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Tiny Paws Small Dog Rescue

Small Paws, Big Hearts

Foster Home Handbook

Introduction Thank you for your commitment to foster for Tiny Paws Small Dog Rescue. Foster homes fill a variety of roles in our rescue. First, you provide a safe and loving atmosphere for rescued dogs. Many dogs within the rescue come from abuse and/or neglect and are unsure of how to act or behave in a home. Training and socialization are important, and are sometimes lacking. Your compassion and guidance will help these rescued dogs integrate into an average home and become loving family members. You also provide a buffer to detect potential problems. When dogs are pulled from a facility, our rescue vets do their best to find and address any health problems, immediately. However, certain issues do not always present right away. You can bring concerns to our attention so that they can be properly addressed. By living with a dog, you get a feel for his individuality, his personality. By getting to know him, you will be the best judge of what kind of home he should go to. Rescues with foster homes that actively screen potential adopters, and have a say in whether a home is approved for a foster dog, place more dogs successfully. As a foster home, you are our most valuable resource. Every dog you foster and place into a loving home is one less dog sitting alone and unloved in a kennel, one less dog euthanized. Without you, we could not continue to rescue dogs!

Table of Contents
Guidelines.4 Getting Ready to Foster......5 Supplies.6 Introductions to Personal Dogs......7 Introductions to Personal Cats...8 Training9 Adoption Procedure...10 Screening Applications..10 Home Visits.11 Veterinary Care..12 Spay/Neuter and Vaccinations..13 Reimbursements.14

Guidelines Prior to becoming a foster home, a foster home application and agreement forms must be completed. All personal pets must be spayed or neutered, and up to date on rabies and distemper shots. Exceptions are made for 4-H and show animals, please contact us for specifics.

Your personal pets must not exhibit any kind of aggressive behavior. Personal pets will be routinely exposed to new dogs and new people; it is your responsibility to ensure they are comfortable with these situations. Please also take care when introducing your pets to new foster dogs to create a good relationship and prevent aggression. As a foster home, you assume responsibility for providing your foster dog with shelter and care until a suitable adopter is found. If you can no longer provide for your foster dog, please notify us as soon as possible to arrange a new placement. If you are planning a vacation or a short absence, you are responsible for making arrangements to care for your foster dog. If the foster dog will be boarded or staying at a different home, a release of liability must be completed. Tiny Paws provides reimbursements for food and supplies for your foster dog. You will be given a $20-50 budget per month for fostering, and if extra funds are required, you will need to contact us. The amount provided will be determined by the size and care requirements of your foster dog. Tiny Paws does not provide reimbursement for cleaning supplies or services, unless required because of a contamination issue. Veterinary care should only be provided by a Tiny Paws rescue vet to avoid cost to you. If you would like to use your personal vet practice, reimbursement for care will be at the discretion of Tiny Paws. Several of our rescue vets offer discounts for the care of the personal pets of foster homes; you are encouraged to take advantage of this incentive. Tiny Paws is not liable for the veterinary care of

personal pets. We encourage vaccinating personal dogs for Bordatella (kennel cough) at all life stages and Parvovirus in young dogs. Foster homes are expected to collect adoption applications for their foster dogs and screen each applicant. Once an application is accepted, the foster home is responsible for collecting the adoption fee and all adoption agreement paperwork and then submitting them to the Tiny Paws office.

Getting Ready to Foster Fostering a dog is a big responsibility and should be a decision made by the entire family. Caring for your personal pet is a family affair, and caring for your foster dog will be, too. Are you able to provide attention, exercise, and care to a dog that isnt yours? Will you be able to give up the dog to an adopter? After making the decision to foster, you should then consider what kind of dogs you want to foster. What kinds of dogs suit your home? Are you an active family that will be able to care for young, energetic dogs? Do you have the space for large breeds or prefer smaller dogs? When asking yourself these questions, dont forget to consider your personal pets. While you might be excited to care for a litter of puppies, your senior dog might not share your enthusiasm. You know your dog better than anyone else so you are the best judge of what kind of companion (albeit, temporary companion) will be best suited. While its good to have a type in mind, you will need to be open to many different dogs. Do not limit yourself too tightly or you might miss out on a great experience. However, if you know a certain kind of dog will not be happy in your home, make sure to speak up.

Supplies Before getting your first foster dog, its important to have the following supplies: Food and Water bowls: Your foster dogs should have separate food/water bowls from your personal pets. It is also a good idea to feed personal pets separately from foster dogs to prevent stress from competition and/or foodaggression. If your personal dog has been on a free-feed feeding schedule, you will need to start a structured feeding schedule. Free-feeding does not work well when a foster dog is present because it will create an atmosphere for food competition, even if the bowl is always full. Your foster dog and/or your personal dog could start to hoard food, overeat, and possibly become food-aggressive. Food and treats: Most foster homes feed their foster dogs the same food as their personal dogs and use a portion of the monthly foster-support to purchase food. You can feed your fosters the same diet as your personal dogs, or keep their food separate, it is up to you. Treats should be kept on hand for training purposes. It is also wise to store food and treats in a closet, cabinet, or container that is not easily accessible to the dogs. Dog Crate: We strongly recommend having an appropriately sized crate for your foster dog. Crating is a great way to help your foster dog to feel safe when left alone and helps keep him out of trouble when you cant directly supervise him. Crates are also helpful when introducing dogs to each other and for house-training. If you are unfamiliar with crate usage, please let us know; we can help you to use a crate effectively. Bedding: We do not suggest purchasing high-end dog beds for your foster dog. Chances are, they will end up getting chewed up and/or eaten. Old, clean blankets and towels make great bedding materials and are easily put through the washing machine as needed. Toys: Like children, if dogs are bored, they will get into something. It is important to have durable toys on-hand. Kongs are a popular choice, so are Nylabones. Rawhides are not recommended unless you can supervise the dog while he is chewing. Make sure all toys are appropriately sized for the dog.

Collar and Leash: Your foster dog will come with a collar; however, it is a good idea to have a spare available. You should also have an extra leash for training and walks. Introducing Personal Dogs and Foster Dogs It is best to introduce the dogs to each other on neutral ground, such as the front yard or driveway. Using at least one person per dog, keep the dogs leashed while they sniff at and greet each other. Keep the leash slack lax (not taught) but do not allow the leashes to cross or tangle. Your personal dogs are likely well-socialized and used to encountering new dogs. Your foster dog(s) come from a variety of backgrounds and may be unsure of how to react at first. If either dog starts to show signs of aggression (raised hair, curling lips, growling, stiff demeanor), pull the dogs away from each other and comfort the dog that is becoming aggressive before attempting to greet again. If possible, do not bring the dogs into the house until they have established pleasantries. If they are playing with each other, wagging tails, and sniffing each other freely, it is likely they have established a connection. If the dogs seem to be just tolerant of each other, it may be necessary to keep them separated for 2-3 days. Crating the dogs next to each other, or using a safety gate to separate the dogs into different rooms, will help the dogs to get used to each other without forcing contact. During this introductory period, do not attempt to punish either dog for acting fearfully or aggressively. When the dogs are near each other, but divided, praise each dog and give treats to create a positive feeling. If the dogs are still acting aggressively towards each other after 5 days, it may be necessary to move the foster dog to a different home. This is uncommon, however it does occasionally happen.

Introducing a Foster Dog to a Personal Cat If possible, put the cat (with food and a litter box) in a room alone for the first day or two the foster dog is in your home. Allow the cat and dog to sniff at each other under the door before a face-to-face meeting. This will allow them to feel as if they have already met. When arranging the first meeting, put the dog on a leash and allow the cat to walk around freely. Watch both the dog and cat for indications of attitude towards the other. Is the cat fearful or curious? Does the dog seem playful or is he scrambling to get at the cat? If you are unsure of whether they have accepted each other or are nervous about the dogs behavior, contact Tiny Paws and someone can help you to assess the situation. After initial introductions, keep these tips in mind: Do not leave the foster dog and your cat alone together, even if you are comfortable with their interactions. Make sure your cat always has a safe place to go to if she needs a break. Playful chasing is normal and to be expected, but remind the dog to play nice or slow down when needed. Do not allow staring contests. The foster dog should not attempt to intimidate the cat by staring her down. The cat may swipe or hiss at the dog. This is usually helpful in assisting the dog to learn what is and is not acceptable. However, keep an eye out that the cat doesnt become over-zealous and injure the dog. All personal pets should be allowed to come to terms with the foster dog on his or her own schedule. Never force animals together or push interaction. Some animals become fast friends; some merely tolerate each other. Whatever the situation, they must come to terms on their own time.

Training While your foster dog is with you, you should provide some basic training for his benefit, as well as your own. Most foster dogs will not come to you fully housebroken, knowing basic commands. Many will not even know his or her name. While a formal training regimen is not required (or expected), some basics will make your foster dog more adoptable and make things easier for you. Socialization: This is the most important skill a dog can have. Shy dogs may become aggressive with fear when introduced to new situations, so helping your foster dog to feel comfortable in as many scenarios as possible is beneficial. When introducing the foster dog to new people or new dogs/cats, provide lots of positive reinforcement in the form of treats and praise. Get down to his level and allow him to sit in your lap for comfort. House training: Potty training is definitely beneficial to you. A crate can be used to help a dog learn to hold it for increasingly longer periods of time. When he goes outside, immediately praise him and offer a small treat. Do not punish/scold the dog when accidents happen inside; this could cause confusion and regression. Sit: This command is particularly helpful for controlling multiple dogs. When teaching sit do not allow the dog to get up until he is released from the command. If he rises prior to release, immediately correct him back into a sit (without giving the command again). Provide a treat for a job well-done. Jumping Up: Many dogs jump up out of excitement. They can be broken of this habit by you either blocking the jump with your knee or by turning away. To block, simply raise your knee to meet his chest (dont kick, just block) as he jumps. Alternately, when a dog jumps, simply turn your back to him. Either way, the jumping action does not provide his desired outcome and he will learn it is more effective to greet you with all four paws on the ground. Leash Manners: A dog that pulls on a leash can be difficult to walk. Just as difficult is a dog that rolls onto his back when a leash is

clipped on. Many foster dogs have never been walked on a leash before, and therefore are unsure as to how to react. Allow the dog to run around in the house with a leash on to become more familiar with being attached to it. Continuously try to walk him using the leash and praise correct behavior and offer treats. Adoption Procedure The ultimate goal of Tiny Paws is to get our dogs adopted into loving, forever homes. All foster dogs are listed on as well as our website with the foster homes contact information. You are expected to be able to answer questions about your foster dogs temperament, demeanor, and previous vet care. If a person is interested in adopting a dog, the following procedure must be followed. 1. Adoption application must be completed and submitted to the foster home. 2. Once an application is approved, a meet-and-greet with the entire potential adoptive family is arranged. 3. A home visit must be completed if the family wishes to adopt. 4. Adoption agreements are completed and adoption fee paid. 5. Your foster dog goes home to his new family! Screening Applications As a foster home, you are expected to screen applications and perform home visits. If you are unable to complete these tasks, please let us know and we can arrange for someone else to help so as not to slow down the adoption process. As a non-profit rescue group, we have limited resources. A lot of information provided on the applications, we simply accept as truth on merit. However, there are certain things we do to make sure our dogs go to good homes. Check ID to make sure names/addresses match the application. If an applicant is renting, call the landlord to make sure the tenant is allowed to have a dog and that there are no breed, weight, or size restrictions that would cause your foster dog to be a violation to the rental agreement.

Search for the applicant on Wisconsins Circuit Court Access Page (CCAP). We do not discriminate for any offenses other than animal abuse/neglect related incidents. Animal abuse/neglect convictions are grounds for automatic rejection of an application. Vet references must be checked. If the applicant does not already have a pet, he or she must establish an account with a veterinary practice. If a veterinarian voices concern about an applicants ability to care for a new pet or for the care of past pets, this is a serious red flag and may be grounds for rejection. Please contact a Tiny Paws representative for further instruction if this happens. Home Visits Previously, home visits were only required for pitbull type dogs. However, with the increasing problem of hoarding, Tiny Paws has decided to extend home visits to all of our potential adopters, regardless of breed. We are not looking for spotless homes with immaculate yards. We are simply looking for indications that a home may not be safe. Things to look for are: Indications of multiple dogs not disclosed on the application: If an adopter states he or she currently has two other dogs, but when you visit the home, it appears that at least six dogs live on the premises; this is a cause for concern. If an adopter is lying about the number of dogs currently owned, this could be an indicator of dog fighting or hoarding, or simply just a municipal violation. Whatever the reasoning, it is not desirable to adopt a dog out to a home that is purposely deceptive about their current pet ownership. Current pets seem emaciated or in poor health: If the dogs currently owned by the applicant do not seem to be in good health (and are not suffering from a chronic disorder) the ability to care for a new pet may be called into question. Home does not appear to be lived in: If you are performing a home visit and it is questionable that the home is actually occupied, this could also be an indicator of a dog fighting operation.


The best indicator of whether or not a particular home is suitable is your instinct. Do you feel welcome in the home? Does something not quite sit right with you about the living arrangements? If you are ever uneasy or unsure about an adopter or a situation, do not hesitate to contact Tiny Paws and request another foster parent or one of the administrators accompany you for another visit.

Veterinary Care Vet care should always be provided by one of the recommended rescue vets to ensure no cost to you. If care is provided by an alternate source, Tiny Paws will only cover the cost up to what we would pay one of our rescue vets. Prior to seeking vet care (unless for a previously arranged procedure such as a spay or vaccinations) Tiny Paws should be contacted to find out if a vet visit is merited. Certain common ailments can be cured without a vet visit. Minor cuts and scrapes can also be treated without a visit to the veterinarian. While we do not want to withhold needed care, it is important for the rescue to be frugal, since we are funded entirely by adoption fees. Here are some common problems that do not need to be addressed directly by the vet: Parasitic worms: Rescued dogs frequently pick up worms. Loose stools, strings or membranes in stool, emaciated appearance although eating, difficultly gaining weight, potbellied look, and lethargy are all indicators of worms. Contact Tiny Paws immediately and we will send you an appropriate dose of wormer for your foster dogs. Typically, you will get 3 doses- the first is given immediately; the second is given a week later, and third is given two weeks after the second. One dose is usually enough, however the subsequent doses are to ensure all the worms have been killed off. Fleas: Fleas are another common parasite picked up by rescued dogs. Tiny Paws can provide you with a topical treatment to kill off the fleas. Minor cuts/scrapes: Small cuts or scrapes on a dog can be treated very much like small cuts/scrapes on a child. Clean the area with soap and


warm water and apply a topical ointment such as Neosporin to prevent infection. It is unlikely any bandage applied will be kept on, so do not feel pressured to attempt one. Diarrhea/Vomiting: Any dog can ingest something that doesnt quite agree with them. Diarrhea or vomiting is often the result of eating something he shouldnt have. If either occurs, offer a bland diet of cooked rice, boiled chicken, and plain yogurt to help ease the stomach for a few days. If the problem does not improve within 4 days, or the dog is refusing to eat or drink, contact Tiny Paws to arrange for a vet visit. If you are unsure as to whether or not vet care is needed, contact Tiny Paws so that we can assess the situation. Please remember if you take your foster dog to a vet without consulting Tiny Paws, you may be responsible for the fee incurred. Tiny Paws expects all personal pets to be spayed/neutered and up to date on required shots. Monthly flea and worm preventatives will also protect your personal pets from contracting parasites or illnesses from infected foster dogs. Make sure your veterinarian is aware that you are fostering dogs and ask if he or she recommends any additional preventative care for your personal pet.

Spay/Neuter and Vaccinations Your foster dog may need to be spayed/neutered or vaccinated while in your care. If a procedure is required, Tiny Paws will notify you. You are responsible for making an appointment and arranging transportation for your foster dog. Tiny Paws has payment arrangements on file with all of our rescue vets.


Reimbursements Tiny Paws provides a stipend of $20-50 per month for the care of our foster dogs. We will offer additional reimbursements for: Pre-approved vet care Pre-approved treatments Specialized equipment All receipts for reimbursement must be submitted to Tiny Paws before reimbursement is given. Remember, since Tiny Paws is a 501 (c) non-profit rescue group, any expenses you donate to the rescue are tax deductable!