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How to Help New England Border Collie Rescue

Fostering a Border Collie for New England Border Collie Rescue, Inc.

So, you think you want to be a foster home for our rescue dogs? (Thanks to Wisconsin Border Collie Rescue for some of this text.)

Fostering is a big commitment. Please read this entire page before filling out our Foster Care Application and Contract.

Becoming a part of our group will change your life. It may sound grand to make that claim, but it's true. As a group we are supportive of one another and we "play nice." Our group keeps in daily contact via an email list. We are always available to answer questions, and offer guidance and support. We have volunteers that are professional trainers and behaviorists, some that are heavily involved in herding, dog sports, obedience, free style, etc., and many that have an enormous amount of experience with Border Collies as a breed, and with rescue. All of us work together to create a supportive environment where we share information, problem solve, and work towards a common goal - helping Border Collies in need.

Foster families work with a rescue "supervisor" in their area and are answerable to that person. The rescue supervisor has the ultimate responsibility for a dog, and make all the major decisions relative to that dog, including authorizing anything out of the ordinary. They are responsible for screening potential adoptive homes, and for ultimately placing the dog (with input from the foster family).


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As a foster person, you will be required to fill out a comprehensive application form. If your application is approved, we will conduct a home visit. If all goes well, we will match you up with a rescue supervisor. Keep in mind that your environment might not be suitable for certain dogs, and it will be up to your rescue supervisor to make that decision.

You will be responsible for the day-to-day care of your foster dog including their housing, feeding, and visits to the vet. The minimum vet care required before for all our rescue dogs is spay/neuter, vaccinations (distemper, Parvo virus, Leptospirosis, rabies and Bordatella), heartworm test and monthly preventative for heartworm and flea/tick while in your care. If the dog has not already had this minimum vet care or there are no records available, you will be responsible for getting this done. All veterinary care (besides emergency care) must be authorized by your supervisor. You will be required to make every attempt at house training, crate training, leash training, and socialization where needed.

You should be prepared to crate your foster dog at night and whenever you are not around to supervise him/her. Rescue dogs must NEVER be left alone with your own dogs or children without supervision. If you do not own a crate, one will be provided to you. Your rescue supervisor person will provide an ID tag with NEBCR, Inc.'s 800 number on it, which must be placed on the dog's collar. You will be expected to provide a secure environment where the dog cannot wander off. You will need to keep records so that you may be reimbursed adequately for any out of pocket expenses for veterinary care and other expenses authorized by your supervisor.

All sorts of foster dogs may come into your care - purebreds and occasionally mixes. NEBCR, Inc. tends to get mostly young males, but also gets females, senior dogs and on rare occasions, puppies. A lot of the dogs are between 1-5 years of age. If a dog placed in your care needs basic training, you may be asked to attend an obedience class or consult with a behaviorist (you will be reimbursed for these expenses). You will be asked to communicate with your rescue supervisor on a regular basis with frequent updates on the status and progress of the dog.

The dogs we get are often strays or owner relinquishments, surrendered to us by shelters in our area. Most dogs are given up because the owner could not deal with such a high energy dog, or the "quirks" common to the breed. If you know the breed (and we hope you do) you know that Border Collies often do not mix well with small children, and we frequently get dogs that are "herding" children, which may involve growling, baring their teeth or even nipping.

Some of the dogs come from abusive or neglectful situations. Dogs sometimes have health problems related to abuse or neglect, or just from being in a shelter. Very few have any formal training, and many have not had much socialization with other dogs and/or people. There may be significant behavior issues to overcome such as: barking, marking, separation anxiety, shyness, or just a general lack of control and manners. We feel very lucky when we get a well-cared for, partially trained, well-adjusted dog with a good temperament!

Dogs are often on their best behavior the first week or two, and it is not until they start feeling comfortable in your household that they begin to exhibit negative behaviors (or sometimes positive behaviors). You will generally need at least two weeks to be able to properly evaluate a dog's temperament and personality. Furthermore, if the dog does not have a previous health record or it comes from a shelter, it can take at least two weeks to properly evaluate his/her health condition. Dogs that need a great deal of basic training and socialization can take even longer.

Our job (and yours) is to shape all of these dogs into dogs we can successfully place. This takes time and effort. Dogs are in foster homes for anywhere from two weeks to a month or two. Dogs in foster care for longer than two months are rare, but possible. We do not feel it is in the best interest of most rescue dogs to be bounced around, and we ask that all our foster homes be willing to care for their dogs as long as it takes to find them a proper home. We understand that occasionally a dog may need to be moved, and will make every attempt to do so as quickly as possible.

Being a foster person can be extremely rewarding, especially when you get your first update on your foster dog with his new family, and the story of how well he did when they took him to his first agility class. Before you make your decision to foster, however, you must be sure that everyone in your household is committed to the idea of becoming a foster family.

If you have a frequent child care provider in your home, are they aware of the commitment you are considering?

If your child care provider is under 21 years of age, are their parents aware of the commitment you are considering?

Do you have pets of your own that would not do well with the addition of a foster dog to the family?

If you have dogs of your own, do they get along with other dogs? Are they up to date on all their vaccinations, including kennel cough, and heartworm tested and on preventative?

And are you really committed to this idea, and that when the going gets tough, will you stick it out (with help and support from your supervisor and other NEBCR volunteers), or will you give up and request that the dog be removed from your home, thereby complicating their life once again?

If you are really looking to adopt a dog, you should probably fill out an adoption application rather than a foster care application. Fostering doesn't prohibit adoption, but we do not view fostering as just a way of "trying out" your next dog. Foster people will still be responsible for an adoption fee if they adopt their foster dog.

Congratulations for making it this far!
If you have decided that, despite everything we said above, you want to join us as a foster home, we thank you and welcome you. Please click below and go to our Foster Care Provider Application and Contract.


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