FOSTER HOMES ARE URGENTLY NEEDED!
Thinking About Becoming a GRREAT Foster Home?
We are always in need of GRREAT foster homes. If you’ve thought about fostering a Golden Retriever but are not sure if you’re a good candidate for this rewarding volunteer activity, the following True/False quiz may help you decide:
___ 1. You love your dogs.
___ 2. You worry about unwanted dogs.
___ 3. You provide a better than average life for your dogs.
___ 4. Eating an occasional dog hair during meals is not a big problem for you.
___ 5. You love talking about your dogs.
___ 6. You enjoy training your dogs.
___ 7. You cry happy tears when you see a homeless dog go to a new loving home.
___ 8. You like to get doggy kisses.
___ 9. You have at least two framed pictures of your dogs.
___ 10. You take your dogs on vacation with you, or wish you could.
If you scored 7 or more “True” answers, you are hopelessly ready to open your heart and home to a GRREAT foster dog, and we invite you to embark on one of the most rewarding experiences you could possibly have. By fostering a rescued Golden Retriever, you will receive boundless love and immense satisfaction in helping a GRREAT dog get to his or her loving forever home.
We have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you understand what’s involved with fostering one of our rescued Goldens. If you would like more information, please contact the GRREAT Foster Home Application Coordinator.
FAQ: What is Involved in Becoming a GRREAT Foster Home
WHY DO PEOPLE GIVE UP THEIR GOLDENS?
People give up their dogs for a variety of reasons – time limitations, divorce or other changes in family composition, financial problems, expensive medical care required for the dog, and often because the dog is too energetic for the family. We all know that Goldens are sweet, loving dogs, but people often do not consider that the breed requires obedience training while developing from a puppy to a mature well-mannered dog. Other factors, such as the amount of shedding, the size of a full-grown Golden, and the need to be with people, are characteristics of most Goldens that are often not considered by an owner when a puppy is purchased.
WHAT KINDS OF DOGS ARE TURNED OVER TO GRREAT?
About 60% of our rescued dogs come directly from owners, while the remaining 40% come from shelters. About half the dogs are two years of age or younger, about two-thirds of the dogs are males, and most of our Goldens have had no obedience training. The dogs that come into GRREAT may need special care because of emotional, behavioral, or physical problems resulting from abuse, neglect, and/or a lack of proper training. Upon arrival, some are fearful, depressed, confused and/or overwhelmed by what is happening to them. But because of their basically optimistic nature, rescued Golden Retrievers quickly respond to the love and security provided by their foster families and blossom into the dogs they are meant to be.
HOW DO GOLDENS COME INTO GRREAT?
The process starts with a phone call or email to GRREAT. We do an initial intake screening to get basic information about the dog’s temperament, behavior, health, and ability to get along with children, other dogs, and cats. We will share every piece of information that we have about a dog when we ask you to consider being the foster home for the dog.
We do not accept dogs who have a bite history. If there is any concern at all about a possible aggression problem, the dog is evaluated prior to being accepted into GRREAT. Again, this information is shared with you.
HOW AM I SELECTED TO FOSTER A GRREAT DOG?
With the information supplied during the intake interview, the list of foster homes is searched to find a home that is a suitable match for the dog. You will be contacted if you seem to be an appropriate foster home, and everything that we know about the dog will be conveyed to you. The decision to foster or not is left up to you. If you agree to foster the dog, arrangements will be made to transport the dog to your home.
We strive to place our foster dogs with families that have a lifestyle and work schedule that are compatible with the dogs’ needs, and that have a level of dog experience that is appropriate for the dog in question. If you have children, we will never place a rescued Golden with you that has come from an unknown background, such as a stray or a shelter dog.
We will find a new foster home immediately if the placement is not working out.
HOW DOES A DOG GET FROM THE OWNER OR SHELTER TO ME?
As a general rule, a transport volunteer will pick up the dog from the owner or shelter, along with paperwork and any supplies that may be sent along with the dog. The dog may be delivered to your home or to an animal hospital for medical care and/or altering. When it’s time for the dog to leave the animal hospital, you or a transport volunteer may pick up the dog.
WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES AS A GRREAT FOSTER HOME?
We need families that will take our foster dogs into their homes and treat them as they would their own pets. Some foster dogs require more time and attention from a foster family, and others require very little special attention.
Depending upon the dog, an initial trip to a veterinarian may be required for vaccinations, spay or neuter surgery, and/or other medical care that may be needed.
Most dogs age 5 and under are in foster care an average of 3 weeks before being adopted, and most dogs age 8 and over are in foster care for about 10-12 weeks before being adopted. During that time, you will not be responsible for any formal training of your foster dog, but you will be asked to start working with the dog on basic acceptable house manners, although many dogs come into GRREAT as well-behaved family pets. Most of our rescued dogs are housebroken, but some have never lived indoors and need to learn to “go potty outside.”
Your most significant responsibility as a GRREAT foster home is to assess the temperament, behavior, and needs of your foster dog in order to determine the best adoptive home for him or her. We will assist you in this and will provide a list of things that you need to look for over the period of time that the dog is in your home.
WHAT IF I CAN’T TAKE A DOG OR HAVE QUESTIONS/PROBLEMS ONCE I HAVE A DOG?
You may say NO to fostering at any time, and you may take as long a break as you need between fosters. There is no minimum number of dogs that you will be expected to foster in a year’s time.
Once a foster dog has been placed in your home, you will be assigned a POC (Point of Contact), who will be available to assist you with whatever questions you may have or problems that may arise while fostering your GRREAT dog. You will receive an email from your POC before the dog arrives to tell you about the fostering process and to answer any initial questions. The POC Coordinator and Foster Home Coordinator are also available to help you. There’s always someone to give you tips on dealing with any situations related to fostering a GRREAT dog. However, if a particular dog is not working out in your home, we will move him or her to another home immediately. YOU ARE NEVER REQUIRED TO KEEP A DOG THAT IS NOT WORKING OUT IN YOUR HOME.
HOW DO GRREAT ADOPTIONS WORK?
Anyone who wishes to adopt a GRREAT dog must complete a fairly extensive application and have a home visit. Not all applicants are approved and some applicants are only approved for certain types of dogs. Once a potential adopter is approved, they are notified of our local Adoption Days, usually held on the first Saturday of every month, and they are also mailed a list of available dogs in the interval between the Adoption Days. In addition, the GRREAT web site maintains a list of most of the dogs that are available to be adopted.
You will need to bring your foster dog to the monthly Adoption Days, when convenient. The locations alternate between Maryland and Northern Virginia. To determine if your foster dog will thrive in the home of an interested approved applicant, you will need to interview the applicant to determine if their situation is appropriate for meeting the needs of your foster dog. For your first adoption, we will have an experienced person work closely with you to guide you through the process, and of course you may always request assistance in placing subsequent foster dogs.
ARE THERE ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES ONCE MY FOSTER DOG IS ADOPTED?
When your foster dog is adopted, you must ensure that all the necessary paperwork is completed and forwarded to the Adoption Coordinator. In addition, you are responsible for making follow-up phone calls, generally 2 days, 2 weeks, and 2 months after the adoption.
IS IT EXPENSIVE TO FOSTER A DOG?
GRREAT pays for all appropriate medical costs at one of our approved vets, who will bill us directly. We supply leashes, collars, ID tags, heartworm pills and other approved medications that may be required, and you can be reimbursed for food. If a crate is needed, we can provide one for your foster dog.
OK, I’M READY TO FOSTER A GRREAT DOG – WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP?
Please contact our Foster Home Application Coordinator and include your name, full street address, and e-mail address, and please tell us a bit about yourself and your experience with dogs. We’ll send you an application and arrange for a home visit, which is part of the foster home approval process. The home visit is usually conducted by an experienced foster home and is another GRREAT opportunity for you to ask questions about fostering a Golden Retriever.