SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Maybe you want to help out at a local rescue. Maybe you want to aid in the adoption process. Maybe you need a trial run of pet ownership before you dive in. Renegade Paws Rescue may be a great option for you.
WSAV NOW spoke with Rachel Weymouth about the fostering process and everything you need to know if you’re interested in giving a pup a safe place to land. Weymouth is a volunteer as well as a board member who focuses on branding and marketing at the rescue.
“You are kind of like a long-term babysitter,” Weymouth explained. She said when a person fosters a dog, they are not officially adopting the dog, just giving them a temporary home for a period of time.
“You get to be the home where they might be learning to become a dog again… they might be learning how to be a dog for the first time,” she said. “You are learning their quirks and their personality traits.”
There are things about a dog that are harder to learn about when they live in a shelter environment. By having the dog at your home you get to know the little things like what treats they like, or toys they enjoy playing with.
“You’re kind of that bridge into a new home,” she said.
According to Weymouth, there are good days and bad days with fostering, but their team is always available to support foster parents who might be going through one of those bad days.
“It’s work but it’s really rewarding,” she said.
As with most fostering programs, when you foster with Renegade, you are provided with food, vet care and all essentials needed for your foster dog. You pay for nothing except what you want to pay for.
They also provide training for dogs that may need a little help adjusting to the pampered life of a pet.
How do you get involved?
The process is different for every rescue, but at Renegade, it all starts with an application. The application requires information about your background, home and roommates. It also asks for a vet reference in addition to information about the pets already in your home.
“What we want to do is make sure that we are setting our dogs up for success,” Weymouth said. “It’s similar to what we would do to adopt a dog.”
Renegade is required by the Department of Agriculture to know about the homes they are placing animals in. This includes the next step: a home check.
If your application is approved, you will do a home check, which will involve either a virtual component or a visit from someone at Renegade. This is required by state law, but it also allows the rescue to know more about where they are placing their dogs.
They want to make sure that the dog(s) they offer up for a foster home will fit well into the home.
Weymouth gave the example of a dog that may not work well with cats. They would not want to put that dog in a home with cats, so they would need to know in advance what pets you have in your home already.
“We do try to find a match with what your lifestyle is, what you need in a home,” she explained.
If your application is approved and you are matched with a dog, you will also be put in a group chat with a team of people who are there to support you as you navigate this exciting new journey.
“Everything is provided by us,” Weymouth said.
When you go home with your foster dog, you will have a collar, a harness, a Renegade tag with the rescue’s phone number on it, a leash, a crate, food, bowls and more.
While you are fostering, you are able to the Renegade Rescue’s hub where you can get vaccines, dewormer, preventatives and supplies.
When you have your foster dog, you will contribute to the decision-making process for finding it a home. You will be able to look through applications and give input on if you think the applicants are a good fit for your foster dog.
You will also be able to bring the dog to events where people can meet it and see if they want to adopt it. You should be prepared to take pics of your temporary pup, write a bio (or assist in writing one if you don’t feel comfortable doing so) for Renegade’s website and, finally, be able to part with your pup when it finds it’s “furever” home.
If you think fostering is for you, you can fill out an application through the rescue.
If you think it isn’t, but still want to get involved, Weymouth suggested becoming what the rescue calls an “advocate” for a dog. This program allows you to get to know a dog personally without taking it home. Then you can advocate that people adopt that specific dog at events, online and in person.
You spend time with the dog, walking and playing with it, and continuously develop a relationship with it until it gets adopted.
To learn more about volunteering through Renegade, you can visit their volunteer page.