Lab Rescue of North Carolina
OUR FOSTER PROGRAM
Fostering, along with appropriate veterinary care, is the backbone of Lab Rescue of North Carolina. Fostering is hard work, but tremendously rewarding. The information below is a brief description of how fostering fits into our organization and what fostering entails. Please see the links below for ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.
A. Where We Get Rescue Dogs.
Lab Rescue of NC gets dogs from a variety of sources, but most often from shelters and good Samaritans who have found a lost or homeless Labrador Retriever. We often have only very general information about the dog’s history. We give priority to senior labs in shelters, and we rarely get litters of puppies (most shelters are able to adopt them quickly or, unfortunately, the pups brought in to shelters quickly succumb to serious illnesses that are highly contagious which makes it difficult if not impossible for them to be placed in foster homes with other dogs). We will not accept any Labrador with an aggression problem of any kind towards humans, and over the years we have learned to become very wary of dogs with serious aggression issues towards other dogs (the overwhelming majority of our foster homes have dogs—a seriously dog-aggressive dog is nearly impossible to place in foster care). We are looking to save as many Labs as possible, and focusing our energy on Labs with the classic temperament makes it easier for us to save more dogs.
B. Healthcare Issues.
Although aggression makes a dog ineligible for our program, health concerns generally play no role in our decision whether to take in a dog. We have a fantastic relationship with a vet in the Winston-Salem area, and very good relationships with several in Raleigh. Many dogs come in with heartworms, a very serious and costly parasite, and we treat a couple dozen dogs a year with that condition. We also see joint, allergy, and many other problems. Before placing a dog in foster care, we spay or neuter and provide as much vet care as needed until the dog is stable and cleared by a vet for foster care. A foster home is provided with a complete copy of any medical records and any medications (including heartworm preventative and flea/tick repellant). If a dog has been treated at a vet where we have an established relationship and we have approved the care in advance, there is no out of pocket expense to the foster home. We do not expect foster homes to contribute to vet care unless a foster home chooses not to use one of our approved vets. We will reimburse a foster home for up to the amount we would have been charged by our vets (we do get a substantial discount).
C. Getting a Foster Dog through the First Couple Days in Foster Care.
Below is a link to a document prepared for adoptive homes entitled “Guide to the First Couple of Weeks with a Lab Rescue Dog.” We provide that document to anyone who applies to Lab Rescue to either foster or adopt. The information in that document is critical to adoptive homes, but absolutely IMPERATIVE to new foster homes.
Click here for the Guide to the first couple of weeks
Your new foster dog will be quite stressed the first few days (panting and pacing), but there are several easy steps to reduce that stress quickly. Establishing a good, reliable routine is essential. We also find that a tired dog sleeps rather than worries—but we caution that exercise at first should be pretty close to home. Taking a new foster dog to Petsmart, a dog park, and then a hike in the mountains might be a bit much on the first day!
Two other big issues for foster dogs are where to sleep and eat. We recommend that foster dogs be fed separately from your own dog. Keeping a good distance (10 feet or more) between two stressed dogs eating at the same time just seems wise—your dog may be stressed by his or her new visitor and feeling a little vulnerable. DO NOT LEAVE FOOD IN BOWLS AFTER MEAL TIME. Dogs do much, much better on scheduled meals and it eliminates a possible source of friction. Most multiple-dog homes also already understand that you can’t figure out who has eaten what if you “free feed.”
On sleeping, we recommend that a young foster dog sleep in a crate for the first few nights somewhere near you. After that, attempt to have the dog sleep on a dog bed—again near you—as see how it goes. Don’t give access to the rest of the house with a young dog. Older dogs might be able to immediately sleep in your room on a dog bed or blanket.
D. Housetraining and Alone Time.
We often don’t know whether a dog is housetrained when it is accepted into the program, and we do rely on foster homes to cement this skill. Thankfully, it is really easy to housetrain an adult Labrador. We provide any and all information that we have about housetraining status, and all of our steady volunteers have fostering (and housetraining) experience. Even if we know that a dog is housetrained, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you pretend he or she isn’t at first—again, stress creates many an accident.
Most of the dogs, and particularly the younger, will have crate experience. We recommend that you start off using a crate indoors for any alone time. After the first few days, you might try a dog-proofed room or rooms for a short time. Again, though, don’t rush it! And the more tired a dog is when left alone the more likely it is to sleep. J
E. Your Dog’s Role in Fostering.
If you have a dog, please know that he or she will play a vital role in fostering. It is perfectly normal for both dogs to need a day or two (or three) to get truly comfortable with each other, so love at first sight is not required. Often everyone gets along great, and the more your dog fosters, the better he or she will become at welcoming a new guest. A couple “growlies”or loud “encounters” (with no actual injury) might happen. Just contact us immediately and we can work you through it. Your dog’s routine should be disrupted as little as possible. We recommend introducing dogs OFF LEASH in a relaxed atmosphere with humans nearby in case a squabble occurs.
F. How LRNC Supports Foster Homes.
We are available 24/7 for emergencies and at any reasonable time for questions or concerns. We recommend you contact us early and often when you get a new foster dog to let us know how it is going. We’ve gotten many a foster dog through the first couple days and we are happy to provide you with as much information as we can.
Once a foster dog has settled in and the foster home lets us know that he or she is ready for adoption, our adoption application screeners will give approved applicants your name, phone number, and e-mail address (but not physical address). If a potential is given your contact information, you should receive a copy of their application via e-mail from the adoption application screener. All applicants are told that the initial screening process is NOT a guarantee that the particular dog they are interested in is a good match. We rely heavily on foster homes to assist us in decided where a foster dog would be best placed, activity-level and overall temperament in mind. Adoption applicants should come to the foster home to meet the dog (or a nearby park) IF the foster homes believes it is a good match AFTER a nice long chat on the phone. Foster homes are not expected to travel unless they choose to do so.
If it is a match, we ask that you get an adoption contract signed (it will be provided) and collect the adoption fee. Both the contract and the fee can be mailed to us at your earliest convenience. We ask that you follow-up with an adoptive home via phone within the first 24-48 hours and then again during the first week post-adoption.Click Here for Our Foster Agreement
THIS IS A BROAD DESCRIPTION OF THE PROCESS. ONCE YOU DECIDE TO FOSTER, WE WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH AS MUCH INFORMATION AS YOU NEED TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL FOSTERING EXPERIENCE.
Rescuer: Lab Rescue of NC, Inc., by Kristin Major
Rescuer Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Foster Home FULL Name
(Include area code)
(Include area code)
(Include area code)
Foster Home states: By completing and submitting this form I declare that I am at least 21 years of age, have read, fully understand, and agree to abide by the terms of this agreement at all times when fostering any Dog for Rescuer.
Foster Home willingly consents to their electronic submission of this agreement as being as legally binding as if agreement had been submitted to Rescuer in paper form with my written signature.