10 Golden Rules of Fostering

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Rescue Remedies
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10 Golden Rules of Fostering

Post by Rescue Remedies » Sat May 31, 2014 6:29 pm

1. Identity:
Do not change or shorten our dogs name. This is what they are known as within our rescue and it is what their prospective family will have identified them with. We advise new owners to leave their name in place until the time they are totally sure the dog has settled and is staying. If they then want to change it, change it to something similar sounding, for example, Trudy to Judy.

2. Expect the worst:
Move forwards slowly, having quite low expectations in the first week. Play it safe. Every foster dog will be two steps ahead of you, but you'll soon get the measure of their individual needs. Let the dog pleasantly surprise you, rather than feeling like they are failing you.

3. Don't be fast to judge and certainly don't label:
Only when you have had many dogs through your hands do you really get a sense of 'reading' a dog in those very early stages. The more you know about dogs, the less likely you are to make categorical statements about them. No one is looking to you to slap labels on the dog... least of all the dog! Labels define and confine our dogs.

4. On or Off lead:
Our insurance only covers our dogs on-lead outside. We always use 'H' harnesses, and attach the lead to this. Or we use a double lead and attach that to the 'H' harness as well as the collar. Dogs should be homed with an 'H' harness and an RR disc on their collar. It can be kept or returned only when a 'pressed' disc (not engraved) is received. You are welcome to attach an additional personal disc as well. Each dog is chipped but it will take time until the company transfers the details to yourself, hence the RR disc is so important.

5. Avoid conflict triggers:
Please remove shared toys, balls and bones for at least the first four days, until the dogs have developed a trust bond. And if in doubt - avoid altogether. Treat sharing sessions can establish sharing of attention and turn taking. These also establish key persons in the pack, and can help children to gain supremacy over a dog.

6. Communicate:
Capture lovely pictures which reveal the dog's character and beauty. Avoid putting poor pictures up, or remove these once you have better ones. Use the Forum to post regular updates, but no long involved blogs please. We have new members coming onto the forum every day, and your interesting stories of your foster dogs activities will influence them in considering your foster dog as their future pet. Communicate also with the rescue regularly, so we know your concerns and your plans, so we can offer you support and ensure we have a clear picture of your foster experience.

7. To keep or not to keep?
As a foster, please be very clear with us if you intend to home our dog. We will place the 'Reserved' status on a dog for a week maximum. We will also be very clear if we feel it is not the right dog for you on a permanent basis. We will actively seek a forever home, and will be talking to enquirers about each dog, and may contact you any time with a prospective family ready to talk to you and meet your foster dog. Adopting a dog is a huge commitment, so we ask you to be very clear with your family and ourselves. Be decisive. Too many fosterers say 'oh, we would love to keep our foster dog' and then, 'we're getting too attached - please can you find another home.'

8. Follow our Rescue's procedures:
Please get enquirers to visit our website and/or our Forum, and ask them to complete our homing questionnaire. Please use our Rescue Remedies contact details, not your own. Try to avoid the embarrassing situation of introducing the dog to someone, only for ourselves to see that there are factors in their lives which would preclude that dog. Matching a dog's character to a family's character and circumstances is actually a sensitive and involved task. It needs a high degree of objectivity. We don't home on impulse, out of pity, or abide unrealistic dreams. The potential family really needs to see the dog, not project their own ideals on it. We shouldn't be intrusive, pushy or unduly seek to influence, but many homes have come about by first meeting one of our foster dogs out and about.

9. To spoil or not to spoil?
Some rescue organisations have stated that the dog should be treated as a little removed from the intimate family, as their future owner may not want the dog on the furniture or sleeping in the bedroom. We are happy for our dogs to be settled within your normal parameters. Dogs are extremely adaptable, and most will cope with adjusted boundaries. Some, however, will demonstrate they are uncomfortable. This is useful information: please let us know a dog's preferences. It can give us clues as to their possible background.

10. Enjoy every moment:
Please understand how much difference you are making to that dog's life - now and in the future. Initially, you will be given an easy foster. You can get tuned into the buzz of the 'fast homer'. More complex dogs can stay for a long time, and they will be progressing and developing new skills with you. You might get impatient for the dog to move on. It is what everyone wants, but understand that we have to get it right, and be assured how much we value you standing by your dog... their home will come. We get a lot of pressure from fosterers to rehome their dog quickly. We have to be totally objective and often have over 90 dogs to consider. Please be reassured that we will always try to place our more complex long stay dogs into the first available homes, but personal choice comes from the applicant families too.

P.S.: Always be prepared to miss your first night's sleep when settling in a new dog.

xxlynne
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Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:01 am

Re: 10 Golden Rules of Fostering

Post by xxlynne » Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:00 am

Please, any family thinking of fostering for the first time, or coming back to us to help one of our homeless dogs: open your heart, and allow us to suggest the right dog for your circumstances. If you can foster, be open: this is the best way to support our dogs and our Rescue.

Our gratitude, as ever, to all our fosterers who have supported our foster dogs long term whilst we search for the right home for each of them.

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