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What a foster can mean to a rescue dog...
What a Foster means to a Rescue via Kit Reardon
for Angels Among Us Animal Rescue and Guardian Angels Pet Rescue
Rescues are typically strung together by people such as you that find ways to help these dogs along into a magical new life with a family that will love and care for them forever.
Our volunteer support is internet based. If we're lucky, some of our local friends start to volunteer or foster dogs so you have a physical connection, but for the most part we all get to know each other through writing and phone calls. Wow the miracle of technology! It's tremendously rewarding.
There are many ways to help a rescue dog along the way to its forever home. It takes a devoted, passionate team assuming many roles to make certain that these darling dogs find their way to the homes they deserve.
As an example, my forte is Adoption Coordinating. It feels natural to me. I’ve set a standard that I hold myself accountable for, which is to only accept applicants for adoption that can offer exceptional homes. This is the standard that lets me "sleep at night," knowing that a dog that I had a hand in placing, will be loved and provided for until the end of his or her natural life. This is what I owe the folks on the front line of rescue that walk into high kill shelters, pulling one dog at time from eminent death. It’s what I owe foster families that have hearts so big they keep a place open in their home for temporary refuge between kill shelter and adoption.
The dogs that are in our rescue are in foster care, often living in a group setting. It’s a huge step from a kill shelter however, it’s meant to be a temporary stepping stone to either an outright adoption or to a foster home in New England.
Our volunteers down south are hard-core dog champions. These champions are caring for injured, abandoned or starving dogs they pick up off the streets, or dogs that they have pulled from high kill shelters. It is in the Foster’s care that these dogs are fully vetted and their temperaments evaluated to determine the best match possible for adoptive homes. Dogs do get adopted directly from these volunteers, but they are adopted much quicker if they are in New England where prospective adopters can meet these pups first. Every step of the way, life improves for these dogs, and the foster home is another step on their way to a forever home.
Our adoption process is extensive. We work as a team to ensure all participants are in agreement about the adoption outcome for every dog. Our Adoption Coordinators are involved in every step; from screening applicants thoroughly, to working with Fosters and families to determine if an adoption opportunity is a perfect match. The heart and welfare of each Foster and Rescue Dog is central to this mission.
Dogs are very resilient, moving from a loving foster home to a loving forever home. In most cases these changes are far from traumatic - if anything, it shows them that new people and changes are not something to be feared - a new home means new toys and new people that shower them with love!
A friend once told me:
Fostering, for me, is an honor. I get to be the first real home a dog has experienced, I get to be the one to show them what it's like to sit with me and relax at night in front of the TV, the first one to take them for a long walk in the woods, to enjoy the smells and sights rather than run from the noises or be in search for something to eat, give them their first toys and bed to sleep in. The first time they can just lounge around sleeping in a sun beam on the floor with a full belly and not a worry in the world. Of course, I'm also the one that needs to teach them that making puddles on the floor is not an option and that shoes are not chew toys!
Most need obedience training might not even be used to walking on a leash or be scared of their own shadow. But by me taking on role of mentor and foster, I'm improving the chances that the adoptive home has a smoother transition and the adoption will be a success. The optimal foster home takes rough cut stones and turns them into gems.
If you’ve ever considered fostering, you’ve probably said to yourself or heard the comment, "Oh, I could never foster, I love dogs too much...I'd end up keeping them all.”
But here’s the simple truth; quite literally, every dog that gets moved into a foster home is a life saved. If sent to a Northern Foster Home, space opens in the South for another dog to be pulled from the Euthanasia List in a southern holding shelter (yes, there is a euthanasia list). No new dogs can be pulled until space opens up down south. So you see, for every dog that is fostered, another life is saved.
Some dogs are certainly more of a challenge than others and it's as much work as it is fun, but for all of us that do it - it's worth it. Having adopted shelter dogs, my husband and I reached a point where we decided we wanted to do more to help the dog rescue cause. We couldn't adopt them all, so fostering was the perfect way to help. Fostering is about selflessly taking an active role to help a cause you feel passionate about.
Having a multi-dog home is much different than having a single dog, but if your dog enjoys playing with others, two dogs (in my opinion) are easier than just one. I'll never be a single dog home again. The amount of companionship and play two dogs give to each other is something they just can't get from humans. We have foster homes that have one dog of their own and include a revolving cast of fosters to give their dog a buddy to play and socialize with. Then they take a break, get the house back to its normal quiet routine for a bit and then jump back in with another playmate!
As a Foster, it can be hard to say goodbye to your foster babies, especially the first couple of times, but when you find that perfect adopter - it makes it a whole lot easier.
There have been dogs that I thought I would never find a deserving home for because I was so in love with the pup, and then that one application came along and all my worries vanished and I was thrilled for adoption day to come. If you foster a dog you just can’t part with, that’s great, we love it when our foster families adopt dogs. We affectionately refer to this as "foster failure." I'm guilty of it myself.
Depending on the age and breed of the dogs you foster, the amount of time they are with you varies. There are dogs that sit down south for months waiting for a foster home, finally come up to a New England family- and are adopted in a week. Other times, there will be perfectly adoptable cuties that are in foster for months before having 10 applications all come in at once for them! As a Foster, I’m in regular email contact with many of my adopters. I frequently get pictures and updates from them - so adoption is by no means a final good-bye!
With that said, there are many way you can help a rescue-short of adopting them all! Fostering a dog isn’t a lifetime commitment; it’s a commitment to save a life.
Via Kit Reardon 10/05/12