This article was written by Claire Haskins
My husband Austin and I have been working with an animal rescue for a little over a year now, and we are so thankful we gave it a shot! Fostering a pet through a local animal rescue is something I wanted to do because it allows me to help the rescue (which is always in need of more volunteers for dogs and cats) in a meaningful way since I am not in a great position to help them out financially.
We first got involved through the Ruff Start Rescue Facebook page (facebook.com/RSRanimals/). We saw that they had a massive amount of puppies coming in from Oklahoma, and we got involved and decided to foster two of the puppies. Going into it, we intended to “foster to adopt” Archie, but upon living with the dogs for a few weeks, we ended up keeping Nemo. We are so thankful that we were able to foster and get to know the dogs before committing to adopting one because we were able to ensure that the household fit with the dog – which was ultimately the best situation for Archie, because he was placed into a very active household that can hopefully fulfill his needs. Over the past year we’ve had six other dogs come through our doors, some for as little as three weeks, and others for six months.
Ruff Start Rescue – like many local rescues – has specific people tasked with being “placement coordinators” that essentially are the fosters’ point of contact and ensure that each animal has a place to go. Placement coordinators help fosters get paired with the type of animal that would work well in a given home (whether the dog is good with other dogs, cats, kids, etc.) and they forward on adoption applications when they come through. Once dogs come into the state and go to their fosters, they aren’t going to be ready for adoption until all of their vetting is taken care of (vaccines, heartworm treatment, any surgery, infections). We’ve had heartworm positive dogs come through, and our current foster, Maggie, had a torn ACL and needed surgery plus eight weeks of therapy. We signed up for a few dogs with increased needs; however, the rescue is really good with taking into account how much time and specialized care that the fosters are willing and capable of giving to the dogs. The people at the Rescue never aim to put their fosters into stressful or uncomfortable situations. There has never been any pressure with us – they’ve even arranged for other people to come and transport the dogs to the vet when we haven’t been able to! They always make sure the job gets done, and everyone’s happy!
Working with a rescue — whether it’s Ruff Start Rescue, Underdog Rescue, Secondhand Hounds or the Animal Humane Society — is an extremely rewarding experience. Donating your time, or opening your doors to a dog – whether you’re just fostering or fostering to adopt – all of it helps!