Fostering Frequently Asked Questions
First and foremost, they provide a more appropriate environment for learning and growth than a place like a shelter or kennel. In a foster home, a dog is exposed to all of the same experiences they would likely get in a real home and have a chance to properly learn, socialize and interact with people and sometimes other animals as well as situations and their environment. Unfortunately, these opportunities are few and far between in shelters and kennels where, due to the large number of animals and lacking resources, these activities are not readily available. In short, foster homes better prepare dogs for their real home and in turn, make for a smoother transition when that time comes.
Foster homes are the backbone of any rescue organization. The number of animals a rescue can help is only as good as the number of good foster homes an organization has available to it. A rescue can have all of the leashes, bowls, food and money in the world available to it, but if it has no good places for the dogs to stay, it can’t really do a lot of good.
Each foster experience is unique. You might foster an adult dog who is housetrained, socialized, and makes friends with everyone immediately. Maybe you’ll take on a just-weaned puppy who needs to be housebroken and requires loads of exercise and attention. Perhaps you’ll accept an older dog who requires some medication, or an occasional trip to a vet (we pay vet expenses). Or you might open your heart to a formerly abused dog who is very scared and might need weeks of patience and gentleness until she begins to trust for the first time in her life. The experiences are as varied as are the dogs, but we will do our best to match our incoming dogs to your family and lifestyle.
Absolutely. Maybe you have an alpha male dog at home and so can only foster females. Maybe you don’t want puppies because your kids get too attached. Maybe you ONLY want puppies because they are a special delight for you. You let us know what will work best in your home and we do our best to make a good match for you and your family.
Yes and yes. If summers are great for you because you don’t work, but the rest of the year is too hectic, then you can be a summer foster home. If summers are awful because you take long vacations, but the rest of the year is better, then you can be a fall-winter-spring foster home. You can always say that you don’t want to take in a foster dog, for any reason.
You call us immediately, and we help you deal with the situation. If it is medical, we will arrange for a veterinary appointment. If it is behavioral, we will work with you to fix whatever issue has arisen. We will offer consultation over the phone, or if needed, we will come to your home and help you work with the dog. If we can’t help you solve the issue, we will contact our professional behavior training specialist, who will work with you, free of charge, to solve the issue. In the unlikely case that a problem cannot be solved and you feel that you can no longer foster your dog, we will find a new foster placement for your dog as quickly as possible.
Well, hopefully you’re not looking into fostering for any benefit other than the personal satisfaction of helping an animal in need. That’s the main benefit you’ll get from being a foster parent and that’s what makes our fosters so special. By being a foster parent and spending your time with a dog, you know that you are directly helping save a dog. Every foster home equals a dog who probably otherwise would not have been rescued. As GDRST pulls dogs largely from kill shelters, each foster home brings a chance to avoid that outcome for a dog and get him ready for a lifelong home with a good family. For our foster parents, that’s worth more than money or other incentives. Dogs seem to know when they’ve been saved and the look on your foster dogs face when you take him in and when he’s happy with his forever home is priceless.
You probably will get attached to the dog and in fact, you should. That’s the sign of good ownership. Fosters should take comfort knowing; however, that for each dog they foster and find a good home, that opens the door for another dog to be pulled from a bad circumstance and have the same done for them AND it has found a great long-term home for the original dog. So, yes, you’re going to get attached and that’s ok. Just remember, there’s nothing but upside to a foster dog finding a permanent home.
We don’t have a generic template for what we’re looking for. Our foster parents come in all forms and fashions. Overall, though, we’re looking for someone who is responsible, mature and dependable. We need someone who loves dogs and has the patience to deal with situations which may arise, the willingness to work to find their dog a home, the responsibility to support the adoption process and the heart and compassion to provide the best possible home to a dog that may only be in their life temporarily. We generally want people who are over 21 years old, who have dog experience, who have a fenced in yard or some other secure area for the dog, who live in a safe environment and who have the time to devote to a foster dog. Read our Foster Guidelines
If you feel like you want to foster a dog for GDRST, please complete the application and email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once we receive it, we will review it and be in touch for next steps in the foster application process. The process will include a phone interview.