Foster Success!

Foster Success!

How to Safeguard against “Foster Failure” and Set Yourself Up for Foster Success

In our last blog entry, our guest blogger Steph related her “Foster Failure” story (well-played, Mr. Peabody!) so I thought I’d provide a counterpoint to reassure our readers that it is, in fact, possible to be a “Foster Success”. The truth is that I don’t think there is one of TRD’s founders who isn’t a “foster failure”, myself included, but more importantly, between us we have also had over a dozen foster successes, placing our beloved foster friends into their forever homes.

My first piece of advice for anyone thinking of fostering but afraid of falling in love and “accidentally” keeping a foster is to choose a foster dog who is not compatible with you and your situation in the long term. If you aren’t crazy about small dogs, for instance, fostering a small dog might be a good idea. My first foster dog was a 9-pound fox terrier mix. She had a great personality and was a lot of fun, but I am just not crazy about little dogs, so she was a perfect choice for me. If her personality had been in a 40-pound lab mix body, I would have been in trouble! But I knew that she was someone else’s perfect dog, and eventually she found herself a great family. If you know you prefer male dogs, choose a female. If you prefer active, high-energy dogs, foster a couch potato. Whatever you look for in a dog, choose something else. It’s not to say that you should choose a dog who will drive you nuts or you won’t like. Just steer away from dogs who you can picture being with you forever.

Another thing I find helpful is to think of myself as the foster dog’s agent. This involves bringing the dog out and talking the dog up to anyone who says “Aw!” or “Cute dog!” You are not only your foster dog’s caretaker but also his or her top salesperson. Cute dogs usually do sell themselves, to some extent, but it will take some work on your part too. Think of the fostering gig as a part-time job, something you’ve taken on as a responsibility and an occupation. You are charged with getting this dog rehomed, and it is a duty you need to take seriously. Bringing the dog out into the world also ensures that your temporary pooch bonds with others, and doesn’t get stuck on you as the number one source of affection and attention.

Inevitably, you will have a foster who will just steal your heart. When I get attached to a foster dog, I remind myself that I do in fact already have two dogs all my own and that there are other people out there who are looking for and deserve the same kind of love and contentment I have with Red and Thea. I also remind myself that once I get my current foster into his or her forever home, I am available to foster and save another dog. There are so many dogs waiting in the wings to be rescued.

If all else fails, I remind myself of a great piece of advice given to me by a friend and fellow foster: “Just tell yourself that you are dog-sitting for a friend–you just don’t know who the friend is yet.” It sounds goofy, but it reminds you that the dog, while lovable and sweet, really is the light of someone else’s life. You just don’t happen to know who that person is yet. You will when you see it though. Watching your foster dog find his or her forever home is one of the most rewarding experiences there is.

Katie Michelmore

Co-Founder, The Rescued Dog

Mom to Thea and Foster Failure Red

Foster Mom Success for Espy, Krump, Hamlet, Lilly, and Porter (TBD for Lucille)

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KIM – SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER

I got my start in dog rescue by using Facebook to help network dogs who were in high kill shelters in San Bernardino, CA.  While that was fulfilling, I really wanted to be more hands-on and interact with the dogs who were being saved.  I wanted to personally see the transformation from a scared shelter dog to a happy and adoptable dog.  So far I have fostered four wonderful dogs for The Rescued Dog and hope to foster many more!  I also love volunteering at the adoption events and watching when a match is made between a dog and their new owners.

RAH – MARKETING MANAGER

My design thesis in my senior year of college revolved around re-designing the animal sheltering system. I spent hours and hours a day volunteering at a handful of shelters. I saw someone bring in a terrified dog as he screamed at shelter staff: “I just don’t want the damn thing anymore..” That was the tipping point for me… Also, this is my favorite quote…ever: “All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog.”

DIANA – DONATIONS MANAGER

Life has so much to offer if we remember to look beyond ourselves. I volunteer because it continuously teaches me something new about people, about cooperation, about compassion, and about myself. I have a great passion for animals. We have three rescue dogs that came to us in 2008.  Since then I’ve wanted to work with an origination that helps save dogs and put them in forever, loving homes so when I came across this opportunity with The Rescued Dog to help I jumped at the chance.  I am passionate about their mission to save dogs from high kill shelters and I truly believe that help comes in many forms, volunteering is one way to accomplish what we are supposed to accomplish in this lifetime.

CAROLINA – EVENTS COORDINATOR

I started volunteering with TRD in 2015. Volunteering has been great. I love dogs, I mean who doesn’t right?! However, I do not own a dog…not yet. I live vicariously through the rescue. If you can’t afford to adopt a dog or don’t have the ideal living situation to have a dog, like me, you can still “scratch your itch,” that’s a great thing about volunteering with us. So, the irony is I have been telling you about how great it would be to adopt a rescued dog and save them from their unfortunate circumstance and put them in a happy and caring home, and in my case, I didn’t know it then, however, the rescue saved me. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to be a part of and for filling my need to be around so many furry friends.

SARAH – FOSTER COORDINATOR

I was introduced to rescue as a child when I met a greyhound rescue organization one night at Balboa Park and convinced my parents to adopt one.  Our family greyhound Bookie and I were best buds for the ten years we had him.  Since then I have been a sucker for rescue dogs.  I am so glad I was introduced to TRD by a friend and fellow foster, and have had a chance to work with some great people and dogs, and found my little buddy, Madison!

RAMEY – FOSTER TEAM MANAGER

I was introduced to The Rescued Dog while working at a local shelter.  I was excited about their mission to save dogs from high-kill shelters & wanted to participate with this mission.  I love working with the TRD team and fosters to get these pups out of the shelter, into a great foster home and finally on to their furr-ever homes!

JORDAN – ADOPTION COORDINATOR

I have always been a firm believer that doggie cuddles could save the world. So, when my mom said she wanted to start fostering dogs I was very excited. In the short period of time I have been volunteering with The Rescued Dog I realized I want to be an advocate for change. I took on this role not only to push myself but to also be a bigger voice for all of the shelter animals, since they can’t do that on their own.

BRITTNEY – ADOPTION COORDINATOR

The bond I have with my dog, Otis who I rescued about 2 years ago,  is that of a family member, a best friend, and a companion. Saving dogs from high kill shelters is a rewarding task, but adding a new member to someone’s family is life changing. Rescued is truly the best breed.

ALANA – VOLUNTEER TEAM MANAGER

I got involved with rescuing dogs when my own dogs and animal loving kids got a touch older and realized I had a tiny amount of free time to fill! My kids begged for Chihuahuas, Daschunds, Huskys etc….so naturally I thought fostering would be great!  Once I got in, I was hooked and wanted to do more to help shelter dogs find the forever love my own dogs had. In regard to volunteering, I believe that if we all give a little we can accomplish a lot!

KATHY – CO-FOUNDER

10 years ago I took a road trip from Philadelphia to San Diego with my beloved English Bulldog.  As a travel nurse, I was given the opportunity to move across the country, and with working only three days a week, I had time to volunteer with my first passion, rescue dogs.  Through volunteering, I met an amazing group of women who shared my same vision, so we collaborated The Rescue Dog!  I am so proud of our accomplishments and I look forward to continuing to educate and save lives!

DANI – BOARD MEMBER & ADOPTION MANAGER

I was fostering for the SD Humane Society but was looking for a rescue I could become more involved in. A friend foster failed with TRD so I filled out an application. I feel like I’ve found my calling! There is nothing like getting a dog right out of the shelter and making him feel safe. Now as an adoption coordinator I get to see the rescue through to the end, a great family and a forever home!!

STEPH – SECRETARY & DIRECTOR OF IT INNOVATIONS

I rescued my first dog in 2010 and started volunteering with a rescue a year later and loved it! After meeting a few amazing friends, it became evident rescue work was more than just a fun hobby. I truly believe the best dogs are rescued dogs and have come to find my true passion in life is in dog rescue. Fostering is one of the most rewarding experiences one can have and I highly recommend it to everyone! I can’t imagine my life without dogs, and thankfully I’ll never have to. I’m so excited to be working with such a fantastic group of people and I can’t wait to see what The Rescued Dog accomplishes!

ASHLEY – VICE PRESIDENT & RESCUE DIRECTOR

JESSICA – TREASURER & DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATION

It is easy to buy a dog from pet stores, online ads, or from dog breeders, but rescuing a shelter dog is definitely more rewarding.  How can you not admire that once sad dog, now all waggy and happy because they’ve been given a second, sometimes third chance at finding their forever home?  The ability of these pups to recognize and embrace their new life never ceases to amaze me.  The Rescued Dog saves dogs from high kill shelters and prepares them to meet and be adopted by a loving family.  TRD fills the corners of my life and it makes me happy to know I’m doing something worthwhile for these sweet pups.  Having rescued – and been rescued – by my own dogs proves that rescued really is the best breed.

KATIE – PRESIDENT

My passion for rescuing dogs comes from my great experiences with rescue dogs in my life. I personally have had my life brightened by many great rescue dogs, and I have seen how having pets, and dogs particularly, has improved the lives of my friends and family. For me, the best part of dog rescue is seeing the connection that dogs and people make, and knowing that when we connect the right dogs with the right people, we are improving the lives of everyone involved, both human and canine.