Why do you need fosters?
We can only rescue as many dogs as we have foster homes for. Local animal shelters euthanize dozens of healthy and friendly dogs each day to make space for the new ones coming in due to limited holding space. Foster homes also help people in our community. Often we receive requests from people who need to surrender their beloved dogs instead of taking them to the local animal shelter where they will most likely be euthanized. We hear from elderly people unable to take care of their dogs; families whose child is suddenly allergic or has other issues with the family dog; people who have lost their jobs or homes; and people moving into apartments where there is no room for dogs.
What is a dog foster parent?
A dog foster parent provides a temporary home for a homeless dog while it’s waiting to be adopted. The foster parent provides basic care including love and affection, food, heartworm and flea/tick prevention, and shelter. A foster parent is responsible for preparing a dog for its permanent home and acclimating it to living in a home by teaching it basic house manners and, if needed, working with a trainer or behaviorist on any behavioral issues. The foster parent also helps take a dog to the veterinarian, and provides crate rest as needed for medical issues such as heartworm treatment.
Who can foster?
If you are 21 years of age or older, live in the Carolinas or Georgia, and can open your heart and home to a homeless animal, you can foster. Please send us an application. Each dog may have it’s own criteria for the perfect foster home. Also, we don’t place our rescues in homes with children under the age of 8 to 10, depending on the child’s maturity level. Although some corgis and children do well together, these are rescues, and as they are herding dogs we don’t want to take chances.
How long must I foster?
We prefer that you commit to fostering your dog until an adoptive home can be found. Unfortunately, we cannot predict how long this will take. It depends on the dog’s age, special needs, temperament, and the time of year. Time varies from a few weeks to a few months. If you can only foster for a specific period of time, please be certain to indicate this up front. Sometimes another foster home can’t be found, which means that your dog must go to a boarding facility.
What if my foster dog has to go to the vet?
All vetting is paid for by us, but we prefer that you take the dog to the vet of our choice. Please contact us before taking your foster dog to the vet, unless it is an emergency. We have special rescue pricing agreements with certain vets. In emergencies, if you cannot reach us, you may take the foster dog to the closest open vet of your choice. Note that fosters pay for heartworm and flea/tick prevention, though we provide a few doses as a courtesy.
Do I have to crate my foster dog?
We highly recommend it! We cannot guarantee that a dog is housebroken, won’t chew your items, and won’t hurt him/herself or your other pets when unattended. The safest way to protect your home and the dog is to use the crate. Alternatively, you can keep the foster dog in a separate confined area. In time, you may find your foster dog doesn’t need the crate. But make that decision only after you “test run” the dog a few times and really get to know the dog and his/her behavior. Foster parents provide crates/gates/etc. unless there is special or expensive equipment needed.
What if my foster dog isn’t working out?
We always try to ensure a good and safe foster match. However, there are times when a foster dog doesn’t work out. If so, please contact us as soon as possible. If the issues are minor, we will work with you to address them. Many times, problems can be solved by trying a few new things and/or by giving the dog time to adjust to your home. We may also have a trainer work with you. Other times, a dog may simply not be a good fit for your home or lifestyle. We will always take the foster dog back if an issue cannot be resolved. However, we ask that you give us sufficient time to make a plan, unless it is a safety concern/emergency.
Can I adopt my foster dog?
Yes, so long as we all feel it makes sense. Our adoption coordinator makes the final decision. But keep in mind that adopting your foster dog may mean that you can no longer foster. We’ll be sad to lose you! Think through the decision carefully so that you are not deciding to keep the dog solely because it is too difficult to let him/her go. The first few foster experiences can be difficult, as you’ll get attached and may have trouble letting go. But remember, your role as a foster parent is invaluable! As an adopter you may only be able to save one dog’s life, but as a foster parent you have the potential to help dozens of dogs.
What is my role in the adoption process?
We ask that you help us decide when a dog is ready for adoption. Dogs should be healthy, at a good weight, be leash and housetrained and have some basic obedience skills, and not have any behavioral issues. Foster volunteers should, as much as possible, give input regarding the home in which their foster dog gets permanently placed. We recognize that you have probably developed a close bond with your foster dog and want to make sure he/she gets only the best home. You will need to work closely with our adoption coordinator to determine if an adopter is suitable.
What if I have to leave town?
Please notify us ahead of time so that we can make arrangements for your foster dog to go elsewhere while you are gone. Some foster parents (who have other pets) have dog sitters who will also watch their foster dog. Others like to travel with their foster dog. Others may have a boarding facility they work with. We are open to ideas, but generally cannot afford to cover the costs of dog sitters or expensive boarding facilities. If you cannot, we will try to help you make arrangements with another foster volunteer. Be sure to give us enough warning so that we can help you make these arrangements. Keep in mind that holidays can be difficult to find space and are expensive. The more advance time we have, the better!
Can I take my foster dog to the dog park?
Absolutely, but only after you get to know the dog and know that he/she will do well in that environment. Going to the dog park prematurely may result in a fight, and we cannot afford expensive vet bills. And of course, we don’t want your foster dog or any other dog harmed. And NEVER take your dog off-leash unless you are in a fully fenced, secure area. Be aware, too, that some dogs like to climb or jump fences, so be sure to pay close attention the first time you take your foster dog off-leash. You will be surprised at how some corgis can jump! Your foster dog should always have an ID tag with your contact information on it. This is vital. Putting your foster dog in a situation that could bring danger to him or others is something every foster needs to think carefully about.
What if my pet gets sick from my foster dog?
To prevent this, we strongly suggest that all your pets be current on their vaccinations, use flea/tick prevention, and have the bordatella vaccine (for kennel cough). In order to prevent your pet from getting intestinal worms (which are passed through the dog’s stool) you should pick up each dog’s stool immediately. Pets that are current on their vaccines usually will have no problems with foster dogs, or the problems that do arise are small and very easily addressed.
What can I expect if I am a Forever/Hospice Foster?
As a rescue, SECR often brings senior dogs with critical health issues into our care. In some cases, depending on the age and medical needs of the dog, we may determine that he or she won’t be adoptable. In that case, we’ll place the dog with a “forever foster” through his or her end of life. Sometimes this can be weeks or months, and sometimes a couple of years depending on the dog’s condition. When one of our foster families agrees to take on a forever/hospice foster, SECR will work with them to make sure they have everything they need to care for any medical condition and guide them through any end of life decisions that need to be made on the dog’s behalf.
Being a forever or hospice foster can be tough, but it’s also a rewarding experience that ensures we can give our senior rescues the love and care they need when they need it most. In many cases, our ability to provide hospice care also prolongs the quality of life for rescue dogs that otherwise wouldn’t have a chance.
For more about fostering for Southeast Corgi Rescue and our downloadable foster application, please go HERE.