A non-profit organization that matches rescue dogs with veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is looking for foster homes.
Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs (VICD) needs at least eight foster homes between Nanoose Bay and Deep Bay to care for dogs for one to three months, according to co-founder Barb Ashmead.
She said good candidates for foster parents are people with experience handling and caring for dogs who will be home for the majority of the day and have ample time to spend with their foster dogs. It’s also a plus if you have a fenced back yard. VICD supplies everything you need to be a foster parent including food, dog toys and bedding.
Ashmead admits it can be difficult to be a foster parent because you’ll inevitably form a bond with the animal and have to give it away at some point.
“I understand it’s difficult but you have to look at the greater good of what you’re doing,” she said. “The dog is going to help a vet find a new lease on life. And you’ll be part of that. Part of helping veterans regain their lives.”
Ashmead notes that there is a dog trainer available to help with any issues that arise with the dog while in foster care.
To become a foster parent you’ll need to fill out an application form, have a home check and complete an online course about working with dogs.
Ashmead explains she co-founded VICD a few years ago when someone from the Comox Canadian Forces asked if she could train a dog for a PTSD soldier.
With help from B.C. Guide Dogs Service, Ashmead put together a team and a comprehensive 52-week program allowing veterans and their dogs to work and learn at their own pace. To-date, they have had 10 vets graduate from the program.
If you’re interested in fostering a dog for one to three months please contact Barb Ashmead at Qualicum Pet Foods at 250-752-2797 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.