Become an In-Home Rehabilitator
For some dogs, life at the shelter might not be affording them the level of care needed to meet their specific needs. Therefore, in-home care gives them the focused attention to enhance their healing and well being. We have three types of In-Home Rehabilitators: Medical or Emergency, Behavioral, and Hospice. The In-Home Coordinators will work closely with you in whatever role(s) you choose.
Medical or Emergency Rehabilitators
Some animals may have intensive or emergency medical issues that require in-home, short-term care. Perhaps they are scheduled for surgery or other procedures. We will coordinate transport to and from the hospital, but the In-Home Rehabber will care for the animal for as long as necessary to nurture the animal through the medical crisis. This could be as short as a few days or as long as a few months if the animal requires extensive therapy. The organization will supply medications, supplies (such as diapers/belly bands), and food for the duration of the animal’s stay.
Some animals may have behavioral issues that cannot be adequately addressed in shelter. Aggression in these animals is the exception rather than the rule. In fact, the problems are generally quite the opposite. Some animals are too reclusive or shut down to make large strides in socialization at the shelter. Whereas the interaction they receive from humans at the shelter is consistently safe, positive, and loving, there just might not be enough of it coming the way of the little ones having the hardest time adjusting. Therefore, we would like to have those dogs placed in-home where they may experience more focused attention in a home environment. They are going to need extra help in preparing them to be fulltime companion animals. The length of time needed will vary. The rehabilitator will be the frontline evaluator in gauging the animal’s progress as well as recommending the home configurations best suited for the animal’s adoptive prospects. Again, the organization will supply medications, supplies (such as diapers/belly bands), and food for the duration of the animal’s stay.
Some of our animals may come to us so severely compromised that they may be ready to transition from this world. For example, an animal may have an inoperable condition but is not in any pain or discomfort. It’s not fair to put the animal down without giving him or her sanctuary on this planet while he or she is still alive to feel the joys of belonging. Hospice care is not for everyone, but it renders some of the deepest rewards this life has to offer. As always, the organization will supply medical care, supplies (such as diapers/belly bands), and food for the duration of the animal’s stay.
In many ways, the In-Home Rehabilitators experience and fulfill the mission on its deepest levels, caring for the neediest of our animals. I consider sacred all of the roles our people fill in this organization. We need everyone’s skills, talents, and love to realize the extent of what love can do. I think we all can appreciate the type of energy and commitment required by the In-Home Rehabilitators to make sure all of dogs receive our best, that no one is left out or overlooked.
Guidelines and Procedures for In-Home Rehabilitation
To become an In-Home Rehabilitator, please read the following guidelines and procedures before proceeding to the application.
All In-Home Rehabilitators must follow organizational standards of care for each dog:
All animals will eat only the food provided by the organization. Our animals come to us malnourished, and the foremost element in restoring physical and emotional health is a nutritious diet prescribed by our nutritionist and veterinarian. You will be provided with food and given feeding guidelines for the animal. Please do not vary from these protocols. You will also be asked to monitor the animal’s evacuations for changes that could indicate medical problems. If the dog is receiving the diet prescribed, then any changes are traceable. However, if you are not feeding according to guidelines and are giving treats, chewies, or rawhide, for example, then we cannot know the source of the problem. Do not allow free feeding. You will be working closely with the In-Home Coordinators, so any questions or concerns you may have will be addressed through that channel. Feeding only the food prescribed for the dog is a non-negotiable requirement.
In a related topic, many of our dogs have had to fight to survive, so they could have issues with food aggression because they had to fight for every morsel. Carefully monitor feeding time, especially if other dogs are present. It might be easiest to put the dog in a separate room during feeding, especially at first. Please let feeding time be a pleasant, nonthreatening experience. Let them enjoy their food in peace.
All dogs in-home will wear diapers or belly bands while inside. Please housetrain the dog by taking him or her out often and giving MUCH praise every time the dog evacuates outside. If the dog is wearing protective coverings while indoors, then peeing will not be a problem. When they poop inside, please take them outside immediately to the place they last evacuated and give praise or take them to a piddle pad inside and praise. They do eventually get the hang of going outside or on the piddle pad as long as you let them out often and keep anger and frustration out of the picture.
You are responsible to set up the spaces in which the dog can move freely so as not to damage your belongings or teach your other dogs unwanted behaviors. Our dogs generally have bad teeth, so they are not known to be destructive chewers, but they might gnaw compulsively—there is abundant evidence that captive animals gnaw their cages or other things out of boredom and anxiety. Remove the anxiety and boredom, and that compulsiveness diminishes.
Now that we have the rules enumerated, let’s talk about the fun you can have.
Please integrate the dog into your home life as much as possible. Teach him or her what it means to belong. Herein, you will find your greatest rewards. If you have other pets, they will show our little one the ropes. The most likely scenario is that the dog will be overly timid and afraid. That’s not a bad problem to have. You’ll get to witness so much growth commensurate to the joy you allow the dog to experience.
Let everyone who comes in contact with the dog regularly or occasionally show soft love in word, demeanor, and touch. Pour it on. You might likely find that the dog bonds quickly and deeply. They are attention-starved and they are understandably latching on. We will want to address immediately any behaviors trending toward possessiveness, protectiveness, and separation anxiety. Call your In-Home Coordinator.
Set up strict routines for the dog, especially for feeding and housetraining, if you do not have that established in your home already. Routines abate anxiety. They help with socialization and the feeling of belonging. Our dogs tend to thrive when they know the routine and what to expect. Remember, this is a do-over. Everything is all new to them. Let’s set them on the right path to companionship.
Try out doggie things, such as walking on a leash or playing fetch. Some will take to it immediately; others won’t. Little Guy had no idea what to do with a stuffed toy or a ball. He never took to the leash. But dogs are dogs, and even formerly abused animals like to play and go for walks. Little Guy loved the stroller and being carried.
Most importantly for any animal in your care, please set aside ample time for them for cuddling and hanging out. Include the animal in your activities. Please establish an atmosphere that makes them feel welcome to be in your home, to be your companion, even though this relationship is designed to prepare them for a permanent placement.
Thank you for your willingness to nurture the neediest little ones.
You are now ready to fill out the application.
Once we receive your application, you will receive an email acknowledging our receipt of it. We will review it and get back to you in no more than two days. If you haven’t heard from us, please reach out again. Perhaps there was a glitch in the system, and we haven’t seen the application.
An In-Home Coordinator will call you to set up a meet and greet at the shelter. This is a time for you to meet the dog(s) you are interested in assisting.
If you are interested in caring for a particular dog, the In-Home Coordinator will arrange a home visit. This visit accomplishes two goals by allowing the evaluator to (a) observe the dynamics of all the members of the household, including all of the adults, children, and other pets with each other and with the dog and (b) evaluate the safety of the home and yard. If there are any issues, we all can discuss constructively how to make the placement more workable.
If an arrangement is suitable, you will fill out some paperwork and your time with the dog can begin with our gratitude.Foster Application