So Your Thinking About fostering
One of the single most effective programs rescue groups have in rehabilitating pets in their care is a nurturing home environment – otherwise known as Foster Care. The Foster Family’s responsibilities are very important in each dog’s progress and rehabilitation, and each family is a KEY player in rescue work.
TO QUALITFY FOR FOSTERING WITH BOXER RESCUE OF NWA:
1) Submit a Foster Application by completing our on-line form or request one via INFO@BoxerRescueNWA.org
2) A Home visit will need to be scheduled ASAP. We try to complete home visits within a week after receiving your foster application. You can reach us at 479.601.1316 or by emailing INFO@BoxerRescueNWA.org
3) Other dogs in household must be neutered/spayed and current on vaccines. Please have your veterinarian submit vetting records to INFO@BoxerRescueNWA.org. Veterinary records must be received prior to scheduling your Home Visit.
4) In most cases, foster family needs a fenced yard. Please talk to us about your personal home setting.
Your Role as a Foster Family
Many of the boxers we bring into our care may have suffered neglect or abuse, have been abandoned, or are malnourished. It is common for newly rescued boxers to feel anxiety, insecurity or fear in a new environment. Fosters play a key role in helping new rescues through their first few days.
Foster families take on dogs that are often broken, shattered, frightened, injured, and are usually struggling either physically or emotionally. Foster families are the key to their rehabilitation and have the pleasure of watching them regain their physical health and emotional wellbeing.
An amazingly resilient breed, Boxers DO respond to good leadership and care and WILL regain trust in humans and that wonderful spirit so inherent in the Boxer breed.
Although many of our rescues are physically healthy, all of them need time to adjust and a place to receive emotional support. They crave an environment for socializing, a family committed to giving them training and the rehabilitation they so urgently require.
The role of each Foster Family is to work with foster dogs to help them adjust to the changes in their lives and to help them learn what is behaviorally acceptable from a dog living within a human/dog “pack.”
A Rescued Dog and Your Famly Pet’s Health
If we do not have an Immediate Care Foster Home available, and your family is able to provide emergency relief, you will want to keep the newly rescued boxer separated from other pets in your home until we are sure they do not have anything contagious.It is not uncommon to bring boxers in from shelters with kennel cough, intestinal parasites or sometimes other contagious diseases. That is why we begin each boxer’s journey at the veterinarian. However, sometimes immediate and life-saving rescue endeavors may bring a boxer in after hours or on the weekend, and Immediate Care Foster Homes are needed until veterinary care is available.
It is also common for newly rescued boxers to have intestinal parasites, and while they WILL be tested and treated at their initial vet appointment, you will want to “poop scoop” your yard for 5-7 days until they have completed treatment to prevent any cross contamination.
For the health and well-being of all pets (both your and the new foster), this rescue requires that your personal pets remain current on their vaccines and flea/tick prevention including Bordetella which helps prevent kennel cough. The state of AR requires that rabies vaccines be administered by a licensed veterinarian; if you provide your pets’ boosters, please retain the package details/lot numbers and proof of boosters.
Before being approved to foster, this rescue requires proof that all dogs in your family have been neutered/spayed and are current on all vaccines with proof of rabies vaccine from your vet. A simple phone call to your veterinarian to email records us is all we need.
What to Expect from Your foster Boxer for the First 3-5 Days
It is COMMON for your new foster to exhibit the following behaviors:
Walking in circles
No appetite for up
to several days
Nervous or anxious
Acting sad or quiet
Your foster may have just lost their family or been taken from an abusive situation. They may have been homeless, then picked up by animal control, brought to a holding room with other confused and nervous dogs in shelter, moved to the public viewing area, brought to the veterinarians before, transported to rescue, moved into foster care…
They don’t understand what is going on or what tomorrow will bring. Where is my family? Where do I sleep? How do I get out of here? Who are these people? What is this place? Where will I get food and water? Am I going to die?
Newly fostered pets need much patience, encouragement, repetition, reassurance and training.
Foster Family Starter Pack
We try to keep a stock of training crates, various Kong toys, heartworm prevention, flea/tick control, and other supplies on hand. If you are financially able to provide these for your foster, that would be a huge help to the rescue. However, we know that there are many wonderful foster families who can provide training, exercise, attention and affection but need help with the preventative supplies; please let us know if you need help with these supplies. We promise to do all we can to keep our foster families equipped with what they need to adequately provide for each boxer.
This rescue is 100% dependent on donations from private donors; we are diligent to budget these expenses carefully.
What to do When You First Bring Your Foster Boxer Home
Start your journey together OUTSIDE. With the boxer on leash, introduce him to your back yard and front yard, and if possible, take a walk around the neighborhood to let him sniff the air in his new area. He needs this acclimation time. His nose will tell him more than you know, and the walk and access to his “pooping grounds” will be a first step in ensuring he knows there IS a place for this activity. Give him much praise if he pees or poops. Give the action a word “Potty. Good Boy!”
After he has been introduced to the outdoors, bring him on leash inside.
CONTINUE YOUR JOURNEY INSIDE by teaching him he needs to go through the door AFTER you rather than knocking you and everyone else over plunging in the doorway first, which he WILL try to do unless he is a highly submissive personality. Say “Wait,” let yourself and any other humans in first, then say, “Good Boy. Come in the HOUSE.” This habit will teach your new boxer respect and patience and that there are “rules” in the human world to which he will belong.
Once you get inside, introduce him to the inside of your house ON LEASH. Let him sniff away; teach him right away if there are rooms off limit to him. For example, if you do not want him in the baby’s room or the formal living room or your bedroom, stop him at the doorway with the leash. Stand in front of the doorway of that room and “claim it” with your body. Say “NO…OUT”. After he has sniffed out his new digs, show him where his water bowl is. Swish the water in the bowl with your finger; say “WATER”; show him his bed or crate. Say “CRATE.” Continually give names to items and action so that he learns that certain words have meanings.
After the indoor introduction, take him outside again. Say “POTTY” when he’s being led outside to go potty. If he pees or poops, give the action word while he’s going “Potty. Good Boy!”
Before long, dogs learn that certain words mean certain things and that their humans actually communicate with them. They will start to communicate back with you. Boxers are capable of understanding hundreds of words, nouns, verbs, even adjectives. Start early teaching him words.
Set your timer to invite him outside every hour for several hours.
Start crate training right away. Make it fun; give him treats. Invite him in – door open, give him a reward. This is the road to rehabilitation and teaching a canine to live harmoniously in a human’s world.
Please bear in mind that many rescues have separation anxiety and have lived rough, neglected lives. Some may not like other dogs, some may chase cats, some may need work with housebreaking, some may mouth or play rough (not allowed) or jump up on people (not allowed).
If available, BR-NWA will provide Composure (an all natural calming chew) to get them through their first few days adjusting to a new environment. Boxer Rescue of NWA does not encourage, permit or tolerate any kind of physical punishment (slapping, hitting, or kicking.) We do encourage verbal praise, a firm voice accompanied by corrective action, treat motivation and strong leadership during training. Correction of unacceptable behaviors is necessary in the rehabilitation process. Excellent resources and videos are available through the BR-NWA library – just call or ask!
Rehabilitative care of our rescued boxers is a priority for this rescue and Foster Care is a key to giving each boxer a new start and effective rehabilitation. We ask that you allow the fostered boxer to live inside your home with your family and other pets, and that you treat your foster as your own pet. We require that our boxers are fostered as INDOOR pets.
Seasonally, if you have an adequately fenced yard, your foster boxer may be outdoors if supervised. If you must leave, we require that the boxer be crated or confined to a limited area until he or she knows that you DO return and the crate IS a place of comfort. Some boxers have been known to scale a 5’ chain link fence or have dug out of a fenced yard in a panic or due to boredom, so until you know how your foster reacts to the outdoor area, please protect him/her.
Some of our rescued boxers are not yet housebroken although older boxers are usually house trained. We recommend crate training when you’re not able to keep an eye on the boxer while in the house. Crating works well during house training, and a doggie door works even better if you have one. Boxer Rescue of NWA has loaner crates for Foster Homes. Please let us know if you need one – you will be asked to check it out much like a library book.
We strongly request that during the boxer’s time in foster care that he/she is taught basic commands such as “sit”, “stay”, “come”, “lay”, “leave it” and that you insist that the boxer sit and stay seated during feeding time until the food bowl is placed and the boxer is given the “okay” command. We ask that you teach the boxer to respect human space by not allowing them to jump on people, and we ask that you not feed the boxer from the table so that when the boxer is adopted he will enter his new forever home with basic doggie manners.
If you are fostering a deaf boxer, one undergoing heartworm treatment, one that has special health needs, your Foster Program Leader will tell you what other training videos, tools and resources are available to you.
Resources on training:
You will be required to submit weekly updates and photos via email or text to the Foster Team Leader. The update is needed to keep supporters updated on Facebook and to update each boxer’s www.PetFinder.com account. We ask for “Before and After” photos submitted for the boxer’s adoption file as well. Boxer supporters LOVE hearing how each dog is progressing, what their quirks are, what makes each so endearing, and if they are good with children, other pets, etc.
All our rescued boxers will be fully vetted at the expense of Boxer Rescue of NWA. Our funds are limited, so any additional vetting outside of the initial vetting (includes wellness check, fecal float to test for intestinal parasites, treatment of parasites, heartworm and ehrlichia testing, vaccines such as Bordetella, Rabies, distemper, Parvo, hepatitis) requires direct permission from the Board of Directors for any other vetting needs. Boxer Rescue of NWA covers vetting expenses; call your Foster Program Leader immediately if you have ANY health concerns.
Because so many of our rescued boxers come to us with some degree of compromised health, we ask that you feed them a good quality dog food such as Victors, Purina or Pedigree. To help with weight gain for rescues whose backbones and hipbones protrude (emaciated) or boxers that are “ribby,” adding a few heaping tablespoons of cooked white rice as well as a few tablespoons of cooked sweet potatoes, pumpkin or winter squash to their food will help them get the extra calories they need. Most of our boxers eat 2 cups dry food morning and night; emaciated dogs may also need a mid day meal of 1-2 cups kibble plus 2 tablespoons of white rice as well.
Obviously, boxers come in different sizes and energy levels — from puppies to 40-90+ pound adults and seniors, start with 2 cups kibble twice a day as a feeding guide line, but even more importantly, gage how much to feed each boxer by keeping an eye on the waist line: it should be hour glass shaped; if they are too thin, add supplement as listed in previous paragraph. If they are overweight or losing their waistline, cut back a ½ cup per meal until their waistline returns. Add green beans or carrots to their food or for snacks if they still act hungry but are overweight.
Showing Your Foster Dog
You will be notified when a family approved for adoption is interested in meeting the boxer you are fostering. It will be your responsibility to call and schedule an appointment with the interested family to meet and greet your foster at your own convenience.
We suggest that the meet and greet begin with the humans meeting the foster. (Their pets can meet and greet after human/dog meeting.) You must be the one in control of the meet & greet by starting with the family being encouraged to ignore the boxer when they first enter the home. Low energy, controlled excitement is the first priority. Give the foster time to smell the visiting family. Do not allow young children to wander from their parents at the meet and greet, and require that potential adopting families maintain a relaxed, peaceful energy while in your home meeting the foster. If all goes well, move on to meeting/greeting the foster boxer and the potential adopting family’s pet (one at a time.)
How to Manage a Meet and Greet with Potential Adopting Family’s Pet(s)
Make sure before the potential adoptive family arrives that you have given your foster boxer LOTS of exercise so they are not hyper-excited when company arrives.
After the boxer and potential adopted family meet, put the foster on leash and have the family put their dog(s) on leash while everyone takes a brisk walk outside. Just walk – make no deal out of the meet and greet. At first, it’s now about the dogs; it’s about the “mood” the humans set while walking. Humans should be relaxed and in control of the dogs. If the dogs are too excited or hyper-obsessed with the other dogs, walk a little farther apart. Let the dogs feel that humans are the ones controlling this meeting/walk.
After the dogs all submit to the walk and things are going smoothly, allow the dogs to sniff each other if they are being friendly. Don’t put pressure on the leash, as the leash tension can create tension between the dogs. If they seem to get along, allow them to meet and greet unleashed in the enclosed yard. Boxer Rescue NWA is careful to match male/females, and we do require that all pets be neutered and spayed. An approved adoptive family should meet this requirement.
When Your foster Dog is Adopted
If all the humans and dogs have a successful meet and greet, and the adopting family is ready to bring their new boxer home, provide them with 2-3 days of food for your foster to eat while transitioning in their new home. Give them 3 days of Composure (6 chews) and any other items you wish to send with your newly adopted foster whose life you have just changed! Instruct the adopting family to use the food you provided for the first day or 2 and to mix the rest 50/50 for the next few days. This allows the boxer to not have to change their diet during the transition period which will be difficult enough. Explain the purpose and how to use the Composure chews the first few days they are in their new home.
Before the new family leaves with your foster boxer:
- Ensure that all heartworm prevention and flea/tick maintenance is current and logged into the BR-NWA tracking system via the website login.
- Confirm the final approval of adoption through your Foster Team Leader or someone on the Board of Directors.
- Ensure the new family has paid or pays the adoption fee by check or by credit card (if credit card, they can use the website’s donate button) before they leave with the dog unless other arrangement have been made through the Foster Team Leader.
- Let the Foster Team Leader know when all is complete so he/she can enter notes, change status on petfinder.com and flag his/her calendar for follow up.
It is common to have mixed feelings when a boxer is adopted. On one hand, you’re thrilled your foster finally has a forever home, but you will also miss your foster and may experience sadness as well.
Jeanne and Dennis Champagne have fostered well over 100 boxers from 2011-2013; they know “post adoption blues” are natural feelings. You just shared your heart with a lonely, hurting, abused, abandoned, or forgotten boxer. You poured a part of yourself into their healing, and now that they’re gone, a tiny piece of your heart has left with them. We promise; you will heal! We hope you will have room to foster again!
Join the Rescue Team
If after reading this foster program segment you still want to become a Foster Family, please complete and return a Foster Family Application right away. We will schedule a home visit and welcome you on board the RESCUE TEAM.
Fostering a boxer may sometimes be challenging. It’s hard to say goodbye when you’ve played a key part in giving a boxer his or her life back, but undoubtedly, it is also one of the most rewarding experiences as well!
An application, home visit and Board approval is necessary to foster a boxer from Boxer Rescue of NWA. Please complete it ASAP; if you don’t hear from the Foster Team Leader within 5 days, please call 479.601.1316 to schedule your home visit. THANK YOU FOR CARING!