Placing Your Foster Dog
When your foster dog is finally healthy and on its way to becoming a well-behaved companion, it's time to let go and begin the search for a loving permanent home. Here are some guidelines to help you with this difficult yet rewarding process.
Finding potential adopters
- Posters in animal shelters, pet supply stores, vets, clubs, parks, etc
- Dog vest or bandanna with rescue group logo
- Purebred rescue groups -- Please do not overwhelm these people with mixed breeds unless you feel confident that the dog is predominately of a certain breed. Let them know that you will continue to foster the dog but would appreciate any leads regarding potential adopters.
Pre-screening interested parties -- Ask them the following questions:
- Why do you want a dog?
- What traits are you looking for in a dog?
- What is your past experience with pets?
- What happened to your last dog?
- Do you have other pets now?
- Do you have kids? How old?
- Where will the dog live / sleep / spend most of its time?
- Do you plan to take obedience classes?
- Are you prepared for the amount of time/money/exercise/grooming/training required?
- Are you willing to use a crate or other confinement if necessary?
- Do you own your home or have permission from your landlord?
Watch for these warning signs
- Thinks the adoption fee is too high
- Asks if he can foster the dog instead of paying the adoption fee
- Has a "nice doghouse out back"
- Wants a "guard dog"
- Has an unusually long history of dogs that ran away, got hit by cars, "didn't work out," etc.
- Thinks crates are cruel (irrelevant if dog is housetrained and not destructive). NOTE: Even if someone is "home all day," there will be times when the dog must be left alone. A crate is the safest option. For most dogs, crating is temporary.
Screening/meeting potential adopters
- Schedule a time and place to meet.
- Don't waste your time with no-shows or people who fail to return calls. If they are truly interested, they will show up on time and call you back promptly.
- Watch interactions. Does the dog seem to like the person? How does the person interact with the dog? If there are children, are they reasonably calm and gentle around the dog, or do they run around and scream and play roughly? Does the dog act fearful or aggressive with them?
- Be honest. If the dog has known behavior problems, don't try to hide them from potential adopters. Bring the problem to their attention and give training suggestions. If they seem unwilling or unable to handle the problem, do not give them the dog.
- Give the person time to think it over if they wish. However, experience has shown that most people will know almost immediately if they really "click" with the dog. If they seem undecided, they will probably not adopt.
- Never promise a dog to anyone until you are certain it is a good match.
- Be patient. You don't need to accept the first home that comes along. If something doesn't feel right, keep looking. The right home will come in time.
Finalizing the adoption
- Dog must be neutered if this has not already been done
- Paperwork must be filled out before they get the dog -- no exceptions
- Keep in touch. Let them know that you will be calling in a few days. Offer to help with any behavior problems that may arise.