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
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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