Save Our Shepherds Rescue, Inc.
P.O. Box 343401
Memphis, TN 38184
FAQs About Fostering a German Shepherd
Homes Needed. In the animal rescue business, foster
homes are a critical resource, providing a loving, temporary shelter for GSDs in
and giving us the opportunity to learn more about the animal in a home environment
and therefore place it in the most appropriate permanent home.
At Save Our Shepherds we are blessed with a small but dedicated group
of people who are willing to welcome foster animals into their homes: whether it's
to offer a comfortable bed to an older dog or dedicate the time and effort into
house training or teaching basic manners to a
younger dog . While we need our foster families to be flexible, we can
usually find a good match for each foster's lifestyle.
In order to maintain our rescue
work, the Save Our Shepherds needs caring foster families to provide a German Shepherd Dog a temporary home while we find a great
By fostering you will be helping to save more animals' lives in our community.
By fostering you will be helping to restore a homeless animal's faith in human beings.
By fostering you will be helping us learn more about an animal's personality so we can find the
best human match
By fostering you will be able to provide consistent training, thereby making the animal more
Please complete the Foster Family Application if you would like to open up your home to
one of our pets, or email
us if you have questions about fostering.
How to Foster
Fostering a dog in need of shelter, love, and
guidance is a time-consuming effort, but it’s also one of the most rewarding ways
to help homeless pets. Providing a “stepping stone” for animals in search of
permanent homes saves lives, alleviates the strain on animal shelters, helps set the
stage for successful adoptions, and teaches you the skills that will enable you to
help other animals in need.
If you would like to help us by fostering a dog please fill out our Foster
Application. Foster care consists of providing a safe, loving, temporary home
for a dog until a permanent adoptive home can be found. All dogs are screened for
health and temperament before entering our program. We can only rescue as many dogs
as we have foster homes! If you are thinking of fostering check out Becoming
a Foster Parent: Are You Ready? which has a number of good things for you to
We provide the veterinary care and guidance. You provide the safe home, food, training
and the love. The dog provides you with love, joy, and the satisfaction of having saved
The time involved is usually from four weeks to several months.
Foster home responsibilities:
Provide temporary home for the dog.
Be patient. Understand that all dogs are rescue dogs and their behavior can be
unpredictable. Be prepared for some adjustment in the beginning. It can be
stressful for both you and the dog to be in a new situation.
Be willing to foster your dog from rescue to adoption. The amount of time
needed to find a permanent home for a dog can vary from weeks to months.
If you are working full time, provide a safe place for the dog to be while you
are gone. If the dog will be outside while you are away be sure to provide a
shelter for the dog to retreat to during stormy or hot weather. A fence of at
least 6 feet is recommended to prevent a dog from jumping over. If the dog is to
remain indoors we highly recommend either crate training or using a baby gate to
limit the dog to a specific dog-proof area of your home. The reasoning
behind this is to keep both the dog and your
home safe and secure.
Provide weekly updates to your SOS contact, so we can keep your foster dog's
listing current. Details about what they've learned or the adorable things
they do often makes the difference in the time it takes to get them adopted into
the right forever family.
Foster homes sign a Foster Home Agreement and agree to abide by SOS Rescue policies. See the
Foster Home Manual for more information.
Notify your SOS contacts immediately in the event the dog is sick or lost
(your foster agreement includes the names and numbers of your contacts). Take
the dog to medical appointments as needed and to any "meet and greet"
events if scheduled.
Notify your SOS contacts when you are going on vacation so we can provide
another home for your dog to go to. Taking your foster dog with you also
requires SOS permission.
Keep SOS informed about your foster dog's personality, quirks, behavior, etc.
Your input is invaluable for describing the dog on the website and to potential
Treat the dog as a member of your family.
Dogs are placed through our website and petfinder site on the internet.
After an interested potential adopter completes our adoption application, a vet
check and home visit is performed.
SOS requirements must be met by all adopters. All adopted dogs must
have adoption papers filled out, signed, and the adoption fee paid before they can
go home with an adopter.
We welcome foster homes that work to find permanent homes
for their foster dogs. We ask that
foster homes be willing to foster at least one dog before adopting one. We do understand
that parting with the first dog is the hardest, but the rewards for saving lives is
So what drives people to take an unknown animal into their home, having to establish
a new routine and knowing they're going to get attached and then have to say
goodbye? The primary reason is of course a deep love of animals and the
knowledge that this is something very tangible you can do to help reduce the
thousands of animals that are senselessly destroyed each year. Witnessing a transformation as the animal emerges from the stress of its
previous ordeal and its true personality begins to shine through: a real
miracle to see. You have to focus on
the end result. The opportunity to live in a home before the dog is permanently
placed is such an enormous advantage for a rescue animal.
But how do you say goodbye to this animal
who has wriggled its way inevitably into your heart? "It's hard: Many of
shed tears every time one of our fosters gets adopted. But we know they're going
to a great home and try to remember that by letting them go, we create a space that enables us
to rescue another animal."
And sometimes the personal benefits are quite as profound as the benefits to the
animals. If you feel you need to do something that will give life more
meaning, or feel the need to do something that will make the world a better place...
If you think you may be able to offer a temporary refuge for a rescued animal,
Thank you to all our foster families: you are extremely important - to SOS and
the german shepherd dogs that need you!
Q.WHAT IS A FOSTER HOME?
Foster homes are temporary homes for the dogs accepted into our
rescue program. The foster parents care for the dogs as their own, but
for a limited length of time -- just until we find a permanent home for
them. A length of time cannot be determined. The foster home provides
shelter, food, toys and human (and sometimes other dog and animal)
interaction. At times, SOS can provide food if needed. Sometimes
foster homes need to administer medical care, such as giving medicines,
changing bandages, or applying salves or special shampoos.
Foster homes provide love, attention, food,
water, and shelter for rescues. All foster dogs must live
indoors and be able to go outside for potty breaks. You have first hand
knowledge of the dog’s personality and any “quirks” and therefore
help in assessing the dog to assure the best possible adoption for that
ALL rescued dogs should remain in foster care
for a minimum of 2 weeks before being adopted. This
allows for thorough personality assessment, as well as to allow healing
from spays/neuters that usually need to be done.
No more than 2 foster dogs will be
allowed in any SOS foster home at a given time (except in case of
temporary emergencies. “Temporary” means a week or less.)
In general, no more than 3 owned dogs should be in a home where
an SOS dog is being fostered. We want each rescue to get 1 on 1
attention and assessment, and if there are too many dogs
already in the home, that 1 on 1 attention cannot be given.
Foster families are responsible for getting
exposure for their fostered friend (taking the dog to pet
fairs whenever possible, going out in public, etc.)
Q.WHAT ARE FOSTER
HOMES RESPONSIBLE FOR?
SOS has a foster home agreement, which the foster parent and SOS
sign before a dog is placed into their foster home. The main points of
the agreement are that the foster home will: provide fresh food every
day provide clean, fresh water every day, provide shelter and a clean,
dry place for the dog to sleep, provide clean bowls to eat and drink
from, adequate potty breaks and exercise, provide baths, brushing and
toenail clippings as needed ensure the dog is clean and available for
its appointments to meet prospective adopters, and make an effort
to attend adoption events, if the locale is convenient to the
Basically, Foster homes are responsible for daily
care of the foster dog, including transport to & from the
veterinarian for basic medical care, as well as:
Brushing & Grooming as needed
Reinforcing house manners and basic obedience commands, such as sit,
stay, come (and for the more advanced: wait, leave it, down) and the dog should be able to walk on a lead or
leash, and taking treats gently etc
Observing and evaluating general behavior and
temperament. Working om areas that may need improvement.
Writing the dog’s
Petfinder bio & also provide photos so we can keep the website up to
And, of course, providing love & security to a
special GSD at an often difficult time in their life.
Q.DOES IT COST MONEY TO
A. Not really - SOS pays for the foster dog's vet
bills (pre-approval is required), medicines, medical supplies (salves,
special shampoos, bandages, etc.), and provides the dog with its
vaccinations, a collar and an ID tag. SOS supplies monthly
heartworm preventative as a rule, and will try to supply flea & tick
preventative if we have the money or supply available. The only real
cost you may incur is food for the foster dog, and if that dog requires
a special diet, then SOS may attempt to pay for that for you if the
rescue has the funds.
SOS provides on-going support for our foster homes regarding training,
crate training, medical questions, house training and much more. SOS
can provide you with a crate if you do not have one available to use for
your foster companion.
Q.WHAT ARE THE DOGS LIKE?
When rescue dogs are first brought in, they can sometimes be shy or
timid, or be starved for attention. Each dog has a different personality
– some are outgoing and demanding, others take some time to warm up to
you. Many of them will soak up love from you like a sponge.
Sometimes they are not housebroken (or may need time to “adjust” in
a new environment) and some have minor behavior problems (no training,
bad manners of some sort, etc.) When we accept a dog into our foster
program, we give a first pass evaluation of the dog to be sure it has a
temperament that will allow it to live in a home safely. Dogs that are
uncontrollably aggressive towards people and/or are deemed dangerous are
not accepted into the SOS foster program. Some dogs may be accepted that
are not other-dog or cat friendly, and some dogs may not be good with
children. If a dog in foster care becomes aggressive to an extent that
the foster home cannot deal with it, we can remove it and re-evaluate it
SOS provides foster parents with advice and on going guidance on
solving any behavior problems that might arise. We also have a number of
trainers we work with that can provide us with advice and hold training
classes for foster parents to attend. SOS can also provide you
with a Foster Mentor to help you every step of the way.
Q.HOW LONG DO DOGS
STAY IN FOSTER HOMES?
It's not possible for us to predict how long a dog will be in foster
care before its permanent home is found. How quickly a dog can be
placed depends on a number of factors, such as physical beauty, age,
health and training.
For many dogs, we've found that foster families who provide basic
training (obedience and good manners) to their foster dogs make those
dogs easier to place, and they tend to get adopted more quickly.
Frequent updates in pictures and online profile descriptions of the dogs
for the website help as well, so the foster family should try to send in
updates as frequently as possible. Older dogs or dogs that have behavior
problems the foster home does not work on with them tend to be in foster
for a longer time.
Q.WHO FINDS THE
SOS is responsible for finding the adopters. The foster home takes
care of the dog while SOS looks for, screens, interviews, completes
homechecks, and approves the permanent homes. SOS has many
ways to find homes for foster dogs, and you may also want to help with
this process – just let us know!
Q.DO I HAVE TO BE HOME
WITH THE DOG ALL DAY?
No, many of our foster family members are currently employed full or
part-time & still provide a quality environment for the dog. However, our first concern is safety:
for you for your family, for
your own dog(s) and for the rescue dog. Therefore, any time you
are unable to directly supervise the foster dog, you should confine him
or her to a small secure area, preferably a crate or baby-gated in a
safe area of the house.
Q.DO I NEED A FENCED
A. We do prefer a safely enclosed area for exercise and bathroom but No, a
fenced yard is not absolutely necessary. However the rescue dog
must never be allowed to run free. Outside of the house, the dog must be
on a leash at all times and must have a collar on with the SOS
identification tag attached.
Q.HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT
TAKE TO BE A FOSTER PARENT?
A. From an hour or two a day to however much time you care to spend with
the dog. The time you spend with the dog is a very important part
of socializing him to new people & environments.
Q.WILL I BECOME
ATTACHED TO MY FOSTER DOG?
Yes, you undoubtedly will - - they bond quickly & give back so much
in return for your care & attention. But when you
meet the new family who’s ready to provide a permanent, loving home
for the dog you’ve helped rescue, you will feel more than satisfied to
see the dog move on to a new & better life.
Q.ARE SOS DOGS HEALTHY?
A. Save Our Shepherds frequently
spends more than the adoption fee making sure, to the best of our
ability, that the dog you adopt is healthy. Each dog we bring into
our program is fully vetted. This includes stool check, heartworm
test, all vaccinations, rabies shots, worming if necessary and any other
test or procedure our vets feel is needed. All of our rescue dogs
are microchipped as well.
instance, recently we've run into two dogs with rear dew claws. Most dogs do not have them on the back feet.
The decision to have
them removed is made on a case by case basis because the laser surgery
to have this done is quite expensive. If they are frequently
getting snagged and getting injured, we do recommend that they be
removed, since they contain a rather large artery and any serious injury
to that part of a dog's anatomy can cause him to bleed to death rather
quickly. We always try to do what is best for the dog, no matter
what it costs us. Of course donations towards our veterinary
expenses are always needed and gratefully accepted.
Q.WHERE DO ALL THESE DOGS COME FROM?
WHY ARE THEY HOMELESS? DOESN'T IT MEAN THEY CREATED SOME PROBLEMS
A. Dogs are taken into rescue for two basic reasons. First is the
'stray' or 'abandoned' dog found in shelters, and we never know why most
are there. Sometimes the dog is sick, sometimes people do not
monitor their pets and they 'escape'. Maybe the fence isn't tall enough
so when the dog was just shut up in the yard and got board, they decided
to jump the fence;
maybe they left their German Shepherd unattended in a backyard and
a gate left open; in any case, these reasons are not the fault of the
dog, but the fault of negligent owners.
The second reason is
owner-surrender, and normally this is because of a life-style change of
the owner. Maybe they are relocating and can not take their German
Shepherd Dog; possibly they have a job change and can no longer spend
time with him; or possibly they are getting married and no longer
feel that the dog will fit in. Now with the economy the way
it is, more and more good dogs are becoming victims of the real estate
and foreclosure crisis.
We also occasionally help
with breeder referrals. These are retired show dogs or obedience dogs,
or sometimes youngsters that didn't progress as planned, or even
dogs that have been returned to the breeder for some of the same reasons
we get owner surrender. These dogs are healthy well-bred dogs and just
need a family of their own.
Of course, each dog we bring
into rescue may have areas that could use some attention. It is
our job to help make each dog as adoptable as possible, so if the dog was
dumped because she has a tendency to jump up on people, or is too
mouthy, or likes to counter surf, we do address these issues - gently
and with lots of love and consistency. Usually the issue is
resolved rather quickly and always makes us wonder why it wasn't
corrected in the original home.
Q.WHAT IF I WANT TO
ADOPT THE GSD THAT I’M FOSTERING?
A. Foster homes are given preference to adopt the dog they foster.
However, please alert us as soon as you know that the rescue you have
has found his forever home with your family so that we will not
entertain other applicants for him/her. For highly adoptable dogs that
may have several good candidates for adopting them, the foster home
should make a decision and commitment to adopt their foster dog within 2
weeks. This assures the dog has the best chance to go to his/her
permanent home as soon as possible.
SOS supplies the following to foster homes:
1) Monthly heartworm preventative (but due to limited funds, we cannot
always provide flea & tick preventative, but we’ll try to when we
2) SOS tag (collar and/or leash if you need them)
3) SOS business cards
While in your care, we ask that you treat
your foster dog as a member of your family, and give your
foster dog LOTS of love and attention. You may need to help your foster
dog with basic training that may include commands (like “sit”, come,
down, stay, wait, leave it),
crate training and house training when needed. If you are uncertain
about how to do anything, please let us know and we will get someone who
can help you or direct you to resources that can help. Additional information
is available in our SOS
Foster Home Manual as well. (28 pages in PDF format)
To begin the approval process to become a member
and/or foster home, please go to
Our sunshine does not come from the skies,
It comes from the love we see in each rescued dog's eyes.