Will you be able to part with a Golden once you've started fostering?
As Dayle S. prepared to meet her first rescue Golden from Retrieve a Golden of the Midwest, she worried that she was getting into a situation she wasn’t prepared to handle. She’d had the RAGOM home visit, taken the foster training, and gotten comfortable with her mentor, but still. What if this pup was too much for her to handle?
That was 12 years ago and more than 100 foster dogs in her life, so it’d be hard to find anyone with more fostering experience than Dayle. Yet she still feels that same edge and anticipation when she’s preparing to welcome a new RAGOM foster pup.
“It’s amazing how much I learn from each new dog,” explains Dayle. “With each first night and first play time and first tentative training session. It’s never the same and I really, really enjoy it.”
Not only is Dayle an incredibly experienced foster parent, she’s also taken on a volunteer role as RAGOM’s Vet Services Manager, using her years of work as a registered nurse to the benefit of everyone—and every dog, in the RAGOM family.
“We manage all the foster dog’s veterinary needs,” she explained. “We see all the common medical issues and some pretty unusual ones as well. Our transport team even gets the foster dogs to their appointments and sees to their safe return home. It’s just a way that this organization has worked out to make life a bit easier for our amazing foster parents.”
From her first foster pup to her most recent though, Dayle has been continually amazed at the personalities and love she receives from the dogs in her care.
Her first foster, Stella 07-519 was a perfect case in point. After being rescued from a commercial breeding operation, she had all the classic fears and insecurities of dogs from that background. Shy to a fault, distrusting and timid, it took weeks for her to settle into the lifestyle she deserved.
Dayle’s own dog, Scout, was a great help. Commercial breeder dogs commonly will fear people, but know that if they follow another dog around, they’ll usually be safe. Doorways will be less scary, it’ll be OK to go outside, there’s safety in numbers.
One of her most fascinating experiences was with Roy 07-615. “He was blind,” Dayle said, “but it took all of three days for that guy to learn my entire house and yard layout, never running into an obstacle and romping just like any other dog. He taught me so much about confidence and the joy that dogs bring to life. He went on to live a very happy life.”
Her most recent foster, Doogie 18-281, was her seven-month-old “wild child,” full of energy, barreling through life. “But he learned fast! He’s going to be a great pet for his lucky adopters,” she beamed. “He was already doing a great job with ‘sit’ and ‘touch’ and he was really working hard on his fidgety ‘down.’ He’s smart and energetic and he was a lot of fun.”
With each challenge through the years, Dayle has learned from, trusted, and then become one of RAGOM’s mentors, who bring their years of experience to bear whenever a behavior or personality quirk has surfaced. The mentor’s focus is always on keeping the dogs safe and making sure foster parents have what’s needed to help each animal become a great part of their forever family.
How difficult is it to give up each dog?
The fostering community even has a special term for the situation—“Foster Fails,” a tongue-in-cheek way of saying the fostering parents have come across a dog they just can’t give up; and Dayle has added three members to her home over the years in that fashion.
That was one of her first concerns as she started down this path. “I wondered what it would be like to grow to love these dogs and then give them up, but three out of a hundred isn’t a bad record,” said Dayle, and it quickly became one of the best parts of the fostering job.
Seeing each Golden connect with their adopters and move on to the great life they deserve, is a terrific experience. And in her words, it is still exciting for Dayle to welcome that next RAGOM dog into her life.
“When they leave me, I can move on to help out the next dog that needs my help! And, I know this boy or girl will soon be home where they belong, with a wonderful owner—curling up in all that love.”
Interested in becoming a RAGOM foster family?
To learn more about this rewarding experience, visit our Foster Care page.
Dayle is shown in the feature photo above with her “foster failures” Tannin (Hamilton 18-056TD), at left, and Sadie (15-157), at right.