Throughout August we'll be sharing foster carers' first hand experiences, both to celebrate and thank them for their amazing work, and also with the hope of encouraging more of you to get in touch with your local rescue and see if you too could be a life-safer!
We can't overemphasize the difference that foster carers make to rescue groups and the dogs in their care; unfortunately more than ever we are seeing rescue groups having to make hard and fast decisions about whether they can save dogs that have limited time - an available foster carer is often the only thing that will change a "no" to a "yes".
In many cases a foster home is the first opportunity that a dog has to feel safe, secure, and loved, which gives them a chance to reveal their true personalities and let their rescuers know who they really are and what makes them happy.
Our own kids Missy and Max are here with us today because their foster carers gave them time, patience, and lots and lots of love while they waited for us to find them.
If we haven't convinced you, read these special stories from current foster carers with some of our rescue partners!
Foster Carer - Angelique Antoniou
Rescue Partner - Sydney Animal Second Chance
I've been fostering for Sydney Animal Second-chance Inc for around 12 years now, and my partner Georgina joined in about 8 years ago. Together we've fostered a total of 53 dogs and 2 kittens, a large number of those dogs was a litter of 13 Bull Arab puppies during Covid lockdowns in 2021. They've now all just turned 2 recently and we all keep in touch still! I've added a photo of them all that I photoshopped to get them all in, all wearing their Savourlife bandanas of course!
Fostering for us is incredibly rewarding when we are able to not only help dogs in limbo, but to have the opportunity educate new owners on their newly adopted pets.
We take our roles as foster carers seriously, although we are on an extended break currently, and each dog who comes through our doors is welcomed with the love and care we give to our own 6 dogs (yes, a couple of foster fails).
We particularly love raising litters of puppies, which is of course, first and foremost absolutely exhausting, but to have the opportunity to raise rescue puppies with early socialisation and training, we believe we're helping change the stigma around rescue dogs. When people meet our previous foster puppies, they are often surprised to hear that they are rescued. The puppies we raise are not only set up for success, but their owners are too when we partner with an industry leading trainer for puppy school. We also offer lifetime support to our new puppy owners and new adult dog owners, and in return we receive updates on how our previous foster dogs are doing.
We hope to be able to get back to fostering soon, and it's a hard time to take a break with shelters and rescues all at capacity. Unfortunately we've been victims of the rental crisis.
Anyone who has the capacity to foster, even if it's only once, know that you are changing the world for each dog who comes through your care. And who knows, you might meet a dog along your fostering journey who you connect with instantly and never want to leave your side ever again.
If you want to get involved and foster with Sydney Animal Second Chance visit this link and sign up today - https://sasrescue.org/foster
Foster Carer - Christine Rothwell
Rescue Partner - Fetching Dogs
I've had an amazing experience fostering dogs for Fetching Dogs. Over the past 9 years I have fostered about 190 dogs. It is such a rewarding experience, particularly when you get updates from their new loving owners about how good they are going.
I love hearing how much joy these dogs bring their new owners as well. I've chosen to share Chios' story. He was a stray in a Sydney pound who came to me at first under Duty of Care. He was very thin and very unsure. It took a lot of work to gain his trust and a lot more to get him to a point where he was able to be adopted.
He found a wonderful home and his owner reports that he has changed her life for the better. This transformation and the amazing outcome for this little boy brings me so much joy and happiness.
This is why I foster.
If you want to get involved and foster with Fetching Dogs visit this link and sign up today - https://www.fetchingdogs.com.au/foster/foster-carer-info/
Foster Carer - Philippa Ryan
Rescue Partner - Maggie's Rescue
I became a foster carer mid 2022 when foster carer numbers were dropping and surrender numbers began to balloon (and continue to do so). Jack, my first foster was surrendered directly to Maggie’s when his owners' circumstances changed and could no longer look after him.
We were lucky enough to get a fair amount of information on him from his first owner including details of his nervous behaviours and dislike of strange men. As soon as he came into our home and met his two foster brothers, many of his undesirable behaviours improved through simple exposure to other resident dogs and a household with a stable routine. The best part of being a foster carer is getting to help dogs in a very direct way by having them in your home and teaching them about the world, often by showing them a better life than the one they came from.
Jack is a great example of a dog who would have been entirely unsuited to a shelter environment (even the most well-adjusted dog will find a shelter stressful), the loud busy kennels and forced proximity to strange dogs and men would have been extremely damaging for him. As a foster carer you also get to play the key role in selecting their forever family when the time comes and playing matchmaker. Jack did become a foster fail in the end but other dogs I have had the opportunity to work with have given me an enormous sense of satisfaction to hand them to their forever people.
There are so many reasons to foster a dog, some people want a dog in their life but can’t commit to a lifetime of care right now, maybe you’re traveling a lot or the financial commitment isn’t best right now. For others it’s also a great way of effectively doing a long adoption trial because fosters get first option to adopt so if you find love you can become their forever family. Maybe you’re not sure of the breed or size of dog you want or about having multiple dogs, by fostering you get to find out what’s right for you without having to make a lifetime commitment on day one.
Aside from finding Jack through fostering it also opened me up to progressing my dog training skills. Maggie’s provided professional trainer support to help with his nervousness and we still train with them today taking the skills I learnt to help Jack and using them for all of my three dogs as well as being more confident working with other dogs that come into my home. Finally getting to connect with a network of foster carers and animal loving volunteers, as someone who is quite introverted being part of a community of like-minded people has been a real bonus and I have built many new friendships.
If you want to get involved and foster with Maggie's Rescue visit this link and sign up today - https://maggiesrescue.org/foster
Foster Carer - Sam Gemmell
Rescue Partner - Australian Animal Protection Society
We rescued our staffie x beagle, Jarvis, from AAPS 18 months ago. Because he was a bit of a special case (we were his 4th home by the time he was 2!) we maintained an ongoing relationship with the team there and kept them in the loop with his progress.
Unfortunately, in December last year, we said farewell to Jarvy's sister, Nina. And while we knew we wouldn't be ready for another sibling for him for quite some time, we wanted to do something to help rescue dogs.
One day, we saw AAPS share on their socials that they were unable to take surrenders because they were at capacity. We knew it was our sign to step up.
Our first foster was Honey. Honey is a beautiful staffie x whippet that AAPS rescued from a kill list at a pound. And though we only had her for a couple of weeks, we definitely saw her goofy side! Everyone who met her commented on her wonky ears and big smile. Even our favourite local cafe put up a post about her to spread the word and help find a forever home.
While there were plenty of play sessions with Jarvy, it turns out that Honey is a big snugglebug who wants to nap most of the day. Learning this meant that we were better able to find a perfect home for her - previously, the shelter thought she would need a high-energy home.
Honey's new parents have stayed in touch, and she is living it up as the only fur child of the house! Not only is she spoilt by her humans, but her human's kids and grandkids as well.
Fostering through AAPS has been one of the best things I've ever done. And when it has been tough - because of course, there are moments of frustration, of worry, of not knowing what to do - the staff have had my back. Whether I had a question, a concerning behaviour or habit, an updated suggestion for their forever home or I just wanted to share the 50th cute video that day, they were there for it. Like any good shelter, they are also careful not to burn their foster carers out - when I told them we were unavailable for August and September, they completely understood.
And of course, knowing those dogs have gone to amazing homes because of our efforts makes all the difference. A dog in a foster home not only makes room for another in the shelter - it also means that someone is more likely to adopt them, and it's more likely to be a good fit because you know what that dog is like in a home environment.
If you want to get involved and foster for The Australian Animal Protection Society visit this link and sign up today - https://aaps.org.au/foster-care/