Updated: Nov 1
Thank you for embarking on this incredible journey of fostering with Shenandoah Shepherd Rescue (SSR). Your commitment to opening your home and heart to a dog in need is invaluable to our mission. To ensure a successful fostering experience, please read through this comprehensive post, which will guide you through the fostering process and highlight your responsibilities as a foster parent.
What to Expect from SSR
SSR is dedicated to supporting its fosters every step of the way. Here's what you can expect from SSR:
1. Routine Veterinary Care: SSR covers all routine and necessary veterinary care for your foster dog. Veterinary care must be obtained from a Veterinary Practice in SSR's approved network.
2. Essential Supplies: SSR provides necessary supplies, including dog food, collars, leashes, supplements, and crates as needed. However, we always appreciate when a foster is able to provide any of these supplies.
Whenever necessary, please create a wishlist for your foster dog's needed supplies. Our recommended wishlist location is Amazon. Post your wishlists to the Shenandoah Shepherd Rescue Community Facebook group before requesting supplies from the rescue.
Note 1: SSR Volunteers are prohibited from posting their own private Venmo, PayPal, bank (etc) accounts for funds solicitations.
Note 2: SSR does NOT issue reimbursements for any purchases made for your foster dog. If you have a supply need for your foster dog, please utilize the above methods.
3. Networking and Support: Join SSR's private Volunteer Facebook group to connect with fellow fosters and volunteers. It's a platform for networking, sharing experiences, and seeking advice.
If you require more urgent support, please utilize the Foster Support Live Chat, located within the SSR Volunteer's Facebook group. Please do not message individual volunteers for general support.
Expectations from Foster Parents
As a foster parent, SSR expects you to fulfill several responsibilities:
1. Dog Care: Provide daily care for your foster dog, including feeding, grooming, and exercise.
2. Communication: Communicate with potential adopters professionally, representing SSR with integrity.
3. Transportation: Be able to transport your foster dog to events, veterinary appointments, and Meet & Greets (M&G).
4. Biography Updates: Provide a basic biography of your foster within 72 hours of arrival, updating information regularly.
5. Photos and Videos: Post clear photos and videos of your foster on SSR's Facebook groups.
Be sure to post in the following groups at least once a week:
SSR Volunteers - This group helps get your dog in front of Caseworkers and other Volunteers so they can help match you with the perfect adopter.
Shenandoah Shepherd Rescue Community - This group is full of German Shepherd enthusiasts and SSR supporters. They can help network your dog.
Adoptable Dogs of Shenandoah Shepherd Rescue - This is a page where you should post about your foster being available for adoption. Feature interesting and fun facts about your foster dog, or other things that might entice an interested adopter.
6. Behavior Reporting: Report any undesirable behaviors promptly to Jennifer Quesenberry Aufdenburg.
7. Health Concern Reporting: Notify Jennifer immediately if you observe any concerning medical issues.
Selecting Your Foster Dog
Join the SSR Facebook group to access posts titled "FOSTER PLEA," listing dogs in need of fostering. Once you've chosen a foster, confirmation from Jennifer Quesenberry Aufdenburg will secure your spot.
Welcoming Your New Foster Dog
When your foster arrives via transport, ensure you have the necessary collar, leash, and crate. Avoid bringing resident animals to transport and provide a stress-free environment for your new foster.
Introduction to the Foster Home
Follow a decompression period of at least 72 hours before introducing your foster to resident pets. Treat each foster as uncertain, adjusting your handling based on their personalities and comfort levels.
Common Medical Issues in Texas Dogs
Be aware of non-emergent issues like diarrhea, worms, upper respiratory infections, heartworms, and mange. Report any emergent issues immediately.
Common Behaviors from Your Foster Dog
Prepare for potential undesirable behaviors resulting from lack of training. Seek guidance from SSR Volunteers if needed.
Meet & Greets
Navigating the Adoption Process as a Foster Parent
Upon welcoming your foster dog, the next step is to carefully consider potential adopters for a seamless transition into their forever home. Here's a guide for foster parents in selecting the right match:
Contact from SSR Caseworker: Expect communication from an SSR Caseworker, typically through email or FB Messenger, providing you with the names of approved adopters interested in your foster. You have the flexibility to choose your preferred means of communication—whether it's phone, email, or Facebook. SSR kindly requests a response to interested applicants within 24 hours of notification.
Reviewing Adopter Information: The Caseworker will share the adopter's contact details. It's advisable to review their application file on RescueGroups before reaching out. This background check helps you understand the potential adopter's suitability for your foster.
Scheduling Meet & Greet (M&G): Once you've reviewed the adopter's file and made initial contact, schedule a Meet & Greet at a mutually agreed-upon location. Avoid dog parks or areas with other dogs to minimize stress on your foster. During this meeting, communicate any medical needs or ongoing care requirements your foster may have.
Critical Considerations for Meet & Greets:
If the interested adopter has another dog, ensure they meet before adoption.
Assess your foster dog's interaction with the adopter. Note that some dogs may have aloof personalities, so look for signs beyond overt enthusiasm.
Observe how each family member interacts with the dog. Are there reservations or inappropriate behaviors?
Pay attention to any red flags, such as a child disregarding corrections about handling sensitive areas of your foster.
Express Consent Requirement: Under no circumstances should your foster be under the care of another person without the express written consent of Jennifer Quesenberry Aufdenburg. This includes scenarios like "dog sitting" or "test driving" by unauthorized individuals, even if they are approved adopters. Failure to comply may lead to the termination of your fostering relationship with SSR.
By carefully navigating these considerations, you contribute to a successful adoption process and ensure that your foster finds a loving and suitable forever home. If you have any uncertainties or need guidance, feel free to reach out to Jennifer Quesenberry Aufdenberg for support throughout the adoption journey.
Crucial Considerations When Selecting an Adopter for Your Foster Dog
As a foster parent, it is imperative to carefully evaluate potential adopters, keeping in mind several key points that significantly impact the well-being and successful integration of your foster dog into their new home. Here are essential considerations to discuss with potential adopters:
1. Transition Period: It's crucial to convey to adopters that the initial days post-adoption may be challenging for their new dog. The dog might experience confusion, stress, depression, fear, withdrawal, and a lack of appetite. Emphasize the importance of allowing the dog time to decompress and suggest refraining from introducing them to resident pets for at least 72 hours. Prepare the adopters for potential behavioral changes during the adjustment period.
2. Heartworm Positive Dogs: In the case of a Heartworm Positive foster dog, clearly communicate the responsibility of the adopter in coordinating Heartworm Treatment. While SSR covers treatment costs, it must be conducted at approved veterinary offices. Discuss the nearest vet options and provide the adopter with the "Heartworm Information" info sheet for a comprehensive understanding of Heartworms and the treatment process. Highlight the necessity for adopters to contact Jennifer Quesenberry Aufdenberg (703-967-2944) before initiating treatment.
3. Bite History: Prior to adoption, disclose if the adopted dog has a bite history. Document detailed information, including the date, time, and severity of the bite (None, Minor, Major, Catastrophic) in the adoption contract. This ensures transparency and prepares adopters for any potential challenges.
4. Other Medical Issues: Inform adopters about any significant medical issues the dog may have, such as Hip Dysplasia, Heart Disease, Degenerative Myelopathy, etc. This information is crucial for the adopter to provide appropriate care and maintain the dog's overall health.
5. Return Policy: Clearly articulate the return policy in the event that the dog does not integrate well into their home or if unforeseen circumstances arise. Emphasize that, under no circumstances, should the dog be rehomed or surrendered to any individual or organization other than SSR.
By carefully selecting adopters who are prepared for these considerations, you contribute to the long-term happiness and well-being of your foster dog. Open and honest communication ensures that both the dog and the adopter are well-equipped for a successful and loving relationship. If there are any uncertainties or questions, foster parents are encouraged to reach out to Jennifer Quesenberry Aufdenberg for guidance and support throughout the adoption process.
Scan and email the Adoption Contract to email@example.com, and mail the physical copy and adoption fee to SSR's P.O. Box.
If your contract was completed electronically via Docusign, no further action is necessary.
Thank you for being a vital part of SSR's mission to rescue and rehome dogs in need. Your dedication and compassion make a significant impact on the lives of these deserving animals. If you have any specific questions or need additional support, don't hesitate to reach out to our foster mentor team at firstname.lastname@example.org.