Fostering Tips & Suggestions
* Choose your foster dog wisely. There are a lot of dogs in need of foster homes – some have issues, some are perfectly well behaved, some are young and full of energy, some are old and need a quiet home, some can’t live with other animals, some don’t like small children etc.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to find dogs that suit your lifestyle but it might take a little searching to find the right ones.
If in doubt, ask questions and find out as much information as possible about the dog you are considering fostering.
* Try to develop a daily routine for the dog as soon as possible. This should help to reduce stress for the dog as they get used to the new environment
* Ask the rescue about the dogs previous daily routine so you know what the dog will be expecting, how long they should be walked, where they usually sleep (if they’ve come from a home environment) etc.
* Ask the rescue about the type of food the dog is used to eating, that way you can get the same type and if you and the rescue agree that the food should be changed this can be done gradually to avoid an upset stomach
* Have facilities available to seperate the dog from your pets/children just in case of problems (baby gates can come in very handy for foster dogs!)
* Be prepared for less than perfect behaviour and read up on positive training techniques so that you can try to tackle issues where possible
– Information from a Rescue’s point of view:
Rescues value and tend to keep their foster carers, sometimes for many years; the relationship is one of trust and is based on a picture of you built on the questions in the initial questionnaire which they will send you and eventually through the foster dogs in your care.
Some of the questions may seem intrusive but if you bear in mind that the rescue may be entrusting a vulnerable rescue dog (which may have a horrendous past) to your care I’m sure you will understand why this is necessary. The rescue also has a duty of care to the foster carer and their family, they need to know exactly which dog would fit in with your existing family, pets and circumstances.
There follows an example questionnaire which will give you an idea of what you may be asked, although each rescue may ask somewhat different questions or in a different format.
Your Age: 18-25 / 26-34 / 35-44 / 44-55 / 56-62 / 63-70 / 70plus
Number of Family Members living at home:
How many children in the household, and ages?
Please provide ages of children who regularly visit your home and would meet the dog:
Are these children used to dogs? Yes / No
Do you consider your household to be: Quiet / Noisy / Busy
Do you suffer from any disability or illness which may prevent you from exercising or caring for a dog?
Does the intended foster carer work? No/yes
If yes please state which of the following applies: from home/elsewhere f/t p/t
Is your home: a) House b) Flat c) Other (Details please)
(detached / semi-detached / mid terrace / end terrace) please circle.
Do you live in: a) City area b) Suburb c) Rural Area
Do you have a fully enclosed garden: a) Yes b) No
Is it completely secure? a) Yes b) No
If yes, how high is the fencing at the lowest point:
In addition to the garden, where would you exercise the dog?
If in rented housing, do you have the landlord’s written permission to keep dogs? a) Yes b) No
How long have you lived at present address
Where would the dog be left, when alone (including at night):
What is the longest period of time the dog would be left alone for during the day?
How often in a week?
Your Experience & Other Family Pets
Have you fostered before? a) Yes b) No
Have you fostered a rescue dog before? a) Yes b) No
Have you ever returned a foster dog to a rescue?
Apart from any dogs you currently own, have you fostered other breeds before? a) Yes b) No
If Yes, which breeds:
If you have other dogs now,
a) How many? _______________________
b) Breed/s? _______________________
c) Sex? _______________________
d) Are they all neutered? a) Yes b) No
Do you have other animals at home? a) Yes b) No
If Yes, please specify: __________________________
Are your other animals used to dogs? a) Yes b) No
Are they in contact with dogs? a) Yes b) No
Please give your vet’s details:
May we contact your vet for a reference? a) Yes b) No
Can you provide another reference for our files? ie Employer/Magistrate/Doctor
Will the dog travel with you, if so how? How often?
a) Car b) Public transport a) Frequently b) Occasionally
Dogs Details – Your preference
Would you prefer:
a) Dog b) Bitch c) Either
Why are you considering fostering?
Would you take the dog to training classes? Yes / No
How much time a day are you willing to spend on training and exercising a dog?
Training and Behavioural Matters
How would you deal with the training of a dog with issues that might arise in the following areas?
Basic obedience, such as ‘sit':
How would you overcome problems such as:
Unresponsive (ie shutdown)
What would you do if the dog behaved in an unacceptable way (ie. damaging furniture etc):
Under what circumstance do you feel you would have to the return the dog to XXXXXXXX Rescue?
Please provide any other information you feel relevant to your application to foster one of our rescue dogs:
After a form has been approved, a homecheck or informal visit to your home will follow; this is not designed to see your standards of housekeeping – so no need to overdo the dusting and vacuuming – we don’t want to see in your cupboards!!! It is merely to assure our rescues that the form has been completed accurately, that the potential foster dog/s will be safe in your property, assess your experience, familiarise you with the rescues operational procedures and give you an opportunity to ask us any questions that you may have.
You will then hear back from us whether or not you have been accepted. It may be some time before the right foster dog comes along to suit your home circumstances, or it could be the very next day, there are no guarantees. However once the relationship is established between Rescue and Foster Carer it is very much like being part of a family.