Our Foster Director has supplies on hand in Brookfield.
Supplies are placed on the porch based on the size of the dog.
We provide the address, and it makes for an easy porch pick up prior to getting your foster.
We do! Whether your foster needs standard vetting or more extensive medical care, we cover the costs of medical until they're adopted.
Standard vetting that MUST be done before we can do an adoption includes:
Occasionally we pull a dog from animal control that has all these things completed, and we wouldn't need to do more (this is rare).
And sometimes they need all the basics and more because they're a known medical case, or they became an unplanned medical case.
We do! You do not have to do anything to schedule. We will communicate with you about your schedule, where your dog will be vetted and what your dog will have done.
*Please note, fosters should NOT call our veterinary partners unless we've advised you can. Our veterinarians see way too many of our dogs to get called all day by fosters who want to ask questions. Fosters need to reach out to their DHD pointperson in regards to veterinary questions.*
PAWS Medical Center & Lurie Clinic ~ We use PAWS for standard vetting
3516 W. 26th Street
Chicago, IL 60623
Naperville Animal Hospital ~ We use Naperville for standard & non-standard vetting
1023 E. Ogden Ave.
Naperville, IL 60563
PAWS Chicago ~ Surgery Hours
Drop of is anytime between 6:45am - 7:45am
Pick up is 3pm the same day
Naperville Animal Hospital ~ Surgery Hours
Drop off is anytime between 7am and 9am
Pick up for males: Same day. Usually between 3pm - 7pm
Pick up for females: Next day. Anytime between 9am - 7pm (weekday hours only)
The feeding instructions are on the bag and are based on weight. We most often use:
Diamond Naturals ~ Lamb
Weight Recommended Daily Feeding (cups)
20lbs 1 1/2
40lbs 2 1/2
60lbs 3 1/3
80lbs 4 1/4
100lbs 4 3/4
No!!! For the love of god...stop obsessing about baths! This dog doesn't know you. You don't know this dog. Do you want to find out a dog is terrified of water after you got bit trying to put it in the bathtub? Doing this crap isn't helpful at all. It can hinder the trust and relationship the dog needs to build with you. Your dog doesn't need a bath immediately. Stay safe. End of story.
NOTHING!!! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!! DECOMPRESSION MATTERS!
You take it slow (please refer to the Two Week Shutdown document) and you get to know each other.
The first 2 weeks, you guys stay boring as can be. Low key, no confusion, no pressure or expectations.
You work on routine. Crating, making sure they know where they need to go potty and you just figure out each other and learn about each other.
We understand a new dog is exciting, and we want you to be excited. But it’s far less exciting when things go haywire immediately. Do not assume you know how this dog will react in any situation. You don’t know. Until we’ve put in the time, built a bond and mutual respect, we do not know what this dog will do. In any situation. Interact safely, respect boundaries, and learn about each other, in a calm and safe environment
Crating is NOT mean!!!
Crating is for safety, decompression, and sometimes, when everyone just needs a mental break (humans included).
We do not want dogs sitting in crates nonstop, but we do want crates to be utilized for regular routine purposes, and to make sure everyone has some forced downtime.
We recommend using the crate more in the beginning than you’d normally want. This isn’t forever, it’s just to get through the beginning transition. When humans get too stressed, it doesn’t often go well. Give yourself, your family, and animal’s breaks. Humans need decompression too.
We don’t have a “set” timeframe but after the 2 week shutdown is a nice reference point. This could be shorter or longer, depending on the dog. Some need medical help, some have to work on certain behaviors, and some are basic and can go up for adoption pretty quickly. See below for timeframes on foster to adopt decisions.
The foster can write their own bio, or give us all the key information, and we will write the bio. PICTURES!!! We need good pictures! Taking pictures regularly makes all the difference when trying to get dogs noticed.
Then we list the dog and wait! We will continue to post updates on Facebook as long as you provide us with new pictures and new information, and/or funny/cute stories.
Truthfully, we don’t know. There are so many factors that play a part.
Time of year, age, breed, looks, temperament, their story, and online popularity. The best way to make sure you’re doing all you can do, is to keep taking pictures and providing us with great details about your dog.
The more info you give us, the more posts we can make online about them. Once dogs have a decent following, they usually have interest and get applications.
Standard timeframe for listing a dog for adoption is 2 weeks. This can be longer if we’re dealing with medical or behavioral issues.
When the dog has been medically and behaviorally “cleared” for adoption, fosters will have 1 week to decide if they’d like to move forward with adoption themselves. If within that week the foster has not chosen to adopt, we will list the dog for adoption.
If the adoption process starts moving forward and we have an approved app, the foster can no longer change their minds. It would be unfair to another family that is invested and is excited to bring their new family member home.
Please remember, fosters do get first dibs! But foster families cannot prevent a dog from becoming adoptable, and they cannot hold their dog in foster limbo, because they don’t want to commit. If the foster family truly can’t decide, then that’s probably the answer and the dog should be listed for adoption. We also need to keep dogs moving forward so we can move on to saving more.
We receive it and we screen it.
We confirm the home ownership, vet check (if necessary), and home check (via video).
If the app appears solid, we pass the app to you to look at. If you like them, we setup a meet and greet. If you don’t, we move on.
It is completely dependent on the foster home, the dog, and what everyone is comfortable with.
If you want to foster and not be a part of meet and greets, please let us know and we will try to accommodate.
If you want to meet the family, see the home, and know where your foster is going, you have that option! We actually like this option best. Then you can feel good about where your foster goes and you can have whatever relationship you’d like with the new family.
Just as most other things, the meet and greet location can vary depending on the humans and dogs. Sometimes the potential adopters go to the foster’s home, sometimes the foster and dog go to the potential adopter’s home, and sometimes we meet in the middle. Whatever works best and is in the best interest of the dog.
We usually recommend everyone take a day to think about it and regroup, after the meet. But on occasion, we will allow same day adoptions, if everyone is prepared.
You let one of your contacts know everyone is moving forward with the adoption and we will initiate paperwork. The adopters will receive a text or email from our rescue platform (Shelterluv) prompting them to pay the adoption fee, and agree to the terms and conditions of the adoption. Once the payment is made, the paperwork and medical records will be sent to the adopter. All paperwork will be done electronically.
The adopters should make sure they have all supplies they need, prior to taking the dog. The details regarding where and when you'll do the hand off can be worked out between yourselves.
*Due to the size of puppies and the rate they grow, we cannot provide these same items but we can provide food to transition.
All these items will be initiated and completed by DHD management. You just tell us the adoption is happening and we'll take care of the paperwork.
Regardless of the brand of microchip your dog has implanted, it is registered with My24Pet.
Your new dog's microchip is registered to Dark Horse Dogs. Upon receipt of the adoption fee, signed paperwork, and any supplies (if you were a foster first), we will initiate a transfer of the microchip into your name and address, at no additional cost to you.
We will continue to still be a point of contact on the microchip, for the life of the animal.
Crate and rotate means periodic crating throughout the day for dogs who cannot be let loose together. Crate and rotate may also include the use of baby gates to separate parts of the house.
The reason for a crate and rotate lifestyle is fairly simple. Dogs reside in the house that do not get along. While that part is simple, the social dynamics that require a crate and rotate life are not.
Sometimes we live this way because some dogs are intact (not spayed or neutered) and we are preventing puppies. While this may be shocking to some in the United States where spaying and neutering is the norm, there are other countries (without pet overpopulation problems) where altering a dog physically is not the norm. Instead, owners simply keep their female dogs separated from other dogs when they are in heat.
Another dynamic that creates a crate and rotate life are dogs who react aggressively to one another.
One solution might be training, but realistically this will not always solve things. Sometimes dogs of the same sex will not get along. Other times, personalities will mix like oil and water, especially younger dogs living with older dogs. Exuberance is not always a welcomed addition to an older dog’s life and they will respond unfavorably.
Fear is another factor. Dogs who are fearful of other dogs, resource guard, or are in general, stressed by the presence of other dogs can thrive when a crate and rotate lifestyle is implemented. Owners who rescue or foster dogs will often maintain a crate and rotate lifestyle for the dogs in their home to prevent stress, aggressive altercations, and the spread of disease. This also reduces the likelihood of stress for the resident dogs.
The number one reason for crate and rotate lifestyle is safety!
But what about training? Can’t training fix these problems? Why don’t you MAKE the dogs get along?
The answer to these common questions is that it's unrealistic in many cases. The traditional training for this problem is barbaric, consisting of significant use of physical punishment and the use of many tools that cause pain. And unfortunately, many cases still lead to injuries due to fights. It’s just not worth the damage to the relationship between you and your dogs and the likely injuries that will inevitably happen when your guard is down.
Remember that dogs, like humans, have complicated social dynamics and preferences. It is not realistic to assume you will/should get along with every dog any more than you should like and be friendly with everyone. The whole point of social bonds is based on feelings positively or negatively towards individuals and your dog has those too.
Many owners are upset when dogs who previously got along, now fight. Implementation of a crate and rotate lifestyle allows the dogs to stay in the household safely while owners work with a trainer to try and get them comfortable with each other again. But just like fights with humans, they don’t always come back together. So this lifestyle may be all that is possible.
Isn’t crate and rotate life cruel?
When done with consideration for all dogs involved, it can be very kind. Reducing the presence of the other dogs in the house reduces stress and improves wellbeing. Furthermore, when a dog is in their crate, it should have stimulation such as food toys, chews and other things to interact with. Mine primarily sleep during their crate turns. Crate time should not be in excess. My own dogs are not in a crate for more than 4-6 hours except for overnight. We use baby gates to further free up parts of the house. So generally one dog is only crated for a short stretch. Some owners well also employ the use of a yard or outside kennel to provide additional holding locations for dogs so that they are not bored or isolated for long periods of time. In some cases, groups of dogs may rotate. My dogs rotate in groups. This means they are rarely alone or bored.
Why not just give up the dog who isn’t getting along?
It is likely that the owner loves their dog, so giving it up is hard. If the reason for the problem is aggression, finding a home for a dog without other dogs, because of a history of aggression is very hard. Shelters in the United States are overflowing with dogs given up for these exact reasons. There are not enough interested homes at any given time for dogs with no problems, let alone dogs who are selective in who they can live with. Therefore trying to keep the dog in the home is many times the best option as long as good welfare and a healthy wellbeing can be maintained.
There is no shame in running a crate and rotate home. This lifestyle isn’t the easiest but it can be the best decision when dogs are not getting along. While it doesn’t always have to be permanent, trying to put a deadline on cohabitation can lead to dangerous failure that there is no coming back from. If your primitive dogs are not getting along, talk to a trainer with experience in a crate and rotate management lifestyle about how such an arrangement can be set up for your dog.
Source: Couch Wolves https://www.couchwolves.com/
For the first few days or so, after arriving at a new home, a dog may not eat. Be patient, they need time to adjust to their new environment. Lack of appetite can have multiple causes, such as environmental change, stress, depression, illness, food allergy or a change in food.
No. Welcome to rescue, where the dogs and humans all have diarrhea. There are so many reasons your dog can have diarrhea.
And more! In the beginning, you need to give them time for their bodies to chill and acclimate. If after 5 or so days their stomach isn't much improved, reach out and we can get some probiotics sent to you.
If you've just read this and thought "My dog definitely isn't part of this list. My dog has explosive, yellow, horrendous smelling diarrhea and is definitely a cause for concern I should tell them about."
It's not different. It's the same diarrhea. Give it time.
If your dog was sick at animal control or starting to get sick, we will make a plan for a vet trip and meds. We usually know this ahead of time and we are prepared.
If your dog wasn't sick, give them time.
Just like humans, dogs need to acclimate to new environments and surroundings. In fact, dust mites, molds and pollens are the three major airborne allergens that pets are susceptible to.
Just like humans, dogs need to acclimate to new environments and surroundings. In fact, dust mites, molds and pollens are the three major airborne allergens that pets are susceptible to. While every pet can respond differently—and with varying levels of severity—to dust mites, most pets will demonstrate allergies to dust mites through their skin.
Before we run straight to the vet for allergy meds and or allergy shots, let's try Benadryl first.
A simple and practical dose is 1 mg of Benadryl® per pound of your dog's weight, given two to three times a day.
If Benadryl doesn't help, we can discuss a food switch, and then medications if needed. While we have no problem if our dogs need meds, we don't want to jump to a prescription item immediately.
Keep in mind that your itchy dog will be looking for adopters. Although people may be interested in your dog, having a prescription medication from the get-go can alarm some people. They will start to think about future costs and it can be a deterrent. If we can figure out the cause of the issues without going straight to prescription items, it's only going to help your foster. If nothing seems to be helping your dog, then we get a prescription from our vet.
Yes! Our closed Facebook page is where people post the need for vacation fosters. If for some reason we don't find one, we can board at our vet. Please keep in mind though, major holidays can be problematic. We cannot get boarding at our vet (they book out months in advance) and many vacation fosters will also be unavailable during major holidays.
Closed Foster Page:
Absolutely! We need/want to have a variety of approved vacation fosters. You can fill out our standard foster app and make a note you just want to vacation foster.
No. There's no way we can ensure that. We wish we could.
Some dogs have leash tests online you can view, some do not. Some dogs will be great with other dogs, some will not. And just because a dog likes one dog, does not mean it will like all dogs.
Families that have existing dogs are strongly urged to do slow introductions. We personally, practice a full 2 week shutdown. A new dog comes in and it has its own space, away from the chaos of the home. The new dog is not introduced to our dogs immediately. This dog is kept separate to focus on decompression and creating trust and a bond with us (the humans). We are the main caregivers for this dog. We feed them, take them potty, and we leave them alone.
Yes, we wrote that. We do not really pay them much attention at all. We exist together, until we slowly get more comfortable with each other. Dogs may follow us around, and some may choose to avoid us completely in the beginning. That’s absolutely okay! We do not approach them to try to get them to cuddle or be affectionate. They do not need this immediately.
They need space, consistency, decompression, and they need to learn who they can trust. It’s very difficult to trust a new person that is constantly pushing you past your comfort level. Most humans don’t even realize they’re doing it. Dogs do not need our pity and cuddles. They need us to save their lives. Cuddles can come later. We want those cuddles to come later, by avoiding any immediate human error.
We do understand that not all families want to keep dogs separated. It’s not supposed to be forever. The separation is to allow everyone in the home to get used to the smells and sounds of new dogs, and to bring the energy and anxiety down. Before the meets happen.
Moving to a new place with complete strangers is scary and confusing enough. Trying to add all the extra factors too soon, increases the likelihood a dog may make a mistake. Humans and animals can, and do, make poor decisions when overwhelmed.
If two dogs seem like a good match, a strict shutdown isn’t always needed. We do a strict shutdown because it’s what works in our homes. But we would still recommend dogs have time to separate and chill out in the beginning.
Do you go on a first date, move in with that person the same day, and spend 24 hours a day together? No, you don’t. It’s too much, too soon.
Dark Horse Dogs, NFP
La Grange Highlands, Illinois, United States
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