The Things To Know And The Questions To Ask Before Rescuing A Dog
Foster care providers are THE life’s blood of animal rescue. Open admission shelters, who constantly have to manage space and resources while never knowing what will come through their doors on any given day, rely heavily on rescue organizations to get animals to safety and into adoptive homes. These rescue organizations are largely volunteer-led and donor-supported networks of foster care providers, with some larger and more established rescues perhaps having a physical adoption center location as well. THE limiting factor in how many animals a rescue is able to save is the availability of foster homes.
That being said, you may imagine that from my vantage point I have seen some of the best and worst in animal shelter and rescue organization dynamics, including challenges faced by foster care providers who were insufficiently supported by the rescues for which they were volunteering. While writing about specific instances would only inflame tensions within struggling organizations, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you criteria that I would personally employ when looking for an animal rescue group to join as a foster care provider.
There will always be a need for foster care providers in rescue, and it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. However, being a dog foster is a big commitment with a certain degree of unknown so it is important that you do your research before jumping in. You may have your own criteria for how you will make the determine which organization to support but here are some of mine…
What type of dogs does the rescue pull into their organization and how are the decisions made for which animals to take in? Some organizations are breed specific, or tend to work with certain shelters, or tend to focus on certain types of issues, like special need or senior dogs. Do they tend to bring in a lot of ‘urgent’ dogs who are at imminent risk of euthanasia, or puppies, or puppy mill rescue dogs? Take some time to find out who is who in your community since you may feel drawn to working with certain types of dogs. And be wary of the ‘rescue now-ask questions later’ approach. A lot of well-meaning rescue folks have pulled urgent dogs to rescue, to avoid the dog being euthanized, only to find themselves in over their head with a dog that required more training or other resources than they were prepared, or financially able, to provide.What type of educational opportunities and training are provided to assist the foster with both understanding the best way to acclimate foster dogs to the home (as well as with family and resident animals) and give them what they need to set them up for a successful adoption?Knowing that rescues may have limited information on dogs before bringing them into their organization, is there an integrated plan for working with dogs who are discovered to have medical or behavioral issues requiring attention? Does the rescue work with positive trainers and veterinarians versed in behavioral management?