Fostering a Dog – Is it right for you?

 “I let my heart break a little, so theirs will never break again.”

Fostering is taking in a homeless dog and giving them care, love and attention for either a predetermined period or until someone adopts the dog.  Fostering is critically important to rescue organizations due to some of the following reasons:

*The shelter does not have space for adoptable dogs

*A dog has not lived in a home before or has not had much contact with people and needs to be socialized.

*A dog is recovering from surgery, illness or injury and needs a safe place to recuperate.

*A puppy is too young to be adopted and needs a safe place to stay until he or she is old enough to go to a forever home.

Fostering a dog can be a rewarding experience – if you know what it entails, and you are ready for the commitment. Most fosters do some training and work on socialization skills for the foster dog, so they have a good chance at being adopted.  They also provide food, exercise and a loving home including introducing the dog to a home environment and possibly getting them used to being around other pets and different types of people.

Joanna Silver is a foster dog mom for Last Chance Ranch (LCR).  Learn more from her thoughts about fostering!

“I’ve LOVED volunteering at LCR for the past couple years, and I’ve always wanted to foster for them – my mom fostered puppies for Guiding Eyes while we were growing up, so I knew what a wonderful experience it could be.  When Covid hit and I started working from home, it gave me the perfect opportunity to foster!  We fostered our first puppy in September of 2020 and knew immediately that he would be a foster fail (Tucker – picture to the left).  Seeing this tiny little fluffball go from being a timid little puppy to a ball of happy energy in just a few days was amazing….it just shows you what a difference being in a home can make.   The wonderful staff at LCR made fostering so easy too, always there to answer any questions or concerns.   My pit bull is the best foster big brother any home could ask for – so patient and playful and sweet, and our foster fail is such a happy, playful pup – that combined with the fact that our first foster experience with LCR was so great, we knew we wanted to keep fostering puppies as long as we could.

Our second foster puppy was a beautiful German Shepherd/Husky mix who came from a tough situation and was incredibly fearful.  The day we brought him home, it took us almost 2 hours to even get him to come out of his crate.  But being around our dogs gave him confidence, and in just a few short weeks, he learned how to “dog” and he was more comfortable being around strangers.   He was a perfect example of why fostering is so important – he needed to be around people and other dogs constantly to show him that the outside world isn’t so scary and that being in a home can be fun.  It’s also so important for foster parents to get to know their puppies and their personalities, so that they can help the staff find the perfect home for them to thrive.   Being in a foster home also gives these puppies a head-start, learning how to socialize with other dogs and people, learning basic obedience, getting started on housebreaking…it’s all so important.   We’ve fostered a few more puppies for LCR since then, and it’s been more fun than we could’ve imagined…. who wouldn’t want to get to spend a few weeks with an adorable puppy?!  Sure, it’s so tough when they leave for their forever home (yes, I cry when they leave!  Happy tears & sad tears), but it’s also so incredibly rewarding.  I’ve been fortunate that most of my fosters’ new families have kept in touch with photos and updates, and I can’t put into words how great it is to see these little puppies grow into wonderful family dogs.   To think that some of them may not have had this chance if they didn’t have fosters.  Fostering puppies is tough, but it is absolutely the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and I’m so grateful to LCR for giving me the opportunity.  I read a great quote about fostering that really stuck with me, and I think it sums it up perfectly – “I let my heart break a little, so theirs will never break again.”

Does this sound like something you would like to do?  Please contact us at 215-538-2510.

Stay tuned for more fostering experiences in our next blog!

Posted:  September 9, 2021 by Jill Roggio

Last Chance Ranch

Minions at Last Chance Ranch?!?!

We all know and love the “Minions”, those fictional characters that appear in the Despicable Me franchise, but did you know that Last Chance Ranch (LCR) has their own “Minions”?

The fondly called “Minions” are teenagers that are current lesson students at LCR.  They came to Marie’s rescue one Saturday when she did not have an assistant and back-to-back lessons were scheduled all day!  Marie manages the horseback riding lesson program at LCR.  Check out our last blog to meet the amazing horses who are part of her lesson program.

Since that day, the minions help Marie get the lesson horses to/from the fields, get them ready for lessons, give birthday party pony rides (which are temporarily discontinued due to COVID) and assist with summer camp activities.  They also school (this means to exercise/train) some of the adoptable horses.  Even when there is not a lot to do, they will still hang around the barn after school, ready to assist with any project or horse that needs attention.

Why do the minions volunteer and love to be part of this special group?

Here are a few of their responses and pictures of them in action!

“I enjoy coming to LCR, learning about new horses and their abilities as this teaches me how to become a better rider with experiencing all the new/different situations.”

“I love being a minion as it has given me a good start to working with horses!”

“I love working with all the animals and have learned so much here!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is also a small group of adult volunteers who dedicate a couple of hours each week to help Marie work with the adoptable horses.  When someone wants to volunteer to ride, they have an evaluation ride on one of the lesson horses, so their abilities can best be matched to the appropriate horse(s).  Marie wants the volunteer riders to feel safe and never wants them to work with a horse that they are uncomfortable with.  It is not always riding that needs to be done, as some days, certain horses need to be groomed and lunged, or assistance is needed with an adoption appointment, etc.

Without volunteers, Marie would not be able to accomplish all the things that need to be done with the horses and the lesson program.  As with all the volunteers at Last Chance Ranch, they are very appreciated!  LCR could not be what we are today without our volunteers and friends!

Posted:  April 6, 2021, by Jill Roggio

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