Fostering for sterilisation is a period of between 4 and 8 weeks. We believe that the animal needs to get to know its foster family before it is taken for surgery. Many of these dogs have already suffered trauma in their life – and are incredibly friendly and trusting despite these experiences. However, being put in a vulnerable position through surgery is another matter altogether. And so we look for this extended period to maximise recovery and reduce setbacks.
During this time, as well as providing the environment for post-operative care, the foster family can help us build up a profile of what they are really like – in the house, out walking, on the lead, with other dogs/cats, chickens/ducks, children. Do they even know how to play? Building up a profile of these animals greatly enhances their chances of adoption – and we always aim to find an adoptive family rather than have to return them to the refuge.
Fostering for Adoptability
Like humans, dogs become very quickly institutionalised in a refuge. It is an inevitability – no matter how good the refuge might be. Where services are less than the best, the level of institutionalisation is even higher. This means that dogs forget any “manners” they may have been taught when they were young. Worse still, they may never have been on a lead, have a fear of being touched or what they think is "trapped". They may never have been in a house or learned any basic commands.
Again the aim of fostering is to improve a dog’s chances of finding a forever home. Very often adoptive families like the idea of having a dog, but not necessarily the idea of having to train a dog. When there is no correlation between the two, the only likely result is re-homing once again via the refuge. This is not a solution.
If you have time and patience and experience in educating a dog in the basic skills of lead-walking, recall, sitting/waiting on command, being handled for veterinary and routine cleanliness, then you can offer a huge service to a dog who has not had the benefit of a loving home that showed him/her what the parameters for acceptable living are.
Fostering for this purpose does not really have a time-scale attached to it, simply because it depends entirely on how the dog adapts and learns. However we would never leave you high and dry. We maintain contact with you, get updates and match adoption enquiries with progress reports from fosterers.
Fostering Older Animals
People can be reluctant to take on an older dog or cat as very often the only thing they can see are escalating vet’s bills. And yet these wise pensioners find it harder than many dogs to settle into refuge life. They have often known love and care for many years. They do not understand why they are out on their ear – they just know that they are. They are not used to jockeying for position; not used to being fed on a “who gets there the fastest gets the most” basis; not used to having very few cuddles or attention. The result is that they start to deteriorate very quickly
A long-term foster home can be a source of rejuvenation and the provider of all those things the older dog is missing. As one of our long-term fosterers so aptly put it:
“An old dog does not come into to foster to die, but to live”.
We take care of the vet’s bills; the dog or cat is an integral part of the fosterer’s family.