Thursday, September 8, 2011

Foster Homes; Our Life Line.

Right now, ARF is in desperate need of foster homes. Our organization is run on volunteer power and this includes foster homes. They literally are our life line. We do not have a shelter facility where we can permanently or temporarily house the dogs and cats that we rescue and with limited foster homes available, we are almost always at or over capacity.

Photo by Theresa Swain
Photo by Theresa Swain

Soon, fall will be upon us and it will inevitably be followed by winter. Puppies and kittens are born throughout the year of course, but we all know the conditions that Alberta's fall and winter weather can bring us; though we are comforted by the safety and shelter of our homes. You can read my blog entry here, about some puppies ARF rescued last November when temperatures plummeted to more than 30 below.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about fostering, some of them good, some of them bad. I've written many blog posts on that topic too! Links can be found here and here.

When you open your home to a foster animal, you are truly saving a life. Fall and winter are hardest on us and the animals. Knowing that we absolutely can not leave them behind in freezing weather puts a huge strain on the resources we have. That is why it is so important to get more foster homes; the more we have, the more animals we can save! The dogs that come into our system are not wild or dangerous; at most, they are scared and hungry. Typically, they adapt to regular feeding, a warm bed and someone to love very quickly. They are eager to learn manners, house training and tricks and are generally a joy to have around.

 The most difficult part of fostering probably is when they find their forever homes, I'm not going to lie. I've had some foster dogs who still hold a special place in my heart and probably always will. But when you see them with the family that they were meant to be with, you know it's right and somehow that makes giving them up OK. There is also some work involved, like house training, teaching some basic manners, sometimes even teaching them how to play, but the rest is pure joy!

If you, a friend or family member are available for the next 6 months to open your home to an unwanted dog, I urge you to fill out our foster home application. Ideal homes would have a stay at home parent or someone who works part time, works from home or is retired. Foster homes do need to have a safe and secure yard with a minimum 4ft fence. People who are able to take a dog to work with them will also be taken into consideration. ARF provides all the food, crates, supplies, medical care and support needed, all you need to do is share your home and your heart. We also ask that foster homes believe in and promote our training philosophy, which can be found here.

If you can make a 6 month commitment and live in the Greater Calgary Area, please complete our foster home application here: 

Note: ARF does not allow fostering with the intent to adopt during the first 6 months.

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