What is a Foster?
A Foster is an individual or individuals who agree to take a dog(s) into their home that has been rescued by SCMR. They are responsible for the day to day care of the dog - which can be anything from simply feeding them, giving them water and love and attention, to cleaning their ears, grooming, giving them medication, helping housetrain them, and addressing any minor behavioral issues.
Fosters are people who may or may not have other dogs presently, but generally have lived with dogs in the past and have some experience. Fosters are NOT people who are thinking of adopting and want to try dogs out in their home to see if they are the right one for them. However, fostering is a good opportunity to get used to the idea of having a dog and determining if Dog guardianship is for you in the future.
SCMR's ability to save the lives of abandoned dogs depends on fosters who welcome these dogs needing a second chance at a wonderful life into their homes while they are awaiting adoption. Since we do not place our rescue dogs in kennels, the number of dogs we can save depends on the number of foster homes we have for them.
Why does SCMR use fosters?
There are countless reasons why dogs often end up homeless...most of them pretty unacceptable. The most generic reason would be a poor match between the dog and guardian, and leave it at that! One of the most important elements of fostering is to learn how to evaluate each dog and to help us determine what the best "forever" home might be for each specific dog. Knowing the temperament of the dog is a valuable tool in determining the forever home.
By placing each dog in a home environment, as opposed to kenneling them, we're able to determine the dog's personality and temperament, including ...
- Need to be (or not to be) with other dog(s)
- Ability to be home alone without being bored -resulting in barking, chewing, poor behavior, etc.
- Does he/she require one-on-one attention
- Compatible with older children
- Dog's activity level - does he need a yard?
- Extent of housetraining
- Health issues
- Behavioral issues
How long is a dog in a foster home?
Generally until the dog is adopted. This could be as little as a week, or, in the case of special needs or hard-to-adopt dogs, a month or more.
What happens if I'm fostering and I have to leave town or it's not working out?
We will always try to work with fosters to make it work with their schedules. We want the experience to be a wonderful one for you. However, it is important that before making the commitment, you are prepared to see the dog through to its adoption...and most fosters want to do that. But if something occurs to prevent that from happening, we are there to support you.
Don't fosters get emotionally attached to the dogs they foster?
Of course, and we wouldn't have it any other way! But as anyone who has fostered can tell you, the greatest joy comes from watching the transformation from the time they arrive until the day they leave. What comes in usually as an undernourished, scraggly, insecure pup ultimately leaves as a confident, playful, affectionate dog ready for their second chance at a great life!! Opening your heart...and your home...to a needy maltese, knowing that you have played a huge part in their transition from homeless to [hopefully] forever security...is a wonderful and satisfying experience.
Does it cost money to foster?
SCMR pays all medical expenses. We ask the foster homes provide flea and heartworm prevention. Most foster homes learn to groom their own dogs or find a groomer who is willing to groom SCMR maltese for free or at a drastically reduced rate. We do not want fostering to be a financial burden on our foster homes and do supply help whenever possible.
What are the requirements to be a foster?
The first and most important element is a desire to help save the lives of these precious animals. Despite the fact that people assume cute little dogs don't need rescuing, we are constantly being contacted about maltese in need throughout the United States. You must be 21+ and have the consent of all in your household to foster (no homes with children under the age of 10 years please). It's important to understand that the dogs don't arrive "perfect". The basic "requirements" include being committed to helping, having compassion, patience, tolerance, some extra time and a bit of dog knowledge/experience (although extensive is not expected). What is of key importance to SCMR in selecting fosters is recognizing those individuals who take the responsibility seriously. It is often challenging, but always rewarding. A yard is nice but not strictly necessary. You must also have the understanding that the dogs may not be housetrained, so being able to limit their exposure to your home thru gating, is important...not to mention having cleaning solution on hand!!
Do I get to choose the dogs I foster?
When we are contacted about a maltese in your area, we will obtain as much information on the animal as we can; but many times, there is not a lot of information available. It is important to communicate to us your parameters... and you can always say "no" when contacted about a maltese. Fostering absolutely requires flexibility and patience... if these are not among your qualities, you might want to "rethink" fostering!!
I'm looking for a dog. Can I foster until I find the dog for me?
Fostering and adopting are very different. When you foster a dog, you are making a short-term commitment; when you adopt, it is a long-term commitment. One of our policies to avoid the "rent to own" syndrome is fosters cannot adopt the first dog they foster. This is really to dissuade people who are interested in adopting from fostering and "trying out" dogs. And we really don't encourage individuals who are interested in adopting to foster. We do have fosters who adopt a dog they've been fostering, but fostering is not a "try before you buy" service. We're looking for people who truly want to rescue dogs by giving them temporary homes, and that does mean saying "good-bye" when a good, permanent home is found. Finding the perfect, "forever home" for a dog in need is the greatest joy a foster can experience.
Who makes the best foster?
Truthfully, not everyone is cut out to be a foster or a volunteer. Fostering is not always an easy job... dogs are not always housetrained, some have minor behavioral issues, some are sick and need medicating, some need more attention than others... and some just want to lick your face, play with their toys and entertain you all day long! Fosters need patience, tolerance and compassion... and a desire to give from your heart. The best foster...the best volunteer...is an individual who truly wants to help the organization, the dogs and experience the joy of seeing these orphans find their forever homes. Volunteering won't make you rich... but it will enrich your life!
IF YOU CAN FOSTER, please fill out a FOSTER APPLICATION. Word and PDF versions of the foster application are now available. A foster contract is also required once you are approved to foster our dogs. You may view the contract in Word format or PDF format.