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Fostering experiences

Pages in Fostering experiences

  1. Our dogs and our fostering family: A carer's story
  1. Coventry City Council support for employees who foster

Our dogs and our fostering family: A carer's story

Dogs and fostering

August Bank Holiday 2006, we went from being two adults on the Friday morning to being two foster carers, two looked after children and a 7 week old Great Dane Puppy by the Saturday lunchtime. Nine years later, we are still the same adults and children but with two dogs - a different Great Dane and a West Highland Terrier.

All three dogs that have been with us have brought so much to all our lives; they have taught the children so much about the cycle of life. Because of the dogs they have experienced new life, puppies being born and the responsibility of puppy training in a kind and nurturing way so the puppy feels safe and secure.

They have learnt how to be responsible and considerate: the dogs need to be exercised, fed on time and they have needs too. The importance of routines, consistency and boundaries.

Sadly they have learnt about illness and also death. Through dog ownership they have learnt how to care for a dog and when they die how to grieve, let go and at the same time,

cherish the love and the good memories that they have had with the dogs. We regularly talk about the dog that we lost and all the happy times she gave us, whilst acknowledging the sadness we felt at losing her.

The family have gained so much from having a dog. Dogs are so forgiving. They are always there for cuddles. After a rubbish day at school, our 14 year old autistic child very often rushes through the door to say hello to her 'best friend', lots of cuddles, tail wags and smiles then ensue. The dogs are always there for cuddle and play times, always there to listen to the children's problems and are always pleased to see them. They are a conversation starter, a link between people, and a status symbol for the children but more importantly, a permanent friend in a difficult world who offers unconditional love and always forgives.

They may ruin ball games, hide and seek is impossible and so is sneaking food out of the cupboards but the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

For carers, dogs are always willing to go on an extra dog walk when you just need time out.

A few social workers have embraced our love of dogs, some have voiced concerns but we are confident about our dog ownership. We are a responsible dog owning family.

Puppy training was a must, regular worming and inoculations are a requirement, daily pooper scooping of the garden and knowing the dangers of keeping dogs and children are important.

Due to the size of one of our dogs, we understand she can be intimidating so we tend not to have meetings with the dogs in the room as they can be off putting, particularly as the Great Dane like to sit on the sofa next to the new person. Making people aware of owning dogs before visits for the first time and offering to put the dogs elsewhere has always gone down well, however as with children they will always misbehave whilst social workers are there - like sitting quietly on the floor next to the workers bag, then whilst we were in the middle of supervision, carefully pulling things out of her bag.

One worker said that she always looked at how the dog was treated in the household - if the dog was treated kindly and was well cared for then the children would be to. Just be confident and responsible in your dog ownership.

Children and dogs go together, they are a team, they are there for each other always, they teach each other to share, to care and to love, they totally blur the line between human and animal - come to our house on occasion you will find the dog on the settee and a child in the dog's bed.

Pauline and family

Thanks to Pauline and family for sharing their experiences with us. 

Interested in fostering? Give the team a call on 024 7683 2828- or use our online fostering enquiry form.

Coventry City Council urgently needs more foster carers (with or without dogs!) to care for Coventry children.

 

Family Placement Service

Open 9.00am–5.00pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays)

Email: familyplacementservice@coventry.gov.uk

Tel: 024 7683 1873

Visit: http://www.coventry.gov.uk/adoptionandfostering

P.O. Box 15
Council House
Coventry
CV1 5RR
Fostering brochure

If you'd like a printed copy of our brochure, please call 024 7683 2828.

Download our Fostering pack

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