Foster carers stories – it’s a dog’s life and all the better for it! 3

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Foster carers stories – it’s a dog’s life and all the better for it! 3

Foster children benefit from pets 3

Foster children can benefit from a pet 3

Hi – it’s Mike – in part 2 hopefully, I managed to set the scene: a window into our own fostering household and a particularly memorable experience we shared a few weeks back anticipating a new arrival in our fostering household – of the 4 legged variety. Seems like only yesterday…

“I’m ready – let’s go.” “C’mon everyone” Jake our foster child shouted as he ran towards the stairs.

“Have you taken your plate to the dishwasher?” My wife Shirley asked of the clean pair of heels heading down the hall. 

“Oh, can I do it when I’ve got my trainers?” 

“Okay then, but make sure you do, and then we should be ready to go.”

And so, dishwasher loaded, finally all four of us were sat in the car. It was a busy Saturday morning so there was a  good deal of traffic. We were headed off to the out-of-town shopping ‘village’ as it was styled. It was a necessary stop as we were going to pick up the things needed to welcome our new four-legged friend home. That meant a lead and a couple of bowls as far as I was concerned. 

I wasn’t prepared for the wonderland of pet-related products occupying displays spread along several aisles. But I supposed it added to the excitement of it all. I was taken back to my own childhood remembering the local pet shop with which this bore no comparison. ‘Pete’s Pets’ had been a fraction of the size of the emporium we now found ourselves wandering through. I noticed there was no smell – apart, that is, from the faint odour of rubber. I discovered this emanated from Aisle C which was packed with rubber balls of different colours and textures. All designed to appeal to your ‘pooch’. I was struck by the thought that a lot of this was clearly for the benefit of us humans. Dogs, and cats, for that matter, see in black and white. 

Had Pete still been in the pet business, I’m sure he would have been impressed. And had he run a venture such as this, he would no doubt have named it ‘Pete’s Palace for Pets’. For that is what it was: a curiously sanitized retail experience without an animal in sight. But there were plenty of punters enjoying what to me was a cross between being in a supermarket and an airport departure lounge. The pet shop of my childhood days felt far more real even at that distance. it had always smelt strongly of sawdust and the animals housed there – budgerigars, rabbits, kittens, guinea pigs, puppies, and hamsters. In an effort to attract trade, the enterprising owner had a lizard showcased in the window which he would alternate with a brightly coloured parrot. Both, though separated taxonomically, managed the same baleful look as we stared at them through the window. For school kids this was an enthralling stop on the walk home – no X boxes or PlayStations then.  

Foster the need for preparation.

“I think we need to get three bowls. One for water, one for food, and then another water bowl for the garden – so they can all be in different colours.” That was Jake – Mike said: “Doesn’t much matter what the colour is as long as you don’t put them in the dishwasher by mistake.”

“That’s a good idea”, Shirley said – “and perhaps we’ll get a spare one too.” That was one item – or category of items – ticked off the list. 

“Then it’s the lead and a dog bed and some puppy food.” That was my contribution. I should have said we would be choosing a puppy from our local RSPCA rehoming centre.

“There are a lot of unwanted dogs as well as puppies that need homes – so once we have all the things we need, we’ll go to the rescue centre and they will be having a chat with us to make sure we understand the responsibility”

In the next part, I’ll be describing our trip to the centre and bringing “Bonkers” home!

Thinking of getting a dog – it’s a big responsibility? There’s plenty of useful information about the process at –

All names changed to protect privacy

Foster with Rainbow 

What makes a foster carer? That’s a very common question we get. There isn’t a single type – but people it’s true that people who make successful carers share some important qualities. Having a strong sense of compassion, patience, and optimism is important. But it’s also necessary to be resilient and pragmatic. It’s certainly true fostering brings many joys and rewards but there are challenges. 

Sixty-five percent of children who come into care have been traumatised by their experiences and as a consequence require therapeutic foster care. This is a more specialised form of foster care and Rainbow provides high-quality training enabling our foster carers to deliver this. All our foster carers will need to be familiar with the issues that relate to children needing this type of fostering provision – even if they specialise in a different type of fostering such as supporting a mother and baby placement.

If you are interested in taking things further, please give us a call on 0330 311 2845, send us an email, or arrange a call-back. This can be done on our website. You will need to have a spare room to foster. 

Rainbow celebrates diversity and equality, we welcome applicants from all kinds of backgrounds: single people. couples (married or living together), same-sex couples, and families with or without children of their own. And whatever your ethnicity, religion, or cultural background you will be a valued member of our fostering family. We also have a news page on our website. This focuses on issues that impact fostering generally. And it’s worth keeping updated by visiting this page. At Rainbow, we believe knowledge empowers and advances which in turn creates confidence. And confident foster carers make better carers. Our news is at –

And why not read another of our recent blogs?

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