Most rescue and adoption groups are familiar with fostering programs – these are programs when a dog is taken to a home on a temporary basis so it can learn to adapt to a domestic living situation.
Foster carers are very special people who bring animals into their homes knowing that they may have had a rough start in life; they expect some teething problems. Adopters will often ask to look at dogs who have been fostered because these dogs have a ‘head start’ in terms of settling in and can be less challenging for the adoptive family.
The folks at PetRescue, which supports 800 independent rescue groups in Australia, have taken fostering to a whole new level by developing a Workplace Foster Care Programme. The rationale for the programme relies on research evidence into the human-animal bond and the positive impacts that pets in the workplace can have on productivity.
Things like encouraging staff to interact with one another, stress relief with a dog who wants pats or walkkies, and breaking the ice when new staff are introduced, are all aspects of workplace life that benefit when there’s a dog around.
Workplace Foster Care Programmes also raise awareness, so staff, clients and the general public learn about the benefits of adoption.
The Sydney Morning Herald has recently covered the story of one company with a greyhound as its workplace foster dog. Click here to view.
If I was looking for employment, I’d definitely be attracted by companies with a foster dog included in the benefit package. (Sign me up!)
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand