CPR Fund Foster Handbook
A young female Pit Bull was found shivering on the side of the expressway. A nice tow truck driver saw her dragging herself down the shoulder and stopped to help. He found an emaciated, scared, badly injured dog staring pleadingly into his eyes. He scooped her up and took her home. Unfortunately, it was late Friday night and there was no one to call for help. In the morning, the nice man started the search for someone to help this poor dog he had named Lucy. Her hind leg looked as if it had been caught in an animal trap. Most of the skin was missing and she was cut to the bone with a terrible infection already set in. After hours spent on the phone begging rescues, humane societies, and veterinarians to help Lucy, without any offers of assistance, the driver had almost given up. He tried the last number on his list- the CPR Fund. Upon hearing Lucy’s story, a volunteer was on the way to pick Lucy up. Upon arriving, the volunteer was greeted by the sweetest little dog she had ever met. Although Lucy was 15 pounds underweight and walking on only three legs, she managed to bounce over to her new foster mom and give her a big kiss. Lucy was taken to the vet, who predicted Lucy’s leg would have to be amputated. The damage and infection were so severe, it was doubtful the leg could be saved. But the severity of the infection and Lucy’s malnutrition made it impossible to perform the surgery right away. Lucy had to get stronger first. She went home with her new foster mom to wait. That was the best thing that could have happened to Lucy! Although she required daily wound care and lots of groceries, Lucy was a pleasure to be around. Always happy no matter how bad her physical condition was, she greeted everyone- humans, dogs, cats- with a big kiss and wagging tail. After a month of daily wound care and three square meals a day, Lucy went back to the vet. She had gained 18 pounds and her leg was healing beautifully. The vet could not believe the improvement in Lucy’s condition. It was decided the leg would not have to be amputated after all! Lucy had cheated fate again. After a few more months of TLC, Lucy was adopted by a loving family who spoil her rotten. This dog didn’t stand a chance as a stray and would surely have been euthanized if taken to an animal control facility. Without a foster home, Lucy would not be here and her family would not have the dog they adore.
Thank you for choosing to become a CPR Fund foster parent. With your help, we hope to decrease the number of adoptable dogs euthanized in northwest Indiana and Chicagoland shelters. Fostering is a very rewarding experience but it is also hard work. This manual is meant to outline what you, as a foster parent, can expect from the CPR Fund and what we in turn expect from you.
The CPR Fund foster program was initiated in 2003 by a group of EMT’s and Paramedics who recognized the need for vast improvements in the way northwest Indiana deals with its unwanted pet population. With the cooperation of local animal control agencies, humane societies, and veterinarians, the CPR Fund started rescuing dogs scheduled for euthanasia, placing them in foster care, providing all necessary vet care, and finding them a permanent, loving home. Over the years, some of the faces have changed but the mission remains the same- ending the needless euthanasia of adoptable dogs through education and example. It would seem that the easiest way to list your responsibilities as a foster parent is to run through a typical fostering experience as an example. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a typical fostering experience. Each dog is different. Each foster family is different. But these differences are what make the program so successful. Outlined below are some general guidelines to help you through the fostering experience. Please use your judgment, ask questions, and have fun!
The CPR Fund is a very laid back, open-minded group that encourages its volunteers to exercise their own judgement in many situations. However,, in order for the foster program to run smoothly, we have set forth some guidelines regarding the roles and responsibilities of both the organization and the foster family. These are by no means steadfast rules, as each animal’s needs (as well as each family’s abilities) will dictate the course taken for each dog. This manual is meant to be used as a reference to answer some common questions encountered during rescue work.
Because rescuing is a dynamic endeavor, these policies will be amended as needed. Suggestions are always welcome. Although the CPR Fund has a Board of Directors in place, it is very rare that any issue is put to a vote. This is a cooperative effort and every volunteer’s ideas and opinions are valued. Please feel free to share your thoughts freely, knowing they will be respected. Finally, please be aware that the majority of the communication within CPR Fund is done via email. PLEASE check your email regularly as that is where you will find any rescue-related news, requests for more information on your foster and adoption applications.
Choosing Your Foster
The CPR Fund encourages you to take part in choosing your own foster. When you signed up, you provided us with ages, sizes, and numbers of dogs you are willing to accept. Our volunteers will contact you when a dog fitting your specifications needs rescue. We do our best to gather as much information about the dog’s size, health status, and temperament as possible prior to contacting you. We also use the ASPCA’s SAFER assessment when possible. There is more information about this assessment in Appendix V of this handbook. Please be aware that some information comes second-hand from an animal control officer or shelter worker and may not be completely accurate. What one person considers a “medium-sized” dog may be a large dog to you. A “puppy” may be 6 months old. When possible, we encourage you to visit the shelter yourself, or with an experienced volunteer if you are new to rescue, and meet the dog prior to accepting him or her. However, we occasionally work with shelters several hours away, making it impossible to do so. The decision is yours. Once you have agreed to take a dog, he is your responsibility. If, when the dog arrives, you determine he is not what you had in mind, there may not be another foster home available to take him. He will remain your responsibility until other arrangements can be made. This could take a day, a week, or a month. If you have very specific limitations on what you are willing to foster please let us know and you will only be asked to take dogs you can meet prior to acceptance.
Also, please be aware that some dogs are adopted more quickly than others. An eight-week old Golden Retriever puppy will most likely be adopted within a week of arriving at your home. A four-year-old Pit Bull might hang around for MANY, MANY months. This is something to consider when choosing a foster dog. Again, once you have accepted the dog he is your responsibility until another foster home opens up or he is adopted, regardless of how long it takes.
Finally, please understand that the majority of our rescues come from places where they are not being properly cared for. They are often sick, scared, malnourished and in generally poor condition. Part of being a foster parent is a willingness to deal with the complications that go along with this general state of neglect. They may have worms. They may have an upper respiratory infection. This means they will have a runny nose and cough. Many will be scared to death of you. You may have to administer medication, work on socialization and teach these throwaway dogs what love is all about. While this may seem like a daunting task, it’s not as tough as one might think. Most of it is second nature for animal lovers and the change seen in these dogs after just a few days of proper care is amazing. And, as always, if you need help just ask!
Bringing Your Foster Home
Please keep in mind that (in most cases) we have no idea what may have happened to your foster dog prior to rescue. We do know he has been stuck in doggie jail for who knows how long. We know he looks at you as a stranger who may or may not hurt him. And we know he is terrified. Guaranteed.
You should expect that your new dog will need some time to adjust to his new family. His entire existence has just changed. He does not know that this is his new home. Suddenly he has to deal with a new schedule, a new home environment, a new communication style, new people, new animals if you already have pets . . . The list goes on and on. During this adjustment period your foster dog may exhibit behavior that he normally would not. He may be on his best behavior for the first few days and then start to show some negative behaviors. He may show negative behaviors immediately. He may not show them at all. Behaviors commonly seen in a stressed dog include having house-training accidents, making serious efforts to escape (including bolting out the door), jumping fences, digging under fences, attempting to avoid interactions with his new owners and excessive barking are common. They may also have decreased appetite or an upset stomach. As your dog gets more and more comfortable in his new home you should see these behaviors less and less. Just remember that dogs are individuals so be prepared for anything.
It can be a long process but there are a few things you can do to make the transition easier.
During the first two or three days try not to be too demanding of him. Avoid excessive stimulation in any form- noise, movement, even talking to or petting your new dog may be overwhelming at first. Give him this time to unwind.
Develop a daily routine. Feed and let him out in the yard at the same time every day. If you are leash walking, try to walk him at a specific hour. You can also regiment what time he wakes up and what him he is put to bed. By establishing a pattern your dog will know what to expect and that will decrease his anxiety.
If you are having a large group of people, very small children or anyone who is afraid of dogs come to your house, keep your foster in his crate so he doesn’t become overwhelmed. He still considers you to be a stranger. Exposing him to large, noisy groups or small, unpredictable children will increase his anxiety and may trigger some undesirable behaviors.
Use the crate. It is the policy of the CPR Fund that ALL dogs are crate-trained. There are several benefits to both you and your foster. First, you can leave home without worrying about the dog destroying your furniture or other belongings or getting into something that may harm him. Second, although you may see the crate as being a prison, your dog sees it as his own room. Dogs have a “den instinct.” The crate satisfies this instinct, providing him with a safe, secure place all his own. Finally, crating makes house-training much easier. Most dogs will not eliminate where they sleep when at all possible. Crating your dog when you are unable to directly supervise him will make the task of potty-training much easier. Just remember, a young puppy can only “hold it” for about 4 hours. If you are going to leave your puppy home alone for longer than a few hours, you should expect to find a mess when you return. However, as the puppy grows older, he will develop control over his bowels and bladder and be able to hold it for longer periods until he is eventually able to wait a normal eight-hour work day.
To facilitate crate training, establish the crate as your foster dog’s “safe zone.” Put the crate in an area away from commotion and if your dog starts getting overwhelmed, calmly lead him to his crate. Always feed and give treats in the crate so he associates it with positive experiences. You can also put a high-value toy or special treat inside to encourage him to go in. This also keeps him busy, making him less likely to feel anxious. Eventually your dog will learn that if he is scared, anxious or just wants to be alone he can go to his crate and be safe. More information on crate training can be found in the next section. If you need help with crating your new dog, just ask. We want your dog to associate his crate with safety and security. If being put in the crate is a traumatic experience, we are defeating the purpose.
Basically, in order to ease your foster’s transition try to avoid anything that may further stress him or her.. And please give your new dog time and space to fully decompress for the first two weeks, minimum. Some dogs may need more, some less. You will know he is adjusting to his new world when he no longer appears to be constantly on edge. He will also begin to not only seek but also enjoy your attention. Once these new, confident behaviors are well-established you can consider introducing him to any resident pets.
If at any time you feel your foster dog is a danger in any way, contact Steph IMMEDIATELY to discuss the situation and devise a solution. If you, another person or an animal is harmed and your foster dog is involved in any way, regardless of the circumstances, first seek immediate medical attention for the injured party/parties if necessary. Then contact Steph regarding the proper procedure to follow. Each state, county, city and town have specific policies and procedures so where the incident occurred will dictate where we go from here. The CPR Fund follows all state and local regulations pertaining to animals. There are no exceptions.
Introducing your resident dog to a foster dog can be very challenging and should not be attempted until your foster dog appears comfortable and well- adjusted in his new home. For the first two weeks dogs should not be allowed in direct contact. Keep one dog crated while the other is free and alternate them regularly. Doing so allows the dogs to see and smell each other. It also allows each dog to study the other’s behavior, mannerisms and general attitude. And both dogs remain safe should a conflict arise because the crate keeps them physically separated. Once the dogs seem comfortable around each other you can start the introduction process. Each introduction is different so always be alert and look for signs of distress in either dog whether it is their first meeting or their 50th. There are many techniques used to introduce a foster dog to resident pets. The process we follow can be found at the end of this handbook in Appendix IV- “Recommendations for Dog Introductions.” Again, these are just guidelines. You should tailor the steps to fit your particular dogs’ needs. And if you need help, just ask.
Common Shelter Illnesses
Most animal control facilities and many humane societies are under-funded, under-staffed and over-burdened with unwanted animals. And while most facilities do the best they can with what they have, often it isn’t enough. There are several conditions common in shelter situations that you may have to treat in your foster dog. This section covers the most common illnesses in shelter dogs. The next section outlines at-home treatment options for them.
Lack of Dirt Disease: Because most of our fosters were living in sub-standard conditions prior to rescue, they generally develop what one foster mom has named “Lack of Dirt Disease.” Once the dog is removed from the filthy environment, given clean water and good food on a regular basis and treated for intestinal parasites, the system goes into a sort of “shock.” This usually entails a few days of diarrhea or a few weeks of a runny nose and cough, possibly both. This condition is more common in puppies than adult dogs but almost all of the dogs have it to some degree. Because the diarrhea is usually caused by intestinal parasites and/or the stress of the shelter, a dose of worming medication and a change of environment clears most cases up within a few days. The runny nose and cough* usually hang on a little longer. Because the condition is generally viral, antibiotics do not help. We have adopted a “wait and see” approach with this condition. If there is no improvement within 3-5 days, a course of antibiotics is started to decrease the likelihood of a secondary infection. There should be considerable improvement within seven days. This is nothing to panic about; they ALL get it. As long as the dog is still eating, drinking, peeing, pooping, and playing chances are the illness is bothering you more than it is bothering the dog. If there is no improvement within seven days or the dog’s condition deteriorates, contact Steph to discuss the situation.
*NOTE: As of January 2016, Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) is still not in control of the Canine Influenza Virus (CIV) outbreak. Any dog that comes from this facility has, at the very least, been exposed to the virus. Some of the dogs are tested but others are not. Regardless of testing or symptoms, ALL DOGS FROM THIS FACILITY SHOULD BE CONSIDERED FLU-POSITIVE AND EXTREMELY CONTAGIOUS! For this reason, any dog pulled from CACC needs to be in strict quarantine for 2-3 weeks. During this time they should not be allowed to interact with any other animals under any circumstances. You should also wash your hands frequently to minimize the risk of taking the virus with you everywhere you ago. This virus is EXTREMELY contagious and very dangerous, sometimes rapidly progressing into pneumonia. Before any dog is pulled from CACC, you will have to discuss the situation with Steph to ensure the rescue is equipped to deal with any potential problems. As of this update there are vaccines available for both strains of the CIV virus. We strongly encourage the owners of any dog that frequently encounters dogs outside the home to talk to their veterinarian about the pros and cons of these vaccinations. For more information on CIV you can visit https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/CanineIn... or talk to your veterinarian.
Kennel Cough : Kennel cough is actually a generic term for several diseases of the respiratory tract that cause a dry, hacking cough. It is very similar to a cold in humans and is transmitted in much the same way, by coming in contact with an infected individual. All of your current pets should be vaccinated against kennel cough prior to the arrival of your first foster dog. The disease has an incubation period of 2 to 14 days. This means the dog starts to develop symptoms 2 to 14 days after exposure. In general, the illness resolves on its own. We feel that it is best not to treat this condition with antibiotics since it is almost always self-limiting and the organism that causes kennel cough is a normal inhabitant of the upper airways. Treatment may lead to antibiotic-resistance problems, which makes it more difficult to treat the most serious potential complication, pneumonia. Although, a simple case of kennel cough progressing to pneumonia is very rare. You can give Robitussin DM to help with the symptoms if absolutely necessary, keeping in mind that the coughing is beneficial because it helps expel infected mucous from the lungs. If your foster does not show improvement within seven days, the symptoms get worse or the dog stops eating/drinking/playing/pooping, contact Steph or Jill to schedule a vet appointment.
Worms: Worms is a general term used to encompass several different species of parasites. Shelter dogs often have any or all of the following: roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Roundworms are long and white and described as looking like spaghetti. Hookworms are very small and require microscopic examination of a stool sample. Whipworms are also very small and require a fecal examination. Tapeworms are flat and obviously segmented. As the tapeworm grows, some of the segments are shed and may be seen caught in the hair around the anus or in their feces. They look like grains of rice. Most worm infestations cause diarrhea (perhaps with blood,) weight loss, dry hair, general poor appearance and vomiting (perhaps with worms in the vomit- YUCK!) However, some infestations cause few or no symptoms. Because of this, we assume all our dogs have all of the above and are treated accordingly. They receive Drontal Plus the day they arrive and a second dose two to three weeks later, if needed. To keep your personal pets from getting worms, you should try to keep your fosters in an isolated area when using the bathroom and keep the feces picked up. Also, Heartguard Plus will prevent infestation of most kinds of worms. For this reason, it is imperative that your personal pets are on Heartguard year-round.
Coccidia: Coccidia is an intestinal infection found in puppies less than 6 months of age and, most commonly, in puppies less than 12 weeks. The disease also occurs in immunosuppressed adults or animals who are stressed (i.e. noisy shelter, change in environment.) The incubation period for coccidia is about two weeks. The most common symptom of coccidia is diarrhea. Because most cases are mild, treatment is often unnecessary. Again, as long as the dog is eating, drinking, peeing, pooping and playing he is most likely fine. If the diarrhea seems excessive or continues for several days, isolate the puppy from other animals and contact Steph or Jill. As with worms, the best way to keep your personal pets from developing coccidia is to keep your fosters in an isolated area when using the bathroom and properly dispose of their feces.
Parvo Virus : This is a bad one. We don’t see it all that often because the disease is usually fatal when left untreated and the dog dies at the shelter before rescue is even contacted. Parvo is most common in puppies under 12 weeks of age although it is possible for an adult dog to contract the virus. The disease has an incubation period of five to fourteen days. Your foster may seem fine for a week and then suddenly fall gravely ill. Dogs with parvo act like they are in extreme pain. Early symptoms are depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, high fever and severe, foul-smelling diarrhea. Feces can be either grayish or liquid and bloody. It also has an extremely foul smell distinct to this illness. Rapid dehydration is a danger and dogs may continue to vomit and have diarrhea until they die, usually about three days after the onset of symptoms. Others may recover without complications and have no long-term problems. Puppies can die suddenly of shock as early as two days into the illness. This is not just a little diarrhea or upset stomach. The dog will look extremely sick. If you have any concerns that your foster may have Parvo, immediately separate him from any other pets and call Steph or Jill. Your dog will need veterinary care immediately. To prevent your pets from getting Parvo, they will be vaccinated against it prior to the arrival of your first foster. Again, Parvo is very rare in adult dogs and should not endanger your personal pets in any way.
Because most of these illnesses have an incubation period of about 10 days, we require you to keep your dog in foster care for at least 10 days prior to adoption. Although this does not guarantee the dog will not develop one of these diseases, it does make it less likely.
These are just the most common problems we see in the shelter dogs and is by no means a comprehensive list. If your dog is exhibiting signs and symptoms of any of the above, check the document entitled “Quick Fixes for Common Problems” at the end of this text and contact the CPR Fund. We will evaluate the problem and get you the appropriate treatment. For conditions we cannot treat ourselves, you’ll need to take your foster to the vet.
The CPR Fund works with the following veterinary clinics:
Animal Care Center in Chicago, IL
Animal Care Center in St. John, IN
Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago, IL
Arbor View Animal Hospital in Valparaiso, IN
PAWS in Chicago, IL
Roselle Animal Hospital in Schaumburg, IL
Spay IL in Lisle, IL
VCA Forest South Animal Hospital in University Park, IL
We also utilize Premier Veterinary Group for any dog that needs specialized care not available at one of our regular veterinary offices. They have multiple locations in the Chicagoland area. For exact addresses, phone numbers, policies and procedures for each clinic please see the vet list at the end of this handbook. These clinics give us a rescue discount, allowing us to remain financially viable. We do not use any other veterinary clinics. The staff at these clinics is very familiar with our organization, volunteers and procedures. Your foster dog will have as much of his age-appropriate vetting done as possible prior to coming to your home. However, if the dog is ill or is very young, he may still require shots, worming, heartworm test, etc. A CPR Fund volunteer will let you know if your dog requires further veterinary care. We will also give you a schedule showing what is still needed and when it needs to be done.
If your dog needs to be evaluated by a veterinarian, contact Steph or Jill to obtain a Permission to Treat (PTT) Form. EACH CLINIC HAS ITS OWN FORM AND WILL NOT SEE THE DOG IF YOU DO NOT BRING THE CORRECT FORM*. If it is an emergency situation- i.e. the dog has been hit by a car, poisoned, having an allergic reaction, etc.- don’t call, just go. Please go to the clinic that is closest to your home or, if the emergency occurs after “normal” business hours, go to Forest South or one of the Animal Care Center locations. They are open late on weekdays and have hours on Saturday and Sunday. If you are bringing an emergency case to one of these clinics, please do your best to call ahead (to the clinic, Steph or Jill) so staff can prepare to care for your dog. All of our vets are very good about “squeezing us in,” taking emergency cases, and boarding our particularly ill fosters. For non-emergency cases, once you receive the PTT you can go to the vet at your convenience. Both Animal Care Center locations and Forest South/VCA are walk-in clinics so you do not need an appointment. For all other clinics you will need to call and make an appointment. Please note, Westchester is almost always running behind schedule so if you are taking your dog there, be prepared to wait. You will be responsible for taking your dog to the vet** unless other arrangements have been made. Because most of the CPR Fund’s volunteers work full-time and have other commitments, we do not have the resources to provide transportation in every case. Also, you will be able to describe your dog’s problem more accurately, ask questions and understand the treatment plan if you are there. Whatever charges are incurred during the vet visit are billed to the CPR Fund. You will be given any necessary medication, follow-up instructions, etc. Please e-mail Jill with this information so it can be entered into the dog’s medical record. * PLEASE NOTE: You must take a Permission to Treat Form to ALL vet visits. ** If your dog needs to see a vet and you are unable to get him there in a reasonable amount of time, contact Steph and she will try and find a way to arrange transport.
All CPR Fund’s dogs are required to be spayed or neutered. There are no exceptions, ever. We work with vets that will do surgery on dogs as young as 8 weeks of age (in certain cases) but we prefer to wait until the dog is between 10 and 12 weeks old. As with any vet appointment, it is your responsibility to ensure your dog makes it to his scheduled surgery appointment. Your dog should not have anything to eat or drink after 9 p.m. the night before surgery. Surgery schedules, drop off/pick-up times and other clinic information can be found in Appendix I on page 18 of this handbook.
If you are unable to accommodate this schedule, you will have to make other arrangements. Often times, you will be able to drop your dog off the night before at another foster home and they will transport your dog to the appointment and pick him up after surgery. Then you can retrieve your dog from that foster when your schedule allows. As always, if you need help arranging transport, just ask.
Prior to surgery, your dog should be up-to-date on all vaccines and preventatives. Refer to the vaccination schedule at the back of this manual or contact Steph or Jill if you have any doubts as to whether your dog requires any updates. He should also be in generally good health- no open sores, fleas, obvious signs of illness, etc. A little cough is okay but please don’t bring an obviously ill dog to be altered. The vet will not do the surgery and you will have wasted your time. Again, your dog should have nothing to eat or drink after 9 p.m. the night before surgery.
Following the surgery, you may give a little food and water the first night. Do not feed a full meal or copious amounts of water- your dog will vomit. Return to a normal feeding schedule in the morning. Monitor the incision closely for any redness, swelling, discharge, change in temperature or anything else out of the ordinary. In some cases, the inner incision is closed with absorbable sutures and the outer with glue. Although the glue is quite strong, it can give way if the dog is licking or overly active. Keep the dog calm the first few days after surgery. If he is licking/scratching the incision, contact the CPR Fund for an E-collar. You can also take an old T-shirt and put it on the dog “backwards” with the tail through the neck opening and the hind legs in the armholes. Tie the waist of the shirt snugly around the dog’s abdomen. Besides keeping the dog from licking, it provides you with quite a laugh.
Some veterinarians include the cost of antibiotics and/or pain medicine in the price of the surgery and will send medication home with you. Others give these medications via injection before your dog leaves. Most dogs recover quickly without medication but if you feel your dog needs pain control and/or antibiotics, contact Steph or Jill to discuss the situation. We keep both medications on hand so do not buy them from the vet. Use both as prescribed. In our experience, the males rarely require pain medication at all and the younger females are back to normal within two days. The adult females generally require several days’ worth of rest and pain medication to fully recover. Still, each dog is different. Use your judgment or contact the CPR Fund or veterinarian for advice.
Publicizing Your Foster
Once your foster gets a chance to “settle in “ and appears to be happy and healthy, it is time to get him posted on the CPR Fund website, Petfinder, Facebook and the many other websites we use to promote adoption. Please take photos of your foster enjoying their new home life. PICTURES ARE THE FIRST THING TO CATCH THE EYE OF A POTENTIAL ADOPTER so please get the best pictures possible. There are over 200,000 adoptable pets listed on Petfinder alone. You need great pictures to make your dog stand out and get noticed. Seriously, this cannot be stressed enough. Natural sunlight provides the best lighting so pictures taken outdoors are ideal. Also, take pictures of your foster during various activities. Nobody wants to see 12 pictures of the same dog sleeping on the couch. If you need help getting good pictures consider contacting Barbara or Jill for more tips. Both are excellent photographers.
Also, take note of your dog’s likes/dislikes, habits, behavior and other pertinent information. Some examples: Is he good with other dogs/cats/kids? Is he housebroken/crate-trained? What is his activity level? List any commands your dog already knows or if he has graduated from an obedience class. Finally, include anything cute or “special “about your particular foster. This gives him a bit of personality and helps separate him from every other dog listed.
If you need help writing a bio, visit www.petfinder.com to see thousands of examples.
Email/text copies of all paperwork you received from the shelter, pictures and biography information to Steph@cprfund.com so she can enter your foster into the system and get him posted to the various websites. And please CC Barbara@cprfund.com on these emails as she handles the CPR Fund Facebook page. Your foster will then be put onto the various websites. Most CPR Fund adoptions originate from our website, Facebook, Petfinder.com, etc so it is very important you do your best when submitting your dog’s information.
Now comes the fun part- finding your foster a forever family! As a foster parent, you know your dog better than anyone. For this reason, we encourage all foster families to choose their own adopters. If you are uncomfortable with this arrangement, please let us know and we will assign another volunteer to handle your dog’s adoption.
The most important thing to remember when evaluating an adoption application is that just because the prospective parents will provide a good home does not mean it is the right home for your dog. For example, the prospective family may have a glowing vet reference and are wonderful people. But, they are in their late seventies and live in a one-bedroom apartment. If they were applying for an 8-week-old Lab puppy they would be denied. If they were applying for a three year old Chihuahua they would be approved. Please remember that we are looking for permanent, appropriate homes for our fosters.
Because every dog is different, every adoption is different. However, there are a few hard and fast rules: - No CPR Fund dog is to be adopted as an “outside dog” - All dogs are to be kept indoors as part of the family. - No large or very active breeds are to be adopted to apartment dwellers. We also suggest a fenced yard. - No dogs will be adopted for breeding, scientific experimentation, hunting, guard/attack use, or any purpose other than companionship. - We do not adopt animals as presents or gifts without the potential adopter’s knowledge and approved application - No Pit Bull or Pit Bull mix will be adopted to any person who lives in a community with breed-specific legislation (BSL) in place. Again, if you have a bad feeling about an adoption but can’t put your finger on why- don’t do the adoption. Trust your gut! The CPR Fund is a private rescue and has the right to refuse any adoption for any reason. If you would not have this family over to your home for dinner, don’t give them your dog. And, if you have any questions just ask!
Besides word of mouth, our adoptions come from two main sources: the internet and events. The internet is a fabulous tool to help find your dog a forever family. Besides the numerous sites we post the dogs for you, you can use your own Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. to promote your foster dog and CPR Fund in general. Obviously we ask that any posts pertaining to the group are not offensive, foul or inflammatory. We are all adults working toward one goal so hopefully that goes without saying.
There are various events scheduled throughout the year. There may be an Adoption Day at Petsmart, a donation drive outside a store or even a large event with many other rescues. If you have an idea for an adoption event please feel free to share. We are always looking for new and interesting ways to showcase our adoptables. It is your responsibility to make sure your foster gets to these events. If you are unable to accompany your dog, you can send an email to the group to see if another volunteer can help. We do sometimes have volunteers who can’t foster but are willing to help transport and/or handle the dog during the event. Participation in these events is ESSENTIAL and STRONGLY encouraged. These Adoption Days are advertised and potential adopters expect to see our available dogs. Events also help by spreading the word about our organization and by bringing in much-needed donations. Dates and times of upcoming events are always posted on the CPR Fund website, Facebook and via email so please check these regularly.
After your dog is posted, you will start receiving emails asking for more information on the dog as well as adoption applications.
There are three phases of approving an application. First, if the applicant has other pets, call their vet for a reference. Current pets should be up-to-date on vaccinations, altered, and current on heartworm preventative. Also, make sure they do not have other pets not listed on the application. Feel free to ask the staff questions about the adopters. Do they have a history of “getting rid of” pets? Are their current pets in good condition when they are brought in for appointments? Is there any other pertinent information that should be considered? Occasionally a vet’s office will refuse to answer any questions without the applicant giving them permission to share. If that happens, contact the applicant and explain the situation. If they have nothing to hide they should have no problem allowing their vet to speak with you.
Second, if they have a landlord, contact them. Be sure to ask specifics. If the landlord says, “Yes, they can have a dog” be sure to ask if there is a weight/size limit, breed restrictions, or an increase in rent or security deposit for the tenant. Also, ask if the prospective adopter is a responsible person. Some, not all, landlords are more than happy to tell you the tenant stays out until all hours of the night, never pays rent on time or has frequent visits from the police. Again, use your judgment.
If the first two checks go well, the final step is to interview the family. Be sure to ask a lot of questions. And notice if they don’t ask any. This is the part where you need to trust your instincts. If you don’t have a good feeling about the adoption, don’t do it. Again, refer to this manual or contact us for guidance.
If your foster happens to be a Pit Bull or Pit Bull mix, you will also need to call the animal control, police department, humane society or whatever municipal body oversees animal ordinances and find out if there is any breed-specific legislation (BSL) where the applicant lives. THIS STEP IS VITAL. Some communities have enacted laws that force bully breed owners to take out enormous homeowner’s insurance policies, muzzle their dogs when in public, install a six foot privacy fence and all sorts of other rules and restrictions. Some communities have outright banned Pit Bulls. Under no circumstances will a bully breed be adopted to a family living in a BSL community. Period.
Pit Bull fosters are also encouraged to send potential adopters a copy of “So You Want to Own a Pit Bull” which is included in the back of this handbook.
Finally, schedule a home visit. This will be exactly like the visit that was done at your home prior to you becoming a foster parent. We are not judging people on the way they live. We simply want to ensure our dogs are being adopted into safe homes. Again, if the applicant has nothing to hide, allowing a home visit shouldn’t be an issue. This is another time when you should trust your gut. If something seems off it probably is. And obviously, if the place is filthy, has other animals (or children) that do not appear to be cared for or anything else that sets off an alarm, politely conclude the visit and deny the application via email to eliminate any possible safety issues. Then report the situation to Steph so the proper people can be notified.
Occasionally you will receive an application from someone wanting to adopt a dog to be kept outside, used for guard work or for another use deemed unacceptable by the CPR Fund. Our dogs are to be kept as INDOOR COMPANION ANIMALS ONLY. Applications requesting dogs for any other purpose are summarily denied, regardless of how nice the people may be. Every once in a while someone will try to wiggle their way around this policy. The person will submit a new application for different dog and leave off whatever it was that got them denied. Since there is only one person receiving and distributing the applications, the same person would receive this second application and most likely remember the previous application’s denial. The adoption application screener is very good at her job so very few applications get past her but, be aware, it could happen. We have also had cases where the applicant slipped up and mentioned something about having been denied by CPR Fund in the past. If that happens, try to get as much information as possible and contact Steph. Also contact Steph if the applicant shares any information that may need the attention of law enforcement, animal control, etc. Perhaps they tell you their previous dog froze to death while living outside in Chicago in January. Maybe one died of heartworm infestation, which is medical neglect. Basically, anything that concerns you should be discussed with Steph. Neglect and cruelty cases MUST be reported.
Once you have chosen a forever family for your foster, set up a meeting place to pick up the adoption fee and give the dog to them. The CPR Fund accepts cash or check only. If they want to pay with a credit card they can do so via Paypal at firstname.lastname@example.org. If they choose this option be sure to check with Steph to make sure the fee has been paid before you release the dog. Your meeting place can be a local park, Petco/Petsmart, your home or wherever is convenient and where you feel safe. Be sure to bring your dog’s shot records/rabies tag (if you have them), microchip information, CPR Fund business cards, any chronic medication the dog may be taking and anything else that should go home with the dog. Regarding medications, CPR Fund will not adopt out a dog that is currently being medicated for a curable condition (i.e. upper respiratory infection, intestinal parasites, etc.) The adopter will have to wait until the course of treatment is completed. Under no circumstances should a visibly ill dog be sent home.
Inform the adopter that their new dog comes with a free 30 day Shelter Care pet insurance policy. If they would like to keep the insurance beyond the 30 days they will need to contact Shelter Care directly and set it up with them as we are not affiliated with and have no control over the Shelter Care company.
Also educate the adopter regarding the microchip. The microchip is, and always will be, registered to the CPR Fund. But by logging on to the 24 Pet Watch website the new owner will be able to add his or her own information as well. Please emphasize the importance of registering the chip. Approximately 80% of dogs who are lost are never reunited with their families- that’s why we’re so busy! By registering the chip, the numbers are reversed- over 80% of dogs with a registered microchip are reunited with their owners.
Let the adopter know that within a day or two of the adoption they will receive an email containing their new dog’s medical record, microchip registration instructions and details on redeeming their free 30 day Shelter Care insurance policy. Tell them that if they do not receive this information within a few days they should contact the rescue. Also, you might want to suggest they check their spam folder and to be on the lookout for an email with a subject line mentioning their new pet- often times people think it is junk mail and just delete it.
Finally, discuss what will happen if the adoption does not work out. If they make a decision to return the dog within seven days of the adoption we will take the dog back and refund the fee. After seven days we will still take the dog back but the fee will not be refunded. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES ARE THEY TO GIVE THE DOG TO ANYONE EXCEPT A CPR FUND VOLUNTEER. We have had adopters dump their dogs at the pound, vets’ offices or be found running at large by the police. We are able to track each dog and where it belongs through the microchip so if the dog finds itself in any of these situations it is very unlikely that we will not find out about it. And when we do we will enforce any possible penalties associated with their actions.
Answer any questions the adopter may have and give them a CPR Fund business card so they have the rescue’s contact information. Have them sign the adoption agreement. Collect the fee. And that’s it.
ADOPTION COMPLETED! See, wasn’t that easy?
_____ Inform Steph that your foster has gone home
_____ Forward a copy of the Adoption Application you received in your email to
Steph@cprfund.com. Do this as soon as possible. As soon as an adoption is entered
into our system, Shelter Care insurance starts the clock on the insurance policy so this
is very time-sensitive.
_____ Send adoption fee and signed agreement to the address below. Please do your best to
mail it in a timely manner. We use the adoption fee from one dog to pay for the vetting
of the next one. If the adopter paid with PayPal you still need to mail the agreement.
Checks are to be mailed to*: CPR Fund PO BOX 303 Lowell, IN 46356
_____ If you are planning to continue fostering you may keep all supplies given to you by
CPR Fund. If not, all items must be returned to the rescue.
You have just finished reading the bare bones of foster care. Although fostering can be very demanding of both your time and patience, the rewards are immeasurable. As stated, there is no “typical” foster case. Each dog is as individual as a fingerprint. It may take some time for you to find your niche but, once you do, you’ll be very glad you did. And again, if you have ANY questions, comments or suggestions we are here for you.
Appendix I: CPR Fund Veterinarians
Animal Care Center of Chicago - NO APPOINTMENT NEEDED*
1248 W. Washington Blvd Chicago, IL 60607
Surgeries are done M-F only. Routine check-ups can be done 7 days a week.
Seven days a week from 6:30am to 8pm (Doctor’s hours 8am to 8pm)
*Surgical patients must be dropped off between 7am and 9am. Call around 3:30 pm to check on pick-up time.
Animal Care Center of St. John - NO APPOINTMENT NEEDED*
10255 Wicker Avenue Suite 1
St. John, IN 46373 (Inside Alsip Nursery)
Surgeries are done M-F only. Routine check-ups can be done 7 days a week.
M-F 7am to 8pm (No doctor on premesis until 8 am)
Sat 7am to 6pm (No doctor on premesis until 8 am)
Sun 10am to 5 pm (Doctor on premises from 10-5)
*Surgical patients must be dropped off between 7am and 9am. Call around 3:30 pm to check on pick-up time.
Anti-Cruelty Society- APPOINTMENT REQUIRED
169 W. Grand Blvd. Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 644-8338 X340
No dogs weighing more than 75 pounds
Surgeries are done M-F only.
* Surgical patients must be dropped off between 8am and 9am. Pick up is between 5:30pm and 6pm
Be prepared to wait as there are a bazillion people trying to drop off/pick up at the same time.
Arbor View Animal Hospital- APPOINTMENT REQUIRED*
244 W. US Hwy 6
Valparaiso, IN 46385
* Surgical patients must be dropped off between 8am and 9am. Get pick-up time from staff at drop-off.
PAWS Chicago Lurie Clinic- APPOINTMENT REQUIRED
3516 W. 26th Ave.
Chicago, IL 60623
Phone hours (all services are by phone appointment only)
Sun-Fri 9am to 5 pm
Sun 6:45 am to 6 pm
Tues 6:45am to 6pm
Wed 6:45am to 6pm
Thur 6:45am to 6pm
Rescue surgeries are done on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday only.
* Surgical patients must be dropped off between 9am and 9:30 am with pick up between 4:30 and 6 pm. You will meet with a veterinarian prior to drop off and pick up. Each visit takes about an hour so please plan ahead.
Premier Veterinary Group
Multiple locations offering various specialty services
Contact Steph@cprfund.com for a referral
Roselle Animal Hospital- APPOINTMENT REQUIRED
27W571 Lake St.
Roselle, IL 60172
Mon-Fri 8am to 6pm
Sat 8am to 1pm
* Surgical patients must be dropped off between off between 8am and 8:30am. Ask the staff for an estimated pick up time.
Spay Illinois- APPOINTMENT REQUIRED
2765 Maple Ave.
Lisle, IL 60532
* Surgical patients must be dropped off between 7am and 8am. Ask staff for an estimated pick up time.
VCA Forest South Animal Hospital- NO APPOINTMENT NEEDED*
24341 Western Avenue
University Park, IL 60466
Surgeries M-F only. Routine check-ups can be done 7 days a week.
M-F 6:30am to 8 pm (No doctor on premesis until 8am)
Sat 7am to 6pm (No doctor on premesis until 8am)
Sun 9am to 3pm (Doctor on premesis from 9am to 3 pm)
*Surgical patients must be dropped off between 7 and 9am. Call around 3:30 pm to check on pick-up time.
PLEASE REMEMBER THAT ALL CLINICS REQUIRE A PTT FORM SO PLEASE BE SURE TO GET ONE FROM STEPH PRIOR TO MAKING AN APPOINTMENT OR GOING TO A CLINIC.
Appendix II: Quick Fixes for Common Problems
Following are a few “quick fix” home remedies for problems commonly seen in shelter dogs. Please remember the CPR Fund volunteers are not veterinarians. These are treatments that, in our experience, have been successful in treating some of the more minor ailments we see in our fosters. These are only recommendations and are not meant to replace the advice of a licensed veterinarian. Please use common sense when applying this information to your foster dog’s situation. When in doubt, ask!
Allergies/Hives/Itching: Many dogs have allergies to substances common in their environment- fleas, pollen, food, etc. If you notice your dog scratching excessively, first check him for fleas. If you notice live fleas or “flea dirt” immediately give him a flea bath and apply Frontline once the dog is dry. If no fleas are seen or you note a minor case of hives administer Benadryl (diphenhydramine) as follows: Less than 30 pounds- ½ tablet* or 12.5 mg 30 to 50 pounds- 1 tablet* or 25 mg Greater than 50 pounds- 2 tablets* or 50 mg *Liquid Benadryl is also acceptable ** PLEASE NOTE: A severe allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis, is a medical emergency. Anaphylaxis is a severe, whole-body allergic reaction which can be fatal. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, wheezing, abnormal (high-pitched) breathing sounds, rapid or weak pulse, blueness of the skin (including the lips or nail beds), fainting, hives and generalized itching, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or cramping, skin redness, nasal congestion, cough. YOUR DOG WILL LOOK AND ACT VERY SICK! If you suspect your dog is having an anaphylactic reaction immediately give two Benadryl and head for the vet! Also note: Benadryl may make your dog sleepy so avoid using it with Valerian or Dramamine.