What is Fostering All About?
The purpose of a foster home is to place a rescued dog immediately into a NORMAL family situation - NOT A KENNEL. Our dogs may come from the pound or shelter or from a family moving to another city, and we feel that a temporary foster home is the best place for the dog to adjust to the changes and, hopefully, to be adopted.
A rescued dog can spend anywhere from one week to a year in a foster home. With your help, we can make this time as short as possible by doing everything we can to get the dog adopted. We try very hard not to move bassets from home to home, and hope that if you should decide to adopt one of our bassets, you will consider the adoption a commitment for the dog's life.
The foster family always has the first right to adopt any dog they are fostering. We just ask that you make this decision in a timely manner, within the first month or two. And mail the completed Adoption Agreement, Disclosure Form, and the Adoption Donation as soon as you've made your decision. It isn't fair to potential adoptors to list a basset as "ADOPTION PENDING" for weeks or months!
What are My Responsibilities?
As a foster home, you are responsible for the dog's basic daily needs, such as quality food and shelter. A fenced area large enough to allow the hound plenty of room to run and play safely is a must. Basic health requirements such as shots and spay/neuter are paid by BHRG.
We will furnish the dog with a nylon collar and BHRG I.D. tag. NEVER use a choke chain on a dog unless you are going for a walk. Dogs have died by hanging when the choke chain gets caught on a fence picket, nail, etc. Just leave the choke chain on your leash, and when it is time to go for a walk, simply slip the chain over the dog's head. BHRG will provide you with a "martingale" type limited-slip collar for your rescue basset. We've found that these work best for the small-headed, big-chested basset. This collar will prevent your foster basset from pulling out of the collar but only allows for limited tightening to prevent choking.
BHRG will also provide an adoption folder for your foster which contains all adoption forms and information on bassets for the new owner. It is a good idea to write your foster's name and I.D. tag number on the front of the packet. In case your foster gets loose somehow, you would then have the tag number and can alert us of the escapee and his or her tag number so we can expect a call. In addition, BHRG supplies you with heartworm preventative and flea preventative for your foster dog. When you bring your foster dog to one of the adoption events throughout metro-Atlanta, you can pick up preventatives. If your foster is not yet ready to attend adoption events, call BHRG trustee Rosemary Glennie at 770.380.3936 and leave a message when you need heartworm and/or flea preventative, and it will be mailed out to you pronto!
Also, we ask that you keep using the BHRG name of the dog you are fostering until the dog is placed with a permanent family (or you adopt the dog). Should the adoptive owner want to change the dog's name, it is less confusing to the dog to use both names for a time, and to select a new name that sounds somewhat like the old.
The New Arrival
A dog's security depends upon people and places he is familiar with, and having lost both of these, he is apt to be frightened and insecure. He may appear timid and slightly hyperactive. The way you introduce a foster to your present dog is VERY important! A little effort on your part NOW can mean the difference between success or failure. Remember, all dogs are territorial, and your present dog considers you and your yard HIS. For this reason, it is best to have the new foster and your present dog meet in "neutral" territory. After a short walk together, allow them to get acquainted... then turn around and take them TOGETHER into your yard. Now, your present dog has a "house guest" instead of an intruder! It's fun to watch dogs form a new relationship.
Remember, you have two hands - one for the old dog and one for the new! Be careful that the children don't neglect your first dog for the excitement of the new foster.
When you bring a foster into your house for the first time...walk him on a leash around the house while he sniffs all the new smells. Being on a leash, it will be easy to slightly correct him with a jerk and tell him "no" if he decides to urinate, either from the instinct to mark new territory or from excitement. He needs to learn that "inside" is where he lives and not where he "goes." He may have been an "outside" or an "inside" dog, but in either case he is apt to have an accident before he learns that he has a new place to live, and a new place to keep clean. If you praise him when he "goes" outside and give him a sharp "no" if you CATCH him going inside, he will learn quickly. If you don't catch him in the act, forget trying to make the point, and in NO case ever rub his nose in it.
It will help immensely if you do NOT give him the run of the house unless you follow him around, day and night. Remember that even an "outside" dog does not dirty his doghouse, and he will become housetrained when he learns that he just has a bigger doghouse now to keep clean. The less he is allowed to "go" inside, the quicker this will happen. A dog may wish to go outside but not understand that you will open a door for him. Try to watch and if you see him pass by a door and head for the back of the house, call him and put him outside in your fenced yard (or take him out on a leash). Be sure to praise him and let him back in right away so that he does not equate going outside with punishment. Heading for the back of the house could be his attempt to get as far away as possible from where he lives. Pacing around the room is another clue that he may need to be put outside. If everyone in your house is gone all day, consider getting a dog door. Crate-training is also an effective method of housetraining. It is not recommended for more than 8 hours a day, however. BHRG can loan you a crate for your foster dog if needed.
All Rescue Dogs MUST Sleep Inside at Night
If your foster must spend the day outside, we expect you to provide adequate shelter as well as shade. Regardless of where the dog is used to sleeping during day, put him to bed at night, inside and in a confined area. This can be a utility room, a crate, in a bedroom, or anywhere without the run of the house. He will be less apt to relieve himself if he is confined to one room. He will probably be most comfortable in a room with a person or another dog, but if this is not feasible, put a blanket or pad down for him in a comfortable spot, out of drafts and not too hot or cold.
The dog you are fostering will need to be groomed approximately every other week. Grooming includes a bath, nail clipping, and cleaning of the inside of the ears. Bassets can be taken to a groomer or you can groom them yourself. If you prefer to bathe the dog yourself, be sure the dog is thoroughly dry before being allowed outside. Be sure to use a good quality dog shampoo (baby shampoo is good, too)!
For ear cleaning, you can use a commercial preparation available from the vet's office or Petsmart, or you can try a solution of 50% alcohol & 50% white vinegar. You may need to reduce the amount of alcohol because it does sting. Squirt a small amount of the cleaner in your basset's ears, enough to give them a good flush, and massage to loosen wax and dirt. Then use a cotton ball (make sure to use 100% cotton balls, not cosmetic puffs) to gently wipe the inside of the ear clean. Don't dig way down deep with Q-tips® or cotton balls as you might cause pain or ear damage. Also, be careful not to get water into the ears at bathtime. After bathtime is the perfect time to do ear cleaning (and to make sure you haven't gotten water in the ears).
Nail trimming can be a challenge because most dogs don't favor it much at all. If you're a nail-trimming novice, ask the vet or one of the volunteers at an Adoption Event to show you how. Some rescue bassets have extremely long nails that take some time to work back since the "quicks" have also grown out along with the nails. Frequent trimming of the tips will work the quick back. If you happen to go too short and don't have Quik-Stop powder on hand, a pinch of white flour stuffed into the nail will stop any bleeding.
Flea & Tick Preventatives
BHRG provides Frontline Plus flea and tick preventatives for you to apply to your fosters. This needs to be applied two days before or two days after a bath and controls fleas for three months and ticks for one month. We generally recommend application every other month. This is a topical liquid that you apply by parting the fur between the shoulder blades. You should squeeze the full tube onto the skin and allow to dry.
Supplies for Your Foster
When a new dog has entered BHRG's system, our weekly master list is updated. At that time Rosemary Glennie will mail you a collar, I.D. tag, adoption packet, dewormer (if needed), heatworm preventative, and Frontline for your new foster basset.
You can pick up your recurring monthly supplies of heatworm preventative and Frontline at any of our Adoption Events. Or just call or e-mail BHRG trustee, Rosemary Glennie at 770.380.3936 or Supplies@bhrg.org and indicate which supplies you need.
Please Note: Do NOT purchase Interceptor or Frontline on the BHRG account at any BHRG vet. We buy these items in bulk at a significant discount.
From time to time, BHRG receives dog food from various donors throughout metro-Atlanta. When it is available, an e-mail will be sent to notify you when and where to pick it up. If donated food is not available, you will need to provide a good, quality dog food for your foster.
The Vet Visit
Most foster dogs will come to you fully vetted - shots, spay/neuter, fecal test, and heartworm treatment if needed.
On occasion, you may need to take your foster dog to the vet. An updated vet list is included in your foster packet. Before your first visit, a BHRG trustee will need to call ahead to the vet and approve you to bring dogs in on the BHRG account. If you need to take your foster dog to the vet, please contact Rosemary at 770.380.3936 BEFORE scheduling an appointment.
BHRG holds Adoption Events each weekend at various locations throughout metro-Atlanta. You may receive e-mail and/or phone reminders of these events. Please check the adoption schedule online.
Adoption Events are the best opportunities for your fosters to get adopted, so please try to come to as many as you can. We ask that you and your foster attend at least one adoption event each month. Be sure to bring along your foster's adoption packet and vet records per the Georgia Department of Agriculture's regulations. Also bring anything you would want to send along with the dog. And bring a chair for yourself.
You can also improve your foster's chances of being adopted by submitting a photo for our website and by keeping your dog's description updated through our Foster Dog Update Form. Email the photo to Webmaster@bhrg.org to be posted on the site. Many times, a BHRG volunteer is available with a digital camera at adoption events to take photos for the website, so bringing your foster to an adoption day is the perfect opportunity to have his/her picture taken.
What Do I Do With My Foster Basset While I'm on Vacation?
Ultimately, the responsibility for the care of your foster dog while you're away is yours; however, foster families do try to help each other out by trading dogsitting duties. Give us as MUCH notice as possible and contact Rosemary at 770.380.3936. We'll try to put you in touch with other foster homes near you or make arrangements at our overflow kennel, but be prepared with a back-up plan like a hired dogsitter or a kennel just in case.
Reminders and Special Things You Can Do to Help Us
At Adoption Events, please bring your foster's adoption folder and medical records (include dates of heartworm preventative and/or any follow-up medication). Per your signed Foster Agreement, we ask that you attend AT LEAST one adoption day per month - this is your foster's BEST chance to get adopted!
Take pictures of your foster. The BHRG website is a fantastic way to get your foster noticed. A picture IS worth 1,000 words and will definitely help get your guy or gal adopted. Photos for the website should be sent to Stacey Harris at Webmaster@bhrg.org.
As dogs open up in foster care, you will see their personlaities emerge. Take note of how your foster behaves with kids, other dogs, and cats. Notice how they walk on a leash, ride in a car, behave in public. How is your foster dog with food/treats? At bedtime? Is he houstraining or crate training? These tidbits of information will help your foster find a forever home. Use our Foster Dog Update Form to keep us informed.
Please understand that we need you to (as much as possible) hold on to your foster until it is placed. Most of our guys have had very little stability in their lives and really need to stay in one place until permanent adoption. If the situation is desperate, we will move a dog as soon as we can. Aggression and/or problems with children are definite exceptions.
After adoption, please call the new owners and check in on your foster. Some adopters need to be encouraged and advised. We don't mind at all if you want to call every once in a while for as long as you choose. We would rather be prepared for a dog coming back than to be surprised that things aren't working out.
How to Handle a Pre-Approved Adoption
Most adoptions occur at one of our Adoption Events; however, there are times when you may facilitate the adoption of your foster basset once the application has been approved. The Adoption Agreement and Disclosure Form from your foster's adoption folder must be signed and filled out and a check (made out to BHRG) collected when the new owner takes possession of the dog. Please take the time to go over each item on the forms with the adoptive owner. Keep the top copy (white copy) of these signed forms, and let the adoptive owner keep the bottom copy along with the adoption folder. Please mail the paperwork and check as soon as possible to BHRG, P.O. Box 1834, Fayetteville, GA 30214. If you have any questions about how to fill out any forms, please let any trustee know.
Good Luck with Your New Arrival!
Remember, keep those gates locked and be careful at the front door... Bassets CAN be quick and sneaky! Like so much in life, you'll get out of this experience exactly what you put into it. It is not always easy to be a foster parent, but patience will help get you over the rough spots. The foster dog is like an orphan... he doesn't know anything about you, your habits, your home, or your food. Give your rescued basset time and love, and the rewards will be many!
Who are the BHRG Trustees and What Do They Do?
BHRG Trustees, all of whom are unpaid volunteers, are the officers of our non-profit organization. They make day-to-day decisions and are in charge of the operation of the rescue.
Julie Bradley - Founder
Julie is one of BHRG's founders.
Rosemary Glennie - President & Treasurer
Rosemary makes sure the day-to-day tasks of running the rescue are being completed. She also pays all the bills. If you need to be reimbursed for anything or have questions about your vet visit (please note that anything needing reimbursement must be pre-approved), please contact her. Rosemary handles ordering supplies for the foster bassets, such as collars, I.D. tags, preventatives, and mails out adoption packets and supplies to foster homes when new bassets are added to our list of available bassets. If you need supplies, contact Rosemary at email@example.com.
Lisa Weisenberger - Adoption Coordinator
Lisa processes the adoption applications and screens all potential adopters. She checks with the applicant's vet to ensure current pets are up-to-date with vaccinations and are on heartworm preventative. If the applicant is a renter, Lisa contacts the landlord to be sure of the property's weight restrictions and pet limits. Once approved, Lisa works with the applicants to find the basset who is the right "match" for the home. Lisa or one of her assistants will call you to contact the applicant. We do not want to hand out our fosters' home phone numbers and, therefore, we ask you to initiate the contact. In your communication with the potential owner, please be honest about your foster - you are often our only expert on a particular dog. If all goes well with the phone call, feel free to invite the potential owner to your house for a visit, or you are welcome to take your foster to theirs. Or make arrangements to meet at an upcoming Adoption Event. Also, after initial contact, please let Lisa know the plans for the dog so we know whether or not to continue searching for a new home for your foster dog.
In addition to her other responsibilities, she maintains all of the BHRG files and paperwork and maintains our Department of Agriculture Animal Shelter License at her home.
Amanda Janes - Intake Coordinator
As Intake Coordinator, Amanda takes calls from shelters and people who've found stray bassets, and from owners wanting to relinquish their bassets. Usually BHRG prefers that owner turn-in hounds remain in their existing homes while we search for a new one. However we find in a lot of cases, proper care is not being given to these hounds, and BHRG will then arrange for foster and vet care. She then works to get the incoming dogs to a BHRG vet for shots and evaluation. Then potential foster homes or transport volunteers are called to get the dogs where they need to go and coordinate vet care for the basset.
Whitney Harper - Foster Home Coordinator, Transportation
Whitney talks with people interested in becoming a BHRG foster home. She makes sure potential foster homes meet BHRG's and the Department of Agriculture's standards, and she ensures a BHRG Foster Packet has been received. She then schedules a foster home visit with a volunteer. If you have any general questions about fostering, Whitney will be glad to assist.
Whitney handles the scheduling of transportation to get our foster bassets where they need to go. She handles the weekly schedule of drivers of our basset van - getting our kenneled bassets to/from adoption events.
Marci Thomas - Events Coordinator
Marci is in charge of our annual mega-fundraisers, the Spring Fling Dinner Auction, Brews & Aroos, and The Basset Bash. She organizes these fabulous events coordinating with venues, vendors, donors, and volunteers.
Stacey Harris - Webmaster, Georgia Peach Virtual Adoptions
Stacey serves as BHRG's webmaster and manages the Georgia Peach virtual adoption program. Anytime you have a photo of your foster basset or additional information for the website, please send it to Webmaster@bhrg.org.
Additional Operations Assistants
Sandi Chambers - Home Visit Coordinator
Sandi is responsible for contacting volunteers to set up post-adoption home visits with families who've adopted a BHRG basset. She ensures the home visit paperwork is completed and filed for each adopted basset. And she will schedule a trustee follow-up visit if anything in the home visit is not acceptable. Pre-adoption home visits are required for any adoptions outside metro-Atlanta and those visits are handled by the Adoption Coordinator. Post-adoption home visits are required for adoptions within metro-Atlanta.
Ann Marsden - Newsletter
As our Newsletter Editor, Ann is in charge of editing and creating "The Long & Short Of It", our quarterly newsletter, as well as BHRG forms and brochures. If your foster dog is taking a while to be placed, it is a great idea to provide a photo and short description/story to include in the newsletter. Send photos and stories to Newsletter@bhrg.org or to BHRG - Newsletter, P.O. Box 1834, Fayetteville, GA 30214.
Michele Welt - Newsletter Assembly Hostess
Several times each year, BHRG publishes a newsletter that is mailed to 1,900+ supporters. Michele opens her Roswell home to volunteers who fold, seal, label and sort the newsletters, providing yummy snacks and drinks.