P.R.A.R. Foster families may download a copy of our Foster Dog Care Guide here 

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Section 1: Welcome

Welcome to the PRAR family! Thank you for making the choice to help save animal lives, and to do that with Pawsitive Restorations Animal Rescue. We are thrilled to have you on this life saving mission with us! Fostering an animal in need is a rewarding experience. By opening up your home to foster pets, you’re not only helping to save lives, you’re providing the individual attention and love that these animals desperately need.

Please keep and read through this informational handout whenever you bring a dog in to foster, as it will equip you to have all the necessary knowledge required to care for, socialize, and mentally stimulate your foster dog in preparation for them to find their perfect forever home. Any questions that are not answered in this packet, you may take directly to the P.R.A.R. Executive Director, Krissy Mosbarger. I make myself available to every foster family for any questions you might have or advice you might need, no matter how “silly” you think that question might be. Your Foster Coordinators and I are here to support you every step of the way.  Please program my phone number into your cell phone now, so you’ll have it when you need it.

THE FOSTER PARENT’S BASIC ROLE:

  • Be intimately familiar, forward and backward with this packet as well as our online foster resource pages, which can be found at: pawsitiverestorations.com >Resources >Foster Resources.
  • Temporarily, and safely house a dog/puppy for the purposes of preparing that pet for adoption
  • Provide basic care for the foster animal(s) by feeding, socializing, cleaning, and playing with them
  • Administer routine dewormers & flea/heartworm prevention and any prescribed medication
  • Attend scheduled veterinary appointments and routine checks
  • Be the animal’s advocate by marketing/sharing them on social media (This includes commenting on that animal’s social media posts and including photos, videos, and anecdotes.)
  • Write a thorough bio about the foster and send great quality photos to the rescue
  • Be available for meet & greets when the rescue has chosen a potential adopter for your foster
  • Bring the pet to P.R.A.R. “home base” for their adoption appointment
That’s it in a nutshell! But of course, the devil is in the details!

Your Foster Coordinator has completed your on-boarding and given you all the tools you need to get started saving lives. But a lot of that information probably went right through you because… it’s a LOT to remember, so we want to make sure you have written instructions to refer to.

Pawsitive Restorations, (PRAR) does not maintain a central facility to warehouse animals. That means we are 100% reliant on foster homes to save countless abused, abandoned, hurt, sick, lost, unwanted and unloved pets. It is imperative that PRAR maintains an expansive team of approved, qualified foster homes, and that we have a committed foster home already in place for every single animal we “tag” to bring in to our program, BEFORE that animal can be officially “tagged.” That means when we post an animal in the Facebook Messenger group, (PRAR Fosters & Volunteers) we need our foster families to be incredibly responsive, as we sometimes have only minutes to save that animal’s life.

HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  • Your foster Coordinator will add you to our Facebook messenger chat, “PRAR Fosters & Volunteers.” They will likely have to “friend” you on Facebook to do this. This is the most effective way that we have found to reach all of our foster families as quickly as possible. Please do not MUTE this chat. We try very hard to keep “chatter” to a bare minimum in this group so as not to annoy everyone with messages. The ONLY time this chat is to be used is when Krissy is posting an animal in need, and you (or other fosters) are commenting that you CAN take that animal. (Please do not comment that you cannot take the animal, we assume if you don’t comment, you can’t take them.) We will use this chat when we need a volunteer to transport an animal, and to coordinate pickup of foster pets from the PRAR Home Base. All other chatter, photos, updates on fosters, etc. should be posted in the PRAR Fosters & Volunteers Facebook group.
  • Krissy will randomly post animals who need a foster commitment. She will include photos and as much information as she has about that animal, which often times isn’t much. Keep in mind that EVERY animal over 8 weeks of age will be on a mandatory 14 day health hold in your home, and animals under 8 weeks of age will be with you until at least 8 to 9 weeks of age, even after the 14 day health hold. If you are able to meet that animal’s individual needs, and you would like to commit to fostering that animal, you should respond to that chat immediately. You may absolutely ask questions about what the animal’s needs are and if your current situation would be a good fit for that animal. Krissy is very good about placing fosters appropriately. As a general rule, the first foster family who is a good fit, and responds to commit to the pet, will get to foster that pet.
  • Krissy will post to the messenger chat when animals are expected to arrive and will update the chat with transport times. She will usually tag you in that chat to make sure you see it. All instructions for pickup of your foster pet will be on the chat.
PRAR FOSTERS & VOLUNTEERS FACEBOOK GROUP

Your Foster Coordinator will add you to the PRAR Fosters & Volunteer Facebook group. It is imperative that you be in this group and communicate through it. This is where you can post photos of your foster pets, get surgery schedules, vaccine schedules, and important information about professional photo appointments. This is also where the Foster Coordinators and Foster Director will post educational materials for fosters, and guideline reminders and updates.  This is where we kind of “hang out and have fun.”

  • ALL foster families are welcome to “friend” Krissy on Facebook, and encouraged to do so. We’re family now, right? Search for “Krissy Mosbarger” on Facebook. The profile will show, “Executive Director for Pawsitive Restorations.”

 

P.R.A.R. BABIES FACEBOOK GROUP

Your Foster Coordinator will also add you to the “P.R.A.R. Babies” Facebook group. This is where the magic is folks! Letting our foster pets move on to their forever homes can sting. We grow them up, we watch them flourish and come out of their shells. If we are doing it right, we love them and it hurts to watch them leave. But… we let OUR hearts hurt, so that THEIRS will never hurt again. The P.R.A.R. Babies FB group was created so that all of our adopters can join the PRAR social media family, and post photos of our foster babies growing up, going on adventures, and living their very best life. ♥

Now that you know what all of the various groups are for, we hope to see you getting involved and posting often!

PICKING UP YOUR FOSTER PET:

When your foster pet arrives at the PRAR Home Base, they will be checked in, weighed, given an initial basic exam. They will be given vaccinations and dewormers if needed, and they will be microchipped. Krissy will arrange a time for you to pick up your foster pet. Please be prompt, as there are usually other foster families scheduled for pickup as well. Krissy wants to take a little time with you to go over your animal’s specific needs and get you any supplies that you will need for your foster. You will sign a “Foster Record” form, which is required by law. This form is an agreement to foster this specific animal according to the guidelines given to you for that animal. Any known medical or behavioral issues will be disclosed to you, along with treatment plans, medications & a medication administration form, (if needed.) You will also get a printout of basic care guidelines to refresh your memory.

If you have a travel crate for your foster pet, please bring it. Dogs should not ride free in vehicles during transport. If you don’t have a crate, one will be provided to you.  When you get home, it is imperative that you closely inspect the pet’s stools over the first several days, and regularly after that. Take a photo of the stools, (undisturbed) and text it to Krissy. Yes, really! We can learn a lot from an animal’s stool.  Check in with Krissy regularly and let her know how the animal is settling in.

 

IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER WITH ALL PRAR ANIMALS
  • ONLY feed your foster pet the food that we have provided to you, and no table scraps. You may NOT change their diet without prior approval from Krissy. You MAY feed bland cooked chicken breast mixed with white rice, and/or add a teaspoon of plain yogurt or canned pumpkin to the pet’s diet if they have soft stools.
  • Do not “free feed” dogs over 8 weeks of age. Every animal should be on an appropriate feeding schedule. Adult dogs should eat two times per day. Puppies between 8 and 12 weeks should eat 3 times per day.
  • Notify Krissy right away of any loose stools/vomiting/GI upset, and let her decide if the animal needs to be seen. NEVER ASSUME that a cough, or a vomit, or a loose stool is “nothing.” You are NOT “bothering” her by calling to ask if a symptom is ok. These dogs are her babies, and she takes their health VERY seriously.
  • Do not change your foster pet’s name. Please. If they go missing, we need to have their correct name for search purposes.
  • Your foster pet must wear their collar and I.D. tags AT ALL TIMES.
  • If your foster pet escapes your home, you MUST NOTIFY KRISSY IMMEDIATELY with an address and time that the animal was last seen.

 

WATCH FOR RED FLAGS:

Watch your foster CLOSELY for any warning signs, and call or text Krissy immediately with concerns/photos ANY TIME you see any of the following. DO NOT WAIT, DO NOT ASSUME that your foster is ok. Leave that decision to Krissy.

  • Sudden decrease in energy/lethargy
  • Sudden increase or decrease in food/water intake
  • Squatting often to pee, but producing only small droplets of urine
  • Coughing/vomiting/runny nose/eye discharge
  • Scratching at ears or skin more than what you would consider typical
  • Disorientation (acting dizzy or confused)
  • Worms/blood/mucus in stools (TAKE A PICTURE so we can identify the type of worm, and/or confirm the blood) You should also put this stool into a plastic zip lock baggy and refrigerate it. Chances are that Krissy will want the sample to test/confirm parasite.
  • Diarrhea/loose stools

Waiting to notify, or failing to notify Krissy of a lost pet, behavioral concern or health concern may be grounds for removal from the PRAR foster program.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Where do the foster dogs come from?

The dogs who are in need of foster care come to us from several different situations:

  • Shelter rescue. Pawsitive Restorations takes in animals from local shelters as well as shelters with a high kill rate in surrounding states.  We want to save as many lives as possible, and the foster program allows us to maximize our resources.
  • Owner Surrender/Interception. PRAR tries to intercept pregnant/nursing moms and puppies as well as high-risk medical/neglect/abuse cases who are scheduled for euthanasia in under-served/under-funded rural animal shelters, and/or to intercept those sick/injured/pregnant/nursing dogs before they are dumped in the community or sent to those shelters where life threatening diseases often run rampant.
  • Returned adoptions. At PRAR, we make a lifetime commitment to the animals we rescue. This means that if, for some reason, an adopter can no longer keep a pet he or she adopted from us, we require that PRAR be given first right of refusal to take those dogs back into our program if we have the space to do so.  If the pet ends up at a shelter, we will pick the animal up and take the animal back.

What do foster families need to provide?

Foster families need to provide:
  • A healthy and safe environment for their foster dogs.

  • Transportation to and from PRAR home base in S.E. Aurora, CO, to and from adoption events when those are scheduled, (we don’t do a lot of these at this time) and all vet appointments as needed
  • Socialization and cuddle time to help teach dogs positive family and pet relationships
  • Lots of exercise and positive stimulation to help them develop into great dogs
  • Postive reinforcement basic training is always an excellent way to begin trust-building with your foster pet. They WANT to learn. They WANT to please! You’d be surprised by what a few minutes of focused, positive reinforcement training can do for your foster pet! ♥

 

How much time do I need to spend with a foster dog?

As much time as you can. With that said, the amount of time will vary depending on the energy level and needs of the dog you are fostering. It is ideal to spend around two hours a day exercising and playing / training with your foster dog to ensure that he or she receives adequate socialization and stimulation. Puppies will obviously require more mental stimulation and brain games.

  • Ask Krissy about activities to help you create a smart, well-behaved, super adoptable dog/puppy.

 

Can I foster dogs even if I have a full-time job?

Yes. The foster application is designed as a survey to help the foster coordinator match you with the best animal for your needs and your current schedule. If you have a full-time job, you should only choose to adopt dogs who will fit best with your schedule, and who can be alone for long hours. You would then just need to provide ample exercise before or after you go to work. Your foster coordinators and directors are happy to answer questions about specific dogs’ needs before you choose to foster that dog.

 

How long will the dog need to be in foster care?

Ideally, foster dogs stay in their assigned foster homes until they get adopted. We do not warehouse our dogs in boarding facilities so these dogs rely solely on foster homes as their home between homes. We have a mandatory 2-week health hold for EVERY pet before they are posted for adoption. This is in place to ensure the health of our animals, to protect adopters, and to give us the opportunity to learn about the individual pet’s specific needs so that we can ensure we are matching them with the right forever family. 

 

How often does my foster dog need to go to the PRAR home base?

Once a foster dog has been cleared medically and behaviorally for adoption, we ask that you bring them to us as needed for routine vaccinations, deworming, and finally for their adoption. 

Will I need to give medicine to my foster dog?

While we do our best to ensure that we are aware of all the conditions that a foster dog may have prior to going home, many illnesses have incubation periods, meaning symptoms can arise after you take a dog home. So while some dogs do not require any medicine, others may. If your foster dog needs medications, we can show you how to administer them before you take the animal home.

Can I let my foster dog play with my personal pets?

There are a few guidelines that we ask foster families to adhere to regarding their personal pets. While foster dogs playing with other pets is often fine, we advise that you consult with your veterinarian before fostering to ensure that all of your personal pets are healthy and up-to-date on all vaccines. PRAR will require proof that your current pets are current on all core vaccinations, and are spayed/neutered prior to being allowed to bring one of our dogs into your home, and annually thereafter. Dogs in shelters are susceptible to illness and can carry or catch different diseases. If, for any reason, your personal pet becomes ill while you are fostering a PRAR pet, we cannot provide medical care for your personal pet.

What if I want to adopt my foster dog?

If you want to adopt a foster dog, you will need to complete an adoption application and follow the full adoption process. If you do decide to adopt your foster dog, please contact the Executive Director right away because once the dog is up for adoption, we cannot hold him/her for anyone, including the foster parent. Foster families do get priority when adopting one of our dogs, and adoption fee still applies – as those fees help to cover some of the costs incurred to save that animal.

Who will take care of my foster dog if I need to go out of town?

If you have travel plans while you are fostering a dog for PRAR, you will need to contact the foster coordinator right away so that we can try to find a temporary foster home for your dog. Please provide at least two week’s notice to ensure that we can find another foster for your dog. 

You cannot leave your foster dog with an unauthorized person or pet sitter. We have specific training for foster parents, and pet sitters have not undergone that training or signed the release waivers for the foster program. At no time and in no circumstance may your foster dog be left with someone who is not an approved foster home for Pawsitive Restorations.

What if my foster dog bites me?

This is exceedingly rare, but, if any of your foster pets bite you and break skin, causing you to bleed, you need to report the bite to the foster coordinator within 24 hours of when the bite occurred. The teeth of the animal, not the nails, must have broken the skin. If you are unsure, then please report the bite anyway. As a volunteer for PRAR, we are not liable for medical costs incurred due to a bite or other injury from a foster dog who is residing in your home.

What if my foster dog is not working out?

You are not required to continue to foster a dog if you feel it’s not working out. However, we may not have an immediate alternate foster home for the dog. As mentioned above, we don’t utilize boarding or warehousing facilities, so we rely on available foster homes. We will work on moving your foster dog out as soon as possible, but ask for your understanding and patience. Please call your foster coordinator if this situation arises.

Section 2: Preparing for your foster dog

When you take your foster dog home, he may be frightened or unsure about what’s happening, so it’s important not to overwhelm him. Prepare a special area for the foster dog to help ease his adjustment into a new home environment. Sometimes it is better to confine the foster dog to a small room or area at first, to let him adjust before giving him free rein in your home. This area should be large enough for an appropriately sized crate for the dog and should allow the dog access to his food and water dishes and toys.

We require that all foster dogs be housed indoors only. A garage, backyard or outdoor run is not a suitable accommodation for a foster dog.

During the first couple of weeks, minimize the people and pet introductions to your foster dog, so that she is only meeting immediate family and your personal pets. If you have other pets at home, it is especially important to give your foster dog a space of her own where she can stay while getting used to all the new sounds and smells. Don’t ever leave your foster dog unattended in your home with your personal pets. Foster dogs, or your personal dogs must be crated when you are not home. Pets may not ever have unsupervised access to each other. 

 

Supplies you’ll need

Pawsitive Restorations Animal Rescue will provide you with any supplies that you may need. However, we greatly appreciate any help that you can provide in supplying items for your foster dog. If/when you need more supplies, food, potty pads etc, please notify the Director with at least 48 hours notice. If you’re calling because you are all the way out of dog food, or only have enough for one more meal – you waited too long! NEVER have less than 5 day’s supply of anything. Our sometimes extreme weather dictates that you should be prepared with enough supplies to last at least 5 days for our dogs. Here’s what you’ll need to help your foster dog make a smooth transition to living in your home:

  • At least one bowl for dry food and one for water: Stainless steel or ceramic work best.
  • A supply of dry dog food: All dogs are fed dry food unless a special diet is needed. We use Diamond, Diamond Naturals and Science Diet, and ask that our dogs never be fed any diet we did not approve for that dog.
  • A collar with an ID tag and a leash: Even though foster dogs are microchipped, they still need an ID tag on at all times. If your dog loses their tag, please contact Krissy immediately to get a replacement.
  • A soft place to sleep: Old towels or blankets work well. Dogs with orthopedic challenges and dogs coming back from starvation will be provided a comfortable bed to sleep on.
  • A baby gate: This comes in handy to keep certain areas of your home off-limits.
  • A crate: The crate should be large enough for the dog to stand up and turn around in, but not much bigger than that.
  • Dog treats: Giving treats is a good way to help train and build a positive relationship with your foster dog.
  • Dog toys: Make sure the toys are durable, in good condition, and appropriate for the size of your foster dog. If you notice a toy or bed is being chewed into small pieces, is shredded, or has stuffing coming out – throw it away. It is dangerous if the dog swallows it.
  • Grooming supplies: A well-groomed dog has a better chance of getting adopted. Please keep your dogs clean and brushed. If you notice any mats in your dog’s hair, notify us right away.

 

Dog-proofing your home

Foster dogs sometimes come from a shelter environment, and even if they have previously lived in a home, we don’t always know how they will react in a new home. So, before bringing home a new foster dog, you’ll want to survey the area where you are going to keep your foster dog. Remove anything that would be unsafe or undesirable for the dog to chew on, and latch securely any cupboards and doors that the foster dog could get into. People food and chemicals can be very harmful if consumed by dogs, so please store them in a place that the foster dog cannot access. Never underestimate your foster dog’s abilities. Here are some additional tips for dog-proofing your home:

  • Make sure that all trash cans are covered or latched and keep them inside a closet. (Don’t forget the bathroom trash bins.)
  • Keep the toilet lids closed.
  • Keep both people and pet food out of reach and off all counter tops.
  • Move house plants or secure them. Some dogs like to play with them and may knock them over.
  • Make sure aquariums or cages that house small animals, like hamsters or fish, are securely out of reach of your foster dog.
  • Remove medications, lotions or cosmetics and knick-knacks from any accessible surfaces.
  • Move and secure all electrical and phone wires out of reach. Dogs may chew on or get tangled in them.
  • Pick up any clothing items that have buttons or strings, which can be harmful to your foster dog if consumed.

Section 3: Bringing home your foster dog

Taking care of a foster dog requires a commitment from you to make sure the dog is happy, enriched and healthy. Thank you so much for opening your heart and your home to these dogs who desperately need your help. Without you, we could not help them.

 

Dog introductions

If you have personal pets who are dogs, you’ll want to introduce them to your foster dog one at a time and supervise their interactions at first. It’s a good idea to introduce them outside in a large yard or on a walk, keeping all the dogs on leash and allowing them enough space to get adjusted to one another.  For more details, read “Introducing Dogs to Each Other.” 

In addition, make sure that high-value items (food, chew toys, plush toys, Kongs, rawhides or anything else that your dogs hold in high regard) are put away whenever the dogs are interacting. You don’t want to allow the possibility of a fight. Those high-value items are best placed in the dogs’ personal areas during designated “chew” times. Finally, never feed your dogs in the same room as the foster dog; always separate them at feeding time.

 

Cat introductions

We can’t ensure that a foster dog has been “cat-tested,” so if you have personal pets who are cats, you’ll need to make the introduction to the foster dog carefully and safely. Start by keeping them separated at first. You can either keep your cats in a separate room (equipped with food, water, litter boxes and beds) or confine your foster dog to a room. Over a one- to two-week period, let the dog and cats smell each other through the door, but don’t allow them contact with one another. Exchanging blankets or towels between the dog’s area and the cats’ area will help them get used to each other’s smells.

After a week or two, do the face-to-face introduction. Keeping your foster dog on leash, allow your cat out in the same area. (If you have more than one cat, introduce one cat at a time.) Do not allow the foster dog to charge or run directly up to the cat. Try to distract the dog as best you can so that the cat has the chance to approach without fear. Watch the body language of each animal closely and don’t continue the interaction if either pet becomes over-stimulated or aggressive. The idea is to keep the interactions positive, safe and controlled. For more details, read “Introducing a Cat and a Dog.” 

Again, never leave your foster dog unsupervised with any animals in your home.

 

Children and dogs

Since we don’t always know a foster dog’s history or tolerance level for different types of people and activities, please teach your children how to act responsibly and respectfully around your foster dog. We will do our best to place you with an appropriate animal for your home situation, but you should still supervise all interactions between children and your foster dog. Key things to remind your children:

  • Always leave the foster dog alone when he/she is eating, chewing or sleeping. Some dogs may nip or bite if bothered while eating or startled while sleeping.
  • Do not take away a toy or prized possession from the foster dog.
  • Do not tease the foster dog.
  • Don’t chase the foster dog around the house or run quickly around the foster dog; it may scare him.
  • Pick up all your toys. Some dogs may not be able to tell the difference between what is theirs and what belongs to the kids.

Do not allow young children to walk the foster dog because they may not be strong enough or experienced enough to handle encounters with other dogs or cats who cross their path. For more tips, read “Dog Bites Child: How to Prevent This Scenario.” 

Section 4: Daily care

Feeding

All foster dogs should be fed a diet of the dry dog food we provide to you, unless otherwise specified by the director. We use very specific dog food and ask that you ONLY feed our dogs, the food we authorize. Table scraps and people food are never okay unless specifically directed to do so by the Director. You MAY add plain, cooked chicken breast and white rice, or a couple of teaspoons of canned pumpkin or plain yogurt to their kibble if they are experiencing GI upset. DO NOT FREE-FEED YOUR FOSTER DOG. Feed your adult foster dog twice daily; the amount will be based on the age and weight of your foster dog. Make sure the dog always has access to fresh, clean water. Puppies 8-12 weeks should eat 3 meals per day, and puppies under 8 weeks may be free-fed. You can give your foster dog treats  (unless he/she has known allergies, of course); giving treats helps you and your foster dog to bond with each other. Most dogs like to chew on things, so things like Bully Sticks, KONGS and other tough chewer toys are ok DO NOT GIVE YOUR DOG – BONES, ANTLERS, or RAWHIDE.  Keep in mind, though, that not all dogs like to share, so only give these treats when your foster dog is confined to his/her own area.

 

Daily routine

When you first take your foster dog home, take care not to overwhelm her with too many new experiences all at once. Sometimes, too much stimulation can cause a dog to behave unexpectedly toward a person or animal, which is why it’s a good idea to keep introductions to a minimum during the first couple of weeks after you bring your foster dog home. It’s also important to establish a daily routine of regularly scheduled feedings, potty breaks and play times. Dogs take comfort in having a routine they can count on.

Also, on a daily basis, be aware of your foster dog’s appetite and energy level. If she’s not eating well or seems listless, something may be wrong medically. Notify the Director IMMEDIATELY if your foster dog seems “off.” Let us decide whether they are ok.  You might want to record your observations to make it easier to notice any health issues.

 

House-training

It’s unlikely that your foster dog will be perfectly house-trained when you take him or her home. Most of the dogs in the foster program have lived in a shelter or other neglectful situation for a while, often with minimal walks or chances to relieve themselves outside. At the very least, be prepared for an adjustment period until your foster dog gets used to your schedule.

Because a dog has a better chance of being adopted if she is house-trained, please help your foster dog to perfect this skill. Take your foster dog outside to go potty multiple times per day (3-6 times daily, depending on age). Initially, you may need to take her out more frequently to remind her where the door to the outside is and to reassure her that you will take her out for potty breaks. Most dogs will give cues — such as standing near the door or sniffing the ground and walking in small circles — to indicate that they need to go out. Keep the dog in a crate when you are not available to supervise her indoors.

If your foster dog has an accident inside the house, don’t discipline or punish her. It will only teach her to fear and mistrust you. Clean up all accidents with an enzymatic cleaner. Nature’s Miracle and Simple Solution are two products containing natural enzymes that tackle tough stains and odors and remove them permanently. For more about house-training, read “Housetraining Your Dog.” (link access on our website, under Foster Resources)

 

Crate training

Crate training, done in a positive way, can be an effective component of house-training. A crate can be a safe place for your foster dog to have “down time” and can also limit his access to the entire house until he knows the rules. A crate should never be used as a form of punishment and a dog should never be left in a crate for an extended period of time.

You can prevent problems with crate training by setting your foster dog up for success. He should only associate good things with the crate, so start by putting treats and/or toys in the crate and encouraging him to go in. Some dogs warm up to the crate slowly. If he is afraid to go in, place a treat in the crate as far as he is willing to go. After he takes the treat, place another treat a little farther back in the crate. Keep going until he is eating treats at the very back, then feed him his next meal in the crate with the door open, so that he can walk in and out at will.

Crate training a fearful dog can take days, so be patient and encouraging. If a crate is properly introduced and used, your foster dog will happily enter and settle down. For more details, read “Crate Training: The Benefits for You and Your Dog.” (link access on our website, under Foster Resources.

Grooming

A clean and well-groomed dog has a better chance of getting adopted, so bathe your foster dog as needed and brush him regularly if he has longer hair or requires more frequent grooming. Contact the Director if you feel that your foster dog needs to see a professional groomer. If you are comfortable with it and know how to properly do it, you can trim his nails. But please be careful because you can cause pain and bleeding if you trim the nails too short.

 

Mental stimulation and exercise

Depending on your foster dog’s age and energy level, he or she should get at least two 30-minute play sessions or walks with you per day (Walks are permitted only after they have been with you for at least 2 weeks, AND they must have a properly fitted harness. No dog parks, ever). Try a variety of toys (balls, squeaky toys, rope toys, etc.) to see which ones your foster dog prefers. Remember to discourage the dog from playing with your hands, since mouthing won’t be a desirable behavior to adopters. You can also offer your foster dog a food-dispensing toy for mental stimulation. You hide treats in the toy and the dog has to figure out how to get the treats out. Try a snufflemat, or a TreatStik or Kong product, available from the rescue to borrow, or online and at pet supply stores.

 

Safety requirements

Foster dogs must live indoors, not outside. Please do not leave your foster dog outside unsupervised, even if you have a fenced yard. We ask that you supervise your foster dog when he is outside at all times to ensure that he doesn’t escape or have any negative interactions with other people or animals. Your foster dog is only allowed to be off-leash in an enclosed backyard that is completely fenced in and all gates must remain padlocked while you are fostering our dogs.

When walking with your foster dog, please keep her on leash with a well-fitted harness at all times. This means that your foster dog is not allowed to go to off-leash dog parks or other off-leash dog areas. We do not know how your foster dog will act in these situations, or how other dogs will react, and we need to ensure that all animals are safe at all times. In addition, we don’t know if the other dogs they encounter are vaccinated appropriately or carry diseases, so it is best if your foster dog does not meet any unknown dogs. NEVER TAKE YOUR FOSTER TO A DOG PARK.

NOTE: PUPPIES may not go anywhere in the community other than inside your home, and inside your enclosed, private back yard – and they are only allowed in your back yard after they have received their first vaccination. Puppies may transport to PRAR Home base and to the veterinarian in a secure crate. Other than that, they must remain in your home and backyard only.

Your foster dog cannot ride in the bed of an open pickup truck. When you’re transporting foster dogs, please keep them inside a travel crate inside the vehicle.

 

 

Section 5: Helping your foster dog get adopted

 

When is my foster dog ready to be adopted?

All animals will go up for adoption on the PRAR website and social media after they have completed a minimum 2-week health hold, and are a minimum of 8 weeks of age. During the health hold, they are spayed or neutered, microchipped and should be deemed healthy enough physically and behaviorally to go to a home by a veterinarian. When you pick up your foster dog from us, we will go over the medical records for the dog and determine what medical appointments the foster dog needs before he/she can be placed up for adoption.

 If your foster dog has any medical/behavioral issues beyond their initial wellness check, they will need to be treated and fully resolved before your foster dog is eligible for adoption. Medical issues could include treatment for kennel cough, dental surgery, spay/neuter surgery, or other issues they may have had prior to coming into our care. Behavioral issues should be brought to Krissy’s attention immediately so we can work on a plan to resolve those issues. If Krissy and the Foster cannot resolve the issues, we will get our training partners involved. In this case the foster should be prepared to transport the dog to and from the trainer, and to work with the dog as directed by the trainer.

How can I help my foster dog find their forever home?

To help your foster dog find an excellent home, we will have you schedule an appointment with our photographer to have a professional photo taken. This should be done within the first week that you get your dog.  We will also ask that you take several excellent quality, candid photos yourself, showing his personality.  As you get to know your foster dog, we ask that you stay in constant contact with the Director so that she can note any potential challenges, preferences and quirks. We will ask you to write a biography for your foster dog, though they may be edited. Or at least give us a lot of detailed information about the dog so that we can write the bio. These will be used to create his “adoption page” on our website. Remember that a great photo and a great bio will help an adopter get a good feel for who this dog is, and if the dog will be a good fit for their family. 

Once your dog is posted to our website and social media, we ask ALL volunteers to share ALL posts to any place they are allowed to share; your own social media pages, neighborhood groups, etc.  We ask that ALL fosters follow our Facebook group and comment/share regularly on all posts, but you MUST comment on your dog’s post with photos and videos often. The more comments a post gets, the more it is seen. The more photos that potential adopters see of your dog, the more likely they are to be adopted quickly.  Please send the info about your foster dog and photos to pawsitiverestorations@gmail.com or send them to Krissy via Facebook messenger. Please keep in mind that anyone who shows interest in adopting your foster dog will need to go through the adoption screening process. We will notify you when an approved adopter has been selected to meet your foster dog. Please never allow any interested persons to meet with your foster dog until the PRAR team has approved that person for adoption.

Ultimately, our goal is to get these sweet souls into the most perfect homes for them! Sometimes, this takes time! We don’t just throw dogs into the first home that comes along. We ask for your help in networking our dogs! Please be active on the P.R.A.R. volunteer group. Make sure you are following the Pawsitive Restorations Animal Rescue Facebook page. Comment on and share our posts! 90% of our adoptions come through shared posts! Always take excellent quality, clear photos of your foster, and upload them to that dog’s facebook post on our page, so that we can save them and add them to the website. The more photos we have, the better! Always tag the rescue page on any FB posts you create for your foster! We welcome your input in placing our dogs, and invite all foster parents to attend adoption events and meet & greets! Who knows these precious souls better than you?

 

Will I need to take my foster dog to adoption events?

During the COVID pandemic, we are holding very few adoption events. We hope to host more events in the near future.  When events are held, you will be asked to transport your dog to and from the event if he/she is ready to be adopted. 

At this time, the Director will contact you when an approved applicant has been chosen to meet your foster dog. We will call you with instructions for hosting a meeting for your dog, and next steps.  At NO TIME and under NO CIRCUMSTANCES is a potential adopter allowed to take your dog home with them directly from your house.

 

Will it be hard to say goodbye to my foster dog?

Saying goodbye can be the most difficult part of fostering, but keep in mind that there are many more dogs suffering, or scheduled for euthanasia in shelters who NEED wonderful foster homes like yours. Remember, you are playing a crucial role in helping to Save Them All. We let our hearts break a little, so theirs never will again. ♥

 

Section 6: Medical and emergency protocols

When you pick up your foster dog, you will be notified of any current medical issues, and be given medications and a medication log sheet, if needed. It is your responsibility to give all medications on schedule, and to log those into the log sheet. The log sheet MUST be returned to the director after all medications have been given. You may either hand deliver, or scan and email this to us. If you are fostering a dog who is on medications, please make sure that he/she gets all prescribed doses. Do not end medication early for any reason. If your foster animal has not responded to prescribed medications after five days (or in the time instructed by a veterinarian), please contact the Director.

After you pick up your foster dog, the Director will notify you of dates that your dog is due for vaccinations, dewormers, veterinary check-ups and their spay/neuter appointment times. The Director will work directly with you to schedule a time that works for you to bring the dog to us for vaccinations.  You will be responsible for getting your dog to our preferred veterinarian for that dog’s spay/neuter surgery at the appointed time. Instructions will be given to you at the time the appointment is scheduled. 

Veterinary care

Pawsitive Restorations provides all medical care for our foster animals at our approved veterinary clinics. Because we are ultimately responsible for your foster dog’s well-being, our staff must authorize any and all treatment for foster dogs at our approved veterinary partners. If your foster dog needs to go to the veterinarian, please notify Krissy by phone immediately.  Krissy will schedule the appointment and let you know when/where that appointment is scheduled. For non-emergency situations, please understand that our veterinary partners book quickly and may not be available for same-day appointments, so if you notice that something is possibly going on with your dog, you need to let us know right away. Don’t “wait and see.” That is not your call to make. Let us decide if something requires attention.

Remember, foster parents will be responsible for payment of any medical care if they take their foster animal to a veterinarian without authorization from the Executive Director.

 

Signs of illness and what to do next

Dogs generally do a good job of masking when they don’t feel well, so determining if your foster dog is under the weather will require diligent observation of the dog’s daily activity and appetite levels. It’s a good idea to keep track of these levels in a journal. You’ll also want to record any of the following symptoms, which could be signs of illness.

  • Eye discharge.It is normal for dogs to have some discharge from their eyes when they wake up and some may have more than others, depending on the breed. But if your foster dog has yellow or green discharge, or swelling around the eyes (making it hard for him to open his eyes), or the third eyelid is showing, you need to contact the Director to schedule a vet appointment.
  • Coughing and nasal discharge.Coughing can be common if your foster dog is pulling on leash. If the coughing becomes more frequent, however, watch for discharge coming from the nose. If the discharge is clear, the infection is probably viral and medication may not be needed, but check with the Director to find out if a vet appointment is necessary.
  • If the discharge becomes colored, please let us know right away because the dog may have a bacterial infection. Be sure to monitor the dog’s breathing. If the dog seems to struggle to breathe or starts wheezing, call the Director immediately and follow the emergency contact protocol. Also, once you notice nasal discharge, monitor the dog’s eating habits more closely to ensure that he or she is still eating.
  • Loss of appetite.Your foster dog may be stressed after arriving in your home, and stress can cause lack of appetite. But if the dog hasn’t eaten after 24 hours, please notify the fDirector. Also, if the dog has been eating well, but then stops eating for 12 to 24 hours, call the Director. Please do not change the dog’s diet without approval from the Director. An abrupt change in diet can cause diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration.
  • The activity level of your foster dog will vary depending on age and personality. Keeping an activity log and journal will help you notice whether your foster dog is less active than he normally is. If the dog cannot be roused or seems weak and unable to stand, it’s an emergency, so start the emergency contact protocol.
  • Dehydration is usually associated with diarrhea, vomiting and/or loss of appetite. To test for dehydration, gently pinch the dog’s skin around the scruff area. If the skin stays taut, the dog is dehydrated. Please call the Director.
  • Sometimes dogs will eat too quickly and will immediately throw up their food. Occasional vomiting isn’t cause for alarm, but if your foster dog has thrown up two or more times in one day, please notify the Director It could be indicative of infection.
  • Pain or strain while urinating.When a dog first goes into a foster home, he or she may not urinate due to stress. If the dog hasn’t urinated in more than 24 hours, however, please contact the Director. Also, if you notice the dog straining to urinate with little or no results, or crying out when urinating, please contact the Director immediately because it may be indicative of an infection or an obstruction.
  • It is important to monitor your foster dog’s pooping habits daily. Soft stool are normal for the first two or three days after taking a dog home, most likely caused by stress and a change in food. If your foster dog has liquid stool, however, please take a photo of the stool (before you pick it up) and text it to the director. Place the stool in a zip lock baggy and put it in the refrigerator in case she wants a sample.  Keep in mind that diarrhea will dehydrate the dog, so be proactive about contacting the Director. If your foster dog has bloody or mucoid diarrhea, please contact the Director immediately and start the emergency contact protocol.
  • Frequent ear scratching.Your foster dog may have a bacterial or yeast infection (or, in rare cases, ear mites) if she scratches her ears often and/or shakes her head frequently. These conditions will require medications, so please contact the Director.
  • Swollen, irritated ears.If your foster dog has irritated, swollen or red or pink ears that smell like yeast, he may have an ear infection called otitis. This type of infection is more common in dogs who have very floppy ears, like basset hounds or Labradors. These dogs may need to have their ears cleaned more often to ensure that the infection does not re-occur.
  • Hair loss.Please contact the Director if you notice any hair loss on your foster dog. It is normal for dogs to have thin fur around the lips, eyelids and in front of the ears, but clumpy patches of hair loss or thinning hair can indicate ringworm, dermatitis or the early stages of mange. It is important to check your foster dog’s coat every day.

Common ailments in animals from shelters

Shelter dogs may suffer from kennel cough, giardia or intestinal parasites. Symptoms of kennel cough include a dry hacking cough, often with phlegm discharge, discharge from the nose and/or eyes, decrease in appetite, dehydration and slight lethargy. Symptoms of giardia or intestinal parasites include vomiting, diarrhea (often with a pungent odor) and/or dehydration.

If your foster dog is displaying one or more of these signs, please contact the Director. These ailments can worsen if left untreated.

 

Criteria for emergencies

What constitutes a medical emergency in a dog? A good rule of thumb is any situation in which you would call 911 for a person. Here are some specific symptoms that could indicate an emergency:

  • Not breathing or labored breathing
  • Symptoms of parvovirus: bloody diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, high fever (above 103.5 degrees)
  • Signs of extreme dehydration: dry mucous membranes, weakness, vomiting, tenting of the skin (when the skin is pulled up, it stays there)
  • Abnormal lethargy or unable to stand
  • Unconsciousness or unable to wake up
  • Cold to the touch
  • Broken bones
  • Any trauma: hit by a car, dropped, stepped on
  • A large wound or profuse bleeding that doesn’t stop when pressure is applied
  • Loss of appetite for more than 24 hours

 

If your foster dog displays any of these symptoms, please follow the emergency phone protocol

 

Section 7: Behavior support

One of your goals as a foster parent is to help prepare your foster dog for living successfully in a home. So, we ask that you help your foster dog to develop good habits and skills through the use of positive reinforcement training, which builds a bond of trust between you and your foster pet. The basic idea is to reward desirable behaviors and ignore unwanted behaviors.

You must not punish a dog for a behavior that you find undesirable because punishment is ineffective at eliminating the behavior. If the dog is doing something undesirable, distract and redirect him or her before the behavior occurs. It is also important for every human in the foster home to stick to the rules established for your foster dogs, which will help them to learn faster.

When interacting with your foster dog, refrain from wrestling or engaging in play that encourages the dog to be mouthy and “play bite” on your body. Also, try to refrain from inviting dogs up on the couch or bed. Not all adopters find this habit acceptable.

Some foster dogs will have behavioral issues, which we are aware of at the time of their rescue. Some of these behavior challenges are separation anxiety, destruction of property, fear issues or aggression toward other animals. We will only place dogs with behavioral issues with a person who feels comfortable working with the dog on his/her particular issues. We will provide that person with all the necessary information so that proper care and training can be given to the foster dog.

If you feel unable to manage any behavior that your foster dog is exhibiting, please contact the foster coordinator during business hours to discuss the issue. We will guide you and help in every way that we can. If the behavior is extreme enough to warrant use of a trainer, we will provide one for you. Please understand that we have limited resources, so for basic training and minor behavior problems, we will personally work with the dog.

Thank you so much for opening up your heart and your home to foster pets. Together, we can Save Them All. ♥

In the back pocket of your foster folder you will find quick reference guides for different groups of foster dogs. It is a good idea to pull the sheet that corresponds to the dog you are fostering and keep it on your refrigerator for immediate reference.

ADULT DOG GUIDELINES  QUICK REFERENCE

10 DAY QUARANTINE:  Maintain 4’ distance between your personal dogs and your foster whenever possible for the first 10 days. Do not allow your pets to get near/eat your foster’s stools.  Your foster MUST be on a leash when going out to potty for the first several days, and longer if they attempt to escape.  

  • BE AWARE OF CHANGES IN YOUR FOSTER The dogs that come to us often come to us from deplorable conditions, and although they do have veterinary clearance before we take possession of them, illnesses could be lurking that we are unaware of. Your foster should be quarantined in your home for 10 days. Do not allow puppies into your yard or on carpet until after their 10 day quarantine. Limit interaction with other pets, and let your foster decompress, while keeping an eye out for potential illness/injury. Limit visitors to your home during this time, your foster needs time to acclimate, and learn who you are first. Never let your foster’s go out to potty without human supervision. We need you to be the eyes and ears for our kiddos. Be extremely vigilant in watching for any of the following, and notify us immediately if you observe any of the following:

 

  • sudden decrease in energy level – lethargy
  • sudden increase or decrease in food/water intake
  • coughing/vomiting/runny nose/discharge from eyes
  • scratching at ears or skin more than what you would consider typical
  • disorientation (acting like they’re dizzy or confused)
  • worms/blood in stools
  • diarrhea/loose stools

DO NOT CHANGE YOUR FOSTER PET’S NAME: Please do not change the name, or call the dog by a completely different “nickname.” If the dog runs away, we need that animal to know their name as we attempt to recover them.

DO NOT ALTER DIET: Do not alter the diet we have provided, allow human food, or give treats etc. without talking to Krissy first. You MAY feed plain, cooked chicken breast & white rice, and/or add 1-2tsp of canned pumpkin or plain yogurt to their food a couple times a day for loose stools or GI upset, AFTER you have already talked to Krissy.

  • Do not “free feed.” Adult dogs should be on a feeding schedule and fed two times per day. Daily amount will be based off of weight of the dog – (see daily weight/feeding chart on the bag of dog food)

 

SUPERVISION: Supervise your foster at ALL TIMES when other dogs or children are around. Be watchful of signs that your pets or your foster pet are getting irritated.  Children should never be left alone with any dogs. Ever.  Once your foster is allowed to go outside, they may ONLY go in YOUR backyard, and always with an adult in the yard with them. These guys are an extreme flight risk, watch them closely.   At no time ever should your foster go anywhere outside your property except to the vet or to Krissy. No walks, no dog parks, no hiking etc. unless authorized by Krissy for this specific dog. Do not ever leave your foster in the care of anyone not already approved by the rescue. Supervise toy/chewing time and immediately remove any chewed potty pads, broken toys, squeakers, filling etc. They should not be allowed to play with/chew on anything small enough for them to swallow.

 

MONITOR ALL TOYS & CHEWING CLOSELY Toys/beds/blankets/towels/puppy pads, etc. that have been “shredded” or broken should be removed immediately. If your foster is destroying puppy pads, remove them! Animals will (and do) swallow things they aren’t supposed to. These things can lodge in their tummy or intestines, requiring immediate surgery or causing death. Please do not permit them to play with anything small enough for them to swallow, and always supervise play/chew times. DO NOT give your foster dog anything hard enough that you can’t bend, or make an indent in with your fingernail. Rawhide, Bones, Antlers, etc are not permitted.

 

2 POINTS OF CONTACT: Terrified dogs are a FLIGHT RISK! To mitigate the chances of one of our dogs bolting, WE REQUIRE TWO POINTS OF CONTACT EVERY TIME OUR DOG IS OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOME! They should have a properly fitted collar, as well as a harness. There will be two separate leashes attached to both the collar and the harness at all times while the dog is outside of your home. This is required during the first two weeks of foster care, at least. Are we going overboard? NO! I cannot count the number of dogs who are new to their foster home, the foster parent thinks it’s okay to let Fido out to potty off leash, and Fido hops the fence and is gone! These dogs do not know where they are and they want to go back to what they know. Do not allow children to open doors at this time, as dogs who are not typically “door dashers” may try to dash.

 

LOVE YOUR FOSTERS Often times we don’t know the horrors our rescues may have seen. You have volunteered to open your home and heart to help heal their souls. You are the first step in teaching them that most people are GOOD! We expect that all of our kiddos are integrated into a “normal” home life, with “normal” rules and rewards. And of course, a whole lot of love and snuggles! Make any family/friend/other pet introductions slowly, and understand that your foster is probably very nervous, if not terrified. EVERYTHING is new to them right now. They will look to you for security and guidance, but understand that it will take them time to feel safe.

 

ZERO TOLERANCE FOR ABUSE: It is NEVER EVER okay to spank, or otherwise hit any of our dogs. EVER! Nor do we permit the use of shock collars or prong collars. Abuse of our dogs will result in immediate removal from the PRAR Foster program, and may result in criminal charges against the abuser. We follow the positive reinforcement approach with every single animal. If you need guidance on this, please contact Krissy, or your foster coordinator. If your foster is displaying unwanted behaviors, please reach out to us for guidance on how to work through those behaviors. Remember, you are teaching them how to “dog.”  If we do it correctly from the get-go, we will create well-behaved, well-socialized, well-mannered dogs. This “good start” will set them up for great success in their forever homes.

 

TRANSPORT: Your foster must be properly contained in a travel carrier/crate any time they go in the car (size permitting)

 

MEDICATIONS: If your foster is prescribed medications those meds MUST be given exactly as directed and noted on the medication chart we provide to you. Please return original med chart to Krissy when complete.

 

EMERGENCIES:

  • If you believe your foster is sick or injured, notify Krissy by phone call or text IMMEDIATELY, regardless of time of day. If you cannot reach Krissy, please contact your foster coordinator. DO NOT TAKE YOUR FOSTER TO THE VET WITHOUT PRIOR AUTHORIZATION FROM THE RESCUE. We work with specific veterinarians and will seek care for the animal with our vets. If you take your foster to a vet without prior authorization from Krissy, you will be responsible for the vet bill for that visit.
  • If your foster has run away – contact Krissy by phone IMMEDIATELY, regardless of time of day. If you cannot reach Krissy, please contact your foster coordinator. IMMEDIATELY BEGIN LOOKING FOR THE DOG! Do not chase the dog if he/she keeps running from you. Get, (and keep) eyes on the dog and wait for backup. Post the dog’s photos to all neighborhood social media groups, as well as the PRAR Fosters and Volunteers group while you wait for backup to arrive.
  • If your foster has died – God forbid this should happen, but if it does, contact Krissy IMMEDIATELY, regardless of time of day. Do not dispose of the dog on your own. We will collect the dog to have a necropsy performed to determine cause of death.

PUPPY CARE GUIDELINES QUICK REFERENCE

10 DAY QUARANTINE: Your foster should NOT be allowed outside your home or on carpet for 10 days as we watch for any potential illness. Puppies may play on a solid surface (use baby gates or boundary methods as needed). NO PUPPIES UNDER 8 WEEKS OF AGE OR WITHOUT 1ST VACCINATIONS ALLOWED OUTSIDE AT ALL.

 

WATCH FOR RED FLAGS: Watch your foster CLOSELY for any warning signs, and call or text Krissy immediately with concerns/photos ANY TIME you see any of the following. DO NOT WAIT, DO NOT ASSUME that your puppy is ok. Leave that decision to Krissy.

  • Sudden decrease in energy/lethargy
  • Sudden increase or decrease in food/water intake
  • Coughing/vomiting/runny nose/eye discharge
  • Scratching at ears or skin more than what you would consider typical
  • Disorientation (acting dizzy or confused)
  • Worms/blood/mucus in stools
  • Diarrhea/loose stools
  • Lumps on the puppy’s face or neck. (Check daily)

 

DO NOT CHANGE YOUR FOSTER PET’S NAME: Please do not change the name, or call the dog by a completely different “nickname.” If the dog runs away, we need that animal to know their name as we attempt to recover them.

 

DO NOT ALTER DIET: Do not alter the diet we have provided, allow human food, or give treats etc. without talking to Krissy first. You MAY feed plain, cooked chicken breast & white rice, and/or add 1-2tsp of canned pumpkin or plain yogurt to their food a couple times a day for loose stools or GI upset, AFTER you have already- talked to Krissy.

  • Do not “free feed” unless your puppy is under 8 weeks old. Puppies 8-12 weeks of age should be on a routine feeding schedule and eat three times per day.

 

SUPERVISION: Supervise your foster at ALL TIMES when other dogs or children are around. Be watchful of signs that your pets are getting irritated by puppies or puppies irritated by children.  Young children should never be left alone with puppies.  Once your puppies are allowed to go outside, they may ONLY go in YOUR backyard, and always with an adult in the yard with them. These guys are bird/coyote/fox food, watch them closely.   At no time ever should your foster puppy go anywhere outside your property except to the vet or to Krissy. Do not ever leave your foster in the care of anyone not already approved by the rescue. Supervise toy/chewing time and immediately remove any chewed potty pads, broken toys, squeakers, filling etc. They should not be allowed to play with/chew on anything small enough for them to swallow.

 

MONITOR ALL TOYS & CHEWING CLOSELY Toys/beds/blankets/towels/puppy pads, etc. that have been “shredded” or broken should be removed immediately. If your foster is destroying puppy pads, remove them! Animals will (and do) swallow things they aren’t supposed to. These things can lodge in their tummy or intestines, requiring immediate surgery or causing death. Please do not permit them to play with anything small enough for them to swallow, and always supervise play/chew times. DO NOT give your foster dog anything hard enough that you can’t bend, or make an indent in with your fingernail. Rawhide, Bones, Antlers, etc are not permitted.

 

SOCIALIZATION: Puppies need a LOT of positive socialization! Starting at 4 weeks, we only have a few short weeks to teach a dog that people and other pets are GOOD. If we miss this window, we will have an animal with behavioral problems for the rest of their lives. If your puppy is running away screaming from new people – we have a BIG problem. This puppy is not being socialized properly. Play with your foster puppy often, and let them have access to strangers in your home. Puppies as young as 6 weeks are eager and ready to learn simple commands such as, sit, down, stay, and look. Start working with your puppy NOW. The enrichment and positive reinforcement training we give them help make them, not only desirable to potential adopters, but will set this pup up for a lifetime of success. Mental stimulation and positive enrichment are also good ways to WEAR YOUR PUPPY OUT!  Visit the Foster Resources page of the website for enrichment ideas, and ask Krissy about any enrichment toys/tools we can loan you for your puppy.

 

LOVE YOUR FOSTERS Often times we don’t know the horrors our rescues may have seen. You have volunteered to open your home and heart to help heal their souls. You are the first step in teaching them that most people are GOOD! We expect that all of our kiddos are integrated into a “normal” home life, with “normal” rules and rewards. And of course, a whole lot of love and snuggles! Make any family/friend/other pet introductions slowly, and understand that your foster is probably very nervous, if not terrified. EVERYTHING is new to them right now. They will look to you for security and guidance, but understand that it will take them time to feel safe.

 

ZERO TOLERANCE FOR ABUSE: It is NEVER EVER okay to spank, or otherwise hit any of our dogs. EVER! Nor do we permit the use of shock collars or prong collars. Abuse of our dogs will result in immediate removal from the PRAR Foster program, and may result in criminal charges against the abuser. We follow the positive reinforcement approach with every single animal. If you need guidance on this, please contact Krissy, or your foster coordinator. If your foster is displaying unwanted behaviors, please reach out to us for guidance on how to work through those behaviors. Remember, you are teaching them how to “dog.”  If we do it correctly from the get-go, we will create well-behaved, well-socialized, well-mannered dogs. This “good start” will set them up for great success in their forever homes.

 

TRANSPORT: Your puppy must be properly contained in a travel carrier/crate any time they go in the car.

 

MEDICATIONS: If your foster is prescribed medications those meds MUST be given exactly as directed and noted on the medication chart we provide to you. Please return original med chart to Krissy when complete.

 

EMERGENCIES:

  • If you believe your foster is sick or injured, notify Krissy by phone call or text IMMEDIATELY, regardless of time of day. If you cannot reach Krissy, please contact your foster coordinator. DO NOT TAKE YOUR FOSTER TO THE VET WITHOUT PRIOR AUTHORIZATION FROM THE RESCUE. We work with specific veterinarians and will seek care for the animal with our vets. If you take your foster to a vet without prior authorization from Krissy, you will be responsible for the vet bill for that visit.
  • If your foster has run away – contact Krissy by phone IMMEDIATELY, regardless of time of day. If you cannot reach Krissy, please contact your foster coordinator. IMMEDIATELY BEGIN LOOKING FOR THE DOG! Do not chase the dog if he/she keeps running from you. Get, (and keep) eyes on the dog and wait for backup. Post the dog’s photos to all neighborhood social media groups, as well as the PRAR Fosters and Volunteers group while you wait for backup to arrive.

If your foster has died – God forbid this should happen, but if it does, contact Krissy IMMEDIATELY, regardless of time of day. Do not dispose of the dog on your own. We will collect the dog to have a necropsy performed to determine cause of death.

MOM/PUPPIES UNDER 8 WEEKS GUIDELINES QUICK REFERENCE

Read Also – Guidelines for Puppies & Guidelines for Adult Dogs

WATCH FOR RED FLAGS: Watch your foster CLOSELY for any warning signs, and call or text Krissy immediately with concerns/photos ANY TIME you see any of the following. DO NOT WAIT, DO NOT ASSUME that your foster is ok. Leave that decision to Krissy.

  • Sudden decrease in energy/lethargy
  • Sudden increase or decrease in food/water intake
  • Coughing/vomiting/runny nose/eye discharge
  • Scratching at ears or skin more than what you would consider typical
  • Disorientation (acting dizzy or confused)
  • Worms/blood/mucus in stools
  • Diarrhea/loose stools
  • Lumps on puppy’s face or neck (check daily)
  • Swollen, hard, red mammary (teat)

You will be provided with all of the whelping supplies necessary to care for your mom and her babies. Please keep equipment clean and in good working order. You will be given guidance on keeping a temperature chart for your pregnant mom. This must be completed as directed and photos texted to Krissy every evening. At onset of labor, Krissy will come to your home to whelp the litter. Follow all directions for care of mom and her babies as listed. If you have any questions, please call or text Krissy. Plan to have your mom and the babies until they are at least 9-10 weeks old. Do not make travel plans during this time, as it is detrimental to move a mom and her babies!

  • NO PUPPIES OUTSIDE BEFORE 8 WEEKS! These pups have NOT been vaccinated, and should never be permitted outside your home. NO outside visitors for the first 4 weeks, and everyone must wash hands before handling a puppy.
  • MONITOR NURSING CLOSELY! Closely monitor the mom while feeding, and ensure each puppy is getting a chance to nurse. Newborns should nurse about every 2 hours. If you are bottle feeding, please keep a log of how many ounces, and at what times the puppies ate. Weigh your puppies EVERY DAY for the first 2 weeks, and keep a log so that we can be aware of any problems early. Report anything that doesn’t seem right immediately.
  • HOLD THE BABIES DAILY! One (adult) person in the household should be charged with holding each baby for a short time a couple times, ever day, (AFTER washing hands with soap.) Having one person in charge of this task is crucial, as they will likely notice changes in the pups before others. Please notify us immediately if you observe any of the following:
    • Lethargy, weakness, change in energy level
    • Puppy isn’t nursing, has no desire to nurse
    • Discharge from nose or mouth
    • Vomiting
    • Lumps around the neck or face (check daily)

See other side for more…

  • KEEP WHELPING BOX CLEAN! Bedding should consist of soft towels and blankets spread flat so that a puppy cannot crawl underneath the bedding. If a puppy is lost in the bedding, he/she can’t find mom to nurse, or could potentially be crushed/suffocated by mom. The bedding should be changed at least 1 – 2 times per day. Do not simply cover soiled linens with fresh linens, remove soiled linens completely. If the box itself becomes soiled, clean up immediately with vinegar and water. (make sure all of the vinegar/water is wiped up so puppies cannot ingest it.) Puppies who are permitted to lay on wet or soiled bedding can quickly develop bacterial infections or upper respiratory infections, which can quickly turn into Pneumonia. These illnesses can be fatal to young puppies. Keep babies dry and healthy!
  • WATCH THEIR STOOLS CLOSELY! We learn a LOT about a puppy’s health by what their stools look like. You should be watching their stools closely, and report to us IMMEDIATELY if they have diarrhea, blood, or worms in their stool, or if there has been no bowel movement for more than 24 hours. All stools should be cleaned up right after the puppy has finished. Please take a photo of the undisturbed stool and text it to Krissy if it is not a “normal” dog stool.
  • FEED MOM A LOT! Momma dogs should be eating 3 – 4 meals per day or being free-fed (we will let you know how much to feed at each feeding) to ensure proper milk production. Only feed the food we have provided! Mom should have constant access to clean, fresh water, she will drink a LOT!
  • GIVE MOM DAILY PRE/POST NATAL SUPPLEMENTS! These supplements and instructions on giving them will be provided to you.
  • NEWBORNS ON HEATING PADS! A heating pad set to LOW should be placed underneath the whelping box in such a manner that it does not cover the entire box. Puppies should be able to move toward and away from the heat source. Do NOT turn off the heating pad until puppies are at least 3 weeks old.
  • KEEP WHELPING BOX IN QUIET, SECLUDED AREA! Mama dogs will have a surge of hormones following delivery of her pups, and she will become VERY protective of them. If she feels threatened in any way, she WILL move those pups to a place she feels is safer. We DON’T want this. If you have other animals (or children) in your home, the mama and her babies should be afforded a quiet, private room with a door that can be closed. DO NOT ALLOW ANY OTHER ANIMALS IN THE WHELPING ROOM! Mama dogs who are typically well-mannered will attack other animals who get close to her babies. Mama can still go out to potty with the other animals, and be permitted to socialize with them when she is taking a break from her babies, which she will Always monitor this interaction closely! Older children may be permitted in the whelping room with an adult present at all times, if adults in the house are comfortable with the dog/child relationship. Remember, mama dog hormones can change a dog’s initial demeanor! Remove the child immediately if you observe ANY of the following behaviors:
    • Eyes are wide open, frantic looking, darting back and forth
    • Hackles raised/low growling
    • Mom covers her babies with her head or body. This is her protecting them from a perceived threat
    • Mom is licking her lips or yawning. This is a sign that she is stressed and nervous.

 

Whelping and raising tiny puppies is a precious experience. But it does require a lot of diligence as puppies’ health can turn south very quickly – as can a post partum mom. Enjoy this miracle, but be ever watchful for even the slightest changes in mom or her babies, and notify Krissy immediately.

DON’T ASSUME everyone is okay. Always leave that decision to us.

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