Frequently Asked Questions
What does it cost me to foster?
The rescue pays for all medical costs including flea and tick and heartworm medications. We will also supply a collar and leash if needed. We only ask foster homes to pay for food and treats for our dogs, but we could supply that as well in some situations, especially if the food required is a specialty diet.
What if the foster dog doesn’t get along with the other animals or people in my home?
If for any reason the foster dog needs to be relocated, we will make arrangements to do so. We do ask for as much notice as possible as it’s rare we have any foster homes open. For correctable issues such as house training, basic manners, and obedience training, we ask that you work with the dog and will provide guidance and advice on seeing them through. Part of fostering is helping a dog that may have had a hard life previously adapt to living in a home to prepare it for its new family.
Where do I have to live to foster?
Part of our foster approval process is a home visit done by one of our more experienced volunteers so we can provide tips and guidance in bringing home your first foster dog, so we require our fosters to live in Alabama, Georgia, or South Carolina. This is required by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, so it’s something we unfortunately do not have much flexibility on.
What if I want to adopt my foster dog?
Fosters are hard to come by, so we do not typically allow our fosters to adopt their first dog. Saying goodbye to your first foster is always hard as they become such a part of your family and heart, however letting them go opens the chance for us to save another Doberman in need. If you know you are interested in adopting a Doberman from us then you start fostering, please let us know and we can make special arrangements.
I don’t have a fence, or I live in an apartment or condo. Can I still foster?
Yes. We take our foster situations on a case-by-case basis and while this will limit you on the dogs you can foster, we do recognize that there are some dogs that will do fine in an apartment situation, such as senior Dobermans. We will typically not place a young or energetic dog in an apartment, condo, or home without a fence.
Can I foster if I have kids?
Yes, however we will only place a dog in your home that we know for sure is good with children, such as an owner surrender that came from a home with kids.
How long will the foster dog be with me?
It is rare that we will know a time frame for how long a dog will be with a foster. We require all our dogs be in foster for at least 2 weeks so we can assess their personality and know of any quirks or situational needs. Some dogs get adopted quickly; others spend longer in rescue. We ask that fosters be prepared to have a dog with them for at least a couple of months.
What is your adoption radius?
We will adopt to anywhere in Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina. We will also sometimes adopt to Northern Florida, Southeast Tennessee, and Southern North Carolina.
Why do you have an adoption radius? You’re limiting the good homes you could have!
We limit our radius for 2 reasons. First, if a dog is adopted to Virginia for example, and it doesn’t work out, it’s incredibly challenging for us to get the dog back. We used to adopt further out, and this consistently became an issue which is what led us to set a radius. Second, most of the US is covered by at least one other Doberman rescue. Having a rescue closer to you is both beneficial to you in case your adoption does not work out, but also in the long term in case you need any help with your adopted dog.
Do you adopt to homes with children?
We will adopt our Dobermans to homes with children 13 and up. If you have children under 12, to adopt you must have prior Doberman (or similar working dog) experience and can demonstrate that your younger children can respect a dog’s space and recognize safe boundaries. This may seem unfair but the #2 reason we have dogs surrendered to our rescue is because of issues with small children. To protect both our dogs and your family, we must be strict about this rule.
Do you require a fence?
No, we do not require fences for adoption, however it will limit the dogs you are able to adopt. Dobermans are a high energy breed and need regular exercise to keep them happy and a well-adjusted member of your family. Long daily walks are necessary, especially for younger dogs, and having a fence allows for additional playtime outside with toys, family, or other dogs. It also helps when it rains and your dog needs to quickly potty. Local dog parks can be dangerous and are not a substitute for a fenced yard.
What about electric/underground/invisible fences?
Electric and underground fences are a fast and hard no. We do not, under any circumstances, allow our dogs to be adopted into homes with an electric fence. We have picked up dogs from shelters still wearing their invisible fence collar because they ran through and got lost. Dobermans are a determined, stubborn, and high energy breed often with a prey drive. A shock will not keep them from chasing after what they want. They also do not keep wild animals, people or wandering dogs out of your yard which can put your dog in danger. These fences provide a false sense of security, and we are not willing to allow any of our dogs to fall prey to the potential dangers.
Why is your adoption process so strict? It’s easier for me to adopt a child!
First, no it’s not though we appreciate your flair for the dramatic.
When we take in our dogs, they most often come from one of 2 situations; a home that got a Doberman and was not a good fit for the breed, or as a stray from a shelter. Can you imagine what it must be like for these dogs to have a family and then lose them? We don’t want that to happen again so our process is in place to prevent it the best we can. We know no one adopts a dog with the intent of giving it back or the plan of having it not work out, but we also know that people lie to get what they want or want instant gratification and a perfect dog. Rescue dogs are rarely, if ever, perfect but it’s our job to find the family that has the desire and ability to work with and love their imperfections, and that takes a lot of learning about who you are as an owner.
Do you have any puppies? When can I get a puppy?
Puppies are incredibly rare in rescue. We get a puppy or dog under 6 months maybe once or twice a year. Most of the dogs we get surrendered to us are over 18 months, so if you think you need a puppy, we suggest getting on our wait list. We also recommend you consider a younger adult dog. Most often people want puppies so they can bond with them or “start fresh” but a young rescue will bond with you just as hard, we promise.
How long does your adoption process take?
We try and move our adoptions through quickly since we know how excited you are to bring home your new family, however everyone at GDR is a volunteer and we all have full time jobs on top of doing rescue, so we need to be able to work phone interviews and home visits around our regular work schedules. Once we have photos and personal references back, it usually tales us about a week to schedule a phone interview and another week to two to schedule a home visit. With COVID we have been absolutely bombarded with applications so wait times may be longer. We are trying to move as quickly as possible.
Why are there so many steps in your application process?
Each step serves its own purpose in our process. The application helps us know the basics about you and your family and home. This helps us when we do the phone interview and home visit. Personal references and vet references help us gain an outside perspective and make sure all dogs are up to date on vaccinations and spayed and neutered. The phone interview really helps us get to know you and what you’re looking for in your new Doberman, and the home visit helps us learn more about your home and plans for bringing your dog in so we can point out any potential hazards or issues you may not have noticed that will help set you up for success when bringing your dog home. It also allows us to all meet in person (or due to COVID, virtually). Since we don’t have a shelter, we don’t get many opportunities to meet our adopters, and since we consider you family once you have one of our dogs, we highly value the person-to-person relationship.
Can I bring my dog to the meet and greet with my new dog?
No. We do not allow adopters to bring their current dogs to the meet and greet for a few reasons:
1. We want the dog you’re meeting to focus on you and for you to focus on the new dog. If your dog is there, it’s likely they’ll be more interested in each other, and you’ll spend your time policing or watching their interactions. That doesn’t give any indication of how you connect with the dog.
2. It is not a good indication of if the two dogs will get along. Throwing 2 dogs together is not a good way to tell if they will get along or not, especially if it’s in the home of one of the dogs where they may feel extra defensive and protective. Sometimes it works out and the dogs are instant BFFs, but often it can lead to problems.
We don’t just want adoptions, we want successful adoptions. We will walk all adopters through how to slowly introduce the dogs to each other when they are in their adoptive home. This means separating them first for a at least a few days so the new dog can have a space where it feels comfortable while it decompresses and gets to know and trust you. Then you slowly let them see and smell each other from a distance for a few days before eventually allowing them some limited time together and monitoring them closely.
Do you take owner surrenders?
Yes, when we have fosters available, we will take in owner surrenders. Because open fosters are very rare, we ask that you give us plenty of notice so we can get a dog adopted to be able to bring your dog in.
I need my dog gone NOW. Can you come get it?
No, we cannot come get a dog immediately. Most of our volunteers and fosters work full time jobs on top of volunteering for the rescue. Because of this we cannot drop everything and run out the door to go get a dog. We ask that you give us as much notice as possible so we can arrange for intake and have a foster ready. The more time you give us, the better placement we can have for your dog. If you cannot wait, we recommend contacting other rescues in the area. We are happy to provide a list based on where you are.
My dog bit someone, will you take it?
If the bite has broken skin, we cannot take your dog as out insurance will not allow it. If no skin was broken, we can consider taking the dog in depending on the situation. DO NOT LIE ABOUT THE SEVERITY OF THE BITE. Lying about the bite is dangerous for both the dog and for us and our volunteers. Before considering surrender, we highly recommend you contact a trainer or behaviorist to help you with your dog. A reputable and qualified trainer and behaviorist will help you work through your challenges or may recommend board-and-train rehab. We are happy to recommend one based on your location. Be careful searching on your own as there are A LOT of people who claim to be trainers or behaviorists and can do more harm than good to your situation. If your Doberman has seriously bit (broken skin or required stitches) or attacked someone and you are not willing to contact a behaviorist and work with your dog, we recommend you consider euthanasia both for your safety and the safety of anyone who may encounter the dog in the future. Rehoming or abandoning the dog is irresponsible and dangerous. Without knowing the history, a new owner could be bit, attacked or worse.
What are your requirements for surrendering a dog?
Our only requirement is the dog must be a Doberman. We cannot take mixes since we don’t even have enough room for all the Dobermans that need help, and people do not come to us looking for mixes, so they sit in our rescue for a long time. They are better off with an all-breed rescue. If the dog has any vetting, we ask that you please provide the vet records, so we do not have to double vaccinate. We also ask that you help get the dog to foster if possible.
Will you take a Doberman mix or another breed?
No, please see the question above.
Do you need volunteers?
YES! We always need volunteers!
Can I volunteer at your shelter?
We do not have a shelter facility and all our dogs are kept in foster home. While this means we take in less dogs as finding fosters is always a challenge, it also reduces our overhead and allows us to use most of our donations on our dogs, with a smaller amount going to administrative costs. We also feel this is in the best interest of the dogs, since our fosters get to know them well and learn what house manners need work.
What kind of volunteers do you need?
We always need fosters! Fostering is time consuming and not easy, and it takes a special person or family to be willing to devote so much to one of our rescue dogs, but they are the lifeblood of our rescue. Without them we simply would don’t exist. We also need transporters, data entry and administrative work, social media help, and hopefully help with fundraising and events now that things are starting to pick up again.
What are the requirements to volunteer?
You must be 18 or older to volunteer and have a valid ID. For transporters, you must have your own vehicle with current insurance and registration and be willing and able to follow our transport guidelines. For other volunteers, you need to have your own computer (no public computers) and be willing and able to download or access the software we use.
Do you allow court-ordered community service hours?
Yes, we can usually accommodate community service hours. They must be in the state of Georgia.
Can I write off my volunteer or foster expenses on my taxes?
Absolutely. Since we are a 501(c)(3), foster supplies, gas and mileage, and supplies purchased in service of the rescue are all tax deductible. We highly recommend you keep track. Hours or services donated are not deductible.