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Old 01-13-2012, 10:38 PM
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Fostering Pros and Cons

Hello everyone,
I haven't been able to post in a while because my laptop is now blocking this website so I am resorting to an ancient and very slow desk top. My apologies in advance if I don't reply to posts quickly.

I am considering fostering Goldens for my local GR rescue. Probably I will request older Goldens due to my little family configeration but I would love some in-put as to the pros and possible pitfalls to avoid. I have a 10 y/o female and a 2.5 y/o male Golden and 3 geriatric cats. I would love to provide a temporary home to an elder Golden so that they don't have to spend time in a kennel for lack of a foster home. I am a little hesitant in order to prevent too much disruption to my current pets so really want to think this through.
Any helpful hints from those of you who have fostered in the past would be much appreciated.
Thanks ahead of time to any and all ideas and recommendations.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:50 PM
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I do not know anything about fostering, but wanted to say what a kind heart you have!
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:06 PM
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Thanks for considering fostering!!! It's such a rewarding experience... both for you and the dogs! I tend to take things slow with introducing a new foster dog. I find it easier to take baby steps than having to backtrack. I always introduce the newcomer to my dogs one at a time on neutral territory, with a nice walk so they get used to being in each other's presence before going into the house. I treat the new foster like I would a tiny puppy... constant supervision, reinforcing good potty habits. Separate feeding times and all that good stuff to eliminate any potential issues with resource guarding. Oh, and I always pick up all the toys at first. Hopefully others can chime in as well with their experiences. And then you just enjoy the process of preparing your foster baby for a forever home!
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:08 PM
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DH and I are on our second permanent senior gold foster and have taken in older gold in the past thinking we were going to foster and ended up adopting Our intention is when our current crew is smaller, all new intakes will be senior gold. Our crew is now up to 7 including the foster with their ages being: one that is ~13, two that are ~11, three that are ~8, and one ~2. For the most part, everyone gets along pretty good. Whenever we have brought in a new one, we have one that will pout for a few days, then gets over it. I have found with the seniors we have brought in that after the initial greetings and sniffing, everyone pretty much just ignores each other but they all want human attention/interaction.

Pros: The seniors will melt your heart. They are so grateful to have a warm bed, regular and good food, and TLC, and in return give you their hearts. We have not had any issues w/ potty accidents or chewing.

Cons: The seniors will break your heart. It hurts me imagining what they have gone through prior to coming into rescue and why at this stage in their life when they should be enjoying their golden years they are now trying to find a forever home.

--Due to the fact that they are seniors, their time with you will probably be limited. Our last permanent foster was only with us for 9 weeks before we had to say goodbye, Beau we only had for 7 months; however, Mike (~11) has been with us a year and is going strong, and Susie (~13+) has now been with us 4 months.

--The seniors will probably come w/ some medical issues. In addition to the normal supplements I give (HA and fish oil), the three oldest all take some form of pain medication (duralactin, metacam, and/tramadol), three take something for allergies, and one takes thyroid medication. Our last as well as our current permanent foster have both come to us HW+; treatment is through the slow method w/ heartgard and doxycycline. For my three oldest, each gets adjusted and lasered (lucky for me, my vet gives me a pretty reduced price). Most rescues pick up medical costs with you providing food and TLC.

I say give it a try--I think you will find you are rewarded a thousand times over with the love you will receive from them. You have just got to be willing to shed a few more tears.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:24 PM
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My rescue, Beau, who I lost to bone cancer 1 year ago this coming week,was such an amazing dog. If it had not been for his great foster family, who nicknamed him Mr, Perfect, I might have missed such a gem. I would love to give back, so to speak, by being a great fosterMom so that someone else can have a special dog or at least be able to give an old gold a warm bed and loving home.
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Old 01-23-2012, 06:11 PM
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Well, I am still thinking through the fostering plan. I decided to go ahead and sign up but then decided to wait a bit. I am eager to give it a try but I am not sure it would be the best plan for my two current Goldens. At the moment I decided I need to focus on improving Baxter's confidence and reduce his shyness and perhaps add the foster dog into the mix a little later. Who knows, I may change my plan next week but after much thought I am thinking I need to wait. My heart is saying go for it but my brain is hesitant.
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"Baxter" U-CH Promise's Purpose Driven Vision CGC (looking toward the future)
"Blayze" U-CH Promise's D'Best Aim For The Goal'd(the new kid on the block)
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Old 01-23-2012, 06:29 PM
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It is incredibly rewarding for me. My dogs tolerate the foster dogs, but aren't enthusiastic about them. Would they be happy without the revolving dogs? Probably. But they have also done wonders in teaching timid dogs to trust us.

I'm not second guessing your hesitation, if you aren't ready then waiting is the right thing, but I also say try it just once, see if it's for you. That will be one life saved, one life changed forever, and a family with a treasure that you helped give them.
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:56 AM
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I fostered for the first time over the summer and it was the most unbelievably satisfying, feel-good experience of my life. I'm itching to do it again ASAP but sadly don't have the time right now.

Pros:
- You're saving a life by giving a dog in need either a second chance at a better life or giving them their only chance at a good life.
- You set dogs up for success in their adoptive homes because they get the chance at experiencing life as a house dog, not living in a kennel.
- Along that line, you can train them so you get training experience!
- If you do all-breed rescue, you get experience with all sorts of different breeds (and mixes)

Cons:
- Bonding with the dogs and then having to say goodbye.

I'm not going to lie, that is the HARDEST part. I was trying to stop myself from crying the day I let my first foster pup go. I thought it would be unprofessional of me to be bawling and sobbing while we met for the last time...but as soon as they walked down the sidewalk with Scout...I lost it.

BUT, you have to keep reminding yourself that you can save more lives by adopting out others. As hard as it is to bond and them let them walk away into someone else's home, the fact that you've saved a life that otherwise would have been lost more than makes up for it.

And, these days with social media it's easy to stay in touch. I get update emails from both my previous foster pups and their families. They're doing amazing and I love knowing that Ranger and I got them started on their path in life. I wouldn't trade that for the world, let alone a little sadness on my part.
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Old 01-24-2012, 02:31 AM
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You're awesome! My partner and I became "foster failures" with our tenth foster, Percy. It's such a beautiful and rewarding experience. The pros and cons people have outlined here are really great, and I don't have anything to add. However, I do have some tips for you should you decide to become a foster parent.

-Be honest. Of course, be honest on your application and all. That goes without saying. What I mean is that you should be honest and realistic about what kind of dog you can bring into your home. Our first couple of fosters ended up being pretty traumatic for our two little chihuahuas because we, as excited as we were to help and be great foster parents, weren't completely realistic and upfront with ourselves and the rescue organization about the type of dog that you can have. We said, "we'll take any one that you need us to!" Fostering is SO great, but should it be at the expense of your family's wellbeing? After our first two fosters had been adopted, we approached the organization and said that we wanted to try fostering more mellow, older dogs so that our little chihuahuas wouldn't be exhausted from hiding under the couch, haha.

-Expect that the dogs will have issues that you'll most likely have to help them work through. When you approach the situation with the mentality that these dogs have just had the roughest of lives handed to them, it makes it so much easier to see the world through their eyes. Opening yourself to what the dog really needs though can make the bonding experience so much better.

-Make a promise that you won't adopt your first foster dog, and take tissues to adoption day. Fostering is such a hard, thankless job. We get these dogs at a time in their lives when they have no other place to go. In so many cases, we're their saviors from a really cruel world. We help these dogs resolve their issues and teach them how fulfilling the bond between human and dog can be. Let me tell you, it can be pretty difficult to be happy for them when they're adopted and taken away from you. I cried in the car on the way home after several of our goldens got adopted. I promise though, it does get easier. The sense of pride you have for these dogs who are clearly going to have MUCH better lives than they ever expected is so worth it.

-Don't be scared to reach out to your foster parent peers for help - emotionally and otherwise. When I was fostering, I developed some really great relationships that started with a call to ask about training problems or just how to cope with losing my last foster.

-Monitor closely your own dogs reactions throughout the process. It can be traumatic for them - maybe even more so than for us. They have to adjust to a new dog, get to know (and maybe even love) the other dog, and then cope (or grieve) the loss of the newfound friend. I loved fostering, but I was fully prepared to stop the moment I felt like I was hurting them in any way.

I hope this helped. These are just things that were told to me when I was fostering by my mentors, and they aren't generally covered in the fostering handbook you'll read. Best of luck!
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayBeams View Post
Hello everyone,
I haven't been able to post in a while because my laptop is now blocking this website

This is a bit off topic, but is your laptop saying something about "prefetching" when it "blocks" this website? I ran into this a few months ago when I was using firefox...it wouldn't load this site and said something about prefetching. Prefetching is something configurable and it's possible to turn it off and after i turned it off I was able to access the site again.
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