IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT RE FOSTER FIRST AND COVID-19

Firstly, we are immensely grateful to the over 400 people who have been in touch in the last week or so regarding fostering rescue dogs while they are working from home.

Sadly, due to the current lockdown situation, including travel restrictions and social distancing, these very kind offers aren’t able to be accepted at this time by most small rescues. This is because home checks and transportation cannot be arranged. These would normally be done by a network of volunteers. Understandably, precautions must now be in place to ensure that both potential fosterers and rescuers remain safe and unfortunately the resources don’t exist to ensure this can happen.

There are over 100 small rescues on our Foster First site and more joining all the time. And it is small rescues like these and so many others that are the backbone of UK animal welfare. But with fostering not an option at the present time, too many small rescues are now in absolutely desperate situations.

Here’s why:

  • Their volunteers are unable to go out and fundraise in the community now
  • More kennel spaces are having to be paid for to keep dogs (and other animals) safe
  • Most small rescues have rent to pay each month to keep going or face eviction
  • Many now urgently need to buy food for the animals in their care
  • Vets bills continue to be the largest outlay for small rescues

We cannot stress enough that small rescues mostly live a hand to mouth existence at the best of times. But these are the worst of times. Times that none of us ever imagined happening.

Wherever you live in the UK, please we urge you to make a donation to a small local rescue in your community right now. Time is not on their side.

We know that a lot is being asked of us all right now and everyone is having to make difficult decisions. But there are also some small sacrifices that people are having to make as well, like going to the hairdressers, nail bars, restaurants, the cinema, theme parks. It’s just a thought but if you can’t go out to spend money on things like these, you could actually save the life of an animal instead!

Finally, we hope and pray that all of our friends, supporters and followers, rescues and their teams stay safe and well during these frightening times. We must all stay strong for our animal friends who need us to continue to be their voices for a long time to come.

Thank you.

WE CELEBRATE OUR FOSTER FIRST ANNIVERSARY

One year ago today, we launched Foster First. And what a year it’s been!

Thanks to a dedicated network of over 100 smaller rescues around the UK and a fantastic number of caring individuals and families who have opened their hearts and their homes to rescue pets in need, we have been able to help save over 225 rescue pets including dogs, cats, cockerels and hens.

We’ve also helped and supported 42 victims of domestic violence in finding them somewhere safe for their animals to stay for a while. Here’s just one of the many articles our dear friends at Dogs Today Magazine have dedicated to Foster First and our vital work.

We couldn’t have done any of this without the extraordinary smaller rescues who are part of our Foster First programme, rescues often run solely by volunteers in desperate need of funds. Here are just some of the rescues who have been there for us and the animals without hesitation, at all times of the day and night and no matter the cost of veterinary bills. These are the unsung animal heroes. For details of all our rescues needing foster carers, please visit our website.

Rescues

And of course, there’s YOU! The overwhelmingly kind and caring members of the public who opened your hearts and homes to rescue pets in need. It’s because of you over 225 rescue pets had somewhere warm and safe to stay for a while. It’s because of you 23 foster pets became what we call ‘failed fosters’ and have been adopted by their fosterers. It’s because of you rescues and pound-pullers were able to save the lives of more animals. It’s because of you that homeless people and their pets didn’t have to live in their cars or tents or have to surrender their beloved pets for permanent rehoming. So, to all 378+ members of the public who joined our foster carer list this year, we THANK you from the bottom of our hearts.

This is a critical time of year for animals in need. All sorts of animals – dogs, cats, horses, birds, reptiles and others. This is the time when uncaring people ‘throw out’ their loyal canine companions because they’re older and they want to buy a ‘cute’ puppy instead. A time when people decide to go on holiday and leave their pets behind. A time when smaller rescues around the UK are left to pick up the pieces as they always do. These rescues aren’t ‘household names’. Even if they all clubbed together, they couldn’t afford to make a TV commercial at Christmas or at any other time of the year. Please think about this when it comes to making your next charitable donation. These are the rescues that genuinely need your help now and these are the rescues that continue to need fosterers more desperately than ever.

If you would like to join or support our Foster First programme, please visit our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

HOW FOSTER FIRST IS HELPING VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

We launched Foster First for three key reasons 1) to help stem the flow of unwanted puppies entering the rescue system 2) as a response to the UK’s rescue dog and kennel space crisis with the aim of bringing more people together who may not even know about fostering and 3) to help alleviate the loneliness and isolation that many older people feel by showing them how fostering a dog can bring companionship into their lives without the fear of long-term commitment.

What we didn’t anticipate when we launched Foster First was that it would prove to be a lifeline for victims of domestic violence and their pets. Escaping domestic violence can be difficult. Trying to do so with a beloved pet is even harder, but there are people out there ready to help … read more in the current edition of Dogs Today magazine.

Our sincere thanks go to our friends at Dogs Today magazine for supporting our work and that of the many animal heroes who work tirelessly to help victims of domestic violence and their beloved pets.

CAN YOU HELP SPREAD THE FOSTERING MESSAGE WHERE YOU LIVE?

As you will have seen, we’ve started distributing our Foster First packs to the rescues who are part of the programme, to help them attract more fosterers for their rescue animals. And we’re absolutely overjoyed at the response and for all the lovely messages we’ve been getting from the rescues who’ve already received their packs.

Foster First Packages for Rescues

Obviously, the more that people hear about what fostering is about, the more animals can be helped. So we thought that perhaps you would like to help spread the word in your area? It’s easy. Simply download the poster and print it out (it’s a standard A4 size) and then ask your local vets, pet shop, groomers and other suitable locations to display it so that more people can learn about what a lifeline fostering is for rescue pets.

A big thank you from Linda, Sue & Ana and the rescue animals xxx

Foster First Poster

 

WE BEGIN FOSTER FIRST PACK ROLLOUT TO RESCUES

Our team had a very busy and productive weekend putting together the first batch of Foster First leaflets and poster packs for smaller rescues to help them attract more fosterers in their local communities. Even little Alice bichon lent a paw to help her fur friends!

Foster First was launched just before Christmas last year and thanks to the exceptional dedication and compassion of Ana Cossart, our Foster First Co-Ordinator, and the overwhelmingly positive response from smaller rescues across the UK who are already involved in this initiative, there are dogs, cats, rabbits and other homeless animals beginning their journeys to happier new lives.

Our spotlight on fostering as a lifeline for rescue pets initially came about in preparation for the greater numbers of puppy farm breeding dogs being surrendered as a result of Lucy’s Law. We know from personal experience that in order to start the rehabilitation process, these special dogs need to be in a home environment, normally with a calm resident dog, so that they can start learning how to be dogs and living the lives that should always have been theirs.

But of course, this is only one aspect of the vital work fostering animals fulfills. From companionship for the elderly who are increasingly isolated, to helping provide a safe haven for animals so that human victims of domestic abuse can flee to safety, to freeing up valuable kennel space for a pound dog that may otherwise be euthanised, fosterers are amazing people and the small rescue world would collapse without them.

And there’s another key reason for Foster First. We want to encourage potential first-time puppy purchasers to stop and think before they leap into a purchase they may regret. To give first timers a taste of what having a dog in your life really means, how it affects your daily life, your routine, your environment and your finances – we are urging anyone who thinks they want to buy a puppy to foster a dog or puppy first – before making that huge, life-changing commitment. With one in ten pups being surrendered to rescues within a month of being purchased, we are committed to doing whatever we can to get people to stop and take a breath before taking home the ‘dream’ and then using local rescues as recycling depots when they decide their cute fluffball is a noisy, destructive, pooing, weeing nightmare – or whatever excuse they decide to come up with in order to ‘get rid’ of their costly mistake fast.

FOSTER FIRST – HOW IT ALL WORKS

Welcome to Foster First! We launched Foster First for three reasons: 1) To help stem the flow of unwanted puppies entering the rescue system; 2) As a response to the UK’s rescue dog and kennel space crisis and 3) To help alleviate the loneliness and isolation that many older people feel by showing them how fostering a dog can bring companionship into their lives without the fear of long-term commitment.

HERE’S HOW IT ALL WORKS …

Foster First is first and foremost a resource that highlights the vital role fostering plays within the rescue world and in our community. Its aim is to bring rescues and potential fosterers together to help animals in a home environment. The programme supports small and medium sized local rescues because we recognise that many of these rescues rely heavily on or are run solely by volunteers and have very little money and so are unlikely to have the time or resources available to promote their vital work.

Foster First is a programme for rescues based and operating within the UK. We do support foreign rescues, but you must either be registered in the UK or have dedicated UK contacts who work or volunteer for your rescue.

As Foster First is a resource for rescues and potential foster carers, we are not involved in the rescue process itself; this is all undertaken directly by the rescues. We love to hear your feedback, so if you are a rescue or potential foster carer who has some wonderful news to share as a result of Foster First, please do get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter account.

WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA RESOURCE

Foster First operates a website solely dedicated to this programme and on our website under the page ‘Rescues Needing Fosterers’ you will find a list of rescues who rely on and are often in desperate need of foster carers. Every rescue has their own criteria for becoming a foster carer so please contact them directly to find out more. Please note, home checks are undertaken by the rescues themselves.

Foster First regularly posts a list of potential foster carers to our social media pages. So, if you are a member of the public who is keen to foster and hasn’t had success with a local rescue, please message us via Facebook or Twitter and we will include your details (your name will be withheld) when we next post our list.

Foster First is keen to help as many small and medium sized UK rescues as possible. So, if you are a rescue in need of foster carers and you are not already part of our Foster First programme, please do get in touch. We welcome rescues who care for all types of animals.

Fostering is a lifeline for rescue pets. Thank you to everyone who is making a difference for our animal friends and to all who are helping make Foster First such a success!