Welcome to Fostering
Fostering is a very important and richly rewarding experience. You are opening your home to a dog who was set to needlessly die and you love and nurture this dog until a formal adoption takes place. Fostering typically takes from a few weeks to several months. It is an amazing experience to watch your foster go from a sometimes stressed shelter dog, to opening up and trusting again, to seeing his/her true personality shine. It is a short term but big commitment too. We ask you foster until adoption because it is not a good idea to bounce around these once abandoned dogs from home to home. We hope you choose to enter into this mutually loving relationship with a friendly pit bull, some of the most wonderful dogs there are! You can choose your dog, or we will help match one to your lifestyle. Fostering is 100% free and we have plenty of experienced volunteers to support you every step of the way. After a foster application is filled out we do require an in person home visit to ensure a safe environment and ask you to follow the guidelines as a foster parent. Please read through these guidelines and fill out an application TODAY to save a life! Thank you.
1. TWO WEEK SHUTDOWN. Follow the two week shutdown guidelines. DO NOT deviate from this document even if you think your foster dog is settling in ahead of schedule. It is crucial to let the foster acclimate to their new surroundings. Our experience has shown 2 weeks is required [some dogs take longer] to adjust.
2. RESIDENT ANIMAL INTRODUCTIONS. When you decide to introduce your foster dog to your resident dog, please contact a board member to assist in the introduction. All board members are trained on how to handle introductions safely.
3. DOG PARKS. Foster dogs are not allowed at dog parks. Bringing a foster to a dog park is a recipe for disaster and puts you and the rescue at risk. Very few rescue dogs do well in this environment.
4. ADOPTION EVENTS. Fosters are required to attend our adoption events. Attendance increases chances of adoption. If you’re not available to attend, please notify us ASAP and we will try to find another approved foster or volunteer to bring your foster dog. Contact a board member for foster contact information.
5. VACATIONS/HOLIDAYS. When planning your next vacation or weekend away, please let a board member know immediately. We ask for at least a 2-week noticeto find a TEMP foster. The Rescue relies on donations to cover vetting & boarding. We ask that you do your best to find an approved foster to assist. If we cannot find an approved foster, our last resort is boarding the foster dog during your absence.
6. TRAINING. If you feel the foster dog needs training other than the basic commands, please notify a board member. We have fantastic trainers we work with. Please let us know of any issues you are seeing so we can determine if a professional trainer is needed.
7. ADOPTION APPLICATIONS. When an application is received, our coordinator will alert you. As a foster, you have the right of refusal with a 48HR timeframe. If you decide to adopt, you’ll need to complete the adoption agreement & adoption fee by contacting our coordinator within the 48HR timeframe.
8. MEET & GREETS. Fosters are required to bring the foster dog to all requested meet & greets. All applicants are fully approved PRIOR to meet & greets. Our coordinator will not schedule a meet & greet without fully completing the application process. This protects you as the foster as well as our foster dogs.
9. DOG FOOD. Dog food and treats are donated and free to foster's. Since the food is donated, the food may vary in brands. This can cause some dogs to have loose stool. If you choose to purchase your own dog food for the foster, this is considered a donation to the rescue. You will not be reimbursed for food unless there are special dietary restrictions. Prior approval from a board member is required. Food can be picked up at our donation site after approval.
10.CRATES/KENNELS. Kennels/Crates are available for you to borrow from the rescue. These can be picked up in St. Paul or at the Woof Room in Roseville. Prior approval is required by a board member.
11. LEASHES/COLLARS. Foster dogs will have a collar & leash loaned to you while the animal is in your care. The rescue will not reimburse you for purchasing additional collars, leashes, bedding, sweaters, toys, etc. while the foster dog is in your care without prior approval.
12. VETTING. Foster dogs may require additional vetting while in your care. As a foster, you are asked to bring the animal to these appointments. We also have volunteers willing to transport. We will work with you and your schedule for all vetting appointments. DO NOT call the clinics to schedule your own appointments. **It is IMPERATIVE you do not miss appointments when they’re made.** If you are unable to transport your foster to an appointment, contact us immediately for a transport.
13. FOSTER UPDATES “PUP-DATES.” While the foster is in your care, we appreciate that you send us pictures and videos. Updated pictures always capture the attention of our FaceBook followers. We rely on Social Media as our advertising, along with PetFinder. These two avenues is how we market our foster dogs.
Fostering is a lot of work and is a vital operation of the rescue. Without you, we cannot rescue dogs. You are very much appreciated!! We cannot thank you all enough for the hard work that you do every day.
THANK YOU FOSTERS!
TWO WEEK SHUTDOWN PROCESS
Every animal coming into rescue undergoes our two week shutdown process. It is VERY important NOT to skip this crucial step. Skipping the two week shutdown is setting your foster / adoptive dog up for failure. So, what is the two week shutdown? Soon it will all make sense why this is so important.
Let me go ahead and preface this by saying that "two weeks" is a general guideline of the amount of time you should follow this program. Some dogs will settle in faster, some will take longer. It all depends on the individual dog and their needs. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR DOG. They will "tell" you when they've had enough. During the initial two week period, the dog is taking in the new environment, the people in it, and is learning who the "leaders" are in the new group, be it animal or human. Remember the dog has NO idea WHO you are. Pushing the dog to accept new things too fast makes you (who should be the leader) look like you have no control over situations. This makes the dog feel that THEY have to make decisions for themselves and you DON'T want that. Dogs who feel the need to make decisions for themselves are the ones who "act out" or "misbehave." It is your responsibility to the dog and as an owner to make sure the dog looks to you for direction and guidance. Putting the dog in new situations with a person they don't yet know to trust fully is setting the dog up for "failure."
Example: When you first met your "spouse or significant other”, you were on your best behavior, you were not relaxed enough to be all of yourself, were you? Just think of the things you do physically once you get to KNOW a person, you wouldn't run up to a stranger and hug them and squeeze them! Imagine, if on the first date, this new person, was all over you touching you and having their friends hug you and pat you on the head, and jostle your shoulders, looked in your mouth then he whisked you off to another stranger's home and they did the same thing. Would you think this person normal and SAFE? Wouldn't you feel invaded and begin to get a bit snarky or defensive yourself? Wouldn't you think to push these people away for obviously your date is out of their mind, as they aren't going to save you from these weirdos!! Yet we do this very thing to our dogs, and then get upset or worried that they aren't relaxed and accepting of EVERYTHING instantly.
In providing the dog two weeks to "shutdown" you are allowing the dog time to see and hear you and the sounds and routines of your home.
1. Crate the dog in a room by itself. Dogs are sensory animals and pick up on a lot without having to visually SEE it. THIS MEANS NO CONTACT WITH ANY ANIMALS DURING THE FIRST TWO WEEKS. Dog bites happen within the first 48 hours without a 2 week shutdown due to overstimulation.
2. Leash the dog at all times when not crated. Yes, this means leash the dog to you in the house (this helps a lot with bonding too) and out in the yard (use of a long line is A-OK here). The dog needs to start learning that YOU are it's everything.
3. Letting the dog have full freedom of your home and yard is just telling him to do whatever he pleases and right now, he doesn't have that right because it's YOUR house. You need to remember that so he learns to respect it.
4. Do little to no training at all. Interactions with the new dog at this point should be positive so as to strengthen the bond. This is another GREAT reason to have the dog leashed to you at all times because, how can they get into trouble if they are right there with someone *ALL* the time.
5. No walks, car rides, pet store excursions, other animals (unless crated next to them) etc. Trips to the vet are excluded from this. The dog can live for two weeks without going on a walk. Walks provide an overabundance of stimuli and are VERY stressful, especially when the dog still has no reason to trust you. Again, read the example above on this subject: The dog may react to something and we start correcting it with the leash and we just installed a VERY STRESSFUL moment to the dog in what should be a fun and learning walk. TEACH the dog by doing the shutdown, that YOU are the one to look to, that you are now here for the dog. He can trust in you and look to you for guidance. Then you can venture out into new situations one at a time, the dog knows he can trust in his new humans and can relax under the fair guidance of his new leaders.
6. Allow the dog 20-30 minute intervals of time in and out of the crate, AFTER exercise/yard times. For instance, take the dog out for 20-30 minutes, and then crate the dog for about 20-30 minutes. The dog is not crated for an excessive amount of time and still gets to learn you and the household. As time progresses, the intervals can be increased as the dog relaxes to help the dog adjust to a more accurate routine.
7. Ignore crying and/or barking. If you run to the dog each time they bark, whine, or cry, you are teaching the dog that doing those things gets your attention. The dog must learn to be secure when you are not there.
8. Refrain from introducing the dog to resident pets. You don't want the dog to bond to another dog without bonding to you first. Crating the dogs side by side will help them get used to one another but GREATLY limit any interactions for the first two weeks. As the dog begins to relax more and look to you more for direction, introduce the dogs/pets slowly. **My personal recommendation is to keep the initial introductions VERY short. 10-15 minutes at a time. Supervise ALL the time. Increase the time by small amounts daily.**
You will notice a HUGE difference in your new dog within these two weeks. You will see a smile start to come out. You will see more goofy quirks come out. You'll also begin to get a glimpse of behaviors you will want to correct with training. But, you will have a healthy start in training your dog because you've given the dog a chance to get to know you and trust in your guidance and direction.
The main point to remember: SLOW DOWN! Don't push your new dog to accept many different things and give the dog the opportunity to get to know you. Two weeks may seem like a long time, but it’s very short in comparison to the next 8 or so years you will have with your new companion!
FOSTER HOMES AND the “TWO WEEK SHUTDOWN”
We as foster homes have the added responsibility to find and expose our dog’s true personalities. We also have the responsibility of making our foster home a mud platter, as not to make the dogs adoptive home seem like less of a home than ours. We cannot make our foster dog a part of our home, give it too much freedom and allow it to become a total part of our world. This can lead to a set up in the new adoptive home of nervous behavior, displays of separation anxiety, barking, whining, and destructive behavior. We want the adoptive home to be that much better than our world in the foster homes. By following the two week shut down into the foster home, then carrying that over to the adoptive home, the dog falls into a safe and familiar pattern, and each home has allowed the dog the moment to relax and check out the next new world. Foster dogs come from various places, some are abused, abandoned, turned in, running loose, etc., they land into the pound which is a stressful environment, then they rush into a life in our homes, and then once again into the adoptive home. Our goal must be to allow the dog the time to adjust and set him or her up for a forever home with less a chance of returning to the pound or foster homes.
There will always be an exception to the two week shutdown and will vary from foster to foster. Make sure to discuss previously with your foster coordinator or the director of rescue operations, especially if you have any questions.
Adoption interest in your foster pet should be directed to the Adoption Coordinator. The Coordinator will better assist with any questions or to get the adoption process started.