I apologize in advance if this should be in Lab Rescue, but I thought more people might see it here. We're considering fostering for a lab rescue and it seems like a lot of folks on this board have experience with this. When I met the rescue reps at a function this weekend I told them I was looking to add another dog to our family at some point in the future. My concern is finding the right dog that will not take advantage of my insanely submissive 6yr old male. Neiko is usually scared of little dogs, but gets along great with other labs, so I don't think this would be a huge issue. They asked if I might be interested in fostering which would allow me first dibs on adoption if the right dog came along, and I would have the opportunity to help a couple dogs in need in the process. I talked to them for a long time and it sounds like a great thing my only concerns are:
-We have a cat and we'd probably be getting adult fosters. The cat does have claws...
-Would it be hard for Neiko to become buddies with the new dog and then have them leave?
-I work from 8-5 every day so with drive time, we're gone almost 10 hrs. Neiko has full run of the house and we just finished fencing our backyard, but a foster will have to be confined. Is that too long?
I'd love any thoughts or words of wisdom. This sounds like a great organization and I would really love to help out
Do it!! Just let them know you have a cat and want to try one that is good with cats, or if they don't know...give it a whirl with them knowing you might have to get another foster if this one did not work out with the cat. Your dog will probably love the playmate and as long as you continue to foster or decide to add another dog to your family; they adapt very well to the changes. (I fostered 13 dogs in 2005...so lots of experience at this). The rescue will be more than happy to have your help regardless!! Thank you for wanting to do this....it's the number one thing rescues need....people to help foster!!
Oh and regarding the foster being confined; there are a LOT of people on this board who crate their dogs for that long when away at work...so go ahead now and ignore any criticism you might get........Your taking in a foster frees up the rescue to save another dog from the worst possible alternative!
I say go for it too. I've fostered occasionally and I sit friends' dogs in my house and Murray was always a great host while they were here but also happy to see them leave. Murray had more issues adjusting to Essy when he realized she would be staying indefinitely.
I don't have any experience with fostering but Mocha was crated 10 hrs a day as a puppy and Zeus is now. As long as they get plenty of attention and exercise before and after I've seen no negetave effects.
Thanks for the reassurance. It really seems like there is a definite need for fostering around here and I think we'll give it a whirl. If it doesn't work (and I'd lay odds that I keep the first dog I foster :P) than we'll find another way to help. Zoezoe - 13 dogs in one year?? You're a saint! ;D
I've had a lot of fosters too. I recently fostered a 180 lb English Mastiff..great experience. But I prefer labs. My two seem to take them coming and going with a grain of salt. Autumn was sad once when her best bud Cassie got adopted but she cheered up quickly. Sometimes I think it's more important to have a "dog saavy" cat..cats seem to get the best of the dogs. But the rescue can/should have the dog tested for you.
Being alone 10 hrs per day isn't ideal..but it's a much better alternative to being euthanized..hate to be that blunt but foster homes are desperately needed. Labs are unfortunately more than plentiful.
Make sure you research the rescue you foster for. Research polcies re: being reimbursed for vetting, what the rescue will pay for vs you..etc.
I agree with Deneen. I have my own two dogs and have probably fostered over 35 labs at this point. Our dogs have always been fine with having the other dog go and I think it's a fabulous way to get to know different dogs, what works and what doesn't. Make sure to tell them about the cat and see if they will test dogs for you to see if they're cat friendly. Out of all my foster dogs, I've had 2 with such a strong prey drive that they would definitely eat a cat - including the one I currently have and it's really hard to keep everybody separated all the time. 10 hours isn't ideal but it's better than being housed in a kennel or being put down. Do make sure to feed/water quite awhile before you have to leave though and let the dog go to the bathroom right before you leave for the day. Don't expect the two dogs to love each other immediately - sometimes it takes a little time. It may be better to see if you and your dog can meet that other dog on neutral territory to see how they'll get along. Tell them what kind of personality you're looking for. And you DEFINITELY want to crate the foster dog. Don't make the mistake of giving them free reign right away.
I agree with checking in to see what the rescue covers - most cover required vet visits at the rescue vets (which give reduced fees), ours covers required meds, and the foster is responsible for food. The thing to keep in mind is that it will take some work on your part. The dog may not have ever been crated in its life and may cry the first night, may not be housebroken yet, may not know any commands etc. However, the great things about labs is that they're so eager to learn and please that you can train them in a breeze. Just be patient and go with the flow. And I've found that there is nothing more rewarding than fostering and saving a dog.
You have gotten some great advice so far. I started fostering last year for my local lab rescue. It is a very rewarding experience. We leave ours crated for 8 hours per day during the week. And yes, a crated dog in foster care (even for 10 hours) is better than a euthanized dog or a dog kept at the shelter.
Ellie was my first foster. We still foster (and we don't keep them!!!). It is sad when they leave, but it is a good thing as well. Knowing that they are going to good homes to people that are willing to train and love them is a great feeling.
Definitely crate your fosters. I would never let a foster have run of my house unsupervised. There are too few foster homes for all the great labs out there. Every dog you take in foster care is one less dog that usually ends up euthanized.