Saturday, September 26, 2009

You don't have to foster to helps a pet in need.

Have you ever thought that you would REALLY like to help all those animals in rescues ans shelters, but do not think that you could foster for fear of keeping all the animals that cross your threshold? Here is a list of tasks that you can do in a relatively short amount of time that would be of great service to both the rescue you work with and most importantly the life of the dog (or cat ;] ).

Start with finding a rescue for one of your favorite breeds, as many of you know D and I help a few ACD rescues, as well as a local shelter with special cases. A quick google search (example: "Corgi NH Rescue" brings up quite a few) will aid you in finding rescues near you to assist, just call one up and ask if you can help, many will jump at the chance to let you do something for them.
There are so many volunteer tasks that are important pieces in the rescue puzzle. Each piece, put together, help needy dogs find their forever homes. Below is a list of "other" tasks that are so very valuable to the "big picture" of rescue.

How Much Time Will You Have To Dedicate?
It's really up to you. You can spend as little or as much time as you are able. Since we are all volunteers, we have busy lives outside of rescue. Often just a few hours of "help" makes a big difference. We always welcome new additions to our rescue family!

What Will You Be Asked To Do?
There are many tasks associated with rescue. Some require a larger time commitment, others only a few hours per month (or less) Here are some examples:

Visit a dog in a shelter: Confirm the dog is of the breed the rescue specializes in, evaluate their temperament, interaction with you, general manners, knowledge of basic commands and how well they behave on lead.

Time commitment: Depending on the location of the shelter, this task can take under an hour.

Call a vet for a reference:
Rescue's must have a veterinarian's reference for each applicant. They simply need to know if any current/past pets are current on vaccines and receive regular veterinary care. Determine if there are any glaring concerns.

Time commitment: These calls generally take 5 minutes.

Evaluate a new surrender: When we get a call from an owner who wishes to surrender their dog for adoption, rescues need volunteers to "visit" the family and evaluate the dog, take photos, etc.

Time commitment: Depending on location, this may take a few hours at the most.

Contact a potential adopter:
When a rescue receives a new application from someone wishing to adopt a one of their pets, they review the application carefully. They speak with them to get a feel for their knowledge of the breed, their family dynamic, their experience with dog ownership, etc. We ask questions about fencing, other animals in residence and cover any "red flags" that appear in the application.

Time commitment: The length of each call will vary.

Home visits: Visit the home of a potential adopter. Meet the family members and any current pets in residence. Evaluate fencing, lifestyle, proximity to a busy street, confirm all family members are on board, etc. Essentially, you are simply trying to determine whether this is a home in which you would place your own dog.

Time commitment: Depending on location, this may take a few hours at the most.

Transport a dog from a shelter to foster home:
If a dog is accepted into foster care from a shelter, they often need to be removed from the shelter and transported to their foster home.

Time commitment: Depending on location, this may take a few hours at the most.


Of course, we are always in need of foster homes. Sometimes even just for a few nights to a week until transport can be arranged to another foster location. So, even if you are not able to commit to a longer-term foster situation, a short-term "spot" for a dog is often all that is needed in order to pull from a shelter (to save them from being euthanized), arrange vet care and transport to another location.

***Courtesy the German Short Hair Pointer Rescue via Facebook.