Freedom Canines International (FCI) places highly trained assistance dogs with people seeking greater independence. Pups raised by community volunteers are educated to become mobility service dogs, diabetic alert dogs, hearing dogs and facility dogs. These life saving dogs need special care and attention as they grow to ensure they develop the confidence and skills needed to enter advanced training.
Becoming a foster home means welcoming an FCI dog into your home and your life on a temporary basis. Foster homes are responsible for maintaining an FCI pup’s good manners within the home. FCI dogs are not allowed on furniture, must not beg for food, should not jump up and in general should be learning good house manners.
Foster homes can commit to different levels of involvement:
- Full Time Foster- full time fosters provide care for our dogs in advanced training. These dog’s manners and training are already well established. Dogs come to training with FCI during the school day and then spend evenings and weekends within their foster home. Foster homes are responsible for getting their dog to and from school during the week. We have the biggest need for full time foster homes. If you are interested but unable to provide transportation for a dog. Please contact us to see if we may be able to establish a carpool or other arrangement for transportation.
- Weekend Foster- as it sounds, these volunteers foster only on the weekends, picking their foster dog up on Friday and returning it Monday morning. This can be a great option for getting started and seeing if fostering is a good fit with your family.
- As Needed Foster- these foster homes supplement our full time foster homes and puppy raisers. If a full time foster home leaves town and needs coverage, an as needed foster would take the dog during their absence. The dog would still need transportation to and from school during this time.
Foster homes do not have public access with their dogs like our puppy raising volunteers do. Dogs should stay in the home except for going to and from FCI activities. This is because foster home volunteers are not required to spend as many hours training with FCI Instructors as the puppy raising volunteers. We are happy to work with interested fosters to gain the hours required for public access with a dog in training.
As a volunteer foster home, you must agree to the following:
- Provide a safe home environment for a pup in training
- Work closely with FCI monitoring the pup and submit training reports as directed
- Use only FCI approved training equipment and training techniques
- Attend FCI club meetings and training activities
- Maintain puppy/ dog manners and basic commands as taught by FCI Instructors
- Feed the puppy/ dog as directed by FCI
- Ensure puppy/ dog sleeps indoors, inside a crate (a crate can be borrowed if needed)
- Keep the puppy/ dog on a leash at all times unless in a securely fenced area
- Supervise the young puppy throughout the day and enforce all FCI rules (ex. dogs are not allowed on furniture or allowed to eat food off the floor)
- Agree to return the puppy/ dog upon request
Parental Support and Participation
Fostering a puppy or advanced dog is a wonderful opportunity to practice responsibility and patience. Even though our puppies are bred specifically to be assistance dogs, they will still mouth, chew, jump up and do other frustrating puppy behaviors while they are learning and growing! Therefore, parental support is critical for youth foster homes.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Laura Dalton 512-636-0974, email@example.com Laura will be happy to answer any questions you have and provide you with a foster home application. After we receive your application, we will be in touch to schedule an in-home visit to meet you and any pets the FCI dog will interact with in your home.
Foster homes are an integral part of fulfilling our mission of Pups Empowering People! We are so grateful you are considering volunteering as a foster and becoming a part of the FCI Family! And remember, you can always start with just a weekend!