BBCR FOSTER HANDBOOK

Welcome to BBCR! We are so excited to have you! Your willingness to volunteer your time and homes will make all
the difference in our furry friends’ lives.

Please read through this manual before picking up your first foster!

FINDING RESCUES

Click here to learn more about how BBCR got started.

How We Find Our Rescues

95% of the dogs Big Bones Canine Rescue (BBCR) accepts into its program are from high risk shelters. The sad truth is, whether it is a street dog or a relinquished pet, these dogs get a short amount of time to get adopted – usually just a couple of days. Old or young, good or damaged, these dogs are just a number either waiting to be
rescued or be put down.

We try to give our foster volunteers as much info as we can to prepare for their pup’s arrival; but, unfortunately, when these dogs are set to be euthanized their paperwork is tossed. We never really know what we are getting: said to be male but is female, said to be 2 years old but is 7, and even vet office records are not reliable. They could be neglected, from a hoarding house, abused, or a family pet. They could be healthy or covered in fleas and ticks. We never really know. A lot of the places these dogs come from, the dogs honestly just. don’t. matter.

Kristie Fisher has the heart wrenching job of sorting through the pictures of dogs needing rescuing to find those that are adoptable. She knows what happens to the dogs she has to skim over. But, we’re playing a numbers game. Every time you take a dog off transport or out of the ranch and diligently post, vet and meet with adopters, you are helping to save more lives. Every kennel space and foster bed refilled is another life saved.

This is the backstory on how these foster dogs come to BBCR. This is why we say to these pups when we look into their scared and confused eyes, “it doesn’t matter where you came from, just where you’re going”.

BBCR CONTACTS

You will be assigned a BBCR foster mentor team on Facebook Messenger. You should see a message from them in Message Requests. This “foster chat” will be your go-to resource for questions/infomation!
Need help finding it? Send us an email!

If you have ANY questions, your mentor team is the place to start!

BEFORE FOSTERING / DAY 1

Fostering is a commitment and we hope you will treat it as such. When you offer to foster a dog, please be prepared to see them through to adoption, even if they’re difficult. Be prepared for unknown behaviors and allow time for decompression. Your foster mentor thread has a wealth of tips/tricks to try to help ease the transition.  Remember, if they were perfect, they likely wouldn’t be a rescue!

Please be mindful in your decision to foster a dog. Think about your family’s needs, the dog’s needs, and the care you are willing to provide.
We don’t know if these rescues are house or crate trained, dog friendly, or if they’re even able to wear a collar.
We hope that, while you prepare for the worst, you will find it exciting and rewarding to being the leg up your foster dog needs to find their forever home!

Please be mindful in your decision to foster a dog. Think about your family’s needs, the dog’s needs, and the care you are willing to provide.
We don’t know if these rescues are house or crate trained, dog friendly, or if they're even able to wear a collar.
We hope that, while you prepare for the worst, you will find it exciting and rewarding to being the leg up your foster dog needs to find their forever home!

We recommend fosters provide crates, toys, bedding, blankets, etc. Unlike some rescues, we feel prong collars are a good tool when fostering a large breed dog and when used properly. Head collars (gentle leaders) are good, too. When walking on a collar, please make sure it’s a martingale to prevent slipping out.  Be aware that harnesses are easily escapable and should not be used on scared dogs!  Please use a slip lead for those cases.

Dogs

Your own dogs need to be up to date on vaccines before fostering. We also recommend using a preventative for heartworm/flea/tick. See our dog
introductions section in this packet for information on introducing your resident pets to your foster.

Cats

Even if a dog is said to be cat friendly,
PLEASE USE CAUTION. As dogs become more comfortable, they tend  to let more of their personality out. Don’t ever trust too quickly.

There are a few different ways to find one of our rescue dogs to bring into your home! 

Transports – Dogs coming out of state can go right into foster!  Go to the Albums on BBCR Facebook group and you should see albums with locations/dates. The dates are when the dogs should arrive in CO. If you see a dog you would like to foster, comment on the picture and tag Kristen Lizotte.

Surrenders – There are times local families hit hardship and have to surrender their pet, or a BBCR alumni is relinquished back to us. Find these in the Owner Surrenders Album! 

Visit the Ranch!! Located in Windsor, the ranch is home to multiple dogs. The ranch can be a scary place for many dogs, so please consider taking one of them in! Contact Kristie to arrange a visit! 

If you do not see a name for your foster dog in an album, then your foster dog will generally be given a name by the BBCR team.  Please use their name during their stay with you to eliminate any confusion between all parties.

You are in charge of getting the basic vetting completed for your foster dog prior to adoption! There is a list of vetting stations on this page where you can get basic vetting completed.  Rabies vaccinations and spay/neuters need to be done at one of our partner veterinarians. Click here for the
approved foster vet list

Your foster dog’s medical records can be found in your foster.animalsfirst.com portal. The medical exam form will tell you what has been done and what needs to be done for your foster.

  • Update the medical records as the vetting is completed.
  • Please let your foster mentors know if you are unable to see a rabies vaccination certificate in the Files section.
  • Document, document! Give names/dates/times for everything. This data entry is required by our regulatory agency, PACFA.
  • Document all meds given to your foster in the appropriate entry box (towards the bottom of the exam form) including medication name, dosage and day/time given.
  • Please disclose any and all behavior/health concerns in the exam form also!  Examples include: animal
    aggression, bite history, separation anxiety, resource guarding, crate anxiety, fence jumping, etc. Do not say “dog friendly, house trained, etc. This is for negative, not positive behaviors.

Please write up a cute bio that tells a story about your foster dog including back story, behaviors, what makes them awesome? What could use some improvement? You can start simple and then edit the bio as time goes on and you get to know them better! Notify your foster chat of any updates and please let us know if you need some helping writing a bio.  These bios are immediately visible on our webpage!

PHOTOS

A good picture goes a long way! The best photos of your foster are taken outdoors in natural light. Your foster dog should be awake and looking at the camera. Bend down so you can see their face rather than the top of their head. Sometimes it's easier to have a buddy help so let us know if you need some assistance!

AnimalsFirst How-to Video

Be sure to watch the AnimalsFirst How-to video to familiarize yourself with your foster portal.  Please contact your foster thread if you have any questions regarding how to use it or any issues while using it!

MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS

Basic vetting must be completed prior to your dog going home with their adopter!                                                                                                                                          This includes: Spay/Neuter, 1st round of DA2PP & Bordatella, a Microchip, heartworm preventative, flea/tick & dewormer; and a 4Dx
test & Rabies if applicable.
Adopters are responsible for all vaccinations due after adoption!

Puppies – Under 1 year

Vetting needed that can be done by vetting stations:

  • Distemper//Bordetella (2 doses 3-4 weeks apart if over 12 weeks; if under 12 weeks, 3 doses 3-4 weeks apart)
  • Microchip
  • Heartworm preventative
  • Flea/Tick & Dewormer
  • 4DX test (6 + months)

Must be done by vets:

  • Rabies (needed if puppies are over 16 weeks)
  • Spay & Neuter
**2 week hold from initial intake date**
Adults – Over 1 year

Vetting needed that can be done by vetting stations:

  • Distemper/Bordetella (2 doses 3-4
    weeks apart)
  • Microchip
  • Heart worm preventative
  • Flea/Tick & Dewormer
  • 4DX test

Must be done by vets:

  • Rabies
  • Spay/neuter
**No holds unless deemed necessary **

FOSTERING RULES

We do not allow foster dogs to visit dog parks because they spread disease and expose our dogs to undue risk of injury from a dog fight. Shelter dogs need decompression time before being put into that type of environment.
Puppies that have not had 3 rounds of vaccines should never be taken out of your house or into public spaces. That includes to a dog park, gas station, pet supply store, etc. If you foster puppies and don’t have a private yard, use pee pads indoors until fully vaccinated!

We encourage you to take your foster dog out to spread the word about them and other BBCR dogs. Remember that you are there to protect them. Watch your foster’s body language, follow their cues, and above all, protect them from people who try to get in their face and love all over them. 

CUES: Body stiffening, a tendency to leave the company of kids/people, displaying whites of the eyes, staring, and lip licking.

These are signs of stress that dogs display before a bite!!

We require all dogs be leashed outside of your home and when not in a fenced-in area. Do not leave your foster dog outside, or with access to the outside, when you are not home. A bored dog is a creative dog. 
This leads them to attempt escaping or eat things that are expensive to replace and expensive to treat if hospitalization is necessary.  Keep them safely inside when you are not home. Off leash time is not allowed when not confined by a fence.

Experience with kids is invaluable to any foster dog. However, it is your job to protect your foster dog and your children.

  • Don’t let kids walk your dog on a leash
  • Don’t let kids near the dogs face
  • Don’t let kids ride or hug on the dog
  • Most of all.. Supervise all interactions 

DOG INTRODUCTIONS

When introducing your foster dog to your resident dogs, introduce slowly and in a controlled and neutral environment. Outside of the home is usually a good, neutral place. A "structured walk" will also set them up for success! The slower the introductions, the better.

Successful introductions can sometimes take days. Make sure you're able to keep them separated if need be.

When arranging meet and greets with potential adopters and their dogs, we recommend having them meet at your place.  We do not recommend meeting adopters halfway! 
Here's why:
- Potential adopters should meet the dog where the dog is most relaxed and that's at your place.  This gives an accurate portrayal of how life will be with the dog.
- Adopters like to have the dog's full attention to "feel a connection".  They are least distracted at your home and most distracted in a new location.
- Generally meeting anywhere besides your home is a large inconvenience that ends in half of your day being wasted when they stand you up which is a common occurrence.  If they're interested in adopting, they will come to you!

A good way to introduce dogs is by a "structured walk" - on a leash, walking side by side, on neutral ground. Have one dog on one side of the street and the other dog on the other, walk for a while, gradually getting closer. Start with having one dog in front, then switch. No face to face contact until after the dogs have had a chance to sniff butts and become a little more relaxed around one another. Continue walking the dogs side by side as a "pack walk" to help them acclimate. It may take 20-30 minutes or more for them to accept one another.
DON'T RUSH IT! If your foster dog is reactive or having a hard time adjusting, ask for help from your foster chat.

WHAT TO DO IF...

Your Foster Escapes

Supervise your foster inside and outside for a few days after pickup as you get to know their behaviors and as they begin to settle into their new situation. Please take precautions to protect them. Don’t walk them outdoors until you know they’re non reactive to a leash (try walking them in your backyard first). Don’t let them near your door when opening it or let your kids open your front door!

Sometimes things happen, heres what to do if your foster dog escapes:

  • Step 1 – Please try not to lose your foster dog!!
  • Step 2 – DO NOT CHASE the dog. That often makes it much worse
  • Step 3 – Alert your foster mentors ASAP so we can post to the group for help
  • Step 4 – Stay calm and follow the direction of your foster team for advice to get them home quickly and safely
Your Foster Is Sick

Some of the common ailments shelter
dogs come with are kennel cough, upper respiratory infection, and diarrhea. We ask you to please message your foster chat to discuss any symptoms your foster dog might be having prior to making any vet
appointments. Upper respiratory illness can be serious and it can happen quickly, so we need to know immediately if your foster stops
eating or acts lethargic.

Notify your foster chat immediately if your foster:

  • Stops eating or acts lethargic
  • Has persistent/worsening diarrhea, or diarrhea is foamy, bloody, or mucousy
  • Runny nose and abnormally crusty eyes
  • Any other medical concerns
  • Escapes
  • Your foster dog has a bite incident towards a pet/person

If you feel your foster dog needs emergency vet care, this must be
approved by Kristie at 970-310-3616 prior to going to an emergency clinic.
Call anytime day or night.

FINDING AN ADOPTER

All applications that pass an initial screening are posted into our volunteer Facebook group, and this post is what we use to track home checks and dog interest. Our BBCR team will tag you in these application posts if someone has specifically asked about your foster.  These requests will also appear in your AnimalsFirst foster portal, so be sure to check there frequently!

You must contact all applicants that are asking about your foster as soon as possible. If you don't think it's a good match or your dog is pending adoption, please let them know that directly.

We rely on you to communicate to apps about your dog's status!

You are the best person to discuss why your dog is/is not a good fit, not the home checker and not an admin. Look at both the home check notes and application info and discuss concerns you may have directly with the person applying - and remember, people change their mind! They may have said they want a dog more than 60lbs on their application but have fallen in love with your chi's picture!

Application posts that might be a good fit that are open on dogs: You're welcome to do your own search on the BBCR volunteer facebook page for applicants that you think might be a good fit for your foster. Use the search box and see who pops up. If your foster meets the potential adopter's criteria, reach out to them via phone call or text (which most of us do). Text a picture and a short biography on your foster.  Please be aware of which dogs they're interested in.  If they happen to be interested in a long-timer (a dog who's been with us for a while), please refrain from reaching out until that foster confirms that they're not a good fit.  We want them to have first dibs!

You're welcome to do your own advertising on your personal Facebook page, Nextdoor, Craigslist, word of mouth, whatever you can think of! It not only helps your foster, but it gives all of the BBCR dogs a chance at adoption. Check our advertising section for further tips.
Craigslist: Ads can only be placed in the "Community" section, then "Pets". Please direct interested parties to apply on our website. Say that a rehoming fee applies but DON'T post the fee.  You'll get flagged if you do.

Add comments on the application posts on our volunteer Facebook page when you have contacted the potential adopter and then comment with the outcome. Did they pass up your foster? Is there a meet scheduled? For when? After the meet, comment on how it went. This helps other fosters know if they should reach out, too!
Also, please keep the potential adopters updated as well! If you have 2 adopters meeting your foster, please let each know that they're not the only ones meeting your dog!

Please speak honestly and candidly to potential adopters about your foster! It’s important they know the good and the bad. An honest placement is a successful placement!

If you have one great match and want to move forward with adoption, fantastic! However, when there are multiple great options, call/text each one to discuss your dog and invite the top 2-3 matches to meet the dog. A lot can be determined from an in-person meet and greet: how do the
adopter's kids or dogs interact with the foster, if there is a connection, is the dog what they
expected, are they what you expected, etc.  Again, please let the families know if you have other families that are also meeting your foster!

  • We adopt out dogs by best fit, not first-come first-served. If none of the applicants are a great fit, let them know and keep looking!
  • Even if an applicant does not look like a match on paper, contact them to discuss fit. Often the situation can be different than expected and it might be an awesome home!
  • Let the other potential adopters know they're not a match for whatever reason vs them feeling like they were forgotten about or passed over.
  • We do NOT hold dogs for potential adopters. This can result in a foster missing out on a great potential home and prevent space for another incoming foster.
  • Meet & Greets can happen before or after home check approval, at your discretion.  Just keep in mind it might be awkward if we do not approve their home check and they've already met the dog.
  • If an adopter wants to adopt your foster and they aren't taking the dog home that same day, they will still complete contract and payment through AnimalsFirst and then pick up the dog when convenient.  DO NOT feel that you need to hold the dog for longer than a day or two.  It is not required and also not your responsibility to watch the dog before they're ready to take him home.

  • "There are multiple applications for Fluffy and we adopt out by best fit, not first in line. It's possible another family will be a better fit."
  • "We don't hold dogs, so while you're thinking it over, we still need to explore other potential adopters."
  • "Oreo already has a few promising meets lined up but I'll be in contact if anything falls through. Meanwhile, take a look at our other awesome dogs on our website"
  • "Hi Ann, I pulled up your application and I don't think Scooter will be a good fit. He gets on my 12 yr dog's nerves with his high energy. He also has an extremely high prey drive...like he tries to kill the vacuum. Thank you so much for your interest, we have a lot of young dogs right now, so I know a good fit for your family is at BBCR!!"

The adopter will complete contract and payment through their adopt.AnimalsFirst.com account once you click Approve in in your foster.AnimalsFirst.com portal. You can confirm through your foster portal whether or not the adopter has paid.  Be sure to verify that the medical records are up to date and then click "Complete Adoption" to send the records to the Adopter's AnimalsFirst account. 

The dog may not leave your home without the adopter completing contract and payment!

ADOPTION TIME

Remember to get the contract and payment filled out! As well as confirmation in AnimalsFirst! 

Family Photo: Take a picture of your foster and their new family. Go to the volunteer Facebook page and load it to the album “We Got A Home”. 

Update BBCR: Don’t forget to update your foster group!!

While it is our hope (and yours) that the adoption is successful, sometimes it is not. We ask that all fosters consider that an adoption may fail and be willing to take their foster back if the adoption should not be successful. Changing homes, yet again, is hard on a dog and detrimental to their overall health and well being so being returned to a familiar home is far less stressful for them.

After a few days…

if the adoption seems to be going well…
RINSE AND REPEAT

LET’S SAVE ANOTHER DOG!!!

Q & A

We love a great foster fail. We try to give our fosters the first right of refusal with their foster pup. However, please be respectful of potential adopters hoping to adopt your foster. Once an adopter has started the approval process they will be given priority. If you want to keep your pup, LET YOUR FOSTER MENTORS KNOW within the first 7 days of bringing them home!

If your foster dog is showing aggression towards yourself, family or pets, please contact your foster mentor thread right away, explain the situation,
and be patient while we make a plan. There are so many dogs entering our rescue at all times we may not be able to accommodate you right away, but we promise to work together to come up with a suitable plan.
ASAP. TRANSFERRING BETWEEN FOSTERS MUST BE AUTHORIZED BY AN ADMIN.

We often have fill-in fosters willing to help. Please advise us of your plans and make a post on the volunteer page asking for help. If your dog needs to return to the Ranch or to boarding, please give us plenty of notice to plan accordingly.

We are not an adoption event driven rescue. Occassionally, we hold events and your attendance is voluntary. Events are a great way to meet other volunteers, network your dog, get help with behavior, and provide awesome socialization for your foster. Puppies under 16 weeks may be permitted to attend if the event allows for separation between dogs.  Please discuss with the event coordinator.

BBCR is a 501(c)3 charitable entity. Miles driven to/from transport, meet and greets, and vet appts are tax deductible. Any purchases you make to accommodate your foster dog are also tax deductible. Save your receipts and tell your accountant!

BBCR does not allow siblings to be adopted together. We won't risk the dogs developing Litter Syndrome and it's better for all involved if puppies are adopted to separate homes. Same for older siblings who are not bonded.

LINKS & ADDITONAL INFORMATION