So, you’re thinking about or maybe just curious about fostering a pit bull? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This section is intended to provide you with everything you need to understand the obligations of a foster parent and allow you to decide whether fostering may be right for you. After reviewing the information, below, if you feel like you want to be a foster parent for Ring Dog Rescue, we’d welcome you to complete our online foster application and we’ll get back to you with the next steps.
- Why are foster homes needed?
First and foremost, they provide a more appropriate environment for learning and growth than a place like a shelter or a kennel. In a foster home, a dog is exposed to all of the same experiences they would likely get in a real home and have a chance to properly learn, socialize and interact with people and sometimes other animals as well as situations and their environment. Unfortunately, these opportunities are few and far between in shelters and kennels where, due to the large number of animals and lacking resources, these activities are not readily available. In short, foster homes better prepare dogs for their real home and in turn, make for a smoother transition when that time comes.
- Are foster homes important to rescues?
Foster homes are the backbone of any rescue organization. The number of animals a rescue can help is only as good as the number of good foster homes an organization has available to it. A rescue can have all of the leashes, bowls, food and money in the world available to it, but if it has no good places for the dogs to stay, it can’t really do a lot of good.
- What is expected of a foster parent for Ring Dog Rescue?
It is critical that a foster parent understand what is expected of them and adhere to these expectations. Oftentimes, having a foster parent that does not follow guidelines is more problematic than having no foster parent, at all. As we are run entirely by volunteer time and donations, we do not have the luxury of time or money and need our foster parents to stick within our foster guidelines and practices to help us help more dogs.
Our expectations of our foster parents are as follows:
- Plan to keep the dog indefinitely—We cannot guarantee how long you will be asked to foster a dog. Sometimes dogs are adopted in weeks, sometimes it takes many, many months. Foster parents should not enter into fostering with an expectation that a dog will be gone in a certain period of time. The length of time it takes a foster dog to be adopted is often directly related to the amount of energy the foster parent puts into training the dog, publicizing the dog, and attending events to promote the adoption of the dog.
- Provide a good home for the dog—Foster parents are expected to provide a safe, comfortable and healthy environment for their foster dog. Our foster dogs should be indoor dogs, they should be fed healthy food, given appropriate access to water, and be exercised and socialized in such a way as to create a positive, well-tempered dog.
- Work with us for medical treatment—Ring Dog Rescue will pay for the medical care of the dog during the time it is being fostered, to include routine check-ups, vaccinations, and treatment of emergencies should they arise. In order to control our expenses; however, the foster parent will utilize a veterinarian provided by Ring Dog Rescue and will notify appropriate rescue personnel prior to any medical treatment for the dog to ensure finances and treatment options are appropriately aligned.
- Work with us for dog food—Ring Dog Rescue will additionally pay for food for the dog during the period of fostering, as well. Fosters should work with appropriate Ring Dog Rescue personnel to secure dog food.
- Treat the dog as if it were your own—The foster parent is expected to be able to handle routine care and situations with the dog without having to involve other Ring Dog Rescue personnel. Meaning, we do not have the resources to take dogs for walks, stop by and check on them or other mundane tasks that should rightfully be expected of a foster parent. As a foster parent, you should operate within the fostering guidelines set forth by Ring Dog Rescue, but essentially, this is your dog during the fostering period and you should care for it as such.
- Participate in adoption events—From time to time, Ring Dog Rescue will have events and other activities which promote the adoption of your animal. These may include adoption days where dogs are brought out for public viewing, displays on websites, fundraisers, etc. Foster parents are expected to be available and work with Ring Dog Rescue to have the dog at such events, provide the appropriate information for websites, including pictures and descriptions or any other activities designed to promote the adoption of the dog.
- Participate in the adoption process—Ring Dog Rescue regularly receives applications on dogs in our foster homes and we have a centralized process whereby these are screened. If an applicant is interested in a foster dog and has passed the initial screening, the foster parent is expected to contact the applicant to discuss their dog, providing details and other information to help make a suitable adoption, as well as conducting the appropriate meet and greets with the potential applicant to allow them to meet and interact with the dog. This may entail driving some distance and/or allowing the potential applicant to visit the dog in your home.
- Keep us updated on your dog—Foster parents are expected to provide updates on the status and progress of any contact with potential applicants to Ring Dog Rescue so that we can ensure their application is progressing and being handled appropriately, especially in situations where multiple dogs are involved. Also, if there are other situations or news with your dog that we should know about, keep us posted.
- Never hand over the dog without consent—Foster parents should NEVER turn over their foster dog to a potential applicant without the prior consent of Ring Dog Rescue’s President or Vice President.
- Do not let your dog run loose—Foster parents should not allow their dog off-leash outside of an enclosed area and further, they should not take their dogs to dog parks.
- Participate in helping your dog get adopted
From time to time, Ring Dog Rescue will have events and other activities which promote the adoption of your animal. These may include adoption days where dogs are brought out for public viewing, displays on websites, fundraisers, etc. Foster parents are expected to be available and work with Ring Dog Rescue to have the dog at such events, provide the appropriate information for websites, including pictures and descriptions or any other activities designed to promote the adoption of the dog.
- What benefits does a foster parent get?
Well, hopefully, you’re not looking into fostering for any benefit other than the personal satisfaction of helping an animal in need. That’s the main benefit you’ll get from being a foster parent and that’s what makes our fosters so special. By being a foster parent and spending your time with a dog, you know that you are directly helping save a dog. Every foster home equals a dog who probably otherwise would not have been rescued. As Ring Dog Rescue pulls dogs largely from kill shelters, each foster home brings a chance to avoid that outcome for a dog and get him ready for a lifelong home with a good family. For our foster parents, that’s worth more than money or other incentives. Dogs seem to know when they’ve been saved and the look on your foster dog’s face when you take him in and when he’s happy with his forever home is priceless.
- Won’t I get attached to the dog?
You probably will get attached to the dog and in fact, you should. That’s the sign of good ownership. We’ve had many fosters in the past that actually ended up adopting their dog and that’s certainly a happy ending that we would welcome. Fosters should take comfort knowing; however, that for each dog they foster and find a good home, that opens the door for another dog to be pulled from a bad circumstance and have the same done for them AND it has found a great long-term home for the original dog. So, yes, you’re going to get attached and that’s ok, and if you decide to keep him, that’s great, too. Just remember, there’s nothing but upside to a foster dog finding a permanent home.
- What are you looking for in a foster parent?
We don’t have a generic template for what we’re looking for. Our foster parents come in all forms and fashions. Overall, though, we’re looking for someone who is responsible, mature, and dependable. We need someone who loves dogs and has the patience to deal with situations that may arise, the willingness to work to find their dog a home, the responsibility to support the adoption process, and the heart and compassion to provide the best possible home to a dog that may only be in their life temporarily. We generally want people who are over 21 years old, who have dog experience (pit bull experience is a plus), who has a fenced in yard or some other secure area for the dog, who live in a safe environment, and who have the time to devote to a foster dog.
- What do I do if I am interested in fostering?
If you feel like you want to foster a dog for Ring Dog Rescue, please complete the application today! Once we receive it, we will review it and be in touch for next steps in the foster application process. The process will include a phone interview and a home visit, at a minimum.