[Submitted by CANDACE LYNN, unedited.]
Foster homes are a definite benefit and asset to dogs coming into rescue. Each foster home gives the rescued dog a second chance at finding his/her forever home. A foster devotes her time to her rescued foster with time, guidance, patience and lots of love. How a dog comes into rescue varies. The dogs may be owner relinquishes, shelter dogs, puppy mill dogs, strays, craigslist, abuse and neglect cases. Once a rescue is notified of a pending dog needing rescue, a volunteer will speak to the owner, the shelter and whoever it is necessary to speak to, to obtain all information necessary on that particular dog. The intake volunteer will ask behavioral, temperament questions, age, health issues and all other information that is necessary to evaluate the dog. Vet records will be obtained to review health and vaccination history if available.
Foster homes will continue to evaluate the dog as entering rescue is a new adjustment to the dog from what he was used to. At times a dog’s true personality will emerge with each day being in foster care as he/she adjusts to this new change in their lives. Any behavioral issues will be addressed, basic commands will be taught to the foster if he/she does not happen to know basic commands, health issues will be address with foster’s veterinarian, spay/neutering will be done if dog is still intact; updating vaccinations and also the dog will be microchipped. If surgeries or specific treatments, such as skin conditions, is need, these will be taken care of. The foster home will treat the foster as if he/she was one of their own, Foster homes prepare their foster thru any and all rehabilitation that is necessary for the potential adoptive home.
Adopting homes are screened by vet checks, personal references, home visits and interviews before being approved. Many rescues will “match up” the foster dog to the family to insure what is best for both the dog and the adopting family, as to not set up the foster dog for failure. Post adoption interviews are also conducted to see how things are going with the family and their newly adopted dog. If by chance the adopted dog does not work out with the particular family for whatever reason, rescue always takes the dog back.
Some fosters may remain in the foster homes for longer periods of time due to health issues and/or behavioral issues and adjustment to a new life, especially in puppy mill dogs. All aspects of care will be done to make the dog ready for adoption. Some foster dogs may become a permanent foster due to terminal health reasons. Plus other foster dogs may never leave their foster home as the foster home will adopt their foster dog – which may be stated as “failing fostering 101”!
Fostering is a rewarding experience with giving a homeless, unwanted animal a second chance at life. The bittersweetness of fostering is when the time comes when your foster has found his/her forever family and it is time for your foster to leave. A foster remembers that she is a stepping stone in their foster’s life and once the foster is adopted, then room is made for yet another dog in need. The feeling of knowing you have given this dog a second chance ~ is priceless.
I started fostering in the fall of 2006 with Mid-Atlantic English Springer Spaniel Rescue and A Tail To Tell Puppy Mill Rescue. I continue to still foster for both these rescues. I also have fostered for Cherished Cockers Rescue. Also, I foster for Cocker Spaniel Adoption Center. A passion and mission of mine I will continue for a long time to come!
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