Pros & Cons of Fostering
BCR always needs foster homes, so for those of you who may have considered fostering, here are some of my experiences.

Fostering need not necessarily be a long-term process. Especially in the case of younger Border Collies - they often find a home more quickly than the oldies. Fostering also enables us to place the BC more effectively, as a Foster Mom/Dad is able to describe the temperament, characteristics, energy level, gets on with kids, tolerates cats etc. This helps in alleviating the “boomerang dog” syndrome. The fact that a Foster Mom/Dad can meet the potential adoptive parents is a tremendous help too - Homo Sapiens (or Idiotus) has many failings, but the one positive aspect is “gut feel” in “sussing out” new owners.


Feeding time
Be prepared for a change in Shep, Bracken, Bliss et al when a new foster arrives. Suddenly the food bowl is a deity which they worship and heaven help any canine or feline who comes near it. Sure, you might have to make changes (eg feeding in different areas), but these are minor and also re-inforce your Alpha Bit (you decide where Shep eats!). Currently in our household, the feeding process is: One dog in garage, one dog in bedroom, one dog in lounge, two (or if they woke up on the right side of the bed, then three) dogs on the patio. One cat on top of washing machine, one cat on top of dish-washer, one cat on top of the ironing board and one hood cat who free-feeds. Painless, easy and peace of mind, ensuring that there will not be squabbles over food.


Your own dogs
Sounds odd, but I have found that you actually inter-act more with your own dogs, after a foster arrives. You know you are welcoming/putting at ease the new dog and it is strange for the regular inhabitants, so I find there is increased playing, ball-throwing, hiding an article in the house (or garden) and getting the ones who love to search to “Find”. An extra BC in the household means that you can also have more of a one-on-one with an individual dog, such as taking Shep for a drive to the shops when you need milk, bread or Prozac.


Aggression
Realistically, there are some situations where either your dog is aggro with the foster or vice-versa. We try and work through it (I generally find it occurs when walking through doorways (I still haven’t got this “Human goes through first” thing right); feeding time (as above) or generally attention seeking (as in the Me!, Me!, Me! syndrome). When a visitor arrives and everyone is - naturally - excited, be aware of this potential situation and plan accordingly (eg handy water spray bottle at the ready). Should a foster prove totally unworkable BCR is always available to implement a new plan.


The worst part of fostering
Letting go and saying good-bye. Of course there will never be a home good enough for Shep, Bracken,or Bliss but the wonderful sight when you introduce your foster dog to his new home - and see how the family reacts to him and how he seems to “fit in” - and you feel this is the right home.

Tips:
     Try not to wear mascara when letting go - it’s a waste of time
     Get a BCR buddy to go with you, it really helps
     Leave quietly, when the newly adopted Shep is enjoying his romp with the other dogs or playing                    
     with the kids- he’s happy and now he has his :
                                     



For more info on becoming involved in fostering, please e-mail Julie Morris on mwmoz@mweb.co.za or (011) 395 2259.
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