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Become A Foster Home Volunteer

Become A Foster Home Volunteer

Great Dane Rescue Inc. is looking for caring, responsible Great Dane lovers to join our foster team by opening their homes and their hearts to a rescued Great Dane. These Gentle Giants do not 'kennel well' and our foster system allows volunteers to provide our orphans with a home environment in order to evaluate their habits and behaviors. Since volunteers get to know each foster dog "up close and personal", they offer a potential adopter more information about the dog which helps GDRI make a better match between the dog and their adoptive family.

"Foster parents" should be able to make a commitment to spend time with the foster dog and give all the exercise, love, and attention the dog needs -- however long it stays with them.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is fostering for me?
Good question. Foster parents should be able to make a commitment to spend time with the foster dog and give them all the training, exercise, love, and attention the dog needs -- however long it stays with them. Sometimes these dogs need special care and that takes time and effort. And then you must be able to say good bye when we find them their own forever family. But know there is great joy in that when the day comes.

One thing of which you need to be fully aware is that fostering is not the “fast track” to adoption. If you foster a dog with the intention of by-passing our standard adoption process, you will find that this is not permissible except in rare instances as deemed appropriate by area coordinators. Foster homes must go through the same process as our adopters and meet the same criteria.

What will I need to do as a foster parent?
Foster homes are responsible for the daily care of the foster Great Dane including feeding, exercising, medicating (as necessary), socializing, brushing and grooming, reinforcing basic obedience commands, observing and evaluating general behavior and temperament. And of course, providing love and security to a special orphan at a difficult time in his or her life when they have lost their former family and home.

How long does the dog stay in foster care?
It varies. Great Danes stay in a foster home from a minimum of a few days to as much as several months, depending on the dog, his/her personality, his/her age, his/her health, and other factors. Generally, if the foster is under age 2 and healthy, they do not stay with the foster family for very long.

Do I need a fenced yard?
It is preferable but not necessary. Fenced yards ensure that an orphan has the safest possible environment to relieve itself. The dog may be exercised there off leash if your yard is surrounded by a secure fence, but outside the yard or in an unfenced yard, the dog must be on leash at all times.

Do I have to be with the dog all day?
No. Many of our foster family members are currently employed full or part-time, yet they still provide a quality environment for the dog. Our first concern is safety for you, your family, your own dog(s), and for the rescue dog. Therefore we require that any time the dog's caregiver is unable to directly supervise the foster dog, it must be leashed or confined in a secure area, preferably in a crate.

How much time does it take to be a foster parent?
At minimum, two hours a day to as much time you can spend with the dog. In some cases, the more quality time you spend with your foster, the more quickly you can prepare it for placement in its forever home. Be prepared though for the first week or two to require more then the minimum time of two hours. Some dogs acclimate quickly to new environments but others are more stressed and traumatized and require more care.

What if I go on vacation? Or if I travel for my job?
Unfortunately GDRI does not have facilities to temporarily house foster dogs. As a result, foster caregivers often develop support systems to provide care in their absence or they stagger the times when they foster. Some schedule vacations between orphans or find pet sitters or family members to step in when they travel for business. The same provisions that you would make for your own dog would apply to a foster -- with the caveat that if you do plan on boarding your foster Dane please be sure to discuss this with GDRI before hand and be sure we have all contact information for the kennel and the kennel has their contact information.

How much does it cost to foster a dog?
Lack of funds shouldn't prevent you from fostering, but you will have some expenses: good quality dog food, and any toys you wish to provide. Although necessary veterinary expenses, including heartworm preventative, are paid by GDRI, remember that we are a nonprofit organization so anything you donate to your orphan's care can be deducted from your taxes.

May I choose which dog I foster?
The Surrender Intake Coordinator will work with you to select an appropriate dog. The foster application allows you to specify requirements, such as a foster must get along with your dogs, cats, or kids.

As a foster, once you take a dog into your home we expect that you will work through any problems that arise unless they are severe. Should such a situation arise, you must immediately contact GDRI. You must also be prepared to give us 48 hours to find new placement for your foster dog. Remember, we do not have a kennel so it is very unlikely that we can remove a dog from your home immediately.

Will I become attached to my foster dog?
Yes, you undoubtedly will. Great Danes bond quickly and they give so much back in return for your attention. But when you meet the new family that's ready to provide a permanent, loving home for the dog you helped rescue, you will feel more than satisfied to see him move on to his new and better life.

Being a foster home is extremely rewarding, but you should keep in mind that some rescue dogs may not be housebroken, may be ill, or may have had little socialization or obedience training. In spite of these challenges, our foster homes have found that when given a chance, Great Danes not only quickly improve, they flourish.

What if I want to adopt the Great Dane I am fostering?
If you decide to be a foster parent, it should be with the understanding that you are working toward helping a deserving Great Dane prepare for its "forever home", and not with the goal to "try out" a Great Dane you may later wish to adopt. We treat fosters and adopters equally. If you think you may wish to adopt your foster, we require a completed GDRI Adoption Contract, and normal adoption fees apply.

I'd like to foster, what do I do next?
Once your family has decided together to foster a Great Dane, please fill out the form below and a volunteer will call you back to start the application process with a phone screen. If you meet our preliminary requirements, and mail us a completed Volunteer Application, someone will contact you to schedule a home visit. They will provide more detail about your responsibilities as a foster and answer any questions you may have. If you are approved, you're on your way to helping to prepare a Great Dane for its forever home!