Golden Retriever Rescue of Southern Maryland Needs You

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Golden Retriever Rescue of Southern Maryland Needs You

3/27/2013

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Do you love animals? If so, are you willing to help abused, abandoned or unwanted dogs and cats right here in Southern Maryland?

Every local animal rescue group needs temporary families, called foster families, to care for dogs and cats until they are adopted.

The rescue group pays for the veterinary care and most rescue groups also pay for food and supplies. Anything you purchase for your temporary "guest" is tax deductible.

The need is year round, but more so in spring and summer months when unaltered dogs and cats are more likely to roam and unwanted litters of puppies and kittens are born.

The dictionary defines fostering as "affording, receiving, or sharing nurture or parental care though not related by blood or legal ties."

Nurturing is exactly what foster families do for animals in need.

Golden Retriever Rescue of Southern Maryland is an example of a small, local rescue group. They were formed in 2007. Last year they took in and placed 58 golden retrievers. Most are local dogs given up by their owner, but some are transported from Southern states where it is not unusual for even purebred golden retriever puppies to be euthanized at shelters.

Frequently asked questions about fostering a dog or cat include:

Why Would Someone Give Up Their Companion Animal?

The most common reasons for giving up companion animals are:

  • Loss of job/home.
  • Not enough time to care for the dog or cat.
  • Someone in the family is allergic or develops significant health problems.
  • The owner dies.
  • The family moves into a house or apartment that does not allow animals.

How Long Does a Dog or Cat Stay With a Foster Family?

The length of time an animal stays in your home varies. Every effort is made to adopt to permanent homes as quickly as possible. Young, healthy dogs and cats are typically adopted within a month or two. Older, special needs animals take longer.

What if We Fall in Love and Want to Adopt?

You can! That’s one of the reasons many families decide to foster. Most rescues ask that if you think you may want to adopt your foster dog or cat you do so before he/she becomes available to prospective families

"I Could Never Foster Because I Would Want to Keep Them All!”

Many people say that, but the question is “How can you NOT foster and risk a beautiful animal being euthanized.?”

Pat and Joe Johnson, St Mary's County:

Pat Johnson, President and Foster Coordinator for Golden Retriever Rescue of Southern Maryland says,  "Foster families can rest assured their pups are only going to be adopted by exemplary families. That doesn’t mean a family has to live in a mansion to qualify to adopt, but it means we feel so good about a prospective adoptive family that we would let our own golden retrievers live there."

Pam Lowery ,Charles County:

Pam Lowery, who has fostered many pups, says, Yes, it usually hurts when they leave – there’s no denying it.  But can you imagine what all you would miss out on in life if you didn’t do anything that could cause you some pain?  

What I want to try to explain is everything good that you feel comes along with that little bit of pain:  the happiness when an abused or neglected creature first begins to trust you, the amazement and pride when a happy, healthy dog emerges from the mess that arrived at your doorstep, the intense joy when a pup who was never given a fair chance in life finds a wonderful home.   Fostering (and working with Rescue in other ways) is my way of reaching outside my own world and giving back.  I find it extremely rewarding to know that I’ve made a difference to both a dog and a family and that fulfills me in a way that nothing else does.

So, yes I usually cry when they leave.  But those tears are from a mixture of sadness, joy, pride and accomplishment.  Trust me, after a while when you get the calls, Christmas cards, pictures and emails from their happy family, all you feel is the good stuff.  You let them leave because there will very soon be that next email with a picture of a pup who is in trouble and needs you.  So, that’s how I can do it.  I have to.

What are the Requirements to be a Foster Family?

Foster families need to be willing to provide a safe and loving environment for a dog or cat who may be initially very confused.

Pat Johnson, says, Goldens are fun-loving, trusting and can be mischievous. Foster families need to be willing to have fun, provide structure, teach manners, if necessary, take the dog to the vet, if needed, and allow prospective adopters the opportunity to meet their “temporary” golden.   

Of course golden retrievers need to be primarily house dogs as they want to be part of the family. Some young dogs may need to go to a foster family whose yard is fenced to allow the dog to get needed exercise.

Foster Families Share Their Experiences

Fostering is both a live saver for a dog or cat in need and can be a rewarding experience for the foster family. Here's what some foster families say about their experiences.

Glenda Spragg, Calvert County:

Last night after I had a text message from the Williams family who adopted Sandy.  They sent me a picture of Sandy laying on her new bed with a caption that said "We are enjoying Sandy!"  Then I realized It is not only rewarding to foster and see your dogs adopted by loving families who will care for them, but to also see the love and happiness that the dogs give back to their new families!

I love dogs, and fostering is my way of helping dogs get a second chance at finding a loving home that will be their furever home.  Some dogs we have had might not have survived if our rescue had not taken them in.  It is always rewarding to see one of your foster dogs adopted into a family where you know they will be loved and well taken care of.  Through our foster dogs I have met some wonderful people.

I have loved all of our foster dogs, but I would say that Whisper really touched my heart.  Whisper had lived most of her short life outside in a small pen with 4 or 5 other dogs and was terrified of everything and everybody. Before coming to our rescue she was in a shelter where she was scheduled to be put down. Today Whisper is in a home where she has learned to trust and love her new owner who treats her like a princess!!

Barb Baratta, Calvert County:

We foster because it gives us such a good feeling to know that we are making a difference in a dog's life.  We have had many foster dogs over the years, some that wound up in a shelter on death row, some unwanted, some strays who nobody claimed, and some who came from good families who just could not keep them. 

No matter what their story , it is so heartwarming and rewarding to see them progress from shy, quiet, scared pups into loving, trusting,  carefree, playful, and yes sometimes mischievous pups.   Lots of love, good nutrition,  and a safe home is all it takes. And although it is sometimes hard to give them up, you know you have found the very best  "furever" home for them.   And so they come and go, but you know they are going to  have a better life, even if it is not with you.  Heartwarming, rewarding and the feeling of making a difference,  and Happy Endings, is why we foster!


Ernesto and Susan Casarez, Charles County:

I started to foster because I wanted to see how it was to have a dog again after not having had one for over ten years. After two weeks of fostering, I decided that I needed a dog and I adopted my first foster. I continue to foster because it's rewarding to see how I can turn a dog's life around by providing shelter, quality food, and lots of love and attention. I also enjoy the different personalities and quirks of each foster.

Adam and Mariel Connell, St Mary's County:

Mariel says,  It's hard to see how beautiful our dog and foster are in this picture. But the looks of love they are giving us capture  why fostering is such a rewarding experience. Helping a family find their perfect dog, a dog that may not otherwise be alive if not for you, is one of the greatest feelings that I have known.

Her husband Adam says he fosters, because,  It's fun. I love being with dogs. Growing up, my family always had dogs and they played a big part in my life. Fostering, is a way to try and repay my past pets for the joy and companionship they gave me.

Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about fostering please contact:



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