Besides choosing whether or not it is the right time in your life to open your heart and home to a dog in need of a safe place to stay on their way to happy beginnings, choosing which rescue to foster for is probably the most important choice you will make in this journey.
The rescue group you choose to work with will be the one that supports you through the difficult times and having a solid working relationship is key. You should never feel alone during your fostering experience.
How does the rescue group select which dogs are accepted into their program? How do they network and promote the dogs they have available for adoption?
All dogs that are accepted into the program should be assessed for issues with temperament and behavior. The rescue group’s top priority should be selecting dogs that are safe to place in your home and into the public. If they wouldn’t welcome a certain dog into their home, why should they expect you to? The group should have a 100% honesty policy with you and should be upfront about any and all concerns.
Looks for a rescue group who networks actively. Social media sites are a great way of getting the word out about available dogs. Avoid rescues that use dramatic tactics that guilt people into fostering and adopting. There will always be cases that are more urgent than other and sometimes require pleas for help, however, if that is there only method - steer clear.
Ideally, the rescue you choose to work with will have a solid history of placing the right dog in the right home (foster and adoptive). Be prepared to answer a flurry or questions about your background and knowledge of dogs, and your lifestyle.
Does the rescue have a back up plan if fostering doesn't work out?
Be upfront initially with the rescue about what you are able to offer – can you only foster short term, do you have a resident dog with special needs – in terms of matching with the right foster dog. Let the group know if you have vacation time planned. It’s only right that you give them enough notice to make other arrangements for your foster dog while you are away.
What is provided by the rescue, and what are you expected to cover? Crate? Food? Vet care? Training?
Decide before hand what you are willing to contribute. Let the rescue know what you will require them to cover. Most rescues do provide these things, but its a good idea to ask anyways.
The rescue group should have representatives that are well versed in dog training and behavior (or at the very least, have access to a qualified professional). You should be comfortable that they have the knowledge to assist to work through quirks with your foster pooch.
Not all rescue groups are created equal. Making the right choice, makes all the difference.