Dogs Trust Ballymena needs you!

Dogs Trust in Northern Ireland is appealing for more foster carers to come forward and help canine residents by giving them a temporary home while they wait for a permanent one. 

The rehoming centre in Ballymena currently has 54 foster carers participating in the ‘Home From Home’ fostering programme, however they are now in a position to expand this network thanks to support from vets in the Belfast area. In the last year more than 75% of dogs placed into the foster program at Dogs Trust have gone on to find permanent homes as a result of their time in foster care. 

Dot and her husband Martin are Belfast-based foster carers for Dogs Trust Ballymena who have been fostering dogs since the ‘Home From Home’ programme launched in 2016. 

Dot said: 

“Although my husband and I never bothered about having to journey to Ballymena for the sake of a dog in our care; it will be so much handier having a vet practice closer to our home which will save us much more time. 

“After our two beloved dogs sadly passed away, we had no intention of getting another pet as it would have felt like a replacement. However, when we realised there was dogs out there with no homes to call their own, our perception changed and we began to understand that dogs need us as much as we care for them. 

“Fostering was the ideal solution for us because we could help lots of dogs on their road to forever homes and I’m proud to say that all 10 dogs we have looked after on the Home From Home program are now in permanent homes. Friends always ask us whether it is difficult to look after a dog and then have to give them up; as much as we get very attached to them, we don’t feel sad because each dog is going on to fulfil their potential as a family pet.” 

Stephanie Scott, ‘Home From Home’ fostering coordinator at Dogs Trust in Ballymena said: 

“We have a few devoted foster carers in Belfast at the moment who go above and beyond for our dogs, although in the past it hasn’t always been very practical for them as they would need to regularly travel between Ballymena and Belfast for vet check ups. However, with veterinary support now available closer to Belfast, the fostering programme is much more accessible to people in the area. 

“The fostering programme is a great way for people who aren’t in a position to own a dog permanently, to experience the rewards of caring for a pet and having a huge impact on their life.” 

Dot and Martin’s most recent foster dog was Poppy, a Shih-Tzu who spent most of her life in a home environment and was very nervous about leaving it, so was immediately placed in a foster home. 

Dogs Trust’s Home from Home Fostering program was developed to give dog lovers, who are not in a position to adopt on a permanent basis, the opportunity to experience the rewards of dog ownership on a temporary basis and help rescue hounds experience life in a home environment. All foster families receive full support and advice regarding the dog in their care. 

Fostering stays range from as little as one week up to nine months; and for certain dogs, foster carers don’t need a lot of previous canine experience. Dogs Trust are also on the lookout for people who do have a little bit more experience too; in order to help care for expectant or new mums and their pups, as well providing extra TLC to dogs with medical needs or who are recovering from surgery. 

If you are interested in adopting a dog from Dogs Trust Ballymena or becoming a foster carer on their Home From Home Fostering program, please get in touch with Stephanie Scott on 07443 981710.