Become a Foster Carer for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Rehoming is a complex task and we are very particular about matching these dogs to the right homes, even when considering temporary foster care. Not everyone who expresses an interest to become a foster carer for Cavaliers is suitable to do so. We have quite specific requirements that are designed to look after the dog's best interests based on our intimate knowledge of the breed and our volunteers' combined previous experience with the commonly encountered personalities and considerations of the dogs that are surrendered to us.
Prior to applying, we recommend that you take some time to read through the Frequently Asked Questions below. When you are ready, allow yourself at least 15-20 minutes to complete the form and provide us with as much detail as possible. Should you wish to proceed, please complete an Expression of Interest application by clicking the button at the bottom of this page.
If you would prefer to print the form and write your answers in before scanning and emailing it back to us, then please download the Expression of Interest to Foster.
Frequently Asked Questions about being a foster carer
Your responsbilities as a foster carer are generally the same as if you were caring for your own dogs. Responsibilities might include:
- Providing suitable shelter and accommodation for the dog during the day and at night. We favour carers who are able to provide inside accommodation for Cavaliers. They are not an outside dog.
- Washing and basic grooming - regular bathing, trimming of hair between feet, clipping nails (if you are confident), brushing the coat to keep it free from knots, cleaning ears, wiping eyes.
- Providing a high quality diet. Cavalier Rescue occasionally receives donated food to be passed on to foster carers, however, the majority of the time it is the responsibility of the foster carers to provide appropriate food for the dogs they accept. Whilst it is up to the foster carer, we support and prefer feeding a balanced raw diet and/or premium quality dry kibble. Some dogs may have specific dietary requirements to alleviate allergies or illness or to increase or decrease weight and we will advise you of this as necessary.
- Providing continuous access to a clean water supply. Water bowls should be regularly cleaned properly to avoid build-up of bio-slime and bacteria in the bowl. Fresh water should be replaced at least daily.
- Providing adequate bedding that is clean, dry and comfortable. If you have a crate, this can also be beneficial for some dogs and we are able to discuss crating techniques with you as required.
- Administer worming and flea and/or tick treatments when due.
- Ensuring the dog has ample opportunities for exercise, mental stimulation and companionship. This may be daily walks, a fun game in the yard, exciting new toys, playing with the kids, a trip to the beach, interactive food toys and one-on-one time just cuddling on the lounge. Most Cavvies love cuddles!
- Providing adequate supervision and protection for the dog, eg. if you live in an area that has cane toads or dangerous other wildlife, you have a pool or other water source that the dog has access to, you have other people entering your property, etc.
- Transporting the dog to the vet for the initial consultation and for any follow-up or emergency visits.
- Transporting the dog to our Re-Homing Coordinator or to an agreed meeting place for a meet and greet when there is a potentially suitable applicant to rehome the dog.
There are various reasons why Cavaliers come into our care. Generally the Cavaliers we help to re-home have been voluntarily surrendered by their owners. Occasionally we will obtain dogs through other avenues when we see owners trying to re-home the dogs themselves and we become concerned for the dog's welfare.
Sadly, we also take in Cavaliers from time to time from failed backyard breeding operations and irresponsible puppy farms. These dogs may have medical issues that need attention and may have behavioural issues such as fear and anxiety. These dogs generally require a little more TLC and we will place them with a suitable foster carer for as long as we feel is necessary before re-homing them.
When owners voluntarily surrender their dogs to us, it is knowing that we have comprehensive knowledge and experience with this particular breed and they trust us to take care of their dogs and find the most loving, suitable new homes. Voluntarily surrendering a family pet is often a very emotional and gut-wrenching decision to be faced with.
We understand that although it is sad, sometimes it is in the best interest of the dog to be placed into a new home and we try to always offer our services with empathy and free of judgment. Our primary concern is to ensure these dogs are safe and looked after.
Some of the most common reasons we have Cavaliers come to us are:
- Unforeseen changes in the owner's financial or residential circumstances
- Relationship breakdown
- Allergies and illness in either the dog or the family members
- Problems between the dog and another pet in the household
- Behavioural issues that the owner is unable to resolve. Sometimes the causes include diet, training or environmental issues and are easily resolved once the dog is in a new home
- Issues experienced as a result of the owner not being sufficiently prepared for owing a dog, or specifically a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- The owner passes away and there are no other family members able to take the dog
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Rescue (Qld) Inc. will be responsible for the costs of necessary vet care for any dogs who are in temporary foster care.
This typically includes the initial vet check, desexing, vaccination, worming and microchipping. We generally try to provide you with sufficient worming and flea or tick treatments while you are caring for a dog.
Vet consultations must be authorised by us before you attend the appointment. Failure to obtain authorisation may result in you becoming liable for the costs incurred.
Should you need to seek genuine emergency veterinary attention for a foster dog in your care, then please take the dog to your closest vet and contact us as soon as possible.
If the need is less urgent, then please contact us before you take the dog to the vet. In some areas we have existing relationships with veterinary service providers who support our work and kindly grant us reduced fees or discounts for foster dogs. This means that we are able to provide care to a greater number of dogs in future. For this reason, we may ask that you attend one of our preferred veterinary services.
Please contact us immediately if there is any reason you become unable to continue caring for a foster dog that has been placed with you. We will make arrangements for another foster carer to take over from you.
It is not essential that foster carers have experience with dog training.
However, we can always benefit from the extra knowledge of foster carers who have experience in training dogs, either professionally or through training their own dogs.
The dogs who come into foster care sometimes have behavioural issues that range from mild to more challenging. We will always consider your level of experience and current circumstances prior to placing a foster dog with you.
To be approved as a foster carer, you will need a fully fenced, secure back yard, ideally with some shade or a covered area.
We may request to carry out an inspection of your home prior to approving your application to become a foster carer. This is to ensure that your home is appropriately set up and secure for foster caring. Our foster care coordinator will provide advice on changes (if any) you might need to make.
Many of our foster carers work (if only to keep their dogs in the manner they've become accustomed to!).
Cavaliers are very dependent on human companionship, particularly those who come to us with pre-existing anxiety based issues. Our ideal foster carers are people who are retired, work minimal hours (part-time) out of the home or who work mostly from home. Other commitments that will detract from the time you are able to spend with a foster dog will also need to be considered.
Each application to become a foster carer will be reviewed individually.
Fostering is not easy. Our foster carers are very passionate about their role in helping to rehabilitate and re-home Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.They are selfless, loving and committed to Cavaliers who find themselves in need of a new home through no fault of their own.
Naturally, when you put so much love and effort into a new member of the household, even though only temporary, you develop a bond with the dog. Every foster carer has had more than one voice in their head saying "I'd like to keep this one".
The honest truth is that it is always hard to see a foster dog leave - you wonder if the new owners are right, if they'll learn all the little intricacies of this dog the same way you have, what they'll feed him or her, where the dog will sleep... one of our foster carers says she cries every time a foster dog leaves her, even though she has been fostering for about 4 years! It's this sort of passion and dedication we love to see.
The other side of fostering is that it is also very rewarding to be a part of a dog's rehabilitation. It starts with providing a safe temporary home to prevent these dogs from ending up in pounds or shelters or being dumped elsewhere and ranges through to improving their health through diet and exercise, teaching them more appropriate behaviours and allowing them to relax and feel comfortable in a loving household. The biggest reward is knowing that you played a part in keeping this dog safe.
It's your choice. If you are really keen to open your home and heart to Cavaliers in need, give it a try. You might decide like many of our foster carers that the rewards outweigh the emotional turmoil of saying goodbye, but if you decide it's really too much for you personally, then there is no obligation to continue fostering.
For those foster carers who really can't say goodbye and end up adopting their foster dogs, just know that we look upon our FFCs ('Failed Foster Carers') with affection and a knowing grin. We are well aware of how hard it is to resist a Cavalier!