People decide to foster for a variety of reasons. Some foster just to foster and rescue dogs, some foster because in the back of their mind they are looking for another dog, and some foster searching for the perfect match. Some foster homes have a dog, a cat, or children, while others are on their own. We accept all different types of foster homes and welcome the opportunity to help you learn more. All of our foster homes must have a fenced yard. As a foster home, you can decide how often you want to foster and which dogs you are willing to foster (age, gender, etc.).
We also have a program that we call Foster-To-Adopt. This program is designed for an applicant that is actively looking to adopt one of our Goldens. We would ask that you first fill out an online application and please mark that "yes" you would consider fostering. It's a good way to "test drive" your dog and see if they are a perfect match or not. Our preference is always to move the foster dogs as little as possible. If there's a chance that we could place the Golden directly into their permanent home, we'll always try that first. We're very flexible with the program and I think that's why some of our applicants try it.
Fostering is one of the most rewarding experiences. Dogs come to us from owners relinquishing their Golden for one reason or another (allergies, moving, lack of time, etc.). They come to us from shelters in-state and out-of-state, as far away as Arkansas and Illinois. A lot of our dogs come from the Midwest, where Goldens are not as coveted and honored as they are out here. Some come from homes where they lived outside only and had very little human contact. Some comes from puppy mills and need both human and animal socialization. Others are just deemed "out of control" by their owners and are dropped off at a shelter. In the summer, we are overwhelmed by the number of dogs that come in.
As you can imagine, not every dog is perfect when they come to our rescue. We vet them, have them spayed or neutered, and give them guidance where they have lacked in the past. The biggest issue our dogs typically have is the need for human contact. Most get along with kids, cats, and other dogs. Most are housetrained or catch on quickly. Many are obedience and crate-trained. The nice part about fostering Goldens is the fact that they learn so quickly and are so eager to please. A little guidance, a lot of love, and a warm home are typically all they needed to be good dogs.
We are a 100% volunteer organization and we have a great foster community. Other foster homes are always willing to offer advice when someone has a question. A lot of our volunteers have been doing this for years and there is always someone to help. Some dogs are given descriptions such as "undisciplined", "chews everything I own", "barks all the time", etc. and with some love and attention, they become the most well-behaved and loyal dogs.
Our Goldens are typically in our program only a week. Some are only a couple of days and some are closer to two weeks, it really depends on the type of dogs applicants are looking for. We, unlike a shelter, also know the personality traits specific to each dog which makes our matches much more reliable. After the dog has entered foster care, we place pictures and a bio on the website. We always have an ongoing list of applicants and since the foster home knows their dog the best, you can work directly with the applicants.
Being a foster home means that you can decide first if you want to adopt the dog yourself or adopt it out to another family. When there is a match to a family that has had a home visit, it's the foster home's job to introduce the dog to the prospective family. You are the final say in what home the dog goes to. If you feel it's a good match, we collect a check, have them sign a contract, and we send them home with a foster packet with helpful tips for the new dog owner. It's a great feeling to know that you just rescued a dog and placed them with a great family!