Be great. foster danes.
Fostering rescued dogs is a complex, rewarding experience. This is the intersection between compassion, patience, structure, and nurturing.
Some foster dogs are easy. Others require more time, effort, and training. The nature of rescue is that many dogs have pasts that might include neglect or trauma. We don’t always know their stories. They vary, so each foster experience will, too.
Each day brings laughs, cuddles, slobber, and maybe a stolen snack off your kitchen counter. Puppies trip over their own feet, adults don’t always know their own size, and there won’t be much room left for you on the sofa. They get “zoomies”, fly at light speed around your yard then sleep for hours curled up like giant cats. You might get tired of late night trips outside for potty-training or of the slow introduction process while dogs get used to each other.
Dogs come with both joys and challenges. All of them are worth it.
Foster Homes Give the Best Chance of Permanent, Happy Adoptions.
Dogs get improved socialization with pets and people.
They start house and obedience training, if needed.
We can observe & improve behaviors in a variety of situations.
Knowing the dog better lets us find the best adoption match possible!
- Professional Training as needed
- All medical costs including vet care & supplements
- Food, bedding, toys, treats when they are donated
- Crate on loan if needed/available
- Commitment to basic structure & training
Our team is a wealth of experience and knowledge. Professional trainers in the Charlotte, NC and Raleigh, NC areas work with us when needed.
A Foster Mom's Story:
My husband and I started fostering Great Danes in 2012, a few months after adopting our first rescue dog, Tohr, from Great Dane Friends of Ruff Love. GDFRL had done an amazing job getting him up-to-date medically and starting his training, but it sometimes takes a long time to reverse the damage that’s been done in an animal’s prior life. Our first weeks with Tohr were extremely rocky, but we enlisted the help of professionals who were able to train not only him, but us. We started to understand him, and he started to trust us. I have never worked so hard to gain anyone’s trust as I did in those first months with Tohr, nor have I been so rewarded with daily affirmations of that unwavering, hard-earned bond. We learned so much with him that we opened our hearts and home to foster dogs.
Since we started fostering, we’ve had over a dozen dogs come through our house, some for short stays and some for months or even close to a year. Puppies, adults, and all of different sizes and backgrounds. I have nurtured and taught the over-exuberant puppy that knew nothing but the good life. I have held a dog straight out of a hoarder’s house, terrified and covered in filth. I have hand-picked dozens of ticks off a dog that had never seen the inside of a house. I have spent a lot of time at the vet. I have given so many first baths. And I have comforted the distressed family that made the extremely difficult decision to surrender their beloved pet due to things outside their control.
I have had the privilege of giving dogs their first toys and laughing as they learned what to do with it. I’ve been accidentally bowled over, luckily unharmed and laughing hysterically, by a Great Dane that got the zoomies and wasn’t quite sure what to do with his own feet or momentum. I have spent blissful hours on the couch, immobilized by three sleeping Danes that only ever wanted a comfortable place to call home, even if only for a while. I have watched the transformation of a dog that was literally afraid of everything blossom into a one that now lives with several other dogs and human kids and all the new experiences that come with that. I have prepared homemade meals for the emaciated dog that now lives a fantastic life with four kids to dote on her and give her more treats than she could have ever dreamed of. Being able to have a positive impact on these dogs’ lives is a true blessing; the extra snuggles and slobbery kisses along the way are an added bonus.
Rescue dogs come with a past. Fostering is a huge commitment, in part because you have to acknowledge their former life and the hardships that sometimes come with it. You must be willing to take an animal into your home, to provide not just food and love but also structure, safety, and training. There will be late night outings with the dogs that aren’t potty trained, slow introductions to your personal dogs (and often visitors to your home), and crate training– to provide a safe space for the dog, help with separation anxiety, and prevent destructive behaviors.
As someone that has fostered for other rescue organizations as well, I can say that fostering for GDFRL is a uniquely positive experience. Do foster dogs come with challenges? Of course. But GDFRL has a fabulous support network to help you cope with any obstacles you and the dog(s) may face. We have personally had access to a multitude of trainers (in-home boarding, group classes, as well as one-on-one support) and no expense is spared when it comes to vet care. Because GDFRL is a smaller organization only covering SC & NC, our volunteers are geographically closer together so it is easy to find not only support but friendship. And those friendships definitely come in handy when it’s time to say goodbye and watch a beloved dog leave for his/her forever home.
We get attached every single time. We pour days and months of love and training into our dogs, knowing that they’ll move on to a home that’s as good as, or better, than ours. We learn their quirks, their favorite toys, their likes and dislikes. They snuggle with us on the couch, greet us when we get home, and give us a piece of their heart just as we give them a piece of ours. I cry every time a dog leaves my home for their new family; I’ll miss them. But I also know that they are going to an amazing family and that their absence in my home means that another dog will get a chance at a new life.
We still get to see most of our foster dogs on occasion, whether it be in person, via email, or social media. It brings us immense joy to witness them living the good lives with their new families. We get to celebrate so many more birthdays and “gotcha” days– vicariously through each dog’s forever family– than we ever would have if we had decided to adopt them ourselves.
And one time, when a very special Great Dane came to live with us we did “foster fail”. Rehv’s nascent innocence and loving spirit made up in spades for the fact that he was a complete medical mess. We only got 15 months with him, but what a fabulous 15 months we had! Both of our boys have now crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but we look forward to honoring their memories by helping each of the dogs that find their way to us in the future and call our house home for a while.”
– Lindsay O.