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I haven't been around here much lately, just kinda taking a break and trying to figure out what I'm doing with my life...argh. I've also been addicted to Petfinder
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Anyway, we've been considering a second dog for awhile now. We had a not so pleasant experience with an FCR a few months back (he was a kennel dog from a breeder friend who was looking for a home for him) and were kind of realing from that and stepping back a bit to figure out what we want to do.

So here's what we're thinking. We love Goldens (I've had 2) and we have been debating about rescuing one from a breed-specific rescue. However, after much thought and deliberation, we are considering being a foster family for a local Golden rescue instead. The thing is, we are not 100% sure what to expect out of this. I know I can and will ask specific questions to the rescue agency, but I thought I'd pick your brains to get some general information. I know it will be hard work, but I feel like it will be very rewarding and a way to give back to the breed. How long do most of you house your foster dog? What happens if things are just not working out with that dog in your home? What if you get attached to the foster dog? Anything else that we need to consider?

It probably sounds like we're bouncing back and forth, and that's true
Just trying to weigh all options and figure out what's best for us and be able to truly look at things with our eyes open.

TIA!
Kristin
 

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I really, really love fostering. For me, the rewards outweigh the costs manyfold.

Which isn't to say it isn't hard, and time consuming. It depends on what kind of dogs, and who you foster through, obviously, but a lot of foster dogs come to you with health or behavioral problems or both, and those things have to be dealt with. Even if it isn't a financial concern (for the rescues I have been involved with so far, the rescue had paid medical costs), it does take time and effort to treat for kennel cough, worms, mange, or whatever else your foster dog may have. And training, as well, takes time.

You also have to consider whether the foster is going to be disruptive to your family, human and canine. My dogs are very laid back and really seem to enjoy having the foster dogs around, for the most part, but my cats are less than thrilled if we have a cat-happy foster.

To answer your time question, it really depends. We had our foster Anatolian, Bridget, for about six months. Our current foster puppy, Oliver, will be with us for less than two weeks. So it can really be any length of time, depending on the dog. It's best, I think, if you can be willing to keep the dog for as long or short a time period as is necessary.

Depending on your particular situation, you can often move foster dogs that don't work in your particular household to another foster home within the organization, which is one benefit of working with a network of people, rather than on your own. My current situation is a bit different, as we are the only foster family in our network willing to take large hounds and not just beagles, so if we take a foster hound that doesn't work well, we don't have a back-up. But I'd suggest keeping yourself out of that situation to begin with.

The question about how hard it is to let me go is one that comes up a lot, and it's one that I have some trouble answering. For me, so far, it's really not hard at all. These dogs come into my home with my knowing that they aren't going to stay, and that the goal is to place them elsewhere, and I am really involved in vetting their potential adopters, so they are always going somewhere I am comfortable with. So far, I've been really happy to see them go. Of course it's a bit sad and I miss them, but they are always going to good situations, and their leaving makes me able to take in another dog and repeat the process, so it's really very very good.

I honestly can't say enough good things about fostering. I think it's a great thing to do, and it has taught me a ton about different dog personalities, etc. I can't imagine not having it in my life.
 

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Yay to you for considering being a foster home! I will just explain how our foster program works. I think most rescues are pretty similar.

We require an application to be filled out. Being approved to foster is the same as being approved to adopt. When someone fosters for us, we provide a crate and food (if necessary for the foster home). All we require from the foster home is to make the dog available to show to interested families at mobile adoptions and to transport for vet visits that may be needed. Or, if they can't transport, we ask for enough notice so that we can coordinate another volunteer to pick up the dog. And of course lots of lovin'! Most of our foster homes are really good about working on some basic obedience while the dog is in their home. It sure makes homing 125 lb dogs a little easier! Our foster homes get "first dibs" on adopting their fosters because we know full well what it is like to become attached to them (and vice versa for the dog). BUT, it is not unusual to become attached and at the same time you know that it is not the right fit so you cry rivers as this foster drives off with its new family. I cry when about 98% of my fosters leave. I admit that there are some obnoxious ones that I am READY to hand over.
If a foster home says that the dog is not working out for one reason or another, we work to find another foster home for the dog and get them out as quickly as possible.

There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that you have given a dog a loving transitional home while they wait for their new parents to find them.

Good luck!!!!!
 

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K9rider- do you mind if I ask a question on this topic?
I'm considering fostering too (I'm back and forth as well. between adopting a senior, adopting a young dog, fostering...etc...lol)
Can I foster with a 2.5yo toddler? He's very respectful of the dogs that we have right now.
 

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It likely depends on the organization. The rescue I am with would certainly allow you to foster with a small child, if you were comfortable with it. As long as you are able to supervise all child-dog interactions, I'd think it would be fine.
 

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Brilliant Idea!!! Fostering is a wonderful way to get your dog fix, testing the waters AND you are doing a good deed too!!

Find a rescue that you can work with. If you feed raw, find a rescue that supports that. I filled out about 10 applications and they were all very happy to have me aboard until I told them that I fed raw and that I wouldn't feed kibble (the smell of the poop from kibble fed dogs makes me vomit - not a joke). I filled out the application for the rescue I volunteer for and they LOVED the fact that I fed raw. They send me the sicker dogs because of it since they know that they will heal faster. The same rescue is also semi-educated about the harm of vaccines and so they will listen to me when I have those concerns.

The rescue I work with approves or denies applications and then forwards the approved ones to you. Then you have total control (if you want it) to make a decision based on the application, questions you have, meeting them, future care of the dog, etc... On the flip side, I work very hard tyring to get them adopted - flyers, outings, posting ads, etc...

Find out what their policy is on a dog that isn't working out for whatever reason. Mine is that they would like a 24 hour notice so they can find another living situation for the dog.

"How can you give him/her up?" is the question I get constantly. The thing I tell myself is that fostering isn't about me, it's about the dog(s). If I keep them, then that's one more dog that stays at the pound and probably euthanized.
 

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Yep, I'm in total agreement w/ Christy.

And it's not just about raw feeding, actually--you want to find a rescue you are comfortable working with in other areas as well. For example, some rescues will only adopt out to homes that promise the dogs won't be kept outside, some don't care. Some will only consider local adoptions, some will go outside the local area, etc. You want to be on-board with the way the rescue for whom you foster works. I'm thrilled to bits with my current org, because they are small and flexible and I can get really involved, but that's not what everyone wants.
 

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To answer your question about fostering with a young child. I agree that it does depend on the organization. Most rescues with small breeds won't allow small children due to their size and how fragile they can be. Many that have larger dogs are fine with it. I started fostering Great Danes when my kids were 6 years, 3 years and 9 months and they are now 12 years, 10 years (next month) and 7 years and it has been a wonderful experience for my kids. They have learned some difficult lessons when it comes to letting one go and even losing a few to illness but they have such an amazing understanding that what we do is awesome for these Danes. You should hear them talk about rescue! They are so proud of what "they" do. It makes me smile. Not to mention that when they go to college they can put their "rescue work" down as one of their community service/volunteer experiences as they do help me quite a bit.
 
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