Fostering - You Say You Would Help If You Could?
Over and over you have tried to convince yourself that you cannot foster a rescue, but you continue to visit all of your local shelters, surf the internet postings of Pugs in need in order to alert your local rescue organizations of dogs in need; you say you would help if you could, but just why can’t you?
If you ask any reputable rescue organizations what their largest need is they will of course first say funding, and second, qualified foster homes. The supply exceeds the demand world-wide; but we all can only make a difference if those who “can” step forward and offer their homes and their hearts to a homeless animal. Yes, homeless.
Several years ago we addressed this subject and we were able to obtain one, just one (but we will take it) additional foster home. Because that person raised her hand and said “I am going to do this” we were able to commit to others in need. One additional home played a crucial part in our ability to make a difference.
I am going to attempt to address some of the major issues that surround “why you can’t”; and hopefully ease some fears as far as fostering for this rescue organization. Questions listed below are a result of a poll taken among volunteers for APRA and the general public.
How do I become a foster home?
All foster homes go though the same process as our adoptive homes. An application must be completed, and a foster contract is signed by the adoptive home and the President or appropriate designee for APRA. An experienced volunteer who has fostered will guide you (and be there for you) every step of the way.
How soon will I know I am getting a foster dog?
Unfortunately, we never know when we are going to need to take in rescues. Sadly, we have had to refer to other rescue organizations because of the enormous need. We need for you to be “on ready” at all times. Remember, this is rescue, and it cannot be planned.
However, bear in mind that the dogs coming in will receive veterinary care before being placed in your home, and as with permanent homes, we want to be sure that you are able to care for the needs and the personality of the dog that will be staying in your home. We would like for the dog to go from the veterinary clinic to your home. You will be given a minimum of 24 hours notice.
Am I responsible for obtaining veterinary care for the dog placed in my home?
All APRA rescues are taken immediately to our veterinarian for a complete medical examination. All vaccinations are given, blood work is done, and if necessary surgery is scheduled at that time. If it is a matter of a day or two before this can be done, that dog will remain at the veterinary clinic until the dog is ready to go to his or her foster home. A trip back for suture removal or a recheck may be necessary. We do ask that you use our designated rescue vet clinic.
Any medications that need to be given will be sent to the foster home with the dog. We provide flea preventative and heartworm prevention during the time the dog is in foster care. Dogs are flea free and clean before entering a foster home and are expected to remain so. All APRA rescues are checked for internal parasites and regardless of the findings, they are dewormed.
Is it my responsibility to provide food for the dog I foster?
Yes, unless the dog requires a prescription diet; and if that is the case the food will be provided by APRA. We do recommend that all Pugs be fed a high quality food as it is the nature of the breed to be prone to food allergies. We will be glad to discuss this with you.
What if the dog gets sick while in my care?
If the dog gets sick, or you have a concern about his overall health, you should immediately contact the President of APRA. All veterinary care must have prior approval or the foster home is responsible for the expense. If an appointment needs to be made, this will be scheduled by the President, at your convenience. Dogs may only be taken to a veterinarian approved by APRA, and again, only after obtaining approval.
You will only be asked to care for dogs that have minimal needs if any.
Will I be allowed to take my foster out of town?
We will provide boarding for the dog while you travel at an APRA approved facility. We ask that the rescues not be taken out of town at any time without written consent, and they only can be kept in approved foster homes.
How long will I be required to foster a rescue?
There is really no way to know. Those we have considered highly adoptable often remain in foster care for six to eight months. Once the dog is deemed adoptable we will begin the search for the perfect “forever” home. Bear in mind, we match personalities to the adoptive home. Never should a potential family visit a dog at your home.
Will I have a voice in the adoption of my foster dog?
Not only will you have a voice in, you will be involved in the entire process, and it is your choice if you want to do the actual placement. We will do the preliminary screening, arrange the home visit, check the references; and then we will begin to look at dogs in rescue that would qualify for that home. If the dog in your care is a suitable match, we would ask that you communicate with the potential family, and then make your recommendations to the Placement Coordinator. Nobody will know the dog like you will, and you are the one that will have to be the most comfortable with the placement.
Will I have the opportunity to adopt my rescue if I choose to do so?
You will have first choice, and nothing makes us happier. This is one of the main reasons that foster homes must go through the same approval process as adoptive homes. However, we would prefer that you decide this before we actually begin to communicate with potential homes. You will know if your foster is meant to be your adopted rescue.
How do I let go?
You never really let go, but you walk away knowing that you were the link between that dog, and the rest of his or her life. Through the process you will learn more about yourself and your ability to nurture than you ever thought possible. To ask you not to fall in love with your foster would be asking us to place the dog in a home that didn’t care. We want you to love the dog and care for the dog as if it is your own. When you say “good-bye” you will trust the placement totally, or the dog will not leave. You will not be alone in this because we understand totally about letting go.
But when you walk away, you will know that by letting go you gave that rescue the greatest gift they will ever receive the gift of loving them enough to let them go to their forever home. And by letting go, you enable us to help save one more pug in need.
For questions about volunteering for APRA or about becoming a volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
President, Alabama Pug Rescue and Adoption, Inc.
Alabama Pug Rescue and Adoption, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.