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What to do when trying to foster but the rescue really rubs you the wrong way?

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  • What to do when trying to foster but the rescue really rubs you the wrong way?

    OK.

    So, othe past couple months I have been going through the process to become a foster dog mom. I sent in the application, did the home visit, got approved, etc.

    I am having a little difficulty though, with politely drawing some boundaries with the rescue. Obviously they are a nice organization and the primary purpose is to help dogs, but they keep getting my back up in their communications and interactions.

    For example, several weeks ago the phone rang, after 10pm, and it was the rescue telling me that I would be getting a foster dog from Florida sometime in the future. Who calls strangers this late for that kind of reason? It can’t wait until business hours? The dog wasn’t arriving omg!tomorrow!, it was arriving “in a couple weeks.” No additional courtesies were associated with the phone call, such as starting with “Hi, I’m so sorry to call so late but <here is my reason for doing so>. Are you by any chance available to chat?” Just, “Hi, this is <whoever> from the rescue. We pulled a dog from a Miami kill shelter based on your stated desire to foster. The dog we initially told you about is actually going somewhere else, so you would be getting a <totally different dog> instead.”
    At 10:15pm.

    So fine. I was annoyed by the whole flavor of that conversation but I am prepared to let people have a foible or two and keep the larger purpose in mind. I myself am sometimes not so hot at the little pleasantries and can get straight to the point so…fine.

    I hear nothing further until yesterday, when I get an email from them, which reads in pertinent part (emphasis added):

    “ <blah blah blah, we are sorting out who your mentor is, etc etc and so on...>

    Now for the good news.... you are getting a foster dog tomorrow! I certainly hope you are still able to take one, sorry for the short notice.
    His name is Benji and he is a small doxie/min pin mix or something. Really adorable with a long tail that curls just a tad. He is black and tan and
    small.

    Please let me know about fostering Benji. The transport actually arrives tomorrow around 5:00. I can text you and tell you exactly where you can pick him up, if you reply with your cell number.”


    Ok, WHAT?!
    She wants to drop a dog on me on 24 hours notice and “tell me” “exactly where” “I can” pick him up? Via text message?
    Not, “Are you available on such short notice?” Not, “Would you be able to arrange a time for the dog to exchange hands in the next couple of days?” Not, “Is there anything we can do to additionally help you since this is so hurried?” None of that. Just, reply with your cell number so I can tell you where “you can” come get him.

    Meanwhile I have a horseshow in two days and tonight is schooling and packing the trailer, Friday morning is driving the horse, Friday evening is schooling at the show, and Saturday is the horseshow all day. But I guess “I can” go pick this dog up too, huh.

    So, anyway, despite not being the most diplomatic person, I still managed to resist the urge to write a little response about all the things “they can” do, such as, “Well, “you can” rephrase your email to be more polite,” and “you can” give me a little more notice, and “you can” hold the dog for a couple days until I have a spare three seconds” and “you can” bring him to me on Sunday, and furthermore, now “you can” see how completely obnoxious the whole ‘you can’ wording is.”

    So, my objectives are:
    1. not being a total b*tch myself
    2. still fostering and helping dogs
    But 3., still getting treated with basic courtesy and consideration by this rescue.
    I mean, I don’t want to screw the dog over because the rescue lacks human social interaction skills, and probably they are even really nice people deep down who are just busy trying to handle an incoming transport and the rest of their lives, but I also don’t want to be sent into the WTF stratosphere every time they communicate with me.

    Do any diplomatic COTHers have any suggestions on how I can achieve those? I already called her and constrained myself enough to agree to call her on Friday when I was done schooling to see about picking the dog up, so that aspect is handled, but I still want to positively influence the interaction dynamic going forward, without just snapping into b*tch mode myself.

    Help?
    The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
    Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
    Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
    The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

  • #2
    Wow. It sounds like these guys have some definite people skill problems. I would wonder how that translates to people trying to adopt dogs, and what that would mean for you as a foster home.

    Are there any other groups in your area looking for foster homes?

    Comment


    • #3
      If this rubs you the wrong way, just wait until you have to deal with potential adopters.

      Rescue doesn't work on "regular business hours". Most of the people involved are volunteers who have jobs that take up the regular business hours. And for many of them, great people skills don't come naturally or easily.

      If the other interactions (the application process, the home visit, etc.) were relatively painless, you might want to chalk it up to experience and decide that the positives of this particular rescue outweigh the negatives.

      As someone who has been the foster coordinator for a large shelter, and volunteered for several private rescues, this organization doesn't sound too bad.
      Sheilah

      Comment


      • #4
        Frankly, for me this would be "buh bye". There are far too many reputable & well-run places requiring foster care to be saddled with a place like this.

        I can be - & definitely have been - as altruistic as the next person, but when it intrudes on my lifestyle in so many ways - late night phone calls, short notice/no lead time when there clearly isn't an emergency at hand - that would be it for me. Way too much crazy in way too short a time. And this definitely sounds like an organization where you give them an arm, & they automatically want a leg. No thanks.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ya know, if they start out this way it is not a good sign for what may follow. I personally don't answer the phone at my house after 9 pm unless it obviously appears to be an emergency. Seriously, they can't wait until Snday? I'd tell them that it was such short notice that it is going to be nearly impossible for you to take the dog until Sunday.
          What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

          Comment


          • #6
            Just politely send off an email letting them know contact guidelines, eg no phone calls between 9pm & 8 am, you need at least 3 days notice to prepare for a foster etc, etc: think carefully about your requirements so that the information that goes into your "foster" file doesn't need frequent updates/changes.

            In their defense, they likely did not have know when/if the dog would get onto this transport - generally, unless you (as a rescue organization) are setting up the entire transport, you are very dependent on how everything else on the path falls in ...

            You certainly can phone the charge person at the rescue & discuss the feasibility of this dog spending the next few days with a temporary foster & then coming to you once you're back at home - depending on the dog arriving, this may suit him better than going on the road to a horse show.

            Some fosters are very adaptable, some less so, most rescues are very happy to work with a range of fosters without predjudice.
            I do suspect that the contact person is just very busy & trying to get the most done in the least time, also some people do lack those courtesy skills or the ability to adjust their delivery dependenty upon the recipient.

            You do want to be open with respect to what you need, so that there is no (unspoken) resentment that ends with you deciding that you just can't do this anymore ...

            There are many other ways to be involved with dogs in need - you can even pull dogs on your own from the shelters etc; it's also possible that another rescue would better suit you.

            Comment


            • #7
              Find a better rescue.
              I foster, and have been treated respectfully. I also have a hundred percent adopted rate.
              We are all aware of time changes. No dog is shipped without a pre arranged human waiting on the other end.
              I have driven 4hrs one way to pick up a dog, and have the others brought to me racetrack to racetrack on horse transport.
              The rescue pays/reimburses for everything IF I so desire.
              You need to be hooked up to a rescue that appreciates you, that has a fairly quick turn over rate. Please don't let one mediocre rescue sour you. There are amazing rescues out there!!! I deal with one daily. And I love it

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by IdahoRider View Post
                If this rubs you the wrong way, just wait until you have to deal with potential adopters.

                Rescue doesn't work on "regular business hours". Most of the people involved are volunteers who have jobs that take up the regular business hours. And for many of them, great people skills don't come naturally or easily.

                If the other interactions (the application process, the home visit, etc.) were relatively painless, you might want to chalk it up to experience and decide that the positives of this particular rescue outweigh the negatives.

                As someone who has been the foster coordinator for a large shelter, and volunteered for several private rescues, this organization doesn't sound too bad.
                Sheilah
                I disagree with this. The rescue I work with "vets" the potential adopter long before I get to make a phone call and interview the potential adopter.

                Rescue does often work on business hours as the dogs I have recieved come from shelters which DO have set hours. I have recieved dogs at 4 am because of the transport. The transport I arranged.
                I have yet to meet a person involved witht he rescue I foster for that does not have great people skills.
                I am so glad I am involved with an upstanding rescue. My experience has been amazing!!!
                I wish this for everyone who fosters.

                Comment


                • #9
                  be the total bitch and slap that dork who calls you after 10PM with the newest edition of Ms Manners etiquette!

                  Start off as you wish to continue. Tell them they forgot their manners.

                  If they will still give you a foster, or if you still want to do that would be up to you.

                  But it amazes me to no end when groups who rely on volunteer work can't find the time to treat the people who do the work with decency.

                  A great lesson from my late sister: once you are known as the B*tch life is much easier.
                  Originally posted by BigMama1
                  Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                  GNU Terry Prachett

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Alagirl View Post
                    be the total bitch and slap that dork who calls you after 10PM with the newest edition of Ms Manners etiquette!
                    who forgot whose manners ....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      What do you do? You walk away.

                      It does not sound like they are very organized in they way they handle things. Foster homes are treated like royalty with most well-operated rescue groups. Why? Because we're VERY appreciative that someone even shows interest in becoming a foster home.
                      If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
                      DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
                      Originally posted by talkofthetown
                      As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Find another rescue to foster with. I know Tri-State Collie Rescue is always looking for fosters. And, they're collies! And shelties. I suspect a couple of people rub each other the wrong way, but they've been wonderful to work with.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          They sound disorganized, as others have said. They won't keep volunteers for long that way. So if you can bite the bullet and help them learn how to handle their volunteers better, it will ultimately help more dogs. I've seen a video of you handling a horse very diplomatically...I admire your skill.

                          Some small, volunteer-run rescues are chronically disorganized and get in over their heads. Some volunteers in leadership positions in those groups don't have much "real world" experience in terms of being business-like in their communications.

                          I have a feeling they don't have a "volunteer job description" or any written guidelines for how you can expect things to operate. Otherwise you would already know to expect short-to-no-notice.

                          As a volunteer coordinator (my profession) I want to hear from volunteers in terms of "It would work better for me (the volunteer) if this went this way"...or...."I really want to help the dogs but I can only do it with 3 days notice..."

                          If they aren't figuring out fair boundaries, perfectly appropriate for you to vocalize yours. But speak up before you ditch them, if you have to ditch them. Give them a chance to learn and improve.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I agree, find another rescue. The biggest thing I have a problem with, aside from the lack of professionalism, is the fact that they picked the dog for you. Sorry, if I'm fostering a dog, I want the option to meet with several dogs and pick the one who seems to fit into my household the best. You want to make sure he is going to get along with your family/other pets and your life style. You also want to make sure the dog has been looked at behaviorally and physically. I would not be bringing a dog to my home immediately after it's been plucked from another shelter, especially without me being able to meet with him first.

                            We have fostered several dogs and our experiences have been nothing but pleasant. They were always grateful that we could take on the foster and even more appreciative that we didn't ask them to provide food and other "everyday" doggie needs. They understood that fosters are doing them a favor and as such worked to try and make everyone happy.

                            I could have gotten over the part about the phone call at 10pm. But I will NOT rearrange my schedule with less than 24 hours notice for someone who does not seem to be especially accomodating in other areas. Had everything else been going smoothly, I would have contacted them and inform them that you didn't realize they would only be giving you 24 hours notice and that you already have committments for the next few days and will be unable to take the dog until Sunday. HOWEVER, since there are some red flags here re: "foster" appreciation/courtesy, I would tell them you're no longer that's interested.
                            There are tons of other rescues out there who would love to have you foster and won't call you at 10pm, be oblivious that people may not be able to follow their schedule of events, and who will give you 24 hours notice. JMO.
                            "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If you do this without comment, you may become the "go to" for all the last-minute, difficult, or otherwise messed up foster situations.
                              I would definitely let them know about contact hours. Even if I decided to pick up this pup, I would sure let them know that you do NOT wish to operate this way in the future. Set your rules that will make this a positive experience for you as well as the foster and the organization. If they cant accomodate that - find another.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Don't look my way - I don't fall into the 'diplomatic COTHer' box.
                                Sometimes these do-gooders, while they have their hearts in the right place, are just.....hmmm, nuff said.
                                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Contact the rescue's director as well as the foster coordinator (assuming these are not the same person) and lay out your concerns. They need to know that these issues exist within the organization and this is why you're hesitant to continue volunteering. Maybe the foster coordinator needs to work on her communication skills and no one else has bothered to tell her! If they are a reputable rescue, they will appreciate the feedback and work with you. If they don't respond well or don't treat you any differently, then yes you should take your services elsewhere!

                                  Speaking from my own rescue experience, often the foster coordinator is faced with too many dogs and not enough foster homes. Our dogs are very regularly transported from the shelter or point of acquisition to a foster home elsewhere across 3 states, which doesn't create an opportunity for the foster home to meet the dog ahead of time. We work VERY hard to ensure though that no one is stuck in a situation where they have a dog that can't mesh in their household. If this happens, we move the dog to another home as soon as possible. Also, the foster coordinator may be faced with 5 dogs in need of rescue and only 3 open foster homes. What is she to do?? If these dogs are in danger of euthanization, the foster homes may not get much notice ahead of time that the dog is coming because we're just trying to get the dog somewhere SAFE. We know which foster homes are able to act on short notice like this and which ones are not, and often we just need them to act as temporary lay-overs until the dog can make it to their "real" foster home.

                                  You usually get two types of rescue volunteers - 1) those who work full time jobs and have other obligations and are trying to cram in their rescue duties also and 2) those who don't work full time jobs or have daily obligations and are able to make shelter pulls or run transports at the drop of a hat. Fortunately there is usually a mix of both in our rescue - so those who don't work are able to make shelter pulls and transports during the week or on shorter notice than those of us who work during the week. So just make it clear to them which type of volunteer you are!
                                  "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                                  Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

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