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Become a for foster family

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Samuel et Jessica avec Orly et Jetblu

The mission of the foster family is to socialize puppies in order to prepare them for guide and service dog training. The puppy will live in its foster family starting at 9 weeks old for an average period of 18 months.

Socializing a puppy means educating it for good behaviour in the home and exposing it to various environments on a regular basis (mainly urban and social environments). The guide and service dogs will work in these environments in the future.

The foster family must learn the basics of daily life with a puppy, such housebreaking a puppy, teaching it to respond to its name and several other basic commands (sit, down, come, etc.) The foster family must also teach the puppy to chew on its toys (instead of shoes), lie on the floor (not on a bed or couch) and to eat dog food (not table scraps), etc.

The puppy must accompany the family in public places and urban environments. The puppy will thus become familiar with these situations and feel comfortable, which is essential. He will learn to adapt to different situations and behave. In other words, the puppy must become a pleasant companion.

Good health, socialization and natural aptitude are the essentials for puppies to qualify for guide or service dog training.

Requirements

  • Socialize the puppy by exposing it to various environments.
  • Inform the MIRA Foundation of the puppy’s evolution (health and behaviour).
  • Take note of any abnormal behaviour and inform the Foundation immediately (fear, aggressiveness, running away, etc.).
  • Take part in meetings at the MIRA Foundation. During these meetings, foster families exchange their experiences to allow people at the Foundation to evaluate the puppies’ development.
  • Follow the MIRA Foundation’s recommendations and feel free to consult with us.
  • Inform the Foundation, in writing, of any change of address or phone number.
  • The foster family recognizes that the puppy in their care is the sole property of the MIRA Foundation. The Foundation reserves the right to withdraw a puppy from its foster home if its development is unsatisfactory and if its safety is compromised. The MIRA Foundation also reserves the right to reclaim a puppy at all times for its rearing or service programs, meaning the foster family has no rights regarding the puppy’s future.
  • The foster family must obtain the Foundation’s authorization before taking part in any educational project or using a puppy for any therapeutic purpose.
  • The foster family must also obtain the Foundation’s authorization before taking part in any mediated event.

The foster family should not

  • Leaving the puppy alone more than four hours per day. The MIRA Foundation is not responsible for material damages incurred by a puppy.
  • Keeping the puppy apart from the rest of the family (tied up in the house or outside, in a garden shed, a garage or a closed room in the house).
  • Allowing the puppy to lie on a couch or bed.
  • Feeding the puppy table scraps.
  • Taking any type of training course.
  • Using the puppy for reproduction purposes.
  • Being abusive with the puppy (physical violence, excessive domination, etc.).
  • Compromising the puppy’s safety (ex. leaving it in the car in warm weather, or without surveillance in a public place or free in a unfenced areas, etc.)
  • Bringing the puppy in a dog park, since many physical injuries can be caused such as bites, fractures, cruciate ligament rupture, fears, etc.).

Costs to be covered by the foster family

  • Dog tag required by the city you live in (ask if they may abolish the fee for MIRA puppies in foster homes).
  • All costs incurred during trips to and from the MIRA Foundation.
  • Toys and bowls for the puppy.

Services provided by the MIRA Foundation

  • Dog food.
  • Veterinary care.
  • A collar, a leash and a scarf, as well as a letter identifying the puppy as belonging to MIRA in order to facilitate access to public places.
  • Advice and assistance related to the development and socialization of the puppy.

Moreover, the MIRA Foundation offers:

  • Unique, proven expertise and advice from qualified personnel.
  • The chance to improve your understanding of dogs.
  • Most of all, the chance to be an active participant in the accomplishment of the MIRA Foundation’s mission: improving the live of blind and physically impaired people, and children presenting autism spectrum disorder.

Programs at the MIRA Foundation

Following is a brief description of the programs for which the MIRA Foundation’s dogs are intended. Each dog remains the property of MIRA.

Guide-dog: These dogs guide visually impaired youths or adults that may also have another type of impairment (such as deafness) - service is available in all the countries where the MIRA Foundation is established.

Service dog: Service dogs assist physically impaired people in order to overcome certain incapacities. These dogs may also work with a specially trained individual to use the dogs for impaired people (special projects).

Promotional dog: Promotional dogs are used during fundraising events for the benefit of the MIRA Foundation. People who are entrusted with these dogs are deemed important in raising funds for the Mira Foundation.

Breeding dogs: specially selected dogs perpetuate and improve all the MIRA Foundation’s dogs. Males selected for reproduction must stay at ou Breeding Centre at all times. Females selected for reproduction may stay in a foster home, provided the family accepts the conditions set out by the MIRA Foundation.

Non selected dogs

MIRA Foundation’s goal is to provide dogs to handicapped people, in order to improve their autonomy and their quality of life. For MIRA Foundation, it is for the same reasons that foster families agree to give their time. It is not because the disqualified dog is offered to the foster family first that the time given by that family to bring up the puppy is not greatly recognized, appreciated and essential. On the contrary, MIRA Foundation is a non-profit organization and foster families are volunteers, which is why the dogs are offered to them first, under good conditions.

Before being selected, the puppy has to follow a series of tests in order to evaluate if he has the potential to achieve the task that will be given to him, whether it being to accompany a child with ASD, to guide a blind person, or to tow and serve as a working tool for a physically impaired person. The dog will have to be courageous and confident at all time, highly tolerant, and be the tireless helper always ready to please. He will have to be vigilant and imaginative, as well as being able to recognize when to be initiative and when to be reserved at the right moment and have a seamless health, which sums up a MIRA dog. You understand why 40% of our dogs are disqualified.

The percentage of disqualified dogs by the MIRA Foundation has been 40% for the past 10 years, which demonstrates that our standards are nonetheless excellent for the selected dogs in our Mira program: the bigger the herd is, the more the selected subjects are of high quality (a basic rule in breeding). A dog that is disqualified for his fears can very well be a perfect family dog in a stable environment, an active dog can be a playful companion, a leery dog can be a good protection dog for a retired couple, a dog that has vertigo can still be comfortable in a well-know environment, etc.

We estimate that the dollar value of each puppy produced and raised up to the age of one year is $ 4 475. This includes the costs for our breeding herd of 80 dogs, veterinary fees, food, nursery staff, health and maintenance. The Mira Foundation assumes the initial cost of the puppy and will ask the foster family, if they wish to keep the dog, to pay an amount which will be determined.

Foster family application

Thank you very much for your interest in the Mira Foundation. Presently the waiting time before receiving a puppy is about 2 years.

Consequently, we must slow the reception of any new application for a while and therefore stop all information meetings until further notice.

Our staff responsible for the Foster family program is always available to answer your questions.

Thank you !

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