Fostering . . . not always easy but always rewarding!
Indiana Sheltie Rescue relies heavily on a foster family’s assistance and judgment from the moment the dog comes into the home. If you decide to help, it will be a commitment that provides many rewards. There’s a lot to know, and we learn more with each dog we rescue. In fact, we encourage you to share your experiences and insights with us so that we can pass them along to future volunteers. The following information should give you an idea of what is involved in fostering for Indiana Sheltie Rescue.
THE BASICS — Should you decide to become a foster family, you will take a rescued Sheltie into your home and care for him/her as you would your own pet, providing food, shelter, companionship, basic training and exercise, arranging for any required veterinary care, and supplying generous amounts of patience and love. The fostering period can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Some Shelties take longer to place. Your evaluation of the Sheltie’s character, temperament, and training level are invaluable — the more we know about a dog’s habits and behavior (positive or negative), the easier it is to match him or her to the perfect owner.
BEFORE FOSTERING BEGINS — An ISR representative will visit your home to help your situation and determine what type of Sheltie would fit into your lifestyle most easily. We also ask that you complete a Volunteer Questionnaire. If you have other pets, it is very important that they be current on all vaccinations before you begin fostering. This includes vaccination against rabies, parvovirus, and kennel cough (bordatella). Your dog(s) should also be on preventative heartworm medication. If you have dogs that have not been spayed/neutered, please be sure we know this since many rescued Shelties are still intact.
The first priority for a Sheltie coming into rescue is to see that all vaccinations are current, a heartworm test is done, and the dog is placed on preventive heartworm medicine. The next step is to arrange for the Sheltie to be spayed or neutered. ISR has established favorable pricing with several veterinary clinics, and you may be asked to help with transport for these visits. If you are not able to transport a dog, other volunteers will be called upon to help.
EASING THE STRESS — Almost every sheltie has been through some kind of ordeal before being rescued. The dog may be been in a shelter, housed in less-than-ideal conditions in the former home, tied outside, reprimanded too much or not al all, been homeless and subject to many stray-dog experiences, or it may have had a wonderful home. Whatever the history, the Sheltie may be unsettled both physically and emotionally upon arriving at your home. Quite often, dogs will mirror their environment. It helps to initially limit distractions around the house such as television, loud noises, and children’s activity levels. Rescued Shelties need large amounts of reassurance, attention, and affection every step of the way. Patience is a key attribute to our best foster families.
TRAINING — As a foster family, you help “socialize” the Sheltie and make him/her more adoptable. This can include helping the Sheltie learn to trust people again, as many dogs may have been abandoned or abused. You may also teach or reinforce basics like housebreaking, and commands such as SIT, COME or STAY. If you have trouble correcting behavioral problems, contact ISR to discuss alternatives.
HEALTH CARE — You are responsible for monitoring and maintaining the health of the Sheltie in your care. This includes feeding a quality dry food, sometimes bringing a thin Sheltie back up to proper weight, helping an overweight Sheltie lose extra pounds, providing monthly heartworm medicine (the cost of which is reimbursed by ISR), and watching for any sign of illness or other condition that would require veterinary care.
EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENTS — ISR reimburses all medical expenses. However, veterinary care should first be discussed with the ISR Director. This is our biggest expense and we have established favorable pricing with several reputable clinics. As a general rule, we are not able to reimburse other expenses such as mileage, phone calls, dog food, toys, etc.
RECORDKEEPING — You will need to keep accurate records of veterinary care. The original medical records will be given to the new adoptive family, and copies will be kept by ISR.
SUPPLIES YOU WILL NEED — Some things you will need on hand include a long leash, dog grooming brush, chew and play toys, quality dog food, food and water dishes, and a method of confining or separating the dog (either crating, closing doors, or putting up gates to certain rooms.)
If you think you may be interested in fostering, please complete a Volunteer Questionnaire or Contact Us for further information. There is no obligation.