Should I Do Rescue?

"Shelters and rescue organizations can't get enough good foster homes... But, they say, potential foster parents should consider as many angles as possible before committing...

"They may get a dog that's not housebroken, has mange, or has emotional problems. There are reasons these dogs were given up, and some require a lot of care that the average dog wouldn't need.

""Fostering is "a pretty intensive way to volunteer," says Betsy McFarland.. But, "it can be extremely rewarding to help an animal get on its feet and watch it go off to a new home."

"If you believe you have the physical and emotional resources necessary... [These are] questions you should ask:

  • "Does the shelter or group provide food or veterinary care, or discounts on them, or must I pay the expenses?

  • "Am I able to provide one-on-one attention to a dog with special needs, such as socialization or recovery from illness?

  • "Is my home suitable for foster dogs? Do I have enough room to separate those that don't get along well with other pets?

    "Ideally, foster-dog-friendly space includes a crate to sleep in, adequate room for socializing with humans and other dogs and for getting used to the indoors, and a backyard or local green space for exercise and play.

  • "Are my own dogs' vaccinations up to date, in case a foster dog carries a disease?

    "..many foster dogs come with kennel cough, more serious infections aren't always evident...

  • "Am I willing to be evaluated?

    "..expect.. a formal application process. Paperwork comes first, followed by a visit to the home, and, on acceptance, training or orientation...

  • "Does my schedule accommodate stays of various lengths?

    "Foster dogs may stay from as little as two days to, sometimes, months...

  • "Can I handle saying goodbye?

    ""You sacrifice a bit of your heart and a lot of your home to the dogs," Mayes says. "But you have to remember that the gift is in the goodbye. Fostering is really a lesson in unselfish love""

(Rizzo, Holly Ocasio. "It Takes Heart.. and Resources, Too." Dog Fancy, October 2003, 22-25).

Colby Glass, MLIS