Volunteering for GSRCA


Volunteers keep German Shepherd Rescue of Central Alabama (GSRCA) operating! Without them, many of the dogs that have been rescued AND adopted would have died. Sadly, a lot of adoptable gsds DO die because there is no place for them and no money to care for their needs.

GSRCA was founded in 1997 by two ladies (Linda and Penny) strictly because of their love for the German Shepherd breed. They started with nothing but gave everything they had to better the lives of the dogs in their care. For quite a few years it was just the two of them caring for and totally funding the shepherds in GSRCA. In May 2003, GSRCA became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Slowly, word got out about the Rescue's good work and the volunteer base began to grow. First one, then three and today - June of 2008 - there are eleven active volunteers. Without them donating their time, energy and services, GSRCA would have ceased to exist years ago. Thanks to all of us working together, 184 (and counting) gsds have been rescued. Most of those have been adopted into loving, forever homes.

Volunteering....What's in it for me? you might ask. Well, being a volunteer for GSRCA does have its rewards. Seeing a shepherd with a broken body and spirit literally come back to life is the best feeling there is on earth. At least to us it is! In the world of rescue passion runs deep, emotions run high and money runs out on a regular basis. We volunteers work hard, love hard, laugh hard and cry hard. Finding balance and sticking to it when times are tough can be a challenge. It's so very important that volunteers take time for themselves and their families. Rescue is not our whole life. Instead, it makes our lives whole. Is it worth it? Absolutely!! If there were no struggles, there would be no successes.

GSRCA is looking for dedicated volunteers, especially foster homes.

A foster home has many of the same requirements as an adoptive home, so we ask that they go through the same process for approval. This starts with the online application. There are some additional requirements of foster homes.

1. GSRCA prefers that foster homes be located within driving distance of Montgomery, AL. For some that may be half an hour away or maybe 2 hours away. The reason for this is so the foster home can bring the foster dog to our Montgomery location for scheduled showings. Showings are NOT an every weekend occurrance. It is only when an approved applicant is interested in that particular foster dog.

2. The foster home is responsible for keeping an updated file on their foster dog. This may mean keeping up with medical records, tags, knowing when heartworm prevention is due, etc. Any medical events should be documented for the future owners reference when needed.

3. The foster family should be emotionally prepared for the day when their foster dog gets adopted. If, during the course of fostering, the foster home decides they would like to adopt the foster dog, they should let GSRCA know immediately so the dog can be taken off the available list and the adoption finalized.

Aside from these requirements, GSRCA expects the foster home to provide love and understanding, security, socialization and training, a high quality diet, proper exercise and give medications as prescribed. GSRCA strives to match the foster dog to the needs of the foster home for a win-win situation.

QUESTIONS ABOUT FOSTERING ...

... The most popular question asked about fostering is, 'Don't you get attached to the dog?' Yes, we do. And truthfully, nearly every foster home has had at least one foster failure - meaning they adopted the dog they started out fostering. Foster homes should be of the mindset that their JOB is to prepare the rescued shepherd for his/her permanent home. Remembering to treat your personal dogs special helps draw a boundary line and keeps that reminder fresh. Also, ask yourself 'will adopting this foster dog prevent me from fostering other dogs?'

...'How do I keep my own pets from being jealous?' Be sure to do introductions slowly and carefully. Don't allow the foster dog access to your dogs personal space/crate, toys or food dish. Feed the foster dog separate from your dogs, preferably in his crate. Supervise all interactions between the dogs, stepping in at the first sign of discord. Never let the foster dog pull rank on your dog. Remember to keep your dogs' routine as close to normal as possible. Pet your dog first, feed your dog first and reassure your dog that this is a temporary guest. Even the most possessive of pets seem to understand that the foster is only there for a while.

...'Do I get to meet the adoptive family?' Yes, you do. Your input is very important because you know your foster dog best. You are encouraged to voice any concerns you may have to a GSRCA officer. Often, the foster home chooses to process the application or do the home visit on the family interested in their foster dog.

...'What am I responsible for financially?' As a general rule, the foster home purchases food, monthly heartworm prevention and flea/tick preventative. If you find yourself in a hardship to provide these basic necessities to your foster dog, please let us know.

...'What if my foster dog needs to see a vet?' For non life-threatening health issues, contact GSRCA for recommendations. In case of an emergency or accident, take your dog to the nearest vet and conact GSRCA at your first opportunity. GSRCA pays for necessary vet care for our foster dogs.

...'What if it's not working out with my foster dog?' There will be an adjustment period. It could be 2 weeks or 2 months. This is normal. It's very important that a foster dog learn a routine, bond to a person and be taught consistently what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Contact us at the first sign of trouble. It's possible we can offer solutions to aid you in working through behavioral issues. IF the situation can not be resolved, GSRCA will take the dog back as soon as space is available.

CAN'T FOSTER? YOU CAN STILL HELP!!

There are so many ways to help a non-profit rescue. If someone has an area of expertise not listed, we welcome your assistance and input. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to raise funds for our dogs' care. All ideas are welcome!

  • Walk dogs
  • Bathe dogs
  • Brush dogs
  • Teach dogs basic commands
  • Socialize dogs
  • Clean ears
  • Trim nails
  • Feed and water dogs
  • Clean kennels
  • Scoop Poop
  • Evaluate shelter dogs
  • Return phone calls
  • Transport dogs from shelter to rescue
  • Transport dogs to/from the vet
  • Transport dogs to/from the groomer
  • Transport dog to/from special events
  • Process applications
  • Call references
  • Do home visits
  • Assist at scheduled showings
  • Distribute brochures/business cards
  • Publicity - Write and submit news articles
  • Design Newsletter
  • Print, Fold, Seal Newletters
  • Stamp, Address, Send Newsletters
  • Write Thank you notes
  • Take photos
  • Web Design
  • Graphic Design
  • CafePress Store
  • Assist with long term planning
  • Apply for grant funding
  • Help organize fundraisers
  • First Giving Fundraisers
  • Installing fence
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Pouring concrete pads
  • Carpentry