The Bay Area Siberian Husky Club (BASH) was founded in 1987. As part of that group, the Bay Area Siberian Husky Rescue Referral (BASHRR/R) was formed to save Siberian Huskies that are in danger of euthanasia in shelters and find suitable permanent homes for these dogs.
BASHR/R has a network of volunteers to accomplish this including a number of foster homes. Fostering requires a huge commitment from the foster family of time, money and emotion. BASHRR/R volunteer duties include, monitoring shelters, fostering dogs, advertising, public education, and fundraising.
When our volunteers learn of a Siberian in a shelter he/she will go to the shelter to evaluate the dog. A determination will be made on the suitability of this dog to enter our fostering program based on several criteria; does it look to be a purebred or a cross that is predominately Siberian, age, any medical problems, and temperament.
Once it is determined that the dog fits our criterion the fees, if any, will be paid to the shelter and the dog will be brought to the foster home. Arrangements are made immediately for spay/neuter if needed and shots updated. Then, the foster home will continue to evaluate the dog and work on any behavior issues. A picture and description of the dog will be placed on our web site and the dog will be brought to adoption fairs. The foster representative will find the family that has the best matching environment and lifestyle for the dog. People are often attracted to the beauty of Siberians. Any potential adopter is advised of the common traits of a husky, extreme independence, high prey drive, diggers, and determined escape artists. The Siberian personality is not for everyone and often we advise people that they might be happier with another breed. Once the best match is found for a foster the contract will be filled out and the dog taken to it’s new forever home. The rescuer’s job does not end there. He/she will remain in touch with the adoptive family to offer advise and to aid in the adjustment period. Usually within a few weeks any adjustment issues are resolved but the commitment of the BASHR/R representative continues for the life of the dog. If at anytime, even years later, the foster representative will be available to the adoptive family for counseling and even take the dog back if necessary.
Advertising of our club and available dogs is an extremely important part of what we do. BASHRR/R maintains a web page with pictures and bio’s on all dogs available for adoption and offers a section for people needed to place their dogs. We also, enter parades, advertise in newspapers, distribute bumper stickers and sponsor events.
BASHRR/R representatives take every opportunity available to increase public awareness of the importance of spay and neutering. We also make ourselves available to counsel dog owners on training, behavior and containment issues so that they will be able to keep their pet.
Fund raising is critical to a successful rescue group. The adoption fees might cover the cost of the spay and neuter on most dogs but occasionally one will come to us with medical problems that require expenses far beyond what could be recovered in an adoption fee. Efforts to raise funds include such things as hosting dog shows, raffles, hikes, and selling t-shirts.
A commitment to foster dogs should be thought out very carefully. Not everyone can make the necessary sacrifices. One of the first things people need to consider about having numerous dogs come in and out of their household is the effect it could have on your other pets. If you have dogs that don’t dig, bark, chew, or escape it is hard decision to risk having fosters that might teach your dogs these things. For me, those concerns turned out not to be the big problem that I had feared. I did upgrade my containment system when I began fostering. Also, there is some risk that your dogs could be injured in a fight with a foster or catch a contagious disease from a foster. Your personal belonging’s can be destroyed by a foster. It is not as simple as bringing a dog into your home and quickly finding the perfect home. Some dogs have problems that take time to correct and may have a long stay in the foster home. Also, you commit to taking any dog you place back if necessary and when this does occasionally happen it is almost always at the most inconvenient time.
Sometimes fostering involves some hard tough decisions. If you are at a shelter with a cute eight month old Siberian and a ten year old Siberian and you only have room for one, the eight month old goes home with you. The ten year old could take a long time to adopt out and you could potentially rescue and place several young dogs in that amount of time. So, you look the old guy in the eye and tell him how sorry you are and walk away. Sometimes you see those eyes for a long time.
For those not able to foster a dog, there are many other ways that people can help with rescue. We are all very proud of our web site, which is managed and updated daily by one of our volunteers. People willing to help transport dogs from shelters to foster homes are always needed. Help setting up x-pens, banner, and the information table at adoption fairs is always welcome. Also, someone to watch dogs so we can take a short break is very helpful. An offer to go pick up lunch for us is always appreciated. Fundraisers usually require a lot of manpower. People volunteering in these areas are essential to our success.
Fostering dogs is not for everyone but the rewards of seeing a happy well-adjusted dog in his new forever home are immeasurable.