You can make an important contribution by becoming a bridge between rescuing dogs and helping people. Foster Friends bring out the best in our rescued dogs by helping to prepare dogs for their future careers where they give the gifts of freedom and companionship. The two stories below illustrate just how important our Foster Friends are in the lives of our special dogs in training and in the lives of the people they will go on to help.
Our dogs in training are in need of a variety of local foster homes:
- Short term
- Long term
- For dogs in training that do better in a home environment versus a kennel
- Occasional need for puppy raisers. This is approximately a one-year commitment and foster puppy raisers would meet with DFD Training staff on a weekly basis.
If you live in the southern Oregon area and want to help, please contact John Drach, Training Department Manager, 1-800-990-DOGS ext. 308. For more information on our Foster Friends program, click HERE.
FOSTER FRIENDS – Dane’s Story
|Tara, Dane & Randall
Dane is a Labrador mix that came to us from Salt Lake County Animal Services in Utah. He was found by trained evaluator Skye P. who helps us find dogs for our programs and is a Community Training Partner for Best Friends Animal Society. Initially, Dane was in training for our Autism Assistance Dog program but had a career path change to the Hearing Dog Program. And then, during his training, it was determined that Dane needed surgery.
In November, Dr. Frank of Jacksonville Veterinary Hospital performed Dane’s surgery. The surgery went very well but afterward Dane needed a recovery period. So, we needed to find a foster home for Dane during his recovery. Dane’s activities needed to be limited and he needed a foster home where someone was there most of the time to keep an eye on him. We needed to find a home where he’d be the only dog because, for this big, friendly guy, it would be far too tempting to play if he had other dogs around. Also, as part of his recovery, Dane needs short, prescribed walks throughout the day and evening, which increase as he heals.
Tara G. is the Receptionist, Tour Guide, and Photographer at DFD. Tara and her husband Randall offered to foster Dane during his recovery. Tara says, “I know how important fostering is and I was happy to provide just the right home for him. As amazing as our DFD kennels are, I can see how hard it would have been on him to recover from surgery in the kennel environment.”
Dane’s Trainer Carrie reports that Dane is ahead of schedule with his recovery thanks to the excellent care Tara and Randall are giving him. Tara calls Dane “The Gentle Giant” and says, “Fostering Dane is the most heartwarming thing that we have ever done.” Randall enjoys having Dane around as well and says, “He is a pretty casual dog, I like that he lets me do my work but also reminds me that he is there and would like some attention, and it is easy to tell that he enjoys the attention. The looks Dane gets on his face when I scratch him all over are quite funny, and he wiggles his butt and tail. He is certainly smart and easy to be around. It is good for me that he needs to walk as it gets me out moving around since most of my work is done sitting down.”
Tara and Randall both know that their time with Dane is short and that it will be over when he is fully recovered from his surgery. Tara says, “We are very proud foster parents, and we will miss him tremendously when he is placed. But, one cannot be selfish with a dog like this. I know that there is someone out there that is waiting for him who needs him. Dane will be able to use all of his amazing talents with whomever that lucky someone may be.”
FOSTER FRIENDS – Barbara’s Story
Barbara R. has been volunteering for DFD for five years. With previous experience as a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind, she came to us with a wealth of experience and great skills.
Barbara is friendly, reliable, and always has a smile on her face. In her years of volunteering for DFD, Barbara has fostered numerous dogs and has been a great foster mom to all of them. She always brings out the best in the dogs, and her quiet manner helps the dogs relax and feel comfortable in her home.
In 2011 Barbara fostered Blossom. After finding Blossom in a shelter and bringing her to our facility, we determined that she most likely had been born and raised in a puppy mill where she had little contact with people. She didn’t know how to play and became very nervous with any kind of stimulus or activity. We decided that she needed a quiet, stable environment where she could relax and learn that people, and life, can be good.
With Barbara’s patience, Blossom “bloomed” and began to have more normal reactions to things around her. Barbara showed Blossom that the world is a good place.
Kaye, Blossom’s trainer, said, “Barbara was an invaluable partner in Blossom’s rehabilitation. She has a steady, calm personality and allowed Blossom to progress at her own pace while not reinforcing fears. I wish I could clone Barb.”
As you can see from the two Foster Friends stories we’ve shared, fostering is an important investment in the future of both the dogs in training AND the people those dogs will go on to help. That investment pays off: a former shelter dog gets a job and a wonderful home; the person the dog is placed with gets to experience the gift of increased freedom and independence; and you feel great because you’ve made a HUGE difference.
Do you have room in your heart to become a Foster Friend? If you’d like more information about our Foster Friends program, click HERE or call us at 1-800-990-DOGS.