Our Gentle Giants

The story of two Floridians and their foster Great Danes

July 15th, 2014

Fostering a Great Dane

By Tara

great-dane-fawn-brindle-tongue-cropped-earsLast weekend, Christian and I attended an event put on by the volunteers at Great Dane Love, a Great Dane rescue group in Central Florida. Our goal is to attend as many Great Dane/English Mastiff/big dog events as possible, so that we can talk with real owners about their experiences with their dogs and so that we can interact with them ourselves. Click here to read about our awesome day petting and learning about Great Danes.

We were there to learn anything about Great Danes. We told them that we are in love with the breed, but don’t have enough money/expertise to own one yet. Because of this, our main topic of conversation was their fostering process and how we could fit into it.

First things first: a Dane is found or surrendered

Their Danes come to them in a variety of ways. For example, the little dude we saw on Saturday (his name is Caeser), was found running around with a chewed-off rope around his neck. Sad story, but we’re glad that he took matters in his own paws and broke free!

Unfortunately, not every Dane is placed with a foster, due to having a limited number of volunteers. I’m not sure what happens to them after they are turned away. I imagine they are taken to the nearest shelter?

Then the Dane goes to a foster home

When a Dane comes to the rescue, they initially go to the home of an experienced Dane owner/foster. This foster parent takes the time to learn more about the dog and nurses them back to health if they have any immediate health problems, which they often do. During this time, the Dane is not available for adoption.

After the dog is healthy and more well-known by the group, they will either stay with this foster parent, or be matched with a foster home that is more suitable. They may learn that this dog is afraid of cats, or that he needs to learn better leash manners. There might be a foster that is better suited for caring for this dog.

Requirements of a Great Dane Love foster

Each situation varies but this is the general process: A potential foster parent will fill out an application very similar to the application to adopt a rescue. The application will be reviewed and if they think this foster looks promising, they will contact the foster and schedule a home visit. When they visit the home, they look for several things. For example, do they have a fenced-in yard? are there a lot of knickknacks on surfaces throughout the house? They also require that the landlord is aware of the tenant’s intent on fostering rescue dogs and Great Dane Love goes so far as to talk with the landlord themselves.

What about inexperienced Dane fosters?

One of the things I was thrilled to learn was that you don’t need to have ever been a Great Dane owner to foster one of their rescue Danes. What they will do is put a more easy-going Dane in your care and help you along if you have questions. This is, of course, after a successful application and home visit.

If during the home visit, they see some things that could be problematic (such as knickknacks on surfaces), they will educate the applicant and let them know why that could be a hazard (Great Dane tails are out of control and knock everything down). Having a potential problem doesn’t automatically “fail” the applicant; it’s an opportunity to set them up for success.

Is it hard to foster?

Emotionally, yes. Very hard. It will be very hard to let go of the first few Danes you rescue. Remember, this is a dog that you brought into your home, cared for, and loved as if he was your own. It is always hard to see them go. This is one of the reasons why Great Dane Love doesn’t generally allow first-time fosters to adopt one of their foster dogs. But at the same time, it is very rewarding and heartwarming to see them get adopted by a great family.

We learned a lot last weekend and this is most of what I could remember. Please note that this is a general outline of this specific rescue group’s fostering program. Every rescue group is different and while this group may do it this way, another group may do things the completely opposite way. Don’t be afraid to contact your local rescue group and ask questions; if they are anything like the great guys and gals at Great Dane Love, they will be more than happy to answer your questions and encourage you to get involved.

If there are any Great Dane Love volunteers reading this, please let me know if I misunderstood anything so that I can correct and update this post!

As always, thanks for reading, friends!

  • […] The main focus of our discussions was talking about the rescuing, fostering, and adopting process. I’ve written a blog post about that, which will go up tomorrow. Read about the process here. […]