FOSTERING A GOLDEN RETRIEVER

Do you enjoy golden retrievers? Would you like to make a positive impact in the lives of surrendered golden retrievers? Would witnessing small and large achievements in rescued golden retrievers bring a smile to your face? Do you have extra love to give?

If so, become a part of GRRoW’s foster family team!

The primary purpose of becoming a GRRoW foster family is to provide a safe and loving home environment for a golden retriever that has been surrendered into GRRoW. A safe, stable, and caring home environment helps the dog’s confidence to grow as well as its personality to unfold. As this transformation occurs, GRRoW’s volunteers evaluate the dog’s behaviors and habits, determine its needs, and help you prepare the fostered dog for its permanent home. 

Foster families are an integral part of GRRoW. Without adequately trained foster families, we are limited in the number golden retrievers we can help.  Fostering is a great way to help GRRoW as you enjoy the companionship of a golden while watching the golden’s personality blossom.  By being a foster family, you will reap the rewards of nurturing your foster, giving it your love, watching its progress, and then matching it with just the right family.

As a foster family, you can volunteer to foster a dog coming into GRRoW that best fits your family dynamics.  Fostering is a responsibility, so GRRoW will provide you with a Dog Advocate (DA) to help and guide you through the process of the foster journey.

Numerous long-time foster families have shared with us how amazing it feels when they match their foster dog with a loving family. Not only do they know that they have placed their foster dog in a wonderful home, but they are also now able to begin the incredible foster journey again with another golden retriever in need. If you are hesitant to foster because you are afraid you will become too attached to your foster dog, you may be able to adopt your foster dog if you let your DA know of your intentions before your foster dog is cleared for adoption, but please know that each fostered golden retriever that you bring into your home is one more life you have positively impacted.

WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES IF I FOSTER?

  • Provide a safe and loving home, possibly for the first time in the foster’s life.

  • Be willing to make the commitment of hard work and dedication to getting the foster dog ready for its permanent home.

  • Build your foster dog’s confidence and reinforce basic obedience commands and good canine behavior.

  • Provide for basic needs such as food, water, in-house shelter, exercise, basic wellness, and grooming. 

  • Bring the dog to the vet for either wellness check or to treat an illness or injury.

  • Communicate updates and progress with your Dog Advocate (DA).

  • Evaluate the dog’s habits, behaviors, and personality to help determine the best forever home.

  • Meet with potential adopters.

 WHAT EXPERIENCES AND RESOURCES SHOULD A FOSTER FAMILY HAVE?

  • We require membership in GRRoW for anyone having direct interaction with GRRoW dogs.  This meets the requirements of our liability insurance.

  • When you agree to foster a dog you are also agreeing to adhere to all policies and procedures established by GRRoW.

  • Have prior experience with dogs.

  • Children in your home or that visit on a regular basis must be age 9 years or older.

  • A fenced in yard is preferred.  If not in a fenced in yard, foster dogs are never to be off leash.

  • Be home a good part of the day, or, if you work, have another dog to keep the foster company.

  • Many foster dogs enjoy playing with other dogs and often learn the ropes from older more sedate goldens.  On the other hand, some foster dogs may need to be the only dog in the home.

  • The ability to train or reinforce basic obedience commands and good canine behavior by having a basic knowledge of dog language.

  • Any time you are unable to be present, your foster dog should be confined to a secure area, preferably a training crate.

  • If you have a cat, do not apply for a foster dog that is noted to have prey tendencies or no experience with cats.

WHAT EXPERIENCES AND RESOURCES SHOULD A FOSTER FAMILY HAVE? continued

  • Have computer capabilities along with the ability to send and receive e-mail, scan documents, and take photos.

  • A GRRoW Caretaker Agreement is required if in the absence of the GRRoW volunteer, someone else is watching, walking, feeding or letting a dog out.

HOW DOES GRRoW HELP ME IF I FOSTER?

  • GRRoW will train you to be a foster through an online process that acquaints you with the policies and procedures GRRoW volunteers follow to provide a safe environment for our dogs.

  • You are assigned to a Dog Advocate (DA) who stays with you during the entire process.

  • We provide a detailed reference in the Foster Handbook that provides guidance on how GRRoW expects a foster family to handle situations.

  • The DA will send you periodic reminders regarding “next steps” in the fostering process - including paperwork, vet care, and record keeping.

  • We provide the cost of all pre-approved medication and veterinarian care, including required spay or neutering.

  • Foster placement could last as little as two weeks if the dog is altered and there are no medical or behavioral issues, or fostering could last months if any of these issues are exhibited. If a dog needs to be spayed or neutered, you should plan on a two-month placement.

  • While you would provide toys, GRRoW can provide a crate and other equipment, if needed.

  • If you find your foster dog’s needs are beyond your ability to handle, your DA is able to recommend an alternate foster home placement.

WHAT DO I DO NEXT IF I AM INTERESTED IN FOSTERING?

  • Go to our website (www.grrow.org/volunteer) and complete the membership application.

  • Complete the Foster Home Agreement

  • When contacted,  you can begin the Online Foster Training. Depending on your desire and commitment to the training, the Online Training can take approximately one week to accomplish.

SPECIALIZED FOSTER TRAINING

Many of these golden retrievers can and will go on to live wonderful lives

with your help and dedication.

MEDICAL/BEHAVIORAL/SPECIAL NEEDS

There are times when goldens come into GRRoW, and they have special needs that require extra care from their foster family. These goldens range from puppies to seniors and have a myriad of needs… from needing extra training to needing major surgery.   Whatever the needs may be, GRRoW has a wonderful support system in place.

Dogs with medical/behavioral or special needs almost always requires a longer stay with their foster families.  In addition to specialized training and the assistance of your Dog Advocate (DA), you will have access to a behaviorist, trainers, and many other support groups. 

Possible needs in addition to basic foster care:

  • Training with specialists

  • Additional veterinary visits (rehab)

  • Additional supervision

  • Specific environments

  • Greater time investment

  • No contact with children under age of nine years

RETIRED BREEDING/COMMERCIAL DOGS

Most dogs from these facilities have endured psychological and emotional stress throughout their lives with little to no socialization or exposure to every day experiences.  Many can exhibit higher levels of fear and can require months to rehabilitate.

Retired breeding/commercial dogs almost always requires a longer stay with their GRRoW foster families. In addition to specialized training, you will have access to a behaviorist and trainers.

Possible needs in addition to basic foster care:

  • A loving, patient environment

  • A safe spot such as a crate or enclosed area

  • A role model such as a confident household dog to help him navigate and become accustomed to his new world

  • Individualized training (work with DA to establish)

  • A fenced in yard

  • No contact with children under the age of nine years

We never know when or where a foster golden retriever will come from, we often don’t know the its age, and we rarely know all the stories it has to share…but, we do know that this foster golden retriever wants love and attention and a family to call its own.

Become an integral part of a surrendered golden retriever’s journey to finding a loving new family. Sign up to join GRRoW’s foster family team at www.grrow.org/volunteer.