Each of our previous fosters were from different rescue organizations. Laynie, our first, was from the Bully Underground Rescue Network (BURN). Anna, our second, was with Almost Home Rescue. After working with these two very different organizations, I have learned a lot about my feelings on rescue policies and the characteristics I value in an organization to foster with. Here are a few things that are important to me, and what I think a potential foster should look into before they choose a rescue to work with:
- Adoption policy, more specifically how the rescue handles home visits and meet and greets. Does the rescue REQUIRE meet and greets with the dog before the adopter is approved? Do they do a general ‘approval’ or are the applicants matched with dogs? Is a home visit mandatory? Do they check references and call the adopter’s vet for a reference?
- The rescue’s policy on the foster family’s involvement. How does the rescue handle the foster parent’s opinion on where the dog should be placed? Is the foster family involved in the home visit and/or meet and greet? Make sure you choose a rescue that requires a level of involvement of its fosters that you are comfortable with. If you want to be involved in the meet and greets and home visits, and want your opinion to count, make sure you ask about it. If you purely want to be a home for the dog, and would like the rescue to handle all the adoption details, make sure you know this ahead of time as well.
- Adoption events. Does the rescue actively participate in adoption events to get the dogs out in the public? What other ways to they advertise their adoptable pups? The more visibility the dogs have, the better of a chance they have to get adopted.
- Where the dogs come from. Are they pulled from local shelters? Are they owner surrenders? Are they brought up from another region? Make sure you align yourself with a rescue that mirrors the importance you put on where the dogs are rescued from.
- Their policy/history with adopting out ‘bully breeds.’ What is their policy about accepting pitties into the rescue? As ‘bully breed’ advocates, this particular one was important to us. But, it could really be any breed, so be sure to look into whether the rescue has restrictions about accepting certain breeds.
- Resources for fosters. How does the rescue handle the more ‘difficult’ dogs to place? Do they offer training and support for foster families with dogs that might have some training ‘issues’? Will the rescue cover the cost of a trainer, dog walker, etc.?
- Where they are based out of. Are they local? Is it a shelter, or a network of fosters? Generally the rescue has resources that are located around wherever they are located. Make sure it is not too far from your location so you have access. Also, if the rescue is located in a different area than you are, make sure you are willing to drive if you are involved with home visits, as the applicants might be a distance away from your home.
These are just a few things that we have discovered are important to us when fostering. I have purposefully left out our views on each topic, as I don’t want to insult either of the great rescues we have partnered with. It is just important for you, as a foster, to figure out what your values are and find an organization that supports those same values. Fostering is a challenge no matter what, so the last thing you want is to feel unsupported! But, in the end, placing a dog in a perfect forever home is the best reward and the reason why we will continue to open our hearts and home to dogs in need.
If you have fostered before, are there things that you find important that I should add to my list? Did you know what was important to you right from the beginning, or have you discovered them through experience, or both?