Accepted for rescue fostering :-)(8 Posts)
Just what the title says, really. After a home visit by the rescue at the weekend, we received the paperwork to sign today to say that we'd been accepted as foster "parents" at a particular reputable rescue.
We already have two rescue dogs of the same breed, but fostering is something very new to us, though very exciting. DC are aged 8 and 11 years old (though we got our first rescue when ds2 was just 2 years old).
Very excited about the prospect of (temporary) ddog3.
However, any advice from more experienced folks?
I've never fostered dogs, but have fostered rabbits, guinea pigs and hand reared kittens. It is amazing and very rewarding especially if an animal comes to you in need of some tlc and flourishes. One guinea pig I fostered was very ill and to be honest I believed I was bringing her home with me so someone could make her final days/hours as comfortable as possible (obviously she had seen the vet more than once and was on appropriate treatment etc) a couple of months later she was bonded with another little piggy and went off to her forever home happy and healthy!
The hardest thing is giving them back, it is amazing how many foster animals never leave their foster carers. I have only had one failed foster who turned into a much loved pet but when we were looking to adopt a dog the first dog we enquired about suddenly unavailable when his foster mum heard someone was interested and couldn't bear to let him go!
Thanks. It's exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time! Hopefully our resident dogs won't be too much put out
Well done you! Fosterers are so desparately needed.
IME it's your own dogs that do the fostering as much as you. The foster dog will invariably follow what your dogs do, so if they have a nice routine and are chilled out at home then everything will fall into place
and you will wonder why you didn't always have three dogs
Our first foster never left...but we currently gave nos 15&16 here, and letting each one go is incredibly hard, but if you trust the rescue you are working with you can be confident they go to super homes, which is a great feeling.
That's a fantastic thing to do. I have my eye on that in the future but with a dog aggressive dog I can't do it yet.
My friend has fostered over 40 dogs now, and they have all been fantastic. Even the cruelty cases have done really well and been moved on to permanent homes relatively quickly after her care.
Good luck with it.
It's especially helpful that you're a family with DC, as it will be beneficial if the rescue can have a good understanding of how the dog interacts with DC.
The rescue should have a foster co-ordinator who should be your guide/liaison. I'd expect them to give you as much info as possible on the dog's background (if this is known) and any info on existing preferences for food, medical/vax status etc.
If neutering/chipping is being done while with you (often preferable as better postop care than in kennels) they should advise on which vet practice, and should also clarify the protocol on if dog is ill/injured e.g. do they require you to take to specific practice or is your own existing one acceptable? This is one of those issues that if you foster regularly can be a real PITA if you are having to go a long way out of the way just for one dog and can't use your own practice.
Dogs are at the greatest risk of escape/loss in the immediate first hours after rehoming whether with foster or adopter so make sure all family members are absolutely drilled on protocols for door opening, and that dog is wearing ID. Collar plus harness with double lead may be a good idea for walks initially until you have better idea of your relationship. It's also worth using the FB group for Secure Fields to see if there is a suitable secure field you can use locally for off lead zoomies, and to practice things like recall.
It can be helpful to teach recall using a whistle as this is not then linked to either your voice or to a specific name, which then keeps options open when dog is adopted.
Once he/she is settled in, take lots of pics. These are useful for the rescue to share on social media and help build interest in the dog. Although you will be sticking with your own dog's routines it's great to try to introduce a variety of different situations to see how your dog copes.
Typically at this time of year, make a note of how they react to fireworks/loud bangs, and see how they get on with travelling in the car, meeting other dogs, meeting people, (both at home and away from home) behaviour at the vet's, maybe things like a small local dog show to see how they manage. Are they comfortable with grooming/washing? Depending on breed, this could be especially useful.
You will also need to report on diet/food preferences etc. Basically imagine what the adopter would need/like to know to give the dog a happy home and good start.
You are doing a fantastic thing - well done. It's hugely rewarding and we ar very lucky in having made good friends with people who have both fostered our dogs before they came to us, and who have adopted dogs we have fostered. Good luck!
Lots of really good advice, Scuttle. Thanks. The contract says that the dog must remain on the lead in unsecured public spaces, but we did that (obsessively) with ddog1 and 2 anyway. I believe there is a secure field specifically for dog exercising a short (10 min) drive away, so that would be useful. Especially as our garden is quite small (though very secure). We also have to agree that we will not walk the foster with more than 1 of our existing dogs for the first 2 weeks. We have a special pointy dog harness too, so that should be helpful for the new foster when he/she arrives.
Your comments re: the whistle are interesting. I hadn't thought about that. It's maybe time to visit our local dog trainer again when the new dog arrives. She is a big fan of pointies and has rescues herself, she's also very much into positive training methods.
When we had ddog2, she came with one of those DAP collars from the rescue, supposedly to help her keep calm. Are they worth investing in?
It's quite exciting!
I've never used a DAP diffuser myself, but I've heard positive things about the plug in ones.
One of my close friends is a hugely experienced foster home for EGLR (that's where the Butterlurcher came from). She always trains whistle recall for fosters for the reasons I outlined and I've been very impressed by it, and we've carried on with it with Lurch, and I'll use it again with any future hounds.
If foster hound is up for it, basic positive training every day is a great idea - things like recall, sit, hand targeting, following a hand etc can quickly be used to build more complex cues or even to do trick training (this may be something DC might wish to get involved in). Top tip with new fosters - keep a supply of chopped high value treat about your person and several times a day, just sit and feed a couple, and reward if they respond to name e.g. turn head to you etc. Basically keep reinforcing that you are Source of Good Things. This may not be applicable if you ahve dog with severe health issues etc but in general it's all about building bond, confidence and setting up for "If human asks me to do certain things, lots of rewards come my way. This is fun!"
Dog trainer may also be able to suggest a few ideas for play in back garden - lots of games that are also training "in disguise".
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