Fostering a dog

BENEFITS OF FOSTERING A PET

Having a pet can help prevent loneliness, encourage exercise and teaches children the responsibility of caring for another individual, not to mention the endless affection and companionship. Fostering is also a great introduction to dog ownership. It helps you to get a good idea of the involvement, commitment and effort that is required to own a pet.

IT’S EASIER THAN YOU THINK!

Fostering a dog may seem like a formidable task, but it’s a very tangible way of making a difference. You do not need to be an experienced dog handler in order to foster a dog. We can provide food, bedding, leads and we can attend to all the animal’s veterinarian needs. Basically, there is no cost to you!

Everyone benefits; the foster volunteer gets to spend time with a special dog and the kennel gains a space for a new dog. The foster dog gets a break from kennel life and a second chance at becoming a cherished pet. The new owners get a dog that is better adapted to home life, and therefore has a better chance of remaining in his new home permanently.

FOSTERING ARRANGEMENTS ARE FLEXIBLE

Our fostering arrangements vary from short (up to a week), medium (2-3 weeks), and long (until a permanent home can be found) stays.

HOW TO CARE FOR A FOSTER DOG

Many of our dogs have suffered at the hands of humans and therefore a special effort needs to be made to win back their trust. Lots of attention and love is a must, as well as nutritious food and daily walks. Dogs like routine so having a structured day with time for walks, play and relaxation is highly recommended.

Dogs need discipline as well as love. Be prepared to teach simple commands such as “stay” in order to instruct the dog to remain in areas where it is allowed. Knowing the house rules and boundaries is important for any dog. Your instructions should be gentle yet firm and most importantly consistent.

HOUSE TRAINING

Some dogs may not be house trained initially. In such cases we advise crate training. This process calls for keeping the dog in a crate for short periods while home alone during the day and also between potty attempts. When house training puppies they need to be brought outside for a potty break every two hours, after a snooze and after they eat or drink. Pups therefore initially require quite a time commitment.

HELP IS ALWAYS AT HAND

We are very appreciative of the work our foster carers do. Experienced dog handlers are always on hand to advise or help out if you have any questions or issues. The Dundalk Dog Rescue team are always just a phone call away should you require any help, support or advice.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Contact  info@dundalkdogrescue.ie  with your details and we will get back to you as soon as possible. If you have any queries about the fostering program please do not hesitate to ask.

FAQ ON FOSTERING

Q.1 WHAT DOES A FOSTER HOME DO?

A foster is a temporary placement for dogs in a rescue or shelter. The foster home will be responsible for socialisation and basic care of a dog. We will rely on you to pass on as much information as possible regarding the dog’s personality as you will get to know him/her very well while in your care, this helps us find the most suitable forever home for the dog.

Q.2 WHAT ABOUT EXPENSES?

There is no cost to you. We will cover any veterinary costs and can provide bedding, collar, ID tag, lead food, etc.

Q.3 HOW LONG DOES A FOSTER DOG STAY?

It depends on the individual case; some stays can be as short as a weekend while others can last for months.

Q.4 WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES?

You will need to provide basic care for the dog such as food, water, shelter, grooming and exercise. Be prepared to provide some commands such as “stay” and basic training. By far the most important thing you need to provide is love and attention.

Q.5 WHAT KIND OF TRAINING DO I NEED?

No training as such is required but ideally a foster volunteer should have some general experience with dogs. You should be familiar with basic dog care. Many rescue dogs have known little kindness in their lives so you will need to be very gentle and patient while the dog adapts to his/her new surroundings.

Q.6 WHAT KIND OF DOG COULD I FOSTER?

Potentially you could get a dog of any age, size, temperament or background. Commonly it is a medium sized adolescent mixed breed dog that has been rescue from a pound.

Q.7 CAN I CHOOSE THE DOG I WANT TO FOSTER?

The short answer is no; however you can request a certain sized dog for example if that better suits your situation.

Q.8 WHAT SHOULD I DO  BEFORE BRINGING THE FOSTER DOG HOME?

You will need to treat the new dog like a puppy at first so puppy proof the house. It is also wise to talk to children involved about the responsibility involved and how a foster dog is not for life unlike a family pet. Encourage them to interact with the dog in a sensitive way. Organise a bed for the dog to sleep indoors.

Q.9 HOW SHOULD I INTRODUCE THE FOSTER DOG TO MY OTHER ANIMALS?

You should introduce the foster dog to the resident animals in a neutral location if possible. If you are concerned about an animal’s reaction to the new dog a leash should be used. Try not to intervene more than necessary while the dogs are getting to know one another.

Q.10 WHAT IF THE FOSTER DOG DOESN’T GET ALONG WITH OTHER PETS IN THE FAMILY?

If pets are being aggressive towards one another and you are worried for their safety just keep them separated for the time being, let us know as soon as possible and we will arrange for the foster dog to be picked up and taken into alternative accommodation. If you feel that the situation is not too serious, keep the dogs separated but allow them to meet occasionally on the first day in a controlled and neutral environment as explained above, increasing their time together gradually throughout the next few days. Long walks together can work wonders as there are other distractions and time spent enjoying themselves in neutral territory should ease the tension. Rescue dogs often come from a situation where they have gone hungry and may have had to compete for food, therefore they may be food aggressive so feed separately and never introduce treats when the dogs are getting to know one another.

Q.11 I’M READY; HOW DO I GET STARTED?

You can get in contact with us at  rehoming@dundalkdogrescue.ie  with your details ( your address, other pets, contact details etc. ) and a member of the fostering team will get in touch.  As we all work fulltime and do this voluntarily it may take a few days so please be patient.

Q.12 CAN I KEEP THE FOSTER DOG IF I WANT TO?

Some dogs are booked for new homes or alternative rescues before going into foster, so the foster home is a stop gap for the dog while they await their new beginning. However, many of our dogs are placed in foster homes indefinitely while we try to find forever homes/rescue places for them, in these cases we will try give first refusal to the foster carer once they have expressed an interest in adopting the dog.

Feel free to drop us a line if you have any further queries, just email rehoming@dundalkdogrescue.ie and we’ll get back to you asap.