WHY DO WE NEED FOSTER HOMES?
SCBR is a rescue that spans seven different states in the northeast. We don't have a shelter or use kennels. What we have is a network of 30 or so foster homes that take in dogs as they come from shelters, other rescues, and from owners. In 2009, we placed 269 dogs into new homes. The more foster homes we have, the more dogs we can help! Right now, we have more than a dozen dogs waiting to come into rescue. Some of those are in shelters and will be put to sleep if we can't find a spot for them. In those cases, some of our homes take in more than one dog. The moral of this story is: WE ALWAYS NEED NEW FOSTER HOMES!
WHO DO WE FOSTER?
We're a Boxer rescue, so 99.5% of the dogs we take in are purebred or boxer mixes. Now and then, we take other breeds in as well if there is an available foster home. Dogs who come into rescue are ALL confused, scared, and tense. Their worlds are turned upside down whether they came from a shelter or from their former home. These dogs are not necessarily in a good place when they come to your home. If they've been living on the street, they need to learn that they're safe. If they've been abused or neglected, they need to learn to trust. They all need some kind of "work", even if its just to help them through the transition. A recent trend we've seen is a rise in owner surrenders due to the economy. A family may lose their home and have to move into an apartment or in with family and can't take their pup. Some people can't afford their vet bills, so we have gotten in a few dogs who need more medical care than usual.
WHAT DOES A FOSTER HOME DO??
Before you even get your first dog, you become a member of our foster email group. This is your new family/ support group in rescue. This is where we discuss all our issues, questions, and successes with our fosters. SCBR covers all the dog's costs. You will get reimbursed for food and be provided a crate, if you need one. You will also have to arrange to take her to have all her medical needs- shots, tests, spay- and SCBR pays all those bills. Depending on where you live, there may be a vet in the area who has worked with us before and knows how we operate.
When you take in a foster the best thing to do is give him/her a quiet place to be by himself and settle down. This is when you start evaluating him. The worst thing you can probably do at this point is let him meet other dogs. That is the main thing that needs to happen slowly. The dog that you see the first day is hardly ever the same dog you see on day 5. During the whole time you have your foster, you'll keep evaluating him. This is so we can have updates that reflect what you're learning about the dog's personality. A foster home is NOT EXPECTED to train the dog (other than the rules of your own house and sanity). The adoptive home will be doing the training so the dog is bonded to them, not you. What are you looking for?
~ the dog's temperament ~ the dog's character traits
~ is he good with kids, cats, other dogs, strangers, visitors?
~ does he have any allergies or chronic medical conditions
~ does he play? snuggle? jump? counter surf? escape?
During your evaluation of the dog, you'll be writing 'updates' for the dog's website. At first, you'll just write a little introduction telling people that she's in rescue, where she came from, how the first day went. Then every week or so, you'll send the email group another update on how she's doing and what you've learned about her. We'll also need you to send pictures AS SOON as you get her.
Most foster dogs who are of average age, location, and temperament stay in rescue about 3 weeks. We have dozens of approved adoptive homes that are watching and waiting for their dog to show up on the website. We've had dogs adopted in as few as 7 days and others stay more than a year.
Fostering a rescued dog is the best, most rewarding, happiest, saddest, stressful thing you'll ever do, but you'll never ever regret it and you'll be the first one to raise your hand when they ask who is ready to take their next pup!
To become a foster, you have to complete the Foster Home application and write in that you're hoping to foster. You go through the same process as if you were adopting, including the interview, vet and landlord check (if applicable) and home visit. On the up side, if you're approved to adopt, you're approved to foster.... if you're approved to foster, you're approved to adopt! If you want to start volunteering while this process if going on please also fill out the volunteer application.
CAN I ADOPT THE DOG I'M FOSTERING?
No. We have a policy that people can't "try out" or visit their dogs before adoption, so it wouldn't be fair that folks circumvent that by fostering until they adopt. Also, if an approved adoptive family is offered a dog, they've waited a long time to be approved for that dog, and can't be told that they can't have her because her foster family is going to keep her. Pretty soon, we'd have no applicants once people heard that we're fickle.
For other questions about fostering, please email Dot.