Fostering considerations

Discussion in 'Labrador Rescue' started by snowbunny, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    I found out last night that there is a local rescue to the place that we're buying in Spain and they are always in need of foster homes. J and I were talking about it, and agreed that we would love to get involved with fostering at some point in the future. It wouldn't be for a year or so because we have lots to do to sort out the property first, to make it habitable for ourselves, let alone thinking about adding to our "family", but now we know that this is a possibility for the future, I was wondering if anyone could offer any advice on things we would need to consider.

    So far, things I'm thinking of are:

    - Fosters would have to be female, unless we make good progress with Shadow's reactivity to male dogs. On the other hand, if we do make progress with this before we are in a position to foster, it could also be really good for him if the right male foster dog comes along.

    - Health implications to my dogs. My two are, and will continue to be, given annual vaccinations, and will be fully treated against fleas, ticks and worms. What else should I be aware of?

    - Time. Two dogs already take a lot of my time as far as walking, training etc is concerned. However, at the new property, there is no travelling time necessary, as we just walk out the door and have a huge amount of space for training and walking right there. We will also be generally spending more time outside, working on the land, and our dogs will be spending this time with us, so I think they will be well catered for, and there will be plenty of time to give to a newcomer.

    - Security. The house is in over 7 hectares of land. However, there is a fenced and walled area of one acre around the house, meaning that even if we have the door open (hehe, there actually is no door at the moment), we know the dogs can't wander far.

    - Behaviour. I don't have enough experience to deal with real behaviour issues, such as aggression, so could not accept any dog that demonstrated this.

    - Breeds. This rescue is an all-breed rescue. I don't know anything really about other breeds. Is that going to be an issue?

    - Costs. I don't know what their policy is. I know in the UK, it's normal for rescue centres to cover veterinary bills. I'm more than happy to pay for food and all the other normal things that owning a dog entails, but would need to ensure that vet bills were covered.

    - Timeframe. Since I'm in Andorra for the winter, fosters would only be able to stay with us during the off-season months (mid April to mid November). What happens if a home isn't found in that time?

    - Conditions of rescue centre. I am not expecting the rescue centre to be anywhere near standards that you would expect to see in the UK. I may be pleasantly surprised, but I am assuming not. Should I let this sway me one way or the other? What questions should I be asking them with regards to how they run the centre?

    - Socialisation. The house we're buying is in the middle of nowhere and, although there are nearby towns, any dog will be spending the majority of its time in the countryside. We will make concerted efforts to socialise a foster dog, but in all likelihood, this would be taking them into town once a week or less frequently.

    What else should I be considering?
     
  2. drjs@5

    drjs@5 Moderator Forum Supporter

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    How interesting Fiona.
    I would worry about a foster (or in fact a second dog) upsetting "family dynamics".
    I hope you get a few answers
     
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  3. Newbie Lab Owner

    Newbie Lab Owner Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I would worry first about family dynamics being upset and secondly, I don't think I'd be able to give them up.
     
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  4. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I wish I had the time to write a long response - in short, I don't think any of these need be worries for you. In terms of Shadow, he'd probably 'get over' it. If he didn't, well, it wouldn't work out. No reason not to try.

    In terms of being in the middle of nowhere - that's probably better than the alternative of kennels!
     
  5. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Thanks for the responses. As far as family dynamics go (assuming you're talking about W&S and not me & J!! :D), I suppose there would be a transition phase, just as when you introduce a new puppy to your current dog/s.
    From what I've read on the rescue's (rubbish) website, most dogs for fostering are either sick (probably not suitable, either because of risk to my two, or because my two may be too bouncy) or young puppies.

    Once we've bought our place, we'll go and have a look around the rescue and meet the people who run it.

    @Beanwood do you have any thoughts?
     
  6. Beanwood

    Beanwood Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I will jot a few things down now, and more later as I think of them.

    The first thing that springs to mind is time. They take a lot of time, all our fosters have learnt quickly, however, not as quickly as a pup, they often have had more anxiety, so a little de-sensitisation was needed, eg normal noises in the house Blake found very difficult to get used to. The anxiety was more due to the unfamiliar environment and the dog struggling to process everything. On the whole, they all managed very well, and they do, which makes me question what we do here in the UK terms of socialisation, but that is another discussion!
    The second is space, not so much outside space, although we have a lot of that, about an acre fenced plus lots of private farmland, that is useful for recall, loose lead walking etc. Sectioned areas inside, baby gates etc, so the dogs have time to be by themselves and rest properly. We crate trained all our fosters.
    We only had one dog with potential for aggression, that was quick, no escalation from a growl...but that was caused by humans, not being a stray/abandoned. I say potential, it was easily managed and recognised by us both.
    Regarding health, most will be in poor health, rising from poor nutrition, and are likely to have some sort of tick borne disease. Trying to establish good tick/flea worming regime at the rescue will help enormously. If all dogs on admission to the shelter were routinely giving tick/flea meds plus a course of doxycycline, that would go a long way to improving health outcomes.
    Do the shelter have their own local vet? If they do, visit the vet as well, get on good terms. Ask about procedures, what does the vet think of the shelter and what does the vet think they could do differently. If you build a good relationship, then when asking about individual dogs you can approach the vet directly if needed.
    Lots of old blankets, vet bed is essential.
     
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  7. Saba's Boss

    Saba's Boss Registered Users

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    The shelters in Crete are generally run by animal lovers on their own land, and reliant on donations of food, blankets etc. Some have been subjected to attacks from locals, even mass poisoning of the dogs and cats. Local vets help so far as they can, and visiting vet squads from overseas donate their time and expertise for neutering and treatment of disease and injury. The people running the shelters do their utmost to take good care of the animals in their charge, and some have established routes by which dogs are rehomed in other EU countries. It's nothing like the shelters here in the UK, and I'm sure that cultural differences play a part here. Greeks ( and I'm generalising here) are not as sentimental about their animals, and at a time when families are struggling to stay together, the house dog is pretty low on a list of priorities.

    I hope you find the Spanish shelters in better shape, and I wish you well with your fostering plans.
     
  8. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    The Spanish (in general) are the same, I fear. That's why I have one of my concerns about timeframes. I need to know how regularly they actually find homes for their dogs. I know that if I fostered a dog from them and it hadn't found a home by the time I had to come back to Andorra for the winter, I'd be devastated to have to return it to the shelter. Sending a dog you've become attached to on to a new home is one thing. Sending it back to live in a kennel is completely different :(
     
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  9. kateincornwall

    kateincornwall Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I`m glad that you are carefully thinking this through @snowbunny . Its something we have thought about too, but have come to the conclusion that it would cause too much potential upset in the home, especially with Millie not being in the best of health . Without doubt it is a wonderful thing to do , as is rehoming, but rarely comes without any issues which is why I`m pleased that you aren't jumping straight in
     
  10. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Oh no, it's definitely not the right time for us at the moment. It's actually good that it's so obvious we're not ready, with no doors, windows, electricity, waste, water supplies at the property... it means we can't feel pressure to jump straight in, so gives us a perfect buffer period to get a feel for the rescue and come to a decision on what's best for us all. I would love to be able to help out by fostering, but only if there's hope for rehoming.
     
  11. Boogie

    Boogie Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Sounds like a great challenge.

    The hardest bit will be giving them back!

    :)
     
  12. Boogie

    Boogie Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I also promise you will fall in love with them more than you can imagine beforehand!

    :)
     
  13. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Oh, I know I will. If we go ahead, it's going to be so hard! It would be like rehoming Willow or Shadow :oops:

    But, we'd just have to look at it as having helped them on their way to a better life, and giving ourselves the space to help out another one. I would just hope, as you do, that we'd get a small update even just once after they've gone to their new home.
     

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