Have you ever wondered how a rescue centre can give important information on the animals they rehome? How they can tell if a dog would be suitable with kids? or cats? Or just how an animal would cope being left alone during the day.
At Friends of the Animals RCT we try our hardest to place as many animals into foster homes as possible.
This is one of the most valuable resources (other than funding) that we could ever hope to have and is one of our greatest assets.
No two animals could be identical in their ways or personalities which is why placing an animal in foster can give us so much more vital information on each and every one.
So what is it really All about?
To the animals - It is the warmth security love and attention that they wouldn't get if kept in kennels or enclosures.
To the rescue- It is a vital resource helping to give more detailed accounts of each animal giving them a better chance of a successful rehoming whilst knowing that each animal gets the chance to show its true nature and receive the best possible start to their new lives.
To the fosterers - That is something which each and every fosterer can give an account on how it changes their lives. Emotionally physically, spiritually and mentally whilst learning and having support meeting 100's of others of people who share the same love for animals.
Below is one account of what fostering means to one fosterer:
|Since I started fostering nearly 5 yrs ago, I have fostered over 250 dogs. Most of them have gone off to lovely new forever homes.|
A few have remained with me as long term fosters until their time to cross over to the rainbow bridge, usually due to long term illness or age related issues.
Through meeting and talking to many people during this time, I have found that there are a number of misunderstandings about the true purpose of fostering a dog.
Some people see fostering as a trial period to determine whether they want to adopt a dog permanently.
Some start out with the right intentions, but become too attached to the dog and are unable to give it up.
Others are only willing to foster one particular dog that they already feel an attachment to.
Some people think fostering is a good way to get a free dog, free vet care and food.
Some have even thought you are paid for it like fostering children.
But, none of these reflects the true spirit or reason of fostering dogs.
Although I can understand why people may be confused about the purpose of fostering dogs, I am often surprised to find that many people involved in animal rescue don't always understand it either.
Encouraging foster families to adopt their foster dogs is generally not a great idea!
Because in most cases, people who foster already have one or several "forever" dogs. They probably wouldn’t have the room available for the next needy dog in their home.
So how do I prevent myself from becoming too attached?
I never think of a foster dog as "mine."
Each dog already belongs to someone else ………. I just haven't met that person yet.
The dogs just stay with me until their special person comes along to adopt them.
And of course, the easiest way to keep from getting too attached is to remember that there is and will be another dog that needs my help after this one goes off to a new home.
Some fosterers can looks for minor, faults in each new dog.
"Oh, well, we don't need/want another male."
"That one's nice, but we already have a white one."
I try not to be choosy about which dogs I foster.
Within limits, I will take whichever dog needs me.
My only requirements are that the dog can reasonably be expected to get along with the other dogs living here at the time. Except I don’t do puppies (yucky little monsters), unless it’s a real emergency.
I don’t think, "Oh, which one's cute and quiet and will be easy to place without a lot of work."
Instead, I wait for a call saying, "Any room at the inn“.
"Which is probably why I usually end up with the grumpy miserable, sick, old or wonky-looking ones.
They need my help to become happy, healthy, trusting, loving companions.
Sometimes they are perfectly healthy and well mannered, but just need a little extra time and effort to find a new owner who can see their inner beauty.
Fostering is not a way to get a free dog.
It is not a trial period before adoption.
And it certainly isn't always easy.
Fostering is a way to help a dog that really needs you.
At times, it's incredibly stressful and sometimes heartbreaking.
It takes dedication, hard work, time and commitment,
Aside from regular day-to-day care (feeding, grooming, exercise), the responsibilities of a foster home may include
basic training (house training, walking on lead, sit, down);
Behavior training (to correct problems such as jumping, mouthing, barking, destructive chewing, dashing through doors); with positive reward based training.
socialization and temperament evaluation (to determine whether the dog is good with different types of people, children and other animals);
medical care (dispensing medication, taking the dog to vet appointments),
And of course plenty of playtime and snuggling and lot of loving.
But above all
It‘s about helping the dogs shine and finding them all lovely new forever homes.
So what is fostering?
For me, it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.
How do others see it ? What does it mean to you ?
Each and every fosterer plays a part in giving another animal a second chance at a happy new life. Foster families come in all different shapes and sizes.From single people living alone to large family groups every foster family is different and can help dogs from different backgrounds.
But we wouldn't be suitable to foster would we?
There are lots of people in the U.K who would make fantastic fosterer's but often think they wouldn't be suitable. Here are some of the reasons that people think they couldn't.
We have children -
I live in a flat -
I live alone -
I would be turned down because I'm too old -
I live too far away from Wales -
I've not much experience with difficult dogs -
I could only take a dog who is a puppy/ older and quiter / a certain breed -
To each question above the answer is the same YES YOU CAN!
What we do insist on with fosterers is that the dogs would not be left for more than 4 hours each day without company (or someone at home the majority of the time with puppies) .
A secure garden/area or adequate provisoins for regular exercise and toilet break for the animal.
But most of all what is needed is love patience and understanding.
So.Do you think you are ready?
On the next page is our fostering application form. If after reading through the account of one fosterer and seeing just how much is involved and you think you may be ready to take the next step please fill out the form on the next page.
One of our team of fostering co-ordinators will e-mail a questionnaire to you to fill out and return and then you will be called to discuss fostering for Friends of the Animals RCT.
The questionnaire is not a test, there are no right or wrong answers! It is our way of learning a little bit more about you, your family and your circumstances so that we can give you the best advice possible.