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Labs4rescue
"Save a Lab, have a friend for life!"


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Foster FAQs

Labs4Rescue continues to struggle with the need for more foster homes. There are so many wonderful labs in high-kill shelters that have only a couple of days to be adopted. Sadly, most never are. We constantly struggle to try and get them out before they are euthanized. As a result, some of our labs are taken to boarding, which is expensive and does not always give us the opportunity to assess all of their individual temperaments, needs and qualities. Fostering helps us save more labs by providing them a place to go when they are pulled from the shelter.

1. How do I get assigned a foster lab?
2. When can I choose a foster? What if I have commitments and cannot take a foster?
3. How long will I have my foster?
4. What do I need to foster?
5. What will Labs4Rescue ask of me during fostering?
6. What happens if my foster needs to go to the vet?
7. How do I know what vet work has been done for my foster before I get them?
8. Will I have any other responsibilities?
9. How can I help acclimate the lab into my home?
10. What if the Lab doesn't get along with my other dogs?
11. What are the advantages and disadvantages to fostering?
12. Can I adopt my foster dog? Does Labs4Rescue have a "foster to adopt" program?
13. Does Labs4Rescue have any leashing requirements?
14. Can I train my foster lab to use my "invisible" fence?
15. Can I use a doggie door or runner with my foster lab?
16. Do you have any advice for picking up a new foster dog?
17. Can I take my foster dog with me when running errands or visiting friends?
18. Can I take my foster dog to the dog park?
19. Do I have to have a home visit before fostering?
20. How should I introduce a new foster dog to my resident dog?
21. When can I pickup my foster dog?
22. Do Labs4Rescue dogs come with ID tags?
23. Can a potential adopter try out my foster overnight or for a few days?
24. When can an adopter pickup their new dog?
25. Who decides which applicant gets to adopt my foster dog?
26. Is using a crate mandatory?
27. What happens if I go on vacation when I have a foster dog?
28. Do I have to bring my foster dog to adoption events?

1. How do I get assigned a foster lab?


We send out a weekly list of labs in need of foster homes. After reading the bio and with input from the Adoption Coordinator, the goal is to determine which lab is the best fit with your lifestyle. We have puppies, adults, and seniors, so there really is something there for all. Back to Top

2. When can I choose a foster? What if I have commitments and cannot take a foster?


You can foster as your time permits, coming in and out. We always have other volunteer opportunities when your schedule will not permit you to take a foster, but you would like to still volunteer. If you would like to volunteer, please complete our Volunteer Application. Back to Top

3. How long will I have my foster?


This varies. Our fosters can have a lab anywhere from a few days to 6 weeks before they are placed in their forever Homes. However, the time is different based on each individual case. The time our fosters use to provide a temporary home truly makes the difference between life and death for that lab! Back to Top

4. What do I need to foster?

  • Large amounts of patience and love.
  • A willingness to accept a rescue Lab as part of your family.
  • The willingness to spend time with the dog, provide basic training or reinforce basic commands (sit, stay, come) and give feedback to the Adoption Coordinator in charge of the lab.
  • A schedule that allows you to exercise the Lab regularly and a safe place for the dog to stay while you are gone.
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5. What will Labs4Rescue ask of me during fostering?


Rescued Labs need regular feeding, fresh water and a safe home. Most of all, a foster family provides the love and attention these dogs so desperately want. Foster families also provide insight to the dog's behavior, attitude and temperament so that we can place him or her in the proper forever home.

We may ask you to talk to potential adopters and ask your opinion on the fit of your foster lab with the applicant. If you have a meet and greet, your impressions on the "fit" of that lab with the family are appreciated. Back to Top

6. What happens if my foster needs to go to the vet?


Vet expenses are paid by Labs4rescue, not the foster. The arrangements for all vet visits are to be made in advance, through guidance from the Adoption Coordinator who is in charge of the dog you will be fostering. The only visit that does not have to be pre-authorized in advance is if there is a life threatening emergency. You will be reimbursed for any emergency vet visit due to a life threatening issue. A vet practice closest to you will be identified by the rescue, as it is critical that we obtain a non-profit, rescue rate discount. We maintain a list of vets who Labs4Rescue has an agreement with and many are set up in advance with accounts that bill the rescue directly after your visit. If none are available near you, the rescue will attempt to identify one that will provide a rescue rate. Always contact your Adoption Coordinator to discuss in advance what vetting is needed so the arrangements can be made. Under most circumstances your dog will not need follow up care from a vet as the vetting will be completed as required before it can be released for foster or adoption. In the unlikely event that you find yourself in the situation of being directed to a vet who we do not have an account set up with, submit the bill directly to your Adoption Coordinator who will obtain reimbursement for you. If your foster dog needs a Health Certificate, your Adoption Coordinator will be in touch with you on where to bring the dog. Back to Top

7. How do I know what vet work has been done for my foster before I get them?


You will receive an envelope with the vetting history of your foster dog. Please do not lose these documents since all dogs must always travel with them, and they need to be turned over to the new adopter. Back to Top

8. Will I have any other responsibilities?

  • We ask that you provide food and love.
  • Some of our rescues have been through a lot and have special needs so need extra patience. Many need to either learn or receive re-training of some basic obedience and house manners.
  • Occasionally, we have adoption events in your area, and will invite you to bring your foster. After all, this is where they will most likely meet their prospective adopters!
  • We may ask you to help provide updated information for their listing on Petfinder and to take new pictures for the website.
  • If you are comfortable with it, Labs4Rescue may put you in contact with potential adopters to tell them about the dog. If not, we will field the questions for you.
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9. How can I help acclimate the lab into my home?

  • We have a limited number of crates that we loan out while you are fostering if you cannot provide your own. Some fosters use a baby gate.
  • Our group members are always available to discuss any issues you are facing. Most problems have been encountered by someone who will offer their help.
  • When you speak with an Adoption Coordinator about a dog in need of fostering, you can ask them to speak with the person who has/had the dog in their care. This way you can get more information about the dog beside the initial information listed on the biography.
  • To avoid tummy issues, you may want to ask what food the dog is presently eating and then buy a small bag of the current type of food and mix it 50/50 with the food you use. This is the best way to introduce the new food, slowing increasing the ratio so as not to upset the dogs tummy.
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10. What if the Lab doesn't get along with my other dogs?


If the foster dog is not able to get along with your other dogs, cats or family members, we would place the dog in another home or in a boarding facility but ask you to foster until we can rehome the foster dog. You can keep the foster dog segregated from the resident pets with use of a crate or gate. Back to Top

11. What are the advantages and disadvantages to fostering?

  • The advantages are that you are providing a valuable service, perhaps saving a Lab's life. You will meet some wonderful dogs along the way and learn more about the breed.
  • Fostering is a way to enjoy companionship without making a lifelong commitment. You would be helping to rehabilitate a Lab that may have been abandoned, neglected or even abused. It is also very rewarding to see a dog you have cared for, placed in a loving permanent home!
  • You will also make some wonderful friends along the way. Many forever families will continue to send you updates and photos, year after year.
  • The disadvantages are that it is very easy to get attached to the Lab you foster and it can be hard to see them go. However you are directly helping to save a life by providing them with a temporary home.
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12. Does Labs4Rescue have a "foster to adopt" program?


Labs4rescue eliminated its "foster to adopt" program years ago. If your goal is to ultimately adopt a dog, please note that all adoptions include a two-week trial period to determine if the dog is a good fit for your family. If you would like to adopt, please review the Sample Adoption Contract (especially clause #21) and submit an Adoption Application. Back to Top

13. Does Labs4Rescue have any leashing requirements?


All labs must be on a leash in any unfenced area. This means 100% leashing at all times with the exception of when the dog is indoors. We have had dogs unexpectedly bolt and need to ensure all foster parents agree and comply with this policy. All rescues should be treated as a flight risk. We do not recommend using retractable leashes. Back to Top

14. Can I train my foster lab to use my "invisible" fence?


No. If you have an electric fence, the foster dog is still required to be leashed at all times. Since the average length of stay before being adopted is too short, we do not permit the dog to be trained on the electric fence. In fact, several fence companies do not recommended training a dog on an electric fence until the dog has lived in the home for at least 3 months. Back to Top

15. Can I use a doggie door or runner with my foster lab?


The use of doggie doors and runners are strictly prohibited. Dogs must never be let outdoors unsupervised and must be leashed. While it is not required to have a fence, 100% leashing is required. Some dogs may be escape artists and have scaled/climbed over fences or dug underneath them, which is why many of our labs have ended up in shelters and rescues. If you have a standard fenced-in yard, carefully inspect the perimeter to make sure there are no holes, breaks or areas that even the smallest dog can squeeze or dig under and escape. We suggest that you perform this inspection before your home visit is scheduled. Make sure your fence is sturdy and high enough. Secure and lock your gates by placing a clip through the hole in latch. Remove all objects close to the fence that will aid your foster dog in escaping such as dog houses, tables and even snow drifts which they can use to launch off and over the fence. Place a note or sign on the inside and outside of doors reminding visitors and family to keep doors secure and shut. Place a baby gate at doors if you have a dog that rushes the door when people enter or exit. Make sure your windows and doors are secure. Many rescues have jumped through open windows and screens. Back to Top

16. Do you have any advice for picking up a new foster dog?


When picking up your foster dog, using a second leash is recommended. Dogs that have suddenly changed families may be frightened and confused and many have panicked and backed out of a collar or harness. Wiggling free from both a collar and a harness is unlikely and provides much greater security during a time of transition for the dog. Back to Top

17. Can I take my foster dog with me when running errands or visiting friends?


Do not take a new rescue out and about shopping, visiting, hiking etc. right away. Please give them at least two weeks to adjust. Here is a link to an article with good information on how overwhelming the first few weeks can be for a dog: http://woofliketomeet.com/2016/03/trigger-stacking-how-we-set-our-dogs-up-to-fail/ Back to Top

18. Can I take my foster dog to the dog park?


Dog parks are not permitted because of the legal liability if there is a dog fight. Back to Top

19. Do I have to have a home visit before fostering?


All first-time Labs4rescue adopters and fosters must have a home visit. After you are matched to a foster dog, the Adoption Coordinator will request your Home Visit. Check your spam/junk folders. The home visit will be scheduled at your convenience and all members of your household must be present. The home visit is normally only performed once and it's performed prior to fostering the first time, unless your physical address changes. Some Adoption Coordinators may request another home visit if you haven't fostered a dog in several years. Back to Top

20. How should I introduce a new foster dog to my resident dog?


If you have a resident dog(s), please introduce the dogs on neutral territory/offsite. This is key to your resident dog and we want to make sure this transition goes smoothly. High success rates are attained with offsite introductions before bringing the foster dog home. Walking both dogs, close enough to see one another yet keeping their focus on the walk for at least 15 minutes before you let them greet one another is the best technique. For those with multiple dogs, introduce each dog separately to the foster. Also, please make sure to keep all toys and treats put away and provided to dogs separately, to ensure that fights do not occur over these objects. Back to Top

21. When can I pickup my foster dog?


You may pickup your local foster dog after receiving your "Foster Notice." If your foster dog requires transportation, your Adoption Coordinator will provide pickup location details. Back to Top

22. Do Labs4Rescue dogs come with ID tags?


All microchip tags, rabies tags, and Labs4Rescue tags must be affixed to the collar and not sent with the paperwork. This is required by the USDA and all DOA's, that dogs be identifiable. The Labs4Rescue tag has a unique number assigned only to that lab, and can be used to identify that lab, should it ever be lost. The Labs4Rescue collar that the foster dog comes to you wearing must not be replaced with another collar, please keep the same one on him/her for identification purposes. Should the new adopter wish to change collars, please reinforce that ALL tags must be transferred to the new collars. Adopters are contractually obligated to keep the Labs4Rescue tag on the collar at all times. You can place an additional collar or harness on the dog but please keep the Labs4Rescue collar on as well. Back to Top

23. Can a potential adopter try out my foster overnight or for a few days?


You are responsible for the foster dog under your care. As such, foster dogs may not be given to potential adopters as a trial. At this point there are no signed agreements nor release of liability with them. Back to Top

24. When can an adopter pickup their new dog?


Do not release a foster dog to the adopter until you confirm with your Adoption Coordinator that the adopter completed all the necessary contracts, paid their adoption fee, and that all steps of the adoption process have been satisfactorily completed. Back to Top

25. Who decides which applicant gets to adopt my foster dog?


The decision on which approved applicant is chosen as the adopter for your foster dog lies with the Adoption Coordinator. However, please feel free to provide input on applicants that you may meet at adoption events or that you arrange to meet your foster. Back to Top

26. Is using a crate mandatory?


It is not a requirement to use a crate, however many of our foster family's do prefer them for several reasons. If you have a resident dog, using the crate for your foster dog at different intervals, gives both dogs a break where they can relax as all the changes can be overwhelming. We do have some crates that we loan out; please ask your Adoption Coordinator if there is one presently available. Back to Top

27. What happens if I go on vacation when I have a foster dog?


If a vacation is being planned and you still have the foster dog please contact the Adoption Coordinator in charge of the dog as soon as possible so she can make alternative arrangements. If you would like to have the foster dog utilize the same in-house pet sitter that your resident dog will use, just let the Adoption Coordinator know in advance and please forward a copy of these notes to the pet sitter so everyone will be on the same page for the foster dog's care. If a short term foster cannot be found, we will identify an appropriate boarding kennel for your absence. Back to Top

28. Do I have to bring my foster dog to adoption events?


Although is not mandatory to attend adoption events with your foster dog, our adoption events are popular with applicants hoping to meet a lab prior to adoption. If you are not able to attend, please ask the Adoption Coordinator to find a volunteer to escort your foster. Back to Top

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