Fostering For Rescues?
I've unofficially fostered rescues before, and three of those fosters were "failed" -- i.e., we kept the critter.
Now I have a rescue asking me to foster an adorable ACD mix, and I've said yes. We already have two dogs, and I don't want any more, so I am quite confident she will go to a new home. But I'm sure it will be sad to say goodbye when the time comes.
Other worries: will she get along with my dogs? Will she chase my cats? Etc.
Any tips for dealing with fosters?
My first bit of advice would be to make sure that you have an appropriate crate on hand and ready to use. I crate all my fosters. One of my own dogs is very reactive, and in order to keep peace I have to crate and rotate anyway...so fosters need to get with the program here! Also, I don't know what a new foster dog's house skills are, and I don't want to have potty accidents, etc. Plus, I think it makes a dog more adoptable if you can tell potential homes that they are reliably crate trained.
Work out with the rescue organization what the policies and procedures are when a dog just doesn't work out in the foster placement. I have seen situations where the placement was just bad, but there was no procedure for moving the dog and everyone (especially the dog) ended up suffering because of it.
I love fostering. I have had a lot of dogs pass through my home and nothing feels as good as watching a really nice dog walk off to a new life with a great new owner.
I don't have specific tips as such, but my aunt fosters and she feels exactly the same way - she has a whole binder of photos and stories of foster dogs that have come through her home and found placements - quite often she'll get at least a couple of updates later, also, so she knows things continue to go well. (I think there's one dog she fostered that she actually dog-sits for now when the owners have to go away, provided she has the space.)
Originally Posted by IdahoRider
I guess the one thing I would suggest is - practice your observational skills. Learn (or brush up on) reading/speaking 'dog' - the more you know about the dog the better you'll be able to help someone decide if it's the right dog for them.
(Also - unless the rescue has rules against it, include the foster in activities as much as is reasonable; once my aunt has gotten an idea of a dog, she'll take it to visit her older grandkids to see how it does with children, take it to the dog park, take it on a car ride to see how it handles going along on errands, etc.) (Note: Said grandkids are pre-trained in Dog. So it's a relatively controlled situation in that if the dog is clearly not comfortable, the kids leave it alone and my aunt notes that the dog probably should go somewhere without kids and that's that.)
The dog to dog introduction is important. I generally take mine for a walk together before they actually do the nose to nose business. This is a very structured walk (one on each side) short leashes, no sniffing, marking, etc. This allows them to be in each other's presence with a purpose (walking) where you are the clear leader. I also keep the dog leashed and with me as much as possible while inside the house for the first day or so. When not with me, they are crated. This way they don't go looking for a place to pee/poop and will help you determine if they are house-trained and also prevents any unsupervised interactions with your resident pups thus avoiding potential altercations. A lot of this depends on your dogs too. I have a GSD and a mini-dachshund. My GSD is great with other dogs but will not be pushed around. He never starts anything and is very tolerant of new dogs antics, assertions, etc but will let them know their place if questioned! He's given a bit more freedom with new fosters sheerly because of his size. My mini-doxie I'm much more careful with. I foster mostly GSDs and because of the size difference, I never leave them alone or unleashed with my mini unless I'm absolutely 110% positive they are good with him. It only takes one snap of their jaws to cause catestrophic injury or worse to my little guy. I don't have cats, but I'd say the same goes for them - unless they are barn cats and can run and hide or get up high.
Overall, I LOVE fostering. It's always hard (well almost always) to say goodbye to my fosters but when I see the family they will be going to, I know they have a great life ahead of them. Good luck!
Good luck! I've done lots of fosters and so far only 4 have stayed by choice. One cat is staying by HER choice, she isn't feral but is scared of the WORLD so I don't see how I can ever get her to "meet" anyone! I have 2 others here now (mom cat and kitten) and they hopefully will get adopted even if they are two of the scruffiest cats I've ever seen! I've lost track of the numbers I've had go through now but I do have pic. of them all.
Thanks for the pointers! We have a crate she can use and I'll do a walk first thing with her and my own ACD. She comes tomorrow...
She's here and she's doing great. We all went for a walk together and now she's sacked out on the kitchen floor.
She is really cute-- here are some pics:
Anyone in TN or New England looking for a sweet little ACD mix? :D