Fostering - Why?
People ask me all the time, why do I foster rescue dogs? They say, it's something they couldn't do.
The main goal of fostering a dog is to get them ready for adoption. This is the main reason for me personally.
As an adopter of a rescue dog you can save that one life….. as a foster you can literally save hundreds! When you foster a dog, you aren’t just putting a roof over their head (although, yes, that’s an important part of it). You’re also helping them get accustomed to living in a home, with people — possibly for the first time in their life, or for the first time in conditions under which they can feel safe and relaxed. You’re helping them learn what it’s like to be a companion animal, and preparing them for their new lives in forever homes, and helping their hearts heal and glow. When you foster you are saving 2 dogs: The one you have fostered and opening up a space in the rescue to allow them to take in another abandoned dog. Most of the dogs have been abandoned, left to fend for themselves on the streets. Some are dumped in rubbish tips and some of the lucky ones are handed in to our shelter and once in our safe care, the rehabilitation starts.
Some of our dogs are adopted directly to new owners, but some come into foster care.
I have fostered dogs for different rescues, for many years, but mainly Sava’s Safe Haven.
Each dog has been unique, and some come to us already house-trained, easy to walk, and quiet as a mouse, if they’ve come from a home. But most do not, because no one has ever put in the effort to teach them. Successful foster parents have the patience, time, and love to help these animals become the best dogs they can be. Foster homes provide a bridge between an animal’s often rough start in life and their stable, happy future.
A foster dogs journey
Once the foster dog arrives, after its long journey to me, I allow it 24 hours to decompress and start getting used to being in a home environment. During this time the dog is safely behind a safety gate in my kitchen, with an open crate, with a soft bed, covered in a blanket to give it a safe place to retreat to. The foster can see and smell our dogs through the gate before they have introductions. Most fosters sleep a lot after their journey so this time allows them to rest and recuperate.
The next day the safety gate is opened to allow the dogs to meet each other.
Some fosters just take everything in their stride, others take more time.
The most important thing to remember is everything has to be taken slowly at this stage and entirely at the foster dog's pace.
There will be so much that we take for granted that is totally alien to a foster dog. For example a television, hoover, washing machine that can be very alarming for them.
Everything has to be taken slowly. It will also take time for the dog to get used to wearing a collar with a lead just dragging on the floor before they venture outside.
After a few days, going in the garden is the next step. I usually put a long line attached to the collar or escape proof harness, incase the dog is a flight risk. Outside is a whole new world for these dogs with a complete sensory overload.
Once I assess how the dog is outside with supervision, I then allow it free access to go into the garden whenever they want to (but i always keep an eye), without the lead.
Learning to walk on a lead and harness can take a while, but soon the foster can be taken out on a walk with a lead on their harness and a slip lead, for double safety.
Getting a foster dog used to the normality of a dog's life living in a home can take days, weeks even months. Every dog is different. But once they start to be confident in the home, garden and out on walks, then it's time for them to be adopted by a new owner.
Anyone who has fostered has heard this question over and over. Friends and family members often say they could never think about fostering because they'd never be able to give up a dog.
But it's not "giving up" a dog; the job of a foster is to take a dog and get him ready for a great new home. Sometimes that means nursing him through health issues, sometimes behavior problems and sometimes there's absolutely nothing to get through at all, just getting used to being in a home.
The emotions a fosterer goes through are immense, with no doubt. From seeing some of these terrified little souls arrive, watching them grow in confidence and develop and accept living as other dogs do. Experiencing them being too scared to come near you to being loving and affectionate towards you and being ready for the next stage in their journey.
In truth your heart breaks when they arrive with you and then it heals as they progress and then it breaks again when they leave for their forever homes with their new family. But it is so worthwhile when you have updates from their new owners saying how well they're doing and thanking you for all your hard work while they were in foster with you.
So in a nutshell…. This is why I foster….. So if you could help with fostering for us, please apply or contact us for further details.
These are just some of Sava’s Safe Havens foster dogs that I've helped to be successfully adopted into loving families.