The Joy of Fostering a Dog

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dog rescue

fostering a shelter dog

A exclusive by Teresa Barker

Whether you’re a family with a few dogs already, experiencing empty nest syndrome, or simply looking for something meaningful to do, fostering a dog can be a source of great joy in your life. There are many reasons why you should consider being a dog foster family that you may not have thought of.

Whether you’ve recently lost a canine loved one, or your human children have gone off to college, dogs provide outstanding companionship and love. You can work with a shelter to customize the personality type of the dog that you foster to ensure that you bring home a snuggler, a buddy, or whatever type of companionship you may be seeking.

It’s mutually beneficial.
While you enhance the quality of your own life, you will simultaneously be helping out the entire pet adoption industry by easing the burden on overpopulated shelters. It may seem minor to have one dog at your house for a few weeks or months, but it all adds up.

You can become part of the solution.
When you make the decision to foster a dog in your home, your friends and family become aware of the enormous need to help stop the homeless pet epidemic. You can take the opportunity to educate your friends and family on the statistics that are staggering. If, as a result, just one friend or family member decides to adopt from a shelter (instead of buying from a breeder), you’ve now helped out exponentially.

You will make new friends.
By getting involved with a local dog rescue, you will certainly be meeting other like-minded individuals. Most rescues provide an immense amount of communication and support, often provided by other volunteers. There are events and functions you can attend and you needn’t worry about ice-breaker strategies..your dogs do it for you!

It’s a chance to role-play parenting.
In the case that you’ve not been a dog parent recently, fostering can provide you with the opportunity to see if your current lifestyle would be conducive to committing to the next 15 years with a dog. It also gives you the ability to consider specific dog breeds, sizes and ages that might be best for you long term.

If you’ve ever found yourself rooting for the underdog, becoming a foster parent will bring you great joy. No matter what level of a commitment you can make, it will have a ripple effect in terms of how much it helps. Talk to your local shelters and find a good fit for you and them and feel good about your contribution to your community!

January 4, 2021 |

Everything Helps! Ways to Volunteer at Your Local Dog Rescue

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dog rescue

dog rescue

A exclusive by Teresa Barker

Well, it’s no surprise that running a dog rescue is an enormous task. It makes sense that rescues can always use volunteer help with cleaning, feeding, bathing, walking, and caring for the dogs who reside there. But there are also unlimited possibilities for alternative volunteer support that you may not have thought about when the desire to help overcomes you. Here are a few ways you might be able to help, which may utilize your talents or professional qualifications, along with a few that take no time at all!

Make a Cash Donation
This is often the most overlooked and fully appreciated area that dog rescues could use more help in. If you think that donating money seems impersonal, you are wrong! Organizing fundraising events is time consuming and laborious, which takes away time that could be spent directly with the dogs. If you want to get creative, call a shelter and offer to pay their electric bill for the month. Or, make a donation in the name of a friend (human or canine) for a holiday or birthday. Set up a payment plan that you can afford, and skip 1 latte a week to donate your coffee fund.

Donate STUFF
Picking up a bag of dog food for your pooches? Pick up another for a local shelter. Have too many blankets and towels in cupboards all over the house? Red Rover, Red Rover, send them right over! Did you get a new computer, printer, digital camera, or (fill-in the blank)? Maybe your local shelter has that on the top of their wish list. In most cases, cash and items donated to a non-profit shelter are also a tax write-off for you. Woohoo!

Share Your Talents
If you’ve ever taken a photography course or tinkered around with taking photos for fun, you’ve probably got services that would be appreciated at the shelter. It’s hard to get a headshot of a dog who wiggles, pants, and thinks that “CHEESE” means it’s treat time. The better the photo of the dog needing a home, the more likely he is to get adopted. What do you love to do? Now ask how that can be a service to the rescue.

Use Your Professional Qualifications
Whether your profession is Web Marketing or Event Planning, there’s a need at the shelter! After all, you have to remember, a dog rescue is a business with a heart. Running a business requires an administrative department, volunteer coordinating, a marketing team, a legal team, and much more to keep going. Donating a few hours of time sharing your expertise goes a long way for many of the rescues running on a skeleton crew.

Obviously, fostering a dog and sharing photos of adoptable dogs on your Facebook page are awesome ways to help. But the need to help doesn’t stop there. Get creative and realistic about what you have to offer, and go for it! Heck, you might just be asked to dress up like Santa Claus for a holiday photo fundraising event. Now that sounds like fun!

Find a dog rescue or animal shelter near you >>

December 16, 2019 |

6 Ways to Help Homeless Pets and Animal Shelters

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Homeless Pets

Homeless Pets

A exclusive by Michael McCamish

You don’t have to adopt/foster all the animals, have a lot of money or be a petexpert to help your local animal shelter out, there are pleanty of other ways. Below is a list of things that you can do at almost any shelter that we can guarantee they would be thankful for.

  1. Volunteer. Whether or not you can afford to donate cash or items, you can always donate time to volunteer! Ask your local shelter how you can help. They always need people to help walk and wash dogs, assist visitors, volunteer at adoption events and more. Not only do these things help the shelter keep costs down, they help pets get socialized so it’s a win-win.
  2. Donate supplies. Almost every shelter has a list of supplies that they are always in need of normally containing blankets, chew toys, leashes, collars, paper towels, cleaning supplies and more. If there is not a list online, call or drop by. Make sure you do contact them though to ensure that you are getting the brand they need. Some cleaners are harmful to pets. Some shelters need items like computers, cameras, printers, etc… next time you upgrade, don’t just throw your old one out or let it sit collecting dust, donate it.
  3. Marketing. We all can’t be marketing and ad people like of Mad Men, but we can help spread the word! Take time to repost things on Facebook or reTweet on Twitter posts from your favorite organization to help raise awareness. If the organization you are volunteering for doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter page, ask them if you can create one. Positive talk and word-of-mouth does a lot and will help them.
  4. Take photos. Most shelters at least have a presence on (if not, you can help them out there) and it really helps dogs get adopted if they have a photo. Grab your camera and take some photos.
  5. Make some phone calls. Most shelters have a wait list of people who are looking for a certain type of dog. The problem is that the staff does not have time to call people on the list when the dogs come in. Take time to help out and call potential adoptors when there is a match and help them find a forever home.
  6. Events. Every shelter does events to help raise funds and awareness. Volunteer your time to help recruit sponsors (even ask the company you work for), find vendors and at the very least, support the event by coming and telling all your friends to come.

Got more ideas? Help spread the word below. Don’t know of an animal shelter near you to volunteer with?

December 8, 2019 |

Are You Ready to Adopt a Dog?

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Adopt a Dog

A checklist of consideration when thinking about adopting a dog.

Many people think that when they buy or rent a house with a big yard, “Well, now we need a dog!” but there are so many more important considerations than your yard size when adopting a dog. Here is a list of considerations when you feel the urge to add a dog to your family.

  1. Adopt a DogCan you commit? Dogs can live 15 years, and smaller breeds even longer. Where do you see yourself in the next 15 years? Regardless of whether or not you get married, have kids, retire and start traveling, move, lose your job, or get a divorce, are you willing to care for a dog through the process?
  2. Is this the right time?There are many life situations that compel us to want a companion by our side, but these intense emotional times can be when we make irrational decisions that we might regret. In times of grief (loss of a pet or relative), times of transition (a new job or house), or when planning for transition (planning a wedding or trying to get pregnant) it’s better not to add the responsibility of caring for a dog.
  3. Do you have the time?Do you have a stable routine that allows for daily walking, training, grooming and bonding? Dogs are social beings and having one in your family is like having another person in your house! You’ve got to be prepared to accommodate your new canine family member in all ways, incorporating them in your daily routine and putting their needs at the top of the list.
  4. Are you willing to work through the issues?They say that dogs are “Man’s Best Friend” for a reason. It’s about relationships. Just like scouring, when looking for the perfect dog to add to the family, you might be slightly fooled by the initial profile. Sometimes it can take time before baggage shows up. Your new dog might have an aggression trigger that you could have never predicted, or develop a separation anxiety issue once bonded to you. Are you willing to take the time to work with a trainer, or do what ever it takes to keep your dog safe and happy?
  5. Are you financially stable?In general, puppies, large dogs, and older dogs are more expensive to care for, but unforeseen expenses can happen with any dog. Are you capable of covering a vet bill, or damages to your house (accidents do and will happen!), and to adding the regular maintenance fees to your budget (food, vaccinations, toys, supplies)?
  6. Have you thought of the type of mate you are looking for?There are thousands of considerations about breed, size, age and disposition that one should consider before adopting. Do you live a physically active lifestyle (hiking, jogging, camping) that would be conducive to including an energetic dog? Do you have physical ailments that might limit your ability to walk a puppy or live with an active dog? Take a long, hard look at your life and determine what type of dog would fit into it nicely.

5 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe from Wild Animals

Before you find yourself looking into all the sad and loving faces at your local dog shelter, take the time to consider if it really is a good decision to adopt. It can be very difficult to say ‘no’ to a dog in need of a home, but there are other ways to help. If the time isn’t right to bring a dog home with you, spend time volunteering at or for a shelter. From dog walking to office work, you can provide greatly needed and appreciated services in many capacities! If the time is right to add to your family, you get ready to experience highs and lows and joys like you could never imagine. They truly are man’s best friend!

Find an animal shelter or dog rescue near you >>

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

October 15, 2018 |

What is a rescue dog?

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what is a rescue dog

A exclusive by Teresa Barker

If you’ve ever heard the term “rescue dog” and had images of a canine dragging a human out of a burning building, you’re not wrong. If your neighbor with the cute little pure-bred shitzu proudly reminds you every time you see her that her dog is a rescue dog, you might be a little confused. Actually, both examples are correct.

While there are many heartwarming stories about service dogs all over the world who provide therapy, search and rescue services, and physical aid to humans with disabilities, the type of “rescue dog” we are referring to in this article is a little different.

In simplest terms, a rescue dog is a dog who needs a new home. Dogs who are adopted from shelters or rescue organizations are referred to as rescue dogs. They run the entire spectrum of age, breed, personality and level of health. A rescue dog is a canine who needs a human to give it a second chance.

Currently, all over the country, there are many types and breeds of dogs that end up in animal control shelters just waiting to be euthanized. Almost all of them are in this awful position as a result of humans being selfish. People make hasty decisions about getting a dog and then don’t follow through on the many years of commitment that getting a dog requires. The numbers are staggering, and a sign of a true epedemic.

So what can you do about it?

The most important action you can take is to really think through the decision and consequences (good and bad) of adding a dog to your life. If everyone took just a little time for thoughtful reflection on the impact of caring for a dog for many years ahead, we could save thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Another important action is to always spay or neuter your canine loved one. There are more puppies in this country than people willing to take care of them, and accidental pregnancies add to the problem.

Finally, if you’ve heavily weighed the pros and cons of adding a dog to your family and the answer is ‘yes’, then absolutely ADOPT! Take your time and don’t let your excitement rush you into any decisions. Check out our checklist of considerations before you go out looking because once you look into those big eyes, all reason could fly out the window.

There are hundreds of breed-specific dog rescues all over the country. If you find yourself partial to Boston Terriers, for example, with memories of your childhood companion, a quick google search will reveal that there are many others who are also passionate about Boston Terriers. You might find breed-specific rescues in your town, state, or region but don’t let distance deter you! Breed-loving humans volunteer to make sure that the dogs they foster find good homes. Often, they will drive dogs across states, fly them across the country, or do whatever they need to place their foster dogs in the right home. There’s nothing like the friendship between people who love dogs enough to make huge sacrifices for their well-being.

Rescue dogs are the best breed on Earth!  You will have many years of heart-felt joy knowing that you were the caring person who gave your dog a second chance on life.

Find an animal shelter or dog rescue near you >>


March 15, 2014 |

A Case for the Big Black Dog (or BBD)

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black dogs

black dogs

A exclusive by Teresa Barker

It’s a well known fact in the animal shelter community that black-coated medium to large dogs are the hardest to adopt. They are also the first to be euthanized in animal shelters, where they are assumed “unadoptable.” As the mother of 2 Big Black Dogs (BBDs), this is disturbing news. Whether it is due to superstition, misplaced fear, negative association or otherwise, the only cure for this malady (called Black Dog Syndrome) is education!

Mahatma Ghandi said, “Gentleness, Self-Sacrifice, and Generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.” and that goes for dogs, too!

A dog’s temperament has absolutely nothing to do with the color of its fur. Dogs become aggressive as a result of abuse, neglect, and improper training, all usually a result of human error. Every dog, no matter its color, is a product of its environment, just like humans. Sure, there may be a slight genetic predisposition for certain personality-types (think: the crazy-hyper Dalmation) but dogs are highly intelligent beings and very trainable. Take, for example, my 2 BBDs. Completely different personalities! One is a black collie mix (a girl, Trixie) who is smarter, faster, stronger and more agile than her BBD brother (Briley, named after the freeway I found him on) who is half her age. Briley is a complete mush, snuggle bug, and wants to be lounging or playing fetch at all times. They were both raised in the same environment, but have distinctly different personalities.

“Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition.” ~Isaac Asimov

A black dog is no more a representative of the devil than a white dog is of an angel! From British folklore to symbolizing mental illness, black dogs have historically been used to conjure images of negativity and darkness. Winston Churchill frequently referenced his manic depression, which he referred to as his “black dog” in his writings. Even Led Zeppelin referenced the black dog folklore of the British Isles with the lyrics “Eyes that shine burning red” in a song that was innocently titled after a nameless black lab roaming the recording studio. It’s time to break the cycle of using these lovely animals as a symbol of darkness and deamons. Black is beautiful!

Healthy black dogs have beautiful shining coats that glisten in the sunshine. Their fur also hides dirt well and can be accessorized with any colored collar. Black isn’t just black, there’s various hues within black. I’ve recently noticed that Trixie has a distinct purple-black hue, while Briley is a black and tan. Also, BBDs are often adopted for a smaller fee than other dogs (sad) due to the abundant lack of interest by families looking to adopt. Often, if you adopt a black dog, you can become part of a black dog-lovers club, and might even get a free t-shirt!

Now that you have the information, it’s up to you to choose how you use it. If you are fortunate enough to have a BBD in your family, hug them extra close today. If you see someone walking a BBD, stop to tell them how handsome or beautiful his or her dog is. And, if you’re thinking about adopting a rescue dog, go for the under-underdog….a BBD from a shelter!

Find an animal shelter or dog rescue near you >>

March 10, 2014 |
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