Fostering a dog is the most important step in saving abused, abandoned or neglected animals.
Decompressing – The first thing you need to do is what our rescue calls a “shut-down.” The dog needs a quiet place, usually a crate (for some dogs, it can be a small room) where he can relax and recover from living in a shelter and/or being abandoned and the stressful transport that brought him to us. This means providing a comfy bed, a few toys, regular meals, water and calm walks. Giving a dog time to reset is critical.
Fostering saves lives! By fostering a dog, you can help reduce overcrowding in shelters and open up space for another animal to be saved. Over 9 million animals are euthanized each year in the United States because there are not enough homes for them all. The truth is that by fostering a dog, you are not only saving that dog’s life but you are saving two! By taking in a foster dog, you opened up a space at the shelter to prevent another dog from being euthanized. Being in a foster home also helps dogs become more adoptable by giving them a chance to live in a home where they can decompress and show their true personality. This helps us get to know the dogs better so that we can find adopters who are a good match for them.
Fostering is free! We provide all necessary supplies and cover the medical expenses for foster homes. Fosters simply need to open their hearts and homes to a dog in need.
Fostering is rewarding! When you foster a dog, you play a crucial part in saving an animal’s life. It turns out doing good makes you feel good! It is incredible to watch a foster’s personality bloom as their fear melts away.
We are a foster-based rescue, meaning we do not have a shelter or a facility. The only way we can save dogs is by having foster families willing to open their hearts and home to a dog in need. Because the foster family inevitably ends up developing an emotional attachment to their foster dog, one of the most difficult parts of fostering is saying goodbye to your foster dog when they are adopted. Although this part is never easy, there is peace of mind that comes with knowing your foster dog found a loving, forever home. We involve our foster families in the adoption process to help give closure and make the transition easier for all involved.
A foster parent provides a temporary home for a dog for anywhere from two weeks to several months. Being a foster parent is like being a grandparent—all the enjoyment of caring for an animal without the lifetime responsibility. However, a foster parent must be the type of person who can take home a needy animal, care for it, and then be able to let it go to another family. We also offer a foster to adopt program, that allows potential adopters to take care of the dog they’d like to adopt and then we make it official when the dog is officially cleared for adoption.
Anyone who is 18 years of age or older and has experience with dogs or cats can be a foster parent. Preference is given to those persons who own their own home, but renters will be considered with landlord approval. Also, all pets that are owned by the foster parent must be in good health, up to date on vaccinations, spayed or neutered and not aggressive. Foster homes must be in compliance with all laws pertaining to the number of animals allowed at any given time. The foster parent is responsible for the care and control of the animal at all times while the animal is being fostered.
There are a lot of dogs in need of foster homes! We have dogs of various sizes, ages, and breeds who need homes to crash in until they are adopted. Some people foster pregnant moms and their puppies, others adults, or seniors, or puppies. We even have dogs with special needs who need foster homes. One type of foster home that we are always needing is those that can take in a heartworm positive dog. Many dogs come to us having tested positive for heartworm disease, meaning there are literally worms in their heart. These dogs need calm, quiet foster homes that are willing to commit to a minimum of 2-3 months to foster their dog through its heartworm treatment. We understand that this is a longer term commitment, but there are so many dogs in shelters that have a hard time getting out all because of this horrible disease and we would love to save as many of them as we can.
There are four main responsibilities of a foster family. Fosters are responsible for making sure their dog is taken care of (adequate exercise, given food and water, etc.), providing affection and love to their foster dog, transporting their dog to veterinary appointments, meet and greets, and adoption events, and informing us of any issues with your foster dog so that we can address the issues prior to adoption.
You do not need to provide any supplies for your foster dog. We provide all of the essentials including collar, leash, crate, food/water bowls, and dog food. You are welcome to spoil your foster furkid but additional expenses will be considered a donation from the foster family.
Make sure the dog will have a safe, private place to decompress. Many of our dogs come to us in need of a bath; we recommend a Dawn dish soap bath as soon as possible after picking up your foster dog. Some pet stores have self-wash stations to give your foster dog a bath if you are unable to do so at home.
Go on a walk! Most dogs will have been cooped up in a crate from their travels to the rescue, so a walk first thing will allow them to get some exercise and stimulation. Make sure the dog pees and poops (and praise them for doing so!) which will reduce the chance of accidents when you get inside. The first walk will also help your foster dog build trust with you as the person at the end of the leash guiding them through their new environment. If you have any resident dogs in your home, it is best to fully separate your foster dog from your dogs for a few days until your foster has been able to settle in.
Fostering is by far the best way to gain information about a dog that can be useful when finding them a forever family. You get to help us learn about how the dog behaves on a daily basis in a home environment, which can be much different than in a shelter kennel. Here are some ways you can help us market your foster dog to potential adopters:
- Send us pictures and videos! We will use these on our social media accounts and adoption websites such as Petfinder.com or adoptapet.com.
- Post your foster dog to your own social media accounts. Your personal network of followers and friends will include many people who do not follow our rescue.
- Be honest about your foster dog! We understand that you love them and want them to be adopted, but in order to find a forever match we need to know the good, the bad, and the ugly to set their adopters up for success.
The truth is, we can never guarantee how long it will take for your foster dog to find their forever home. We require a minimum of two weeks in foster care, which allows us enough time to really get to know the dogs while also screening for any medical or behavioral issues that might arise. Once a foster dog has been here for a minimum of two weeks, is up to date at the vet, and any behavior/training issues have been addressed, then they are considered adoptable! We will post your foster dog on our social media platforms and adoption websites such as Petfinder.com to attract the attention of potential adopters.
This is awesome! We love when our fosters help connect us to potential adopters. Feel free to message our Adoption Coordinator and let her know you have someone interested so she can be on the lookout for their application! However, please do not make any promises to someone that they will be able to adopt your foster dog, all of our adopters go through the same screening process. The first step in the adoption process is to submit an adoption application on our website, then our Adoption Coordinator will conduct a phone interview with approved applicants, and if it still seems like a good fit we will schedule a meet and greet. Our standard adoption fees are as follows: $425 for puppies 3 years and younger, $350 for adults 4-7, and $250 for seniors 8yrs and up.
The majority of our dogs come from two wonderful animal shelters in Tennessee, Hardin County Animal Control and Hardeman Adoptable Animals. Some of our dogs come from shelters in Arkansas. Most of these dogs are found as strays by animal rescuers down south who work diligently to connect with rescues such as ours to help find the dogs forever homes. We will also work with owners in our local area who are surrendering their dogs for any number of reasons. There are some dogs we have more information on than others, but we always share as much as we know with our foster families.
If you are going to be out of town or need a babysitter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, foster’s name, and dates needed. No sooner than 1 month ahead of time, we will post a search for a sitter on our volunteer page and get you covered!
Although this part is never easy, there is peace of mind that comes with knowing your foster dog found a loving, forever home. We involve our foster families in the adoption process to help give closure and make the transition easier for all involved. If adoptive families are comfortable with it, you might even exchange contact information with them. All of our adoptive families are invited to join our Adopted Rascals Facebook group, and we invite all foster families to join as well so they can see how their foster dog is doing in their adoptive home!