BROOD Foster Care Expectations
1. Foster Dog Evaluation Report
The BROOD Foster Dog Report is a critical device used to match your foster dog to the right adoptive family. Ideally this report should be filled out no less than two weeks after having a foster dog in your care; but depending on the circumstances, it may take a little longer to get an accurate assessment of a dog's personality. Information provided in this report will be used to write a biography for your foster dog for publication on the BROOD web site.
2. Evaluating a Foster Dog's Personality
Admittedly, evaluation can be subjective depending on your personal behavioral expectations. What we need, especially at the two-week period, is an overall feel for the dog. Is it housebroken? Is it receptive to basic obedience? Does the dog suffer separation anxiety? Is it destructive? How does the dog interact with other dogs, children, cats? Does the dog show any signs of aggression? What is your impression of the dog's overall emotional and physical health? Is the dog affectionate or distant?
Keeping a journal of your foster dog's behavior is an excellent way to record your daily observations and can help you to spot behavioral trends that will assist you in providing an accurate assessment of your foster dog's personality. The more detailed your evaluations, the easier it is to match your foster dog to the right family and the more likely it is to result in a successful adoption. Most of the time it will take about two weeks for your foster dog to really settle down and find his spot in his new "pack." After the initial evaluation, you may continue to see changes in your foster dog's personality as he/she gains more confidence. These should be recorded in your monthly online foster report.
3. Escape Artists
Although dogs come into the rescue system through a variety of means, many dogs end up in BROOD's care because they've managed to escape from a home at some point in the past. As a foster family providing shelter to these fugitives, a great deal of emphasis should be placed on the security of their environment. A foster dog should NEVER be left out in the yard unaccompanied, even if you leave your own dogs unattended. No matter how secure you believe your fenced in yard to be, a practiced escape artist will find a way to breach the perimeter, and if no one's home to fetch them back, there's no telling where that basset nose will lead. By the same token, make sure all doors with outside accessibility are secure and cannot be opened by a charging basset and brief all family members that an open door is inviting to a basset intent on escape. BROOD has lost several dogs who managed to escape from their foster home only to have their life ended under the wheels of a passing motor vehicle.
4. Other Problem Behaviors
Aside from being escape artists, many dogs who come to BROOD also carry some emotional and physical baggage stemming mainly from neglect and abuse. Some dogs, especially those rescued from puppy mills, have never lived in a house before and must be taught the basics as though they were puppies. Behavioral problems common to rescued dogs include food and possession aggression, separation anxiety, nuisance barking, house training accidents, destructive chewing or marking of territory, fear aggression, submissive peeing, anxiety, fear of thunder and other loud noises like fireworks.
Some of these behaviors can be corrected through gaining the dog's trust or obedience training and your assigned mentor can help you and your foster dog through these difficult situations. However, sometimes it's necessary to consult a trained behaviorist for assistance. BROOD has a volunteer professional dog trainer who is available to help with behavioral problems. Contact the Foster Director to obtain help from the BROOD trainer. In all cases, love and patience should be your guide. As a foster family, you are directly involved in preparing your foster dog for the loving adoptive family they deserve. However, if your family's safety is at risk, or if you can't give your foster the care they need and want them removed from your home, contact your mentor for immediate assistance. Please keep in mind it may take a few days to make alternate arrangements for your foster.
5. Photos and Videos
As important as your foster dog's evaluation report and biography are to his adoption, nothing matches the importance of getting several photos and a short video for our web site. Statistics show that dogs with photographs and videos are adopted more quickly than those without. Please submit a couple of photographs when you submit your first foster report. All photos should be emailed to BROOD's Foster Director.
A short 30-60 second video clip is to be uploaded to the BROOD Dropbox account. To upload a video, please go to https://www.dropbox.com. Login with user ID email@example.com, password broodva1. You can drag and drop the video file into Dropbox. No software is needed. Any questions, please contact our Video Coordinator for help.
6. Veterinary Care
Most of the dogs who come to BROOD require veterinary care at some point. BROOD has accounts with many veterinary practices throughout MD, VA and WV. These hospitals offer discounted services to our rescue dogs and will bill BROOD directly. If you are not in an area close to one of our vets, ask your local vet if they offer discount rates for rescue dogs. BROOD will reimburse you for all vet expenses incurred, however unless you're using one of the vets where we have established accounts, the cost will initially come out of your pocket. All veterinary care should be conducted with prior approval from BROOD. Any care costing more than $200 must be approved by BROOD first. In the case of an emergency, call Lisa Wallace at 757-990-3094.
Please scan all vet bills and medical records provided during your vet visit. These copies may be attached to the Vet Check Form located under the fostering tab on the BROOD home page. They can also be faxed with the Vet Check Form to our toll free fax 866-710-9471.
BROOD wants to make sure all its dogs are current with veterinary care. Your BROOD dog should arrive with veterinary paperwork that includes records of the following: 1. Rabies certificate and tag (within past three years); 2. Distemper/Parvo series (within past three years); 3. Bordatella (Kennel Cough) within past six months; 4. Heartworm/Lyme/Ehrlichia test and results within the past year; 5. Fecal flotation and results within the past six months. If your foster dog is missing any shot records, please contact the Foster Director. to request missing records. Records should also indicate if your foster has been given a heartworm/flea treatment and the date.
7. General Care
While in your care your foster dog should be treated like a member of your family. They should be given adequate food, fresh water, grooming and exercise on a daily/regular basis. Particular attention should be paid to your foster basset's ears and nails for grooming purposes. You are also responsible for giving your foster dog any needed medications when they are due (usually just heartworm preventive and flea/tick treatment).
8. Out of Town
In the event you will be out of town or unable to foster your dog for a brief time and need a temporary foster, contact the Foster Director for assistance. If you are going on vacation and taking the foster, we must know where the dog will be and have a contact number for you.
9. Adopting Your Foster
There are those dogs that just steal your heart from the beginning and you know they are meant to live with you forever. Because this happens frequently, BROOD's foster adoption policy allows the foster family first right of refusal. This means you will be able to adopt your foster if you let BROOD know before an adoptive family has set an appointment to visit your foster. If you are contacted by an Adoption Coordinator stating they have an interested family who wants to adopt your foster, you will need to decide if you want to adopt as soon as possible. Please bear in mind that adopting your foster does not mean you cannot continue to foster. Most of our volunteers and foster homes have a number of dogs and cats in their household. You will be responsible for paying the adoption fee unless you have donated medical care expenses on your foster up to or exceeding the amount of the adoption fee.
10. Adopter Visits
At your convenience, BROOD approved adopters will visit your foster dog in your home. These visits are to be supervised and you are to note your feelings about the people and their interaction with the dog. A BROOD Adoption Coordinator will notify you in advance so you can set up a visit that is mutually agreeable to the adopter and your schedule. Sometimes the adopter is just visiting to meet the dog; other times the adopter comes with the intent to adopt and take the dog home with him. If it's just a visit, you should contact the Adoption Coordinator via email and let him or her know how the visit went. If the visit is with intent to adopt, the Adoption Coordinator should mail or email instructions, adoption contracts and other paperwork to you in advance to facilitate the adoption. You are to follow the instructions, have the papers signed and collect a check for the amount shown to the coordinator. You should also have a packet with the dog's medical information and any pertinent information. It's also nice to include a small baggie with enough dry food to feed the dog for a few days. This gives the adopter a chance to change the dog's food gradually.
11. Foster Homes, the Backbone for All Rescue Efforts
Without them, BROOD has to make the difficult decision of turning a dog in need away because we just don't have the space or funds to care for them. As an adopter, you can help one, maybe two dogs, but as a successful foster family you can assist untold numbers of dogs needing your help and love. There is nothing more rewarding than to take a shy, withdrawn dog into your home and with love and patience help them to heal physically and emotionally. To watch this same dog bloom into a happy, healthy, outgoing dog is nothing short of a miracle. Then to send them on their way to a loving and caring adoptive family, your work with them complete, is the ultimate reward. Yes, it's painful and difficult to invest so much time and love into this dog only to let them go in the end, but waiting in the wings is another broken soul who needs your love and attention just as much -- maybe even more.