Sunday, April 8, 2007

Fostering for Rescue

When my husband and I decided to adopt a dog from a setter rescue three years ago I was impressed. Impressed by the wonderful concept of people opening up their homes to dogs that many times come straight from a shelter, making the dog part of their family life, working with them, gaining their trust, giving them confidence, evaluating their personality and then I could come along and could choose the right dog for my situation and existing family members---especially the furry variety.

I was also so positively surprised what nice people you can meet in the rescue community; people that are selfless and generous. I wanted to give back, wanted to join in and become part of the rescue family. I started to volunteer for transports and my husband and I talked about giving fostering a try down the road.

Well, “down the road” came quicker than anticipated. A 6 month-old orange setter boy was sitting in an Alabama shelter with a chest injury and a torn pad. I saw the photo---a scared little boy with a tucked in tail and sad eyes. My husband took one look at the photo and said, “Let’s do it!” This is how we started to foster and we’ve not regretted it for a moment since then.

Fostering is a wonderful, rewarding experience, especially with bird dog breeds, such as setters and pointers, who are so inherently loving and sociable by nature. Even if they’ve had a rough start in life, have been battered, bruised, and abused---many of them have never lost their belief in the goodness of people. They can learn to trust again and absolutely adore you when you give them love, attention and time and pay you back with tail wags, smiles, sloppy kisses and cuddle time on the couch.

Fostering gives you the awesome ability getting to know many sweet dogs you’ve otherwise never been able to meet up with. You gain loving memories of their traits, funny, goofy habits, and see them blossom in your care. When they are ready to get adopted, it’s not always easy to let them go----but saying goodbye is much more sweet than bitter, as their memories will always stay with you and you are so proud when you get updates from their new families on how they are doing and continuing to thrive. I CAN let them go, as I know they are going to a loving, caring new family, and there’s always another needy pup out there that needs our help.

As foster family you pay for your foster dog’s food, treats and any toys you might buy for them. The rescue group also appreciates your help in driving the first leg of a transport, if your foster dog gets adopted further away. Your expenses are tax deductible. Illinois Birddog Rescue pays for all standard vetting, such as vaccinations and spay/neuter of the foster dog-plus additional vetting as approved by the board.

When there is interest in your foster dog, you get to talk to the potential adopter and tell them about your foster and ask questions to determine if the family situation is a good fit for your foster dog’s needs and the family’s needs and expectations. I love sharing stories of my foster dog and love this part of the adoption process immensely.

No comments: