October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month

October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month and, unfortunately, there are always plenty of dogs available at local shelters and rescues to adopt. Not all of us are able to adopt a dog, but there are still plenty of things you can do to help them find forever homes:

  1. “Donate” your Facebook status. Just paste this message into the “What’s on your mind?” box at the top of your page: “October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month! Save a life; adopt a dog from Last Hope Animal Rescue http://www.lasthoperescueia.org/ or contact them for volunteer opportunities or donation needs!”
  2. Tweet, retweet, and repeat the following:  “October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month! Save a life; adopt a dog from Last Hope Animal Rescue http://www.lasthoperescueia.org/ or contact them for volunteer opportunities or donation needs! #savedogs”
  3. Shelter DonationContact your local shelter or rescue group and ask if they have a donation wish list or other flyer they’d like you to post around your office or neighborhood. They may be holding special events for Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month which you can help promote.
  4. Share an adoptable dog happy tail story on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter (#savedogs). You can find Last Hope’s happy tails right here on this blog!
  5. Sign up as a foster parent or rescue volunteer then tell your friends how great it is. Contact your local shelter or rescue group to find out how you can help.
  6. Add a Petfinder widget or banner to your website or blog.
  7. Write an op-ed about the importance of pet adoption for your local newspaper.
  8. Contact your local shelter or rescue group and offer to photograph their adoptable pets.
  9. Donate to your local shelter or rescue group.
  10. Pass on an understanding of the importance of pet adoption to the next generation. Talk to your kids, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and other up-and-comers about shelters and rescue groups and why pet adoption is important.

There are many things you can do to help even if you’re not able to adopt a dog! The first step is to contact your local rescue group and ASK. They’ll be happy to talk to you about volunteering opportunities and other ways you can help.

julia sig

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From A Foster Lead

Last week we posted about what it takes to be a foster. If you missed it check it out here. Today, I’m going to tell you about the support you get and the team you have standing behind you.

Right now we have 7 awesome foster leads (of which I am one). Each foster home is assigned a lead. Your foster lead is your first point of contact for any questions you have. We are here to make your fostering experience a good one. If you can’t get a hold of your lead, any of the others are willing and able to step in and help.

My first contact with a new foster comes when we receive an application. We have divided up Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and surrounding areas into territories and each foster lead has their own territory. When one comes in that lands in my territory I reach out via email or phone to set up a home visit. During the home visit I’m looking for 2 things. One, that any animals currently in your home are well taken care of and happy. Two, things in the home are safe and secure for any animals we may place with you. I have done nearly 20 home visits (for foster homes) since I started doing this in March and I have yet to find a home that didn’t live up to those standards. The people who step up to help are usually pretty awesome!

The home visit is your chance to bombard me with questions. Anything and everything you want to know about fostering is fair game. I will also take the time to get to know you and your family. I want to know what kind of dog will fit into your lifestyle. They come in all shapes and sizes, each with their own personality. I want to make sure that both you and the dog I place with you are happy. (If that leads to a foster failure – you end up adpoting the dog and stop fostering – I’m ok with that. )

Once I know what you need I will find the right dog for your home. My first contact with the dogs usually comes via email from our Intake Coordinator. We get weekly lists, sometimes more, of dogs that we can take in. We also get owner surrenders from our website. We match up these dogs coming in with our open foster homes.

Once the dog is in the home your job is pretty simple. 🙂 Give them the love and care they deserve! If you have any concerns or questions just give me a call or send me an email! I’m here to help you. Anything from a training question to a vet appointment. We will also keep you informed of event schedules and do whatever is needed to help get your foster adopted.

Once we receive an application on your foster it will be forwarded on to you. You get to set up the first meeting with the potential adopters. If you feel like they will be a good fit you report back to me and we move forward in processing the application. We check references and if everything comes back good I will do a home visit, you are welcome to come along, and after that comes the paperwork. After all is signed and the pup moves on to their new home we start all over again.

I think the most rewarding thing about fostering (yes, I do it myself as well) is seeing all of the dogs you help go into their forever homes, knowing that you had a hand in that. No one knows where they would have ended up if we didn’t provide them with that bridge, from one life to the next.

crystal sig

Not Ready to Take the Plunge?

Always wanted a dog, but not sure you can handle the vet bills and added expense?

Hear about all those dogs in the shelter and wish you could help?

Recently lose a pet and feel like you home is missing something, but not ready for a dog of your own yet?

Have a dog and would love another one, but not sure about the cost of two dogs?

Do any of these sound similar to thoughts that might have run through your mind?  I know many of these thoughts have gone through my own mind in the past 5 months after we lost our beagle to cancer.  Our dog was not a social dog, so we could never had a second animal in our home, but since he has passed I have found a new passion in my life – volunteering with Last Hope Animal Rescue and fostering dogs.  It started out as short-term – and on an emergency basis only.  We just weren’t sure we were ready for a dog in the house again.  But after fostering two adorable little dogs, Missy and Tucker for the weekend, I was hooked!  I’m now fostering a puppy mill rescue, Hundley and have had him for about a month now, and we just got our second foster, a beagle named Simon!

Curious?  Here are some more details –

Weekend fosters are in high demand in the summer.  Some of Last Hope’s dogs are currently living at Cedar Run Boarding in Hiawatha, but in the summer, on weekends and around the holidays especially, Cedar Run fills up with boarding dogs and need to find other places for the Last Hope dogs to go.  This is where the weekend fosters come in.  Take the dog(s) for the weekend and then return them to Cedar Run on Monday.  The dogs love living the home life, even if it is just a weekend.

Then there is traditional fostering, where you keep the dog in your home until he or she is adopted.  You may be asked to help house train, crate train and work on other social skills with your dog.  When you apply to become a foster, you can indicate if you are able to assist with these types of things.

Other things you will be asked to do include taking the dogs to adoption events, taking them to the vet, administer any medications (heartworm and flea/tick meds mostly).  Since you will know the dog best, you will write-up your foster dog’s bio for Petfinder.com and meet with any potential adopters to see if they are a good fit.  And most importantly, your number one job keep them safe and give them all of the love and affection they deserve until their forever family is found.

Gypsy

What you won’t be asked to do:  Pay for most of the dog’s expenses.  Last Hope will cover the expenses of the dog while you are fostering it.  This includes vet bills, medication, grooming and obedience classes if necessary.  If you are leaving town for the weekend, Last Hope will get you in touch with one of those weekend fosters so you don’t have to worry about boarding your furry friend either!

You will be assigned a foster lead as your first point of contact with any question you might have about your foster dog, their care, or any part of the fostering or adoption process.  They are always there for you to answer any questions you might have, and they work really well with you to make sure the foster dog you take in is a good fit for you household and your family.

Chance & Ruby Sue

If you have been thinking about getting a dog, but you aren’t ready to take the plunge into full ownership, fostering could be perfect for you!  If you have a dog and would like to get a second, but just aren’t quite sure  – fostering may be for you!  It has been such a rewarding experience for me.  I have wanted to volunteer for many years, but was never quite sure where to start.  Last Hope has been the perfect place for me and we always have room for more!

If you are interested in fostering for Last Hope, click here to complete the application.  This is the first step to endless doggy love in your home!

How Do You Do it?

I have had a number of people ask me lately how I do it.  How I can foster a dog – take care of and love it and then give it away.  My first answer is, well, I haven’t done it yet.  But it helps immensely knowing that I have a say in who my foster dog goes home to.  I found this poem last night, and I will be saying it over and over through tears when I give my first foster dog to his forever family.  I am so grateful for being a part of this process.

A Poem to My Foster

I am the bridge
between what was and what can be.
I am the pathway to a new life.

I am made of mush,
because my heart melted when I saw you,
matted and sore, limping, depressed,
lonely, unwanted, afraid to love.

For one little time you are mine.
I will feed you with my own hand
I will love you with my whole heart
I will make you whole.

I am made of steel,
because when the time comes,
when you are well and sleek,
when your eyes shine, and your tail wags with joy
then comes the hard part.

I will let you go not without a tear,
but without a regret.
For you are safe forever
A new dog needs me now.

Copyright 1999 by Diane Morgan