Can you spare a few weeks to save a life?
Before there was a South Euclid Humane Society, and then Cleveland Underdog Rescue, dogs brought into the South Euclid police station were sent to a large over-crowded shelter where their fate was far from certain. For dogs like our sweet Rodney, who came to us half-starved and in need of medical attention, this would very likely have meant a death sentence.
Instead, Rodney and fellow Underdog rescue dogs get the medical care they need, and then await adoption in the loving care of foster homes. And instead of sitting in a lonely cage, trembling from fear and languishing in loneliness, Rodney spends his days prancing in a fenced yard or napping in his chair, and spends his nights snuggling (and snoring) between his foster mom and dad. Meanwhile, Rodney's foster parents give us the feedback we need to determine the kind of forever-home he needs.
Today, dogs in need from South Euclid, University Heights and Richmond Heights are given a new lease on life. Lost dogs are reunited with their families, and those who can't or shouldn't return home are examined, vaccinated, spayed/neutered and begin new lives in loving foster homes. Because Underdog does NOT have a shelter, none of our "Happy Tails" would be possible without our fosterers.
How long does fostering last? Fostering can range from days to months, but the average is 3 to 4 weeks. Underdog volunteers are always available to make sure things go smoothly.
Who provides supplies and vet care? Underdog provides ongoing vet care, and also provides basic supplies, including food (many foster parents enjoy shopping for food, toys and treats for their foster dogs).
How do foster dogs meet potential forever-families? Underdog remains responsible for findingpermanent homes for all rescued dogs (although our foster parents sometimes put us in touch with friends, family members or co-workers who are interested in adopting). Underdog volunteers schedule visits with potential families, making sure that pick-up and return times are convenient for our fosterers. Some of our foster parents enjoy accompanying us on those visits, while others choose not to. Either way, our foster parents are always kept in the loop, and are given the information they need to be assured that, when adopted, their foster dog is going to a wonderful, loving home. Depending on the situation, some fosterers stay in touch with their foster dog’s adopted family, exchanging photos, and even visiting from time to time.
How do we know if a foster dog will be a good fit for our family? Some families take all comers, while others have requirements (eg, must be house-trained, good with other dogs or cats, and so on). We do our best to ensure a good fit, and a trainer is available when needed.
What happens if we fall in love? When all are in agreement that it’s the right match, our fosterers always have the first option to adopt.
- Fostering provides the loving care so desperately needed by dogs who are lonely or afraid, while giving Underdog time to reunite lost dogs with their families, and to find new and loving forever homes for those who can't or shouldn’t be returned to their original homes.
- Fostering allows families to do a "trial run" to see if adoption is right for them.
- Fostering gives children the chance to learn about caring for animals, and gives parents the chance to see if their children are ready for the responsibility of having a pet.
- For those who have lost a beloved dog and simply aren't ready to adopt, fostering provides canine companionship without the long-term commitment.
We see it all the time; dogs are literally transformed by the love and care they receive in their foster homes. And what an extraordinary honor it is to be the one to provide that gift.
How You Can Help
Foster homes save lives, and Cleveland Underdog is on a mission - to sign up 10 new fosterers by the end of the summer! If you're interested in getting more information about fostering, simply send us an e-mail or give us a call. If you can't foster yourself, help spread the word by asking a friend, neighbor, family member or colleague if they’d like to foster. New fosterers will get an official Underdog t-shirt!