Foster homes are the backbone of any rescue organization. Without space for the dogs to hang their leash for a short time, we cannot take dogs from shelters. Even in Alabama, huskies end up in shelters often and need our help.
Q: I’m not experienced at fostering dogs or with dogs in general. Is there help and advice available?
A: Yes! Our experienced fosters, and adopters, are always ready and willing to aid new foster parents. We have a Facebook group entirely for that purpose and our founder encourages communication among the foster parents via email or phone. We can also recommend great books and websites to provide information and training.
Q: Can foster parents adopt a dog with whom they particularly bond?
A: Yes! Once approved to foster, the person is also approved to adopt. Our standards are the same for both. We would never use a foster if we weren’t comfortable placing a dog with them longterm. All fosters have the option of adopting.
Q: Won’t I become too attached to my foster dog?
A: No, not necessarily. Sometimes, a foster dog is the perfect companion and a foster home can’t let them go. Most dogs, however, are not. When you foster, you have a different mindset from the beginning. The dog is not “yours” but belongs to the rescue. You are only providing temporary living quarters, and lots of love, until the forever family is found. When you think of it that way, it is easier to keep a distance and let a dog go when it is time. In the long run, fostering is about the dogs, and is the most unselfish thing one can do.
Q: What if I can’t handle a particular foster dog?
A: We call it the “husky shuffle”. Some dogs behave differently in various environments, and new foster parents may not have the experience needed to handle some dogs, so we move dogs around to be sure everyone is happy. We screen new dogs to try to place them into the most appropriate foster home, but if it’s not working well, we can always shuffle.
Q: What do you know about new dogs or potential foster dogs?
A: We dog, cat, and kid test all new rescues before they go to foster. We do our best to inform foster homes of what we know about a dog. However, since these dogs come from shelters, we often do not know much about them. Again, we play husky shuffle if necessary.
Q: I’ve had a bad experience with another rescue. How is yours different?
A: We run our rescue like any other business. We understand that reputation is everything and we work to ensure our reputation is solid. We work with foster homes to be sure everyone is happy and we work with adopters to be sure our dogs live happily ever after. We encourage discussion and ideas from all volunteers.
Q: Are shelters dogs “damaged”, aggressive, or bad dogs?
A: Most of our dogs are very well behaved, loving dogs. Many of them have simply become lost and can’t find their way home. Very few of them have extreme behavioral issues. They may need manners training, but they are not aggressive.
Q: What sort of events do you have?
A: We host PR events to discuss our adoptables, fostering for our rescue, training, grooming, and other information. We encourage fosters, and all volunteers, to attend events when they are able as interaction with volunteers and other fosters is educational and FUN. We also attend large festivals and dog-themed events to help spread the word about our organization and rescue in general.
Q: Do you interact with other animal welfare groups?
A: We have relationships with local shelters throughout the state and with many other rescues in the state as well as nationwide. We also regularly communicate with the other husky rescues across the country in addition to other breed rescues. We support AVRAL for the betterment of animal laws in our state as well.
Q: Do huskies smell like dogs?
A: No. Huskies are very clean dogs and do not typically smell. Their fur prevents most dirt and debris from sticking for very long. A bath every few months keeps a husky in tip top shape. In addition, all of our dogs are bathed prior to going to their foster home. If possible, they are professionally groomed. Huskies do shed, but a weekly brushing keeps the worst of the fur out of the house. We have grooming recommendations, such as tools, as well. Huskies should not ever be shaved, except in extreme matting circumstances, as their coat insulates them from the cold and the heat.
Q: What kind of time commitment is involved in fostering?
A: First, we try to match the foster dog’s energy level to the energy of the home. Time management and organization are necessary, but the time can be found. Most dogs need a good walk or job in the morning or evening and some play and training time in the evening. They don’t need 10 hr a day of interaction, though they would love to have it if possible.
Q: What is a foster home responsible for financially?
A: We provide a kennel, flea prevention, heartworm prevention, all vet care, a collar and tag, and a few toys. We ask that the foster home provide nutritious food and any toys they wish. We don’t want our dogs or the commitment to be a financial burden.
Q: How long will a foster dog be in my home?
A: Dogs are adopted out anywhere from 1 week to 2-3 months after entering our program. Dogs with the highest adoptability, i.e. dog friendly, cat friendly, kid friendly, go quickly. Occasionally we will have a dog for 6 months or more but this is rare.
Q: How much space do I need for a foster dog?
A: Foster dogs don’t need a lot of room. A corner for a kennel and maybe a soft bed is all that is required. Huskies need some play and exercise time but apartment dwellers who are active are just as able to foster as house dwellers with fences. Of course, huskies must always be on a leash when not contained in a fence.