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

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