I have to admit that Nitro and I are so lucky to meet some of the most amazing people in our line of work. Many of these folks not only rescue deaf dogs but also foster the deaf dogs until we can get them listed, networked and then adopted. One such person is Laurie Metzger. Laurie resides in Foley, Missouri and she also writes for her own blog the Dog Foster Mom at www.dogfostermom.com.
Laurie has fostered over 180 dogs of varioius breeds from a Chihuahau to Great Dane, including 15 deaf dogs. Currently she is fostering three deaf dogs, including Ziggy (who we adore) The Adoptable Dog at www.adoptziggy.com
Not only does Laurie foster all these amazing dogs but she is such a big help to me here at Deaf Dogs Rock. Since I am the only one posting, writing, photographing and updating Deaf Dogs Rock, sometimes I fall behind in keeping all the adoptable deaf dogs listings updated. Laurie has been kind enough to go through 500-600 listings and check their status for me and send me the updated listing reports. Over the next few days I will be taking her reports and updating all of our adoptable deaf dog listings on DDR. God Bless her for taking the time out of her busy schedule to help me out on our listings! Since Laurie is an expert in fostering dogs, I have invited her to be our Guest Blogger this week to write about if fostering a dog is right for you. Welcome Laurie! ~ Christina Lee – DDR
Welcome Laurie Metzger – The Dog Foster Mom
Five years ago, I did my best to convince my husband that we didn’t need a dog. I wasn’t really a dog person. But he wore me down, and we got a dog. So to make my life easier, I talked him into fostering a second dog so our first dog would have someone to play with. Fostering sounded like a great plan. There are so many homeless animals out there, and if we took one home, not only would we be saving a life, but the rescue group would pay for all the vet care and food. All we had to do was love the dog, give her some basic training on living in a home, and take her to adoption events. It seemed like a winning situation for everyone. So we brought home Dolly, our first foster dog, and fostered her for three months, until she was adopted. I enjoyed the experience so much that over the next five years, I’ve continued to foster both dogs and cats.
(Above photo: Laurie with her dogs Remi the Great Dane and Noelle the deaf pit mix)
Many people say they can’t foster because they would get too attached. I’ve found that going into it knowing that the animal is only staying a short time has helped. And the momentary sadness I sometimes feel when the foster pet is adopted is a small price to pay compared to the joy that comes from saving her life. There was one dog – a deaf pit mix we named Noelle – we fostered for over nine months. We finally couldn’t bear the thought of losing her so we went ahead and adopted her ourselves. But by not adopting the others it has allowed us the room and time to continue fostering, and saving lives.
(Above photo: Laurie taught foster dog Ziggy how to pray)
( Above photo: Ziggy with his AKC Canine Good Citizen Medal – Ziggy is up for adoption at www.adoptziggy.com)
Foster homes are needed because some animals don’t do well in a shelter. They may be overwhelmed by the noise and stress of the environment, or they may have special medical issues that need extra care. Some rescue groups don’t have shelters at all and rely solely on foster homes to house their adoptable animals. Foster homes can provide medical care and hands on attention that can’t always be provided in a shelter. They can also provide extra behavioral training and help prepare the animal for life in a home. I’ve fostered some dogs that came from no-kill shelters where they had lived for several years. When they came into the house they were scared of things like ceiling fans, the television, and other normal household noises and sights. Fostering allowed them time to adjust to living in a home, so when they went to their adoptive home they were much more prepared for the change in environment. Dogs are easier to adopt out if they are already house-trained and have some basic obedience training. Foster homes also allow the shelter or rescue group to more accurately evaluate the dog in order to match them to the right forever home.
If you’re considering fostering, here are some basics to remember.
1. Find the right rescue group or shelter to work with. Each organization has their own policies, and some are more helpful to new foster homes than others. Many of the organizations are run entirely by volunteers who are trying to juggle their own lives with work, family and their own pets in addition to their rescue commitments. Be patient!
2. Don’t expect a perfect foster dog. Most fosters were surrendered by owners who never bothered to train the dogs. The dogs may not be house-trained. They may chew everything in sight. They will need some work. But if you teach them with patience, love and affection, they will return that love a hundred times over.
3. Ask questions. Find a mentor or a more experienced foster home and don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help whenever you need it.
4. Make a commitment. If you agree to foster, unless you go into it stating that you will only be a temporary foster, be prepared to keep fostering until the dog is adopted. In some cases this is just a week or two, while in other cases it can take months or longer. If you can’t make that sort of commitment up front, just be sure to let the organization know so they are prepared to make alternate arrangements for the dog.
5. Enjoy yourself. Fostering can be challenging at times, but it is so rewarding! Enjoy the little moments – the small steps of improvement – and the puppy kisses and tail wags. Those are the best reward of all.
(Photo above: This is Laurie’s newest foster dog Piper. Piper is mostly blind and deaf 16-year-old Elderbull)
If you’re interested in fostering deaf dogs, and there are no deaf dog rescues close to you, you can contact any rescues or shelters in your area and let them know of your interest, so they can contact you next time they hear of a deaf dog needing help. You can also check the Available Dogs listings in your area and contact the rescue or shelter that has a deaf dog listed to see if they need a foster home. If you ever have questions about fostering feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.