June 18, 2012

Questions to ask a rescue Before you foster

Success in fostering is more than getting a dog adopted. The rescue group greatly dictates how positive the experience is, and after a few trials and errors, we now understand that we want to feel that any group we foster for is also the best fit for our family. The rescues we volunteer with now must organized, legitimate non-profits, and have views and principals that align with our own.

We've talked about some examples of not so great groups and we talked about our own follies with our first rescue group.  Now, before we ever sign up to volunteer again, I ask for a phone interview. The following is a list of questions that I have ready so that I can better understand the organization, and to weed out rescues that simply will not work.

Name of organization:_____________________ Telephone:_________________
Website: ___________________ Point of Contact:___________________

Questions about the dogs:
-What type of dogs do you take in?
-How many dogs does your group normally have?
-Where do you typically get your dogs?
-What are your normal intake procedures?
-Do you conduct personality assessments prior to placement in foster care?
-Do you have trainers or support for behavior problems?
-What are your typical adoption fees?

Questions about medical care:
-Do you provide all medical care prior to placing in foster care?
-Do you provide heartworm and flea preventative while in foster care?
-Who is your vet?
-Who is responsible for securing vet care and transport?
-What are the procedures for emergency vet care?
-Do you spay/neuter prior to placing in foster care?

Questions about fostering:
-Do you have a dedicated foster coordinator?
-What do you provide fosters? Food? Collar & leash?
-What are your expectations for foster parents?
-In the event of travel or an incident is there a backup plan for dogs' care?
-How long are dogs typically in foster care?

Questions about the rescue:
-Are you a state registered non-profit / 501(c)?
-Do you have any paid staff?
-What percentage of donations and fees go to dogs?
-Do you have liability insurance?

Questions about outreach:
-Are you active in social media?
-Do you hold events in the community?
-Do you have adoption days? Who is responsible for transport?
-Do you have a relationship with local animal controls?

Questions about adoption:
-Who is your typical adopter?
-Are there any restrictions to people wanting to adopt?
-Are fosters involved in the adoption process?
-How far away do you adopt to?
-What is the policy on 'foster failure'?

This is by no means the end all be all of lists, but it is a great start. Very quickly you'll be able to see any red flags or get a sense that the group could be just what you are looking for. I recently went through this whole process with our next prospective rescue, K9 Justice League, and I just felt so much better. Having a nice long talk with the group I found them to be open, friendly, and sincere in their desire to help dogs find perfect homes. Our next foster will be with them, and we cannot wait to be a part of their group.


Awesome! Awesome list! I wish I had seen this list prior to fostering with my first rescue. Let me tell you that I learned a lot from that one - not things I wanted to learn either. Thankfully, my next experience was SO much better. I'm still with them. Thanks for sharing a truly wonderful list. I'll be sharing as well.

Had to laugh that on the day I wrote about integrating my former foster dog into my family (as a permanent member) that you should write about fostering. Knew I had to read it then. :)

Awesome! Glad you liked it. Sad that we have to learn lessons the hard way, but glad to hear you gave it another go and found your next family member in the process.

Guess I should add a question about fosters wanting to adopt ;-)

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