day life. I observe the dog for about two days and then start taking notes on its personality, habits, potential problems, our approaches and what seems to work, and start thinking about the general kind of home that would work best with my guest. BCs fall into roughly four classes around here: entry level, active pet, sport dog, working dog.

Sometimes being a foster home means you deal with serious problems like biting or extreme shyness or bad health situations, but most of the time just basic obedience training (if needed) is enough. You can refuse to take "problem" dogs if you do not feel it would be appropriate for you.

If you are working with a group and you have stipulated "two days max" or "one week max" or some other time limit, they will try their best to move the dog on after that time limit, either to a home or another foster home.

If you have no time limit, you start looking for a home (by advertising, talking to friends, going to appropriate events, and so on) when the dog is ready to be adopted. The best way is by networking through the lists and by being affiliated. I've found the best homes have been references from rescue groups and most unacceptable homes were from advertisements.

Depending on how it works, you may have to screen home applicants yourself, or you may have help from the referring group, or the group may have already screened homes and will just collect the dog and send it along. Some may even not allow you to make the decision (a possible drawback of working directly with a group), but most will. Then you say goodbye to your guest.

No matter how much "trouble" a dog is, I always find myself finding excuses to linger and find it difficult to hold up the conversation as I hand over the lead, because of the lump in my throat. Saturday I placed a little girl in a terrific home where she will be deliriously happy. However, as they drove away with her, I saw her little face peeking back at me through the window of her new family's [expensive!] car and had to brush away a few tears. When I got home that night I had a nice long cry after everyone else went to bed and I saw she had left one of her toys behind in the crate she had used. So if you're really emotional, you may not want to do any serious fostering."

 

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