Foster parents and families form the backbone of the work CSAC does. In order to exist as a rescue, we rely on wonderful people willing to bring needy animals into their homes, and care for them, while the animals await permanent homes. Foster families have our undying gratitude, deepest respect and admiration. There are never enough foster homes to go around, so each is precious to CSAC and the animals we are trying to save. Sadly, we always have more dogs than foster homes. Fosterless animals board at kennels at our signifi- cant expense and often to their detriment. These animals are already stressed from the circumstances that brought them into rescue in the first place. Although better than the alternative, it is hard for them to languish in kennels until homes can be found. Many of our rescued dogs are older and/or have special needs, making kenneling even more traumatic for them.
What Does it Take to be a Foster Parent?
Mostly it takes a lot of TLC. Many rescued dogs have experienced little kindness from people. Some suffer from neglect and deprivation; others endured unspeakable cruelty at the hands of those they should have been able to trust. Whatever their history, coming into an unfamiliar environment can be very stressful. Some dogs have never even seen the inside of a house! Foster parents provide safe havens for these weary souls, showing them that humans can be kind, offering them support and encouragement as they learn to be part of a family. Fosters also get to know their dogs’ personalities, providing invaluable insight into the appropriate type of home for their dog. This helps ensure that the dog’s adoptive home will be forever.
Benefits of Being a Foster Parent
I won’t sugarcoat the truth: fostering is hard work. Many rescued dogs lack socialization and training. Often they lack basic manners that we take for granted with our own dogs or those of friends and family. Some have never worn a collar, much less a leash, which can make a very comical first “walk.” And “accidents” often happen during the first few days, sometimes weeks, in a new home. Worse yet, some dogs don’t seem to understand that they are safe; some are distant and detached. Fortunately, with a lot of love and nurturing, they typically come around. And when they do, you realize your profound impact on this animal’s life. This precious soul that came to you afraid, malnourished, depressed, or worse, blossoms in your care. Because of you, he finds a “forever home” where he will be part of a family that loves him; his own “happily ever after.” It’s a feeling that cannot be described, a miracle, in fact, that you created from your acts of kindness
Do you ever keep your dog tied up outside? If so, you’re not alone
There are many reasons why people chain their dogs outside. Some people believe that dogs should live outside, and they keep the dog tied up because he or she escapes the yard or digs in the garden. Or maybe the dog has grown too large to be inside, or has developed a behavior problem that the owner is unable to deal with. Or perhaps the dog is kept outside to “protect the home”
Whatever the reasons, fewer people seem to be keeping their dogs tied up outside. And many communities have passed laws against long-term chaining of dogs.
Why? There are two major reasons. First, chaining is dangerous for people. Studies show that chained dogs are much more likely to bite than unchained dogs. An otherwise friendly and happy dog, when kept continually chained and isolated, often becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious, and aggressive. Second, continuous tethering is bad for dogs because, as pack animals, dogs have been bred for thousands of years to form a strong attachment to a human family.
Chained dogs are exposed to a number of dangers outdoors. They may unintentionally hang themselves if they are tethered too close to a fence and attempt to jump it, they cannot escape attacks from other animals or cruel humans, and chained dogs are forced to endure harsh weather conditions such as extreme heat and cold, rain, and snow. If your dog lives outside, there are a number of steps that you can take to drastically improve his or her life, and maybe even take them off the chain for good. First, spay or neuter your dog if you haven’t already done so. A neutered dog is less likely to roam and more content to stay at home. Plus, sterilized dogs are much less likely to bite. Spaying and neutering are safe procedures that have many health and behavioral benefits. Ask your veterinarian for more information.
If your dog was put outside because of behavior problems, enroll your dog in an obedience class offered through your local animal shelter or pet supply store. Also, remember to provide your dog with proper toys, exercise, and “people time.” Behavior problems such as barking, chewing, and digging are often the result of boredom. By giving your dog exercise and things to do, you may alter undesirable behaviors and teach acceptable house manners. For help with behavior problems, visit www.PetsForLife.org or contact a trainer in your area.
If your dog is a “guard dog”, please keep in mind that a dog who is inside the house is much more likely to deter an intruder than a dog chained in the yard.
A life on a chain is no life for a dog. If your dog is continuously chained, please consider how this can affect your dog and the community.
If you would like more information or would like to help a chained dog in your area, please contact The Humane Society of the United States (www.HSUS.org).