Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Get the Foster Fever

I would like to dedicate this blog to fostering.  It may seem a bit hypocritical to you that I could write a blog on fostering when I'm not even a foster myself.  Of course, I was......and I failed.  I was a big, fat, hairy "foster failure".  Sometimes when I tell people that, I think they think that I must have had really bad foster dogs.....Definitely not the case.  In fact, just the opposite.  For those of you unfamiliar to foster terminology, a "foster failure" is defined as one whose foster dog becomes adopted by the foster parent and/or family.  I was so terrible at fostering, that I failed fostering not once, but twice.  With my second foster failure, the dog population in my household outnumbered the human occupants 2 to 1.  My husband and I suddenly went from a two Lab family to a four Lab family.  Can you imagine how much dog food is required to properly feed four Labradors???  Are you aware that we are responsible for the invention of Dyson "Animal" vacuum cleaner?

But let me tell you something about fostering that I failed to understand from the beginning. As much as I love all my dogs including the ones I adopted, there is something special about fostering.  The excitement and thrill that you get each time you get a new foster never fades.  Observing the transformation of your foster dog during the time he/she lives with you and knowing that you are directly responsible for that transformation can move you to tears.  The feeling you get from this transformation is indescribable.  Learning about your foster dog's personality quirks and the special things that make your foster unique is heart-melting to discover and provides invaluable information to perspective adopters about the dog.  Knowing that you are the most stable and dependable family your foster dog has or may have ever known is a vital part of our rescues' rehabilitation no matter the medical status.  The time a rescue spends with the foster family teaches the dog how to behave in a loving home environment.  Yes, it's true.  You have to be a strong person to foster.  After spending so much time loving a dog, it is hard to watch them go.  But here's the cool part....the pain that you feel after losing your foster instantly fades as soon as a new one walks through your front door.

We would love to have all our dogs in foster homes, so they could learn how to be polite family members. This ensures that they become permanent members of their forever family once they are adopted. HOTLR foster dogs often do adopt more quickly then the HOTLR dogs that live at the kennel.  But, don't get me wrong, we are so very lucky to have the Canine Hilton as a back up to our foster program.  The people at Canine Hilton really love our dogs.  The time that Tiffany McCalla, trainer for the Canine Hilton, spends with HOTLR recruits is priceless.  They are all given individualized attention and that attention in addition to the training that Tiffany provides is a vital part to a HOTLR rescue's second chance at a good life.
This time of the year is hard on our foster families also as many travel for the holidays and need someplace to temporarily place their foster dog.  However, this is a perfect time for you to try fostering.  You have a dog already in a foster situation that needs a dog-sitter while the foster family is gone.  You get a good taste of how wonderful fostering can be.  You get to "practice", before you commit to your own foster.  Are you ready for a trial run?

Fostering is pretty simple.  HOTLR pays for all medical costs and any medications that your foster may need.  The only thing that we ask of our foster families is that they provide shelter, food and love to their temporary family member.  We do like to get monthly updates from our foster families to know how the foster dogs are doing, especially before a meet 'n greet where your foster dog may be shown.  This information is used at the meet 'n greet to let prospective adopters know a little bit about your dog, especially if you cannot be there.  If you can provide transportation to and from meet 'n greets that helps as well.  It's nice for the families meeting the dogs to be able to talk with the foster family about the dogs they are meeting.  However,  we know people are busy and things can come up, so we can always arrange for transportation also.  

If at anytime you have questions or problems you can give any board member a call or an email.  All the board members have fostered in the past or are currently fostering.  No question is ever too silly.  Chances are we've probably had the same question ourselves.  We know it takes time and dedication to foster, that's why we are here to help. 

I would never trade my Labs for anything in this world.  I am so very grateful for all the Labs that have come through my door.  I remember each and every foster I've had and they have all been special.  It's funny to me to hear my husband talk about fostering for HOTLR.  He was not as excited about the prospect of fostering as I was, but when he talks to other people about our experiences, he is enthusiastic and positive.  He tells people all that time that there wasn't one of our fosters that we wouldn't have kept.  It makes me smile to hear him talk like that.  As for me, I'm sad that I don't foster anymore.  For now, I get my rescue fix by working at an animal hospital and occasionally participating in shelter checks.  I truly miss is and look forward to a time when I can foster again.  I miss making that much difference in a single dog's life.  As of November 2nd, HOTLR currently has 10 dogs at the Canine Hilton.  They are all waiting for foster families.  Check out the HOTLR website to see all the dogs available for fostering.  So,go ahead and give fostering a try.....It'll do a dog and your heart good.....

HOTLR Zephyr pictured above is currently looking for a foster home. For more information on Zephyr, go to


  1. One other item is that the cost of food and toys for your fosters is also considered tax deductible. As is the mileage on your car for Foster related activities, like attending a Meet & Greet.

    One of the things I appreciate is the wonderful families that HOTLab dogs go to. It is easier to send your foster on when you have met the adopter and have spent time with them.

    Being that I'm working on my 50th HOTLab Foster, you can tell I'm somewhat addicted.

  2. Toby is pretty new to us so we don't know much about him yet. He seems to do well with dogs, cats and kids, but hey - he's a Lab, so what do you expect?! we'll know more about his medical status this week.

  3. Thank you for your post, I look for such article along time, today I find it finally. this post give me lots of advise it is very useful for me .

  4. Thank you for your post, I look for such article along time, today I find it finally. this post give me lots of advise it is very useful for me .

    Homes Direct 365 Voucher Codes
    Sexy Adult Costumes