Foster Home Manual


Contents

  • Introduction
  • Preparing for Your Foster Dog
  • Supplies You’ll Need
  • Dog Proofing Your Home
  • Foster Home Checklist
  • Bringing Home Your Foster Dog
  • Arrival of Your Foster Dog
  • Dog Introductions
  • Cat Introductions
  • Children & Dogs
  • Two Week Shutdown
  • Daily Care
  • Feeding
  • Daily Routine
  • Crate Training
  • Potty Training
  • Basic Skills & Manners Training
  • Grooming
  • Exercise & Mental Stimulation
  • Safety Requirements
  • Bite Notification
  • Medical & Emergency Protocols
  • Veterinary Care
  • Signs of Illness & What to Do Next
  • Common Ailments in Animals from Shelters
  • Criteria for Emergencies
  • Helping Your Foster Dog Get Adopted
  • Completing Your Foster Dog’s Profile
  • Appointments with Potential Adopters
  • Completing Adoption Paperwork
  • Appendix
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Coordinator List
  • Foster Home Checklist
  • Sample Adopter Email
  • Sample Adoption Profile
  • Template Email for Sending A Sound Beginning Excerpts
  • Reimbursement Process

Introduction

Welcome to MLRR’s Foster Home Family and thank you for fostering! We wouldn’t be able to “give Labs a second chance” and save these precious lives without you. As a foster home, you are the heart and soul of this rescue.

MLRR is an all volunteer, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to finding loving, permanent homes for unwanted or abandoned Labrador Retrievers. All rescued Labs are placed in foster homes where they can be evaluated for temperament and level of training before being adopted. This manual is a guide for your role as a foster home.

Fostering is both challenging and rewarding, but you are not on your own! Our dedicated team wants to set you up for success and provide all the support you need. Visit Contact Us to reach MLRR team members.

Preparing for Your Foster Dog

The dogs coming to us have traveled a long distance and are unsure of what’s happening, so it’s very important to be prepared. 

Supplies You’ll Need

MLRR will send you a care package prior to the arrival of your foster dog. The care package will contain: a no-pull harness with leash, ID tag, training book with music CD, treats and toys. All of these items (if not consumed) will go with your foster, to his new home, once he's is adopted.

Additional supplies you will need include:

  • Bowls – One each for food and water. Stainless steel or ceramic are preferred.
  • Food – MLRR will provide a high quality, grain free kibble for your foster dog.
  • Collar – A flat buckle collar is preferred.  Choke chains, prong and electronic collars are strictly prohibited.
  • Bed – Old towels or blankets work well in crates.
  • Baby gate – To keep areas of your home off-limits.
  • Crate – Large enough for the dog to stand up and turn around in. MLRR will supply a crate if needed.
  • Dog treats – Yummy, meaty, smelly, best-of-the-best treats should be used for training. Lunch meat, hot dogs, liverwurst, jerky treats, cheese, bacon and salmon are examples – all in tiny pieces.
  • Dog toys – Be sure toys are durable and appropriately sized for your foster.
  • Grooming supplies – A well-groomed dog has a better chance of getting adopted.
  • Cleaning supplies – Disinfectant wipes, paper towels, rug cleaner, and enzymatic cleaner in case of potty accidents.

Dog Proofing Your Home

Before your new foster dog arrives, survey the area. Remove anything unsafe or undesirable for the dog to chew. Securely latch cabinets and doors that she could get into. Chemicals and some people food are very harmful if consumed, so store them in a safe place that the foster can't access. Never underestimate your foster dog’s abilities!

Here are some additional tips for dog-proofing your home:

  • Cover all trash cans and keep them inside a closet.
  • Keep toilet lids closed.
  • Keep both people and pet food out of reach and off counter tops.
  • Move or remove house plants.
  • Move aquariums/cages that house small animals (such as fish or hamsters) out of reach.
  • Secure medications, lotions and cosmetics.
  • Keep wires out of reach.
  • Pick up children's toys that your foster may chew, especially small plastic toys and stuffed animals.

Bringing Home Your Foster Dog

How We Find Our Labs

Rescued Labs come from animal shelters, animal control facilities, and from owners who are unable or no longer willing to care for them. Our Intake Coordinator communicates with these referrals and learns as much as they can about the dog’s temperament, how it interacts with adults, kids, other dogs, and if possible, cats.

Unfortunately, many dogs come to us with little history, come from rural areas and were kept outside. Your foster dog may not know how to do the simplest things, like walk on a leash, climb stairs, or even potty outside. It’s the foster home’s job to teach their foster dog.

Arrival of Your Foster Dog

After your foster dog has been tagged, a team of volunteers go to work. Our Transport Coordinator will rally volunteers to bring the dog to MLRR (many times from out of state) and to our local vet. Once your foster dog has received a wellness exam and basic medical treatment, the Transport Coordinator will arrange a volunteer to bring the foster dog to your home.

Dog Introductions

Introduce each resident dog to your foster dog carefully and slowly, one at a time, while supervising their interactions. In general, follow these guidelines:

  • Meet outside, on neutral territory. It’s best to meet a few houses away. Never start in the house or in the backyard.
  • Keep each dog on a loose leash, (preferably with a harness) at a comfortable distance from each other. Increase the distance if there are any signs of anxiety or aggression.
  • Let each dog sniff the ground where the other has been, before getting closer. Dogs can learn a lot about each from these smells.
  • Reward the dogs with treats for being around each other calmly.
  • Assuming no anxiety or aggression, walk the dogs together in the same direction for a few minutes, keeping the same comfortable distance and avoiding direct contact.
  • Repeat with each resident dog.

Coming inside the home:

  • The resident dog should stay outside while the foster dog enters the home and is allowed to explore and sniff the environment.
  • Use a gate and/or leash to keep the dogs separated, but still allow them to see each other in the home. Let them greet each other when they are ready – do not force it.
  • Don’t be overly concerned if there is a little growling. Do not yell at them to stop growling! This is normal and very important dog communication.
  • If there is growling, simply pick up the leash and calmly walk the dog farther away, using your happy voice. Then ask your dog to do something easy like “sit” and reward with treats.

Be sure high-value items (food, toys, chews, etc.) are put away whenever the dogs are interacting. We want to avoid possible confrontations. Those high-value items can be given when separated, or in a crate.

It’s important to understand dog communication and body language, especially when introducing new dogs. Please review the following infographics:

Cat Introductions

If you have a cat, make introductions to the foster dog slowly. Keep them separated at first, by keeping the cats in a separate room (equipped with food, water, litter boxes and beds) or confine your foster dog to a separate section of the home. Let the dog and cats smell each other through the door and don’t allow them to come in contact with each other for one to two weeks. Exchange blankets or towels between the dog’s area and the cats’ area to get them used to each other’s smells.

When you're ready to do face-to-face introductions, keep your foster dog on a leash and let your cat out into the same area. If you have more than one cat, introduce one cat at a time. Do not allow the foster dog to charge or run directly up to the cat. Distract the dog with treats so the cat has an opportunity to approach without fear. Watch the body language of each animal closely. Do not continue the interaction if either pet becomes over-stimulated or aggressive. The idea is to keep the interactions positive, safe and controlled.

Never leave your foster dog unsupervised with any cats in your home.

Children & Dogs

It is crucial that children are taught how to act responsibly and respectfully around your foster dog. Actively supervise interactions between children and your foster dog, for everyone's safety. Key things to teach children:

  • Always respect the foster dog. She is a living, feeling animal, not a toy.
  • Always leave the foster dog alone when she is eating, chewing or sleeping.
  • Never take away a toy or chew from the foster dog.
  • Never tease the foster dog.
  • Never chase the foster dog.
  • Pick up children's toys. Dogs cannot tell the difference between kid toys and dog toys.

Never allow children under the age of 15 to walk the foster dog. Young children are not strong or experienced enough to handle encounters with other dogs, cats, wildlife (squirrels & bunnies) or other environmental triggers (small children, bikes, skateboards & loud noises).

Please review the following infographics with your chidren:

Two Week Shutdown

Take things slowly. Your foster dog has traveled many miles, has been to multiple vet offices, is anxious, exhausted and disoriented. Give your foster dog space.

For the first two days, don’t judge your foster dog for anything he does. Make sure to give him a quiet place to decompress. Keep a leash on your foster dog, and do not allow children or other pets to interact alone during this time. It may take your foster dog two weeks to completely acclimate to your household. Of course, this is a guideline, not a rule. Each dog is different and requires a different level of oversight.

Be cautiously optimistic. There will be a honeymoon period and some behavioral or medical issues may arise. Training and administering medications to your foster dog are normal activities. Use the resources MLRR provides to work through these issues.

Daily Care

Feeding

All foster dogs are to be fed a high quality, grain-free diet. MLRR is happy to supply food for your foster at no cost to you.  Please fill out a Supply Request Form to have food delivered for your foster dog. 

Make sure your foster dog has access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Always feed your foster dog in a separate area from any other dogs in the home. This helps with managing potential food guarding and tiffs. Your foster dog needs to feel safe while settling in, and part of that is making meal time peaceful, not a competition for precious resources. Also, consider feeding meals in the crate during the crate training process.

You can give your foster dog treats of any kind, preferably grain-free (unless she has known allergies, of course). Giving treats helps you bond with your foster dog, especially when training. Yummy, meaty, smelly, best-of-the-best treats are used for training. Lunch meat, hot dogs, liverwurst, jerky treats, cheese, bacon and salmon are examples – all in tiny pieces.

Most dogs like and need to chew on things, especially young Labs. Never give your dog any type of rawhide. Also, avoid hooves, pig ears, and cooked, smoked or roasted bones of any kind. Try antlers, bully sticks, water buffalo horns, trachea, braided pizzles, flossies, no-hides and raw (not cooked) marrow bones. Not all dogs like to share, so only give these treats when your foster dog is confined in the safe area.

Daily Routine

It’s important to help your foster dog develop a regular routine. Some of these dogs may not have lived in a home or had any structure. Routines should include regular feeding times, potty breaks, walks, playtime, downtime and standard places to nap and sleep.

If you have to leave your foster dog in a crate for long periods of time (up to 8 hours), make sure to provide extra exercise and mental stimulation to get rid of energy.

Also, be aware of your foster dog’s appetite and energy level every day. If he’s not eating well or seems listless, something may be wrong medically. You might want to record your observations to make it easier to notice any health issues.

Crate Training

A crate is commonly used as a tool for potty training, encouraging good manners and generally creating a safe place. The process of crate training is simply teaching the dog to associate the crate with wonderful things so that it eventually becomes a safe place the dog loves. Some dogs take to their crates quickly, while for others, especially dogs that have been in shelters, it might be a more gradual process. A few basics to keep in mind:

  • The crate should never be used for punishment.
  • The crate should always be a positive experience. Approach and interact around the crate calmly, slowly and happily. And with lots of yummy treats! Never force a dog into the crate. Consider feeding meals in the crate to help create a positive experience.
  • Only open the crate door for good manners and calmness. Never open the door for whining, demand barking, scratching or over-excitement. Likewise, don’t act excited when approaching the crate – treat it like no big deal.
  • Remember, a crate is just one tool. It is not a replacement for exercise, training and mental stimulation.

Please review carefully the following resources, which provide complete details about how to crate train:

  • “Crate Training 101” by The Humane Society of the United States (includes a video)
  • “How to Get Your Dog to Enjoy the Crate” by Victoria Stillwell

Potty Training

Your foster dog may need your help in learning that going potty is an outside only activity! Crate training, keeping a consistent schedule and lots and lots of patience are your best friends when it comes to potty training.

Never, ever punish a dog for going potty in the house. Do not rub her nose in it, yell at her, scare her, scream “no” or show anger. The best you can do is catch her in the act, interrupt her, take her immediately outside to finish and then reward like crazy when she does her business outside. Reward like crazy meaning lots and lots of yummy treats and super-excited voice praise like she’s the first dog to ever learn this skill! Timing is critical – these rewards must be immediately after she finishes doing her business outside (1-2 seconds).

Please review carefully the following resources, which provide complete details on how to potty train:

  • “Housebreaking a Dog: How to Potty Train a Dog of Any Age” by Dr. Karen Becker (includes video)
  • “7 Quick Tips” video by That Dog Geek
  • “Adult Dog Housetraining” by Victoria Stilwell
  • Puppy crate training video by Victoria Stilwell

Basic Skills & Manners Training

Your foster dog will not arrive as a “perfect” dog. He may have had little or no basic skills or manners training before MLRR rescued him. Using positive training methods without pain, force or fear, you will be helping your foster dog learn some basic skills and manners to help make him more adoptable.

In addition to crate training and potty training, you may need to help your foster dog with some behaviors like counter surfing, jumping to greet, nipping, doorbell excitement or pulling on a leash. You may also want to teach him some basics like sit, down, watch me and stay. You are definitely not expected to be a training expert! MLRR will support you with the necessary resources, and you can reach out to the Training Coordinator at any time for help addressing specific issues. The more training you can do with your foster dog, the more adoptable he will be!

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Grooming

A clean, well-groomed dog has a better chance of getting adopted. Bathe your foster dog as needed and brush her regularly if she has longer hair or requires more frequent grooming. If your foster dog recently had surgery (including spay/neuter), hold off on any baths until 7-10 days after surgery as a precaution against infection in the incision. In a pinch, puppy wipes or baby wipes can be used until a bath can be given. Contact the Foster Home Coordinators if you think your foster dog needs to see a professional groomer.

Exercise & Mental Stimulation

In general, your foster dog should get at least two 30-minute walks with you per day. Daily walks are critical for exercise and mental stimulation and are the foundation for good manners. A tired dog is a happy dog! In addition to walks, play sessions are also highly recommended. Not only does play enhance the human-dog relationship, it’s also a fun way to teach manners and self-control. Try a variety of toys (balls, squeaky toys, rope toys, etc.) to see which ones your foster dog prefers. Play time can be a good time to teach “drop it”, “leave it” and self-control in general. Remember also to teach the dog that human hands are not chew toys for playing, since mouthing won’t be a desirable behavior to adopters.

You can also offer your foster dog a food-dispensing toy for mental stimulation. Try a TreatStik, Busy Dog Ball, Omega Tricky Treat Ball, or Kong product. Snuffle mats are another fun mental stimulation activity for dogs. Dogs love having to work for their food!

There are also many mental stimulation games and activities you can do with your foster dog. These can be especially useful on a rainy day or for dogs that are on activity restrictions for medical reasons. There are all kinds of “brain game” activities and trick/behavior training you can do to keep your foster dog’s mind stimulated and tire him out mentally. The following video and articles provide more details about these activities:

  • Video with 20 crate rest activities (not limited to crate rest, can be used for any dog)
  • 10 Brain Games to Play with Your Dog
  • 7 Post-Surgery Dog Games & Activities (not limited to post-surgery, can be used for any dog)

Safety Requirements

Foster dogs must live indoors, not outside. Do not leave your foster dog outside unsupervised, even if you have a fenced yard. We ask that you supervise your foster dog when she is outside at all times to ensure that she doesn’t escape or have any negative interactions with other people or animals. Your foster dog may be off leash outside only in a fully fenced-in area.

When walking or hiking with your foster dog, please keep her on leash at all times, using the harness and leash we provide. Do not use a retractable leash.

Do not take your foster dog to off-leash dog parks or similar off-leash dog areas, even if they are fully fenced. It is best if your foster dog does not meet any unknown dogs. We do not know how your foster dog will act in these situations, or how other dogs will react. In addition, we don’t know if the other dogs are vaccinated appropriately or carry diseases. Having recently come from a shelter setting, foster dogs can be vulnerable health-wise. We need to ensure that all animals are safe at all times.

Do not let your foster dog ride in the open bed of a pickup truck. When you’re transporting foster dogs, please keep them inside the vehicle at all times.

Bite Notification

If your foster dog bites any human, immediately report this to the Foster Home Coordinators with as much detail as possible.

Medical & Emergency Protocols

Veterinary Care

All MLRR dogs receive a comprehensive veterinary examination upon intake, as well as treatment for any medical conditions or issues they may have. Core veterinary care by MLRR includes:

  • Comprehensive wellness examination
  • Spay/neuter
  • Vaccinations
  • Microchip implantation
  • Fecal, heartworm, and tick-borne disease testing
  • Preventative care (heartworm and flea/tick prevention)

Additional veterinary care, depending on the dog, may include:

  • Treatment for intestinal parasites
  • Heartworm treatment
  • Orthopedic or other surgery
  • Consult with a veterinary specialist
  • Other

MLRR foster homes are not permitted to arrange for any veterinary care for their foster dogs, with one very specific exception for emergencies described below. All veterinary care must be scheduled through and authorized by the appropriate coordinators.

Signs of Illness & What to Do Next

Foster dogs may need additional veterinary care after the initial intake appointment. If you think your foster dog is sick and needs to see a veterinarian, please contact the Medical Coordinators and copy the Foster Home Coordinators so they are also aware. A phone call is recommended for more pressing issues. The Medical Coordinators will discuss the situation with you and advise of next steps. If you are unable to reach the Medical Coordinators within a day or so (or sooner if the need is more pressing), please contact the Foster Home Coordinators. If you are unable to reach the Foster Home Coordinators within an appropriate timeframe, please contact the Board (board@mlrr.org).

Some signs that your foster dog may be ill and may need to see a vet include:

  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Blood in stool
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Nasal discharge
  • Eye discharge
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Limping or not weight bearing on a leg
  • Excessive drooling
  • Bleeding

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Any questions about whether a symptom or condition is vet-worthy should be directed to the Medical Coordinators.

Common Ailments in Animals from Shelters

It is typical for MLRR to take in dogs that come from an unknown background or were picked up as strays. These dogs often have common, treatable medical conditions, such as:

  • Intestinal parasites (worms) – treatable with oral medication.
  • Poor coat condition – treatable with quality food. Fish oil can help.
  • Itching – treatable with quality food. Fish oil can help. If persistent, contact the Medical Coordinators.
  • Heartworm – treatable with a combination of oral and injectable medication.
  • Tick borne disease (lyme, erlichia, etc.) – treatable with oral medication.
  • Mange (usually demodectic, which is not contagious) – treatable with oral and/or topical medication.

Criteria for Emergencies

In the case of a medical emergency with your foster dog, the primary concern is to get the dog into the hands of a qualified veterinarian ASAP so that the dog may be stabilized. Should an emergency arise, please bring your foster dog to the nearest emergency vet. In emergency situations, foster homes are authorized to secure care for their foster dog sufficient to stabilize the dog. Once the dog is under the care of a veterinarian, please contact the Medical Coordinators ASAP by phone. The Medical Coordinators will work directly with the emergency vet on additional care and treatment. If the Medical Coordinators are unavailable, please reach out to the Foster Home Coordinators. If they also can’t be reached, please contact the Board.

An emergency situation is typically easily recognized – the question is, can the dog safely and reasonably wait for veterinary care (until, for example, a regular vet clinic is open, or until the Medical Coordinators can be reached for direction)? If no, the situation is an emergency. Here is a non-exhaustive list of situations that may require an emergency vet visit:

  • Trauma, such as being hit by a car or a blunt object or falling more than a few feet.
  • Not breathing or you can’t feel a heartbeat.
  • Unconscious and won’t wake up.
  • Difficulty breathing, which may be manifested as blue gums, coughing of foamy, pink frothy liquid, panting constantly, or stretching the head and neck out while breathing.
  • Extreme lethargy.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea for more than 24 hours, or vomiting blood.
  • Straining to urinate.
  • Trouble breathing or has something stuck in throat.
  • Has had or having a seizure.
  • Bleeding from the eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Persistent bleeding.
  • Ingested something toxic, such as antifreeze, rat poison, any kind of medication that wasn’t prescribed, or household cleansers.
  • Signs of extreme pain, such as whining, shaking, and refusing to socialize.
  • Unable to walk or dragging back legs.
  • Collapse or suddenly can’t stand up.
  • Abdomen is swollen and hard to the touch, and/or gagging and trying to vomit.

Helping Your Foster Dog Get Adopted

Completing Your Foster Dog’s Profile

Congratulations on preparing your foster dog to be adopted! Now comes the fun part – finding a forever home. These tips will help you create an adoption profile, which will be published on MLRR’s website and Facebook page. Please review the Sample Adoption Profile in the Appendix. For additional ideas, you may also want to review profiles of dogs currently available for adoption.

  • Gather some photos and videos of your foster dog that really show their personality. Clear, close-up photos are best.
  • Provide a couple of paragraphs about your dog’s likes and dislikes. This is best told from the dog’s point of view. Example: “Hi, my name is Fluffy and I’m 10 months old. I love to play outside and chase squirrels. I’m still learning how to walk on my leash and not pull my foster mom down the block.”
  • At the end of your narrative, please provide information on these subjects. Feel free to copy and paste these at the end of your narrative.
  • Age:
  • Gender:
  • Color:
  • Weight:
  • Cats:
  • Dogs:
  • Kids:
  • Crate:
  • Energy Level:
  • Email your photos and completed narrative to the Foster Home Coordinators. They will review your profile and have it posted to MLRR’s website and Facebook page.
  • Once your foster dog’s profile is available to the public, the Placement Coordinator will provide you with potential adoption families. Instructions for handling potential families will be provided to you at this time.

Appointments with Potential Adopters

Now it’s time to find a forever home for your foster dog! Although letting go of your foster dog can be heart-wrenching, it is also very rewarding to see her happily find a loving family.

Placement Process

Once your foster dog’s profile has been published, the Placement Coordinator will contact you. You’ll talk about your dog and describe the type of home that you think would be best. After the discussion, the Placement Coordinator will send you profiles and contact information for potential adopters, and you’ll work through them one at a time to find the right one. Here’s how it works:

  • You’ll start by contacting the potential adopter and introducing yourself. Tell the potential adopter a little about the foster dog and find out if they are interested. Although a phone call is recommended, you can also do this by email if you prefer. If emailing, provide them with the opportunity to talk with you on the phone to discuss further. Please review the Sample Adopter Email in the Appendix. Either way, let the potential adopter know that we have a long list of adopters, so they’ll need to respond to you within 24 hours so that you can go on to the next one if they are not interested.
  • Once you’ve determined you have a great potential adopter for your foster dog, you’ll set up a date! The adopters should come to your home so that your foster dog is most comfortable. All family members, including other dogs, should come to you for the meeting.
  • As you work through your potential adopters, it’s important to provide feedback about them to the Placement Coordinator. A simple email with details on how your interaction went is perfect. Please make sure you provide specific details to help the Placement Coordinator understand why a given family wasn’t a good fit, including the family’s reasons for passing on your foster dog.

Helping the Adopter Prepare

During the adoption, you will be providing the adopter with a copy of the A Sound Beginning book, which is a wonderful resource about transitioning a newly adopted dog into the home. This book is included with the care package you receive for every foster dog. The first two chapters cover getting the home ready and day one when the dog comes home. These are very important chapters that we want adopters to have time to review before adoption day. So, MLRR received permission from the author to send out PDF excerpts of the first two chapters ahead of time.

Therefore, when you set up your dates with potential adopters as described above, please email them these excerpts (which you will receive with the adoption paperwork). Or, if you prefer, the Training Coordinator can email the potential adopters instead. It’s your choice. If you prefer to do it yourself, you can use the Template Email in the Appendix. Otherwise, just let the Training Coordinator know as soon as possible when you made an appointment with the potential adopter.

Tips for the Doggie Date

Here are some tips for the day of the doggie date:

  • Make sure the introductions between your foster dog and any potential doggie brothers and sisters are as safe as possible. Meet outside your home on neutral ground. Once it seems all is well, you can head inside. It may be best to ask the adopter to keep their dog on leash, and the same with your foster. Refer to the Dog Introductions section above for more details on performing introductions properly.
  • If you have your own dog(s), put them in another area so that your foster dog and the adopter’s dog don’t get overstimulated or distracted.
  • You’ll get a vibe on whether this is the family for your dog. If you have any hesitation at all, it’s ok to tell them you'll get back to them in the next day or so. It’s better to be sure, so take the time if you aren’t convinced. The Foster Home Coordinators and Placement Coordinator can help you let the family down gently if you need any help.
  • If you love the family and they are the right one for your dog, go ahead with the adoption paperwork. Please read through everything ahead of time and complete what you can to make sure things go smoothly. Reach out to the Foster Home Coordinators if something isn’t clear or you need any assistance.

Completing Adoption Paperwork

Congratulations on finding a forever home for your foster dog!! This will help guide you through the necessary forms and actions to complete the adoption.

Forms Available

  • Foster Dog Info Sheet – used for all adoptions to provide to adopters. This recaps medical history, daily routine, training needs, known commands, etc.
  • Adoption Contract – used for all adoptions. You will complete, sign and date, and have adopting home initial, sign and date. This will be sent to the P.O. Box with a check for the appropriate fee made out to MLRR.
  • Training Flyer – used for all adoptions. You will provide a copy to the adopter and discuss with them to make sure they understand MLRR’s training policies and requirements for force-free positive training before completing the adoption. The flyer also contains a list of MLRR-approved trainers the family can use for fulfilling the training class or session requirement.
  • Informational Handouts – used for all adoptions. In addition to the A Sound Beginning book you received in the care package, these handouts should be printed and provided to adopting family. Together, they are tips and helpful hints for getting their new dog acclimated with the family and settled into their new home.
  • How Kids Should Interact With A Dog
  • How Kids Should Not Interact With A Dog
  • Dog Body Language
  • Unaltered Dog Contract Attachment – additional contract for dogs beyond 9 months. Mainly used for adult dogs that are not spayed or neutered at the time of adoption due to medical reasons.
  • Vets for Spay Neuter Procedures – additional handout for any dog that is not spayed or neutered at the time of adoption.
  • Spay Neuter Proof – additional form to be signed by Vet for any dog that is not spayed or neutered at the time of adoption. This form is to be returned to MLRR for the adopter to receive the $50 deposit back.
  • Adoption Attachment for Puppies – additional contract for dogs 9 months and under. You will complete, sign and date, and have adopting home initial sign and date. This is to be returned to MLRR.
  • HW+ Dog Contract Attachment – additional contract for dogs that tested HW positive while with MLRR and treated. You will complete, sign and date, and have adopting home initial sign and date. Note: The adopter is responsible for the HW blood test at 6 months, but MLRR will pay for treatment through a vet chosen by MLRR.

Adoption Fees

  • $300 for dogs up to 9 months
  • $250 for dogs 9 months up to 6 years
  • $175 for dogs 6 years and older
  • $25 application fee may have been collected and should be subtracted from the above amount. If they paid an application fee, you will see it at the bottom of their application.
  • $50 spay/neuter deposit for any dog that is not spayed/neutered. This should be added to the adoption fee.

Adult Dog Adoption (9 months old and older):

Complete the following forms for adoptions of adult dogs (9 months old and older):

  • Foster Home Info Sheet
  • Adoption Contract
  • Unaltered Dog Contract (if necessary)
  • HW+ Dog Contract (if necessary)

Once you have signed, have the adopting family sign and date.

Provide copies of the above to the family, along with these handouts and any records you may have on the dog. Any verification/proof should be returned to MLRR’s P.O. Box once they are complete.

  • Training Flyer with list of approved trainers
  • Informational Handouts
  • Vets for Spay Neuter Procedures (if necessary)
  • Spay Neuter Proof (if necessary)

Also, provide the adopting family with the harness and A Sound Beginning book you received in your foster dog’s care package, and any other items from the package (treats, toys, etc.). Any current medications should also be given to the family. Instruct the family that the dog’s microchip will be transferred to their contact information, and they will receive information directly from the company. MLRR will continue to be a secondary contact in case the family cannot be located.

Remind the family about the requirement to enroll in a training class or private session within 30 days and refer to the Training Flyer (with a list of approved trainers) you provided. You can also let them know that the Training Coordinator will be contacting them about trainers in a day or two.

Collect the fees associated with the adoption. Inform the family that the P.O. box is checked every 2-3 weeks, so their check may not clear for a few weeks.

  • Adoption Fee (based on age, see above) $ __________
  • Application Fee (if collected) - $25 (if collected)
  • Spay/Neuter deposit (if necessary) + $50 (if necessary)
  • Total Fee Due $ __________

Notify the Placement Coordinator that your foster dog has been adopted.

Please mail the signed contracts and adoption check to: MLRR P.O. Box 1473 Lombard, IL 60148

Puppy Adoption (Under 9 months):

Complete the following forms for adoptions of puppies (under 9 months):

  • Foster Home Info Sheet
  • Adoption Contract
  • Adoption Attachment for Puppies
  • Unaltered Dog Contract (if necessary)
  • HW+ Dog Contract (if necessary)

Once you have signed, have the adopting family sign and date.

Provide copies of the above to the family, along with these handouts and any records you may have on the dog. Any verification/proof should be returned to MLRR’s P.O. Box once they are complete.

  • Training Flyer with list of approved trainers
  • Informational Handouts
  • Vets for Spay Neuter Procedures (if necessary)
  • Spay Neuter Proof (if necessary)

Also, provide the adopting family with the harness and A Sound Beginning book you received in your foster dog’s care package, and any other items from the package (treats, toys, etc.). Any current medications should also be given to the family. Instruct the family that the dog’s microchip will be transferred to their contact information, and they will receive information directly from the company. MLRR will continue to be a secondary contact in case the family cannot be located.

Remind the family about the requirement to enroll in a training class or private session within 30 days and refer to the Training Flyer (with a list of approved trainers) you provided. You can also let them know that the Training Coordinator will be contacting them about trainers in a day or two. If the puppy is under 5 months old, remind them about the additional requirement to enroll in a puppy socialization class and encourage them to do so as soon as possible.

Collect the fees associated with the adoption. Inform the family that the P.O. box is checked every 2-3 weeks, so their check may not clear for a few weeks.

  • Adoption Fee (based on age, see above) $ __________
  • Application Fee (if collected) - $25 (if collected)
  • Spay/Neuter deposit (if necessary) + $50 (if necessary)
  • Total Fee Due $ __________

Notify the Placement Coordinator that your foster dog has been adopted.

Please mail the signed contracts and adoption check to: MLRR P.O. Box 1473 Lombard, IL 60148

Appendix

Frequently Asked Questions

If I foster a rescued Lab for MLRR, can I decide to adopt my foster dog?

MLRR is always in need of foster homes for rescued Labs. The number of dogs we can rescue is limited by the number of available foster homes that we have. However, please do not offer to foster for us if you just want to use it as a way of choosing a dog to adopt. Fostering is very rewarding, but it is also requires hard work and dedication. We have a policy that foster homes cannot adopt a Lab from MLRR within 12 months from the time they begin fostering. We do not view our foster homes as potential adopters. If you want to adopt a Lab, please fill out the adoption application instead of the fostering application. What we need most in a foster home is someone who is truly dedicated to helping us save the lives of homeless Labrador Retrievers.

What do I do if my foster dog is sick?

If your foster dog becomes sick, seek guidance from the Medical Coordinators, beginning with following the guidance in the Medical & Emergency Protocols section above.

What do I do if my foster dog has behavioral issues?

If you see any behavior that you consider worrisome (aggression, severe nervousness, to name a couple), seek the guidance of the Foster Home Coordinators and the Training Coordinator. They will provide you with ideas on how to help with the behavior.

How can I pick my next foster dog?

When we have potential foster dogs, we post them on our Facebook Foster Home page for available homes to comment. We may also email them to the foster homes. At times, depending on special circumstances, we may reach out to you directly with a potential foster dog to see if you’d be interested.

What do I have to pay for?

Our hope is that you treat your foster dog as if they were your own. If you need assistance with providing food, the rescue will help with that. We will also cover any special supplements or supplies that may be needed. Medical costs are also the responsibility of MLRR. So really, toys and treats and a comfy place to stay (along with lots of love), are all that are needed.

How can I get food or supplies for my foster dog?

If you feel you need MLRR to supply the food for your foster dog, you should reach out to the Foster Home Coordinators to assist in making arrangements. In most cases, they will arrange for you to pick up the food at a Wet Nose location, but other arrangements may be made.

Coordinator List

Please feel free to contact the Foster Home Coordinators at any time with questions about fostering or your foster dog. If you reach out to one of the other coordinators about a specific issue, please just copy the Foster Home Coordinators so that they are kept in the loop about your foster dog.