Fostering: What's It All About?

Fostering is a great many things — a chance to do your part to help save dogs, a chance to watch a dog blossom and grow emotionally, a chance to make new friends, a chance to contribute and share in a very happy ending and a new beginning.

It’s also some other things — some tears when they leave your home, as you’ve become attached and will miss them; some hard work when they are sick or stressed or very frightened; frustration with backsliding dogs and inconsiderate people and some heartbreak when a few of the dogs don’t make it.

But without fosters, we can’t save the dogs.

Will there be some issues with these dogs? Yes, there will be. They were given up for a variety of reasons — and often we don’t know the reason. Regardless, they are most likely going to be stressed, depressed, frightened, possibly sick, usually not housetrained. They will need someone patient, compassionate, interested in learning. We need folks with some dog common sense, to help them through.

You would not be in this alone. We are just a phone call or email away. We are your safety net through the whole experience. We will be there for you to share in both the joys and heartaches that will accompany the fostering experience.

To foster successfully, you will need several things. You will need: an isolation room. This can be a spare room, someone’s bedroom, any room that can be closed off — even a large bathroom. Shelter dogs may develop kennel cough within the first 5 days of being home and you will want to keep the sick foster dog from your own dog.

You will need: some extra time. The more time you can spend with your foster, the sooner the dog will blossom and be ready to go to a new home, and the better picture you will be able to paint to prospective adopters. Bichons like people attention, and reading, watching television, even sleeping in the same room with them is beneficial.

You will need some initial supplies — good food, some flea treatment, a good sized carrier to transport the dog, and a vet willing to work with you who has an understanding of rescue dogs — all of these are important. These items can be provided by the Rescue.

You will need any current family dogs to be up to date on vaccines. All canine residents of a foster’s home must be spayed or neutered. The healthier your personal dogs are, the stronger their immune system, the better the situation for bringing in foster dogs.

Are there risks to you and your animals? Sure, doesn’t everything have risks? There are risks, we can’t lie to you. Ideally, you, and anyone in your household who will be handling the dogs, should have an up to date tetanus booster. There is a good possibility the dog will come in with fleas and worms – these are easy to treat. They may develop or come with a URI (Upper Respiratory Infection/i.e. cold). These viruses are airborne, but having your dogs up to date on vaccines and observing careful cleansing procedures greatly reduces the risk of transmission. So, yes, there are some risks to fostering. However, we believe the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.

Besides caring for the dog, what would you need to do? We ask that you be available by email on a regular basis so that we can get ongoing reports/evaluations/ information on the dogs you are fostering. We ask that you are attentive to detail with your paperwork so that we can successfully get bills paid on time, stay up to date on the dogs’ medical needs, authorize expenditures as necessary, and move the dogs in and out of the program as efficiently as possible. We hope you have some basic computer skills (email; attachments; digital pictures are nice) as this will really help move the dog more quickly.

If you’d like to talk more about the possibilities of fostering, or have some specific questions, please don’t hesitate to call. Again, without fosters, we can’t save the dogs. You would be an integral part of the team that allows us to save many lives every year.