German Shepherd Rescue of Sacramento
Valley--as well as most other animal rescue organizations--relies on volunteers to provide
temporary foster homes for the animals it rescues. Foster caretakers provide the critical
link between the at-risk environment and the permanent home. Without foster
caretakers, the best that most rescue groups can do is board a limited number of
dogs safely. GSRSV is fortunate to have a large rescue facility to house
up to 30 dogs, but there is only one person there, and 30 dogs is really
way too much for one person to care for. Without foster
caretakers, most dogs in shelters die.
What does it take to become a foster
caretaker for GSRSV?
Not much! All I ask is that you provide a safe, loving environment for
the dog that you foster, and show the dog to prospective adopters. I do not expect you to train the
foster dog or spend hours of time with it. I do not
expect you to pay for food or veterinary expenses for the dog--though most
foster caretakers do cover the expense of food. I do not expect you to check out the
homes of prospective adopters for your foster dog, though you are
certainly welcome to do that.
What if my current
dog(s) isn't likely to accept another dog into our home?
In all likelihood, your current dog will object somewhat to a new
dog entering his or her territory and competing for your attention.
Sometimes, that objection is displayed as aggression. This is to be
expected, but not tolerated. Just because your dog has shown aggression
towards other dogs on his or her turf before does not mean it can't accept
another dog into your household. The rule to keep in mind is that YOU determine what dogs do and do not reside in your household, and that
overt aggression by any of your dogs towards any new dog will not be
tolerated. While some may see this as being unfair to their dog--since he
or she was there first--it is no different than expecting a child to share
with his or her siblings.
The important thing to
remember is that YOU ARE SAVING A LIFE by fostering a dog; isn't
this more important than preserving your present dog's rule of his or her
Don't a lot of dogs
rescued from shelters exhibit problem behaviors, and isn't that why they
were abandoned at the shelter to begin with?
No. You would be amazed at how many dogs abandoned at shelters are
very well-behaved and have perfectly even temperaments. It just goes to show
that most "problem behavior" in dogs can be traced back to a
problem behavior with their owners--lack of time spent playing and
training, intolerance with housebreaking, obsession with cleanliness,
unrealistic expectations of performance, etc.
Many shelter rescues do
show some signs of physical abuse, but it is generally mild
"hand-shyness" which can be quickly overcome by treating the dog
affectionately and earning its trust.
Isn't it difficult to
place a foster dog with a new owner after I've spent a long time with it?
Of course it is difficult to
let go of a dog that you've formed a bond with. However, the more important
question to ask is "What is more painful--the emotional
pain when parting with a foster dog, or the needle slipped into scores of
beautiful, loving dogs--including purebred German Shepherds--every
single day at animal shelters?" Besides, if you end
up falling in love with your foster dog and want to keep it, I have no
problem with that, and you've still saved a dog's life.
While being a foster caretaker
can have its challenges, the rewards are far greater than the sacrifices.
Knowing that you are saving the life of a beautiful, loving animal by providing a foster
home for it is an incredible feeling!
If you are interested in becoming a foster
caretaker for GSRSV, please contact Brian
Foran at 916-655-3125.
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