How long does it take for a dog to get adopted?
It is impossible to predict how long a foster home will have the dog. Some dogs go on sleepovers the very first time they are shown at an adoption event, while some dogs take a few weeks and in rare cases, it can take a few months. Getting adopted may depend on the time of year, or the size, age and breed of the dog. On the other hand, there have been senior Chihuahuas that get adopted right away, while younger larger dogs take a while, and vice versa. It is often a matter of timing.
What can I do to help a dog get adopted more quickly?
There are many things that foster homes can do to speed the process along. Here are just a few suggestions:
· Take the dog with you on errands to socialize it as much as you can, having the dog wear an “Adopt Me” vest. Going to a pet friendly store on a weekday when it is less busy is a great time/place to help the dog adjust to strangers and public surroundings. Encourage strangers to give the dog treats when petting the dog. This will help the dog seek out attention from potential adopters at the adoption events. (Note: Be very careful about letting the foster dog interact with other dogs while on the leash. It is NOT recommended. Explain to the people that we can arrange a supervised “meet-n-greet” with their dog if they are interested in adopting.)
· Tell your friends and family about the foster dog. Post a picture of the dog on social media (like Facebook) and keep people updated on how the fostering is going. Word-of-mouth and referrals from acquaintances can lead to an adoption.
· Bring the dog to the adoption showings regularly. Most of our dogs are adopted by people who see them during our events.
· Do some training with the dog: teach them not to bark at other dogs, to take treats gently, how to sit and lay down. “Leave it” is a very useful command. Work with the dog to walk nicely on a leash. Potential adopters love to see that the dog is somewhat trained.
I have cats, will that matter?
It is difficult to predict how a dog will respond to cats. It also depends on how comfortable the cat is with dogs. The shelter may also be able to do a cat test. It is advisable that your foster home provide a “safe space” for your cat(s) to get away from the dogs—a high cat tree or a room with a pet gate. You may also want to focus on fostering smaller dogs that are often afraid of cats (as long as the cat doesn’t bully the dog).
It is also recommended that cages with smaller animals like guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, etc. be kept in a space away from foster dogs.
How do I know that the foster dog will get along with my own dogs?
The shelters often test the dogs with other dogs. (Sadly, dogs that don’t get along with other dogs are often not available for adoption and euthanized.) Usually, the shelter will allow you to bring your dog along and see if the potential foster dog is a good match before you pull the dog. There are also ways to introduce a new foster dog to your other dog(s) that will help ensure a good relationship between them.
· Introducing them via a walk around the block (each dog with its own handler), letting them sniff each other’s rear.
· Bring the new dog into a backyard by itself, letting it explore for a while, then allow your own dog(s) join the new dog. If you have multiple dogs, let the more outgoing, friendlier dog interact first, then bring out the other dogs.
· For smaller dogs, setting up a pen in the living room, with a crate, and letting the new dog hang out there for a while, with your own dogs seeing and interacting with the new dog through the pen.
How do I choose a dog to foster?
Our foster dogs come from the local shelters. We have a very good working relationship with the Hayward and Tri-City/Fremont Animal Shelters. You can look online at websites such as “PetFinder.com” or “PetHarbor.com” to see what dogs might be available at those shelters. You can also visit the shelter or take a look at one of the Hayward Animal Shelter dogs that are brought to a PetSmart showing, but don’t get adopted. Or you can let the dog adoption coordinator suggest dogs that need foster homes.
What about vet care for the foster dog?
Nobody's Perfekt Dogs will be responsible for all necessary and approved vet expenses while the dog is in foster care. We use a couple of different local vet offices where we have special arrangements for discounted pricing. The Nobody's Perfekt Dogs Adoption Coordinator will make all the arrangements for any vet appointments and try to accommodate your availability. It would be desirable if the foster home could provide transportation to / from the vet appointment, but if that isn’t possible, the Dog Adoption Coordinator will make other arrangements. If it is a life-threatening situation for the dog, seek out emergency services, but please contact us as soon as you can.
Most of the dogs we foster are in good health, but occasionally the dog will develop an infection or flea allergy, or a small wound. Foster homes are expected to administer any vet prescribed medications, provide wound care, special grooming (medicated baths), as needed. Some dogs will already be neutered or spayed before coming to the shelter, but most are not. Before a foster dog can be pulled, the shelter will make arrangements for the dog to be fixed, vaccinated and microchipped. The foster home will take the dog right after the surgery. So post-surgery care will be needed (usually involving pain meds, maybe an oral antibiotic and the use of an e-collar). Foster homes should be prepared to provide the dog with a quiet space away from other family pets for 12-24 hours during the post-surgery recovery period.
Effective flea control is critical, especially at the height of flea season (warmer summer months). Nobody's Perfekt Dogs will provide flea control meds (oral or topical) for the foster dog. It is strongly recommended that you treat all the animals in the house for fleas on a regular basis. It can get out of control very quickly.
Do I have to attend adoption showings with my foster dog?
We list our dogs on PetFinder.com, Adopt-a-pet.com and other sites. We have brochures on display at the adoption event venue for every dog. However, the overwhelming majority of dogs get adopted by people who see the dog at an adoption event. We have adoption events nearly every weekend (Saturdays and sometimes on Sundays) at many area pet supply stores (Petco, PetSmart, Pet Food Express, etc). Occasionally, there are other annual events elsewhere that we try to attend with our adoptable animals.
It is desirable, but not required, that you stay with your foster dog at the adoption events (at least for part of the time). If you are not able to stay for the event and you are fostering a large dog, we need to ensure that we have someone who can be with the dog during the showing. If it is a small dog and no one is available to hold a leash, we can put the dog in a wire crate. It has been our experience that dogs are adopted more quickly if they are on leashes and interacting with potential adopters. Applicants also like being able to hear from the actual foster people about how the dog is doing in the home.
Will my foster dog already be housebroken?
In your dreams . . . . but seriously, you should assume that the dog will NOT be housebroken when you pull it from the shelter. Even if a dog appears to be housebroken in a foster home, we tell potential adopters that it doesn’t guarantee the dog will be perfect in their home. There are many factors to take into consideration: previous dogs urinating in the house (“marking” behavior), the accessibility of the outside area (all day doggie door, only on a leash at certain intervals, etc.)
Any rules about transporting the dog in a car?
When initially pulling a dog from the shelter, we strongly recommend / require crating the dog while in the car. You never know how an unfamiliar dog will behave in a moving vehicle. Once you are familiar with the dog and even if you have someone also in the car with you, it is still recommended to have a crate for at least the smaller dogs.
What about the adoption process (applications, sleepovers and paperwork)?
The Dog Adoption Coordinator will handle the application process and paperwork for the foster dogs. Please ensure that you get copies of vet and shelter records to give to the coordinator. The coordinator will review/approve all applications, do home checks as needed, deliver the dog for sleepovers, monitor the sleepover, finalize the adoption process, etc.
Nobody's Perfekt Dogs requires that all approved potential adopters take the dog on a trial basis for a minimum of 3 days up to 2 weeks (the dog can be returned sooner than 3 days if problems arise). Dogs do occasionally get returned to us during the sleepover phase of the adoption process. It is expected that the original foster home will take the dog back if it is returned from a sleepover. It is advised that foster homes don’t pull a new foster dog until the previous dog’s adoption is finalized.
What if I need supplies?
Nobody's Perfekt Dogs can help with supplies for your foster dog. We get regular donations of dog food. With proper receipts we can reimburse for things like collars, leashes, harnesses, dog beds, flea control. We just ask that you get approval first, and shop wisely to help us insure that our limited funds support basic needs of as many rescue animals as we can. Please try and turn in any reimbursable receipts within 30 days of purchase. Nobody's Perfekt Dogs will reimburse you within 30 days of reporting the expense. We will provide a tag with the dog's name and our phone number, should the dog become lost. If you plan on renaming a dog differently than the shelter name, please do it quickly so that we can update our database, make the tag and create the folder.
What if I want to keep our foster dog?
People often say, “I could never foster a dog, because I would just end up keeping it.” There is a lot of truth to that. Fostering almost always leads to the adoption of at least one foster dog. It can’t be helped. Shelter dogs seem to tug at our heart strings in powerful ways. Nearly all dogs bond very quickly and strongly to the humans that take them directly from the shelter. Likewise, foster families form deep bonds with the dogs that they rescue and care for.
If your initial intentions are to adopt another dog and you think fostering is a good way to find the right dog, we ask that you consider our sleepover option rather than fostering. We want to ensure that our potential adopters can trust that the dogs we offer for adoption will be available. It is an awkward conversation to explain to someone that the dog they have chosen to adopt is suddenly not available because the foster family has decided to keep the dog at the last minute.
Sometimes there will be a dog that no one seems to want, and it will be in foster care longer than anticipated. Over the period of weeks (or maybe even months) the dog becomes a permanent part of the foster family. We welcome our foster families to consider keeping (adopting) in that situation.
Returning a foster dog
We understand that there could be instances when a dog pulled from the shelter ends up not being a good fit for a foster family. Dogs can behave differently depending on the environment. Nobody's Perfekt Dogs will offer support on training techniques, provide access to dog trainers, etc. In extreme cases where there is a concern for the safety of the household members, the foster family’s other animals or the foster dog, we will find a more appropriate foster situation for the dog. We may ask you to consider making a trade for another less challenging dog in foster care by another family in order to make a space for the dog you need to return.
Vacations / Emergencies
If at all possible, it would be desirable to have at least 3-4 weeks notice if your family is planning an extended vacation (a week or longer). For shorter trips (2-3 days) a week’s notice would suffice. If an emergency arises, we will try and figure something out for the dog.