We have a foster program for our females. In this program, females live with a foster family and come back to us when they are in season and to have their puppies. When they retire from the breeding program, they go to live with their foster families full time. Females normally go home with a foster family when they are approximately 10-15 months of age. We do not foster males, because we need frequent access to our males for breeding.
Foster families do not pay to be part of the foster program. However, families must agree to our fostering contract. As part of that contract, families agree to care for their foster dog in their own home, as a loved family pet. That includes covering all costs associated with the dog while she is in their care, including food and vet costs. Families must also agree to monitor their foster dog for signs of heat and return her to us promptly when it is time for her to breed or have puppies.
Foster families do not own their foster dog until after she has retired from our breeding program. Females normally retire from our program at approximately 5 years of age, but they can be excluded from the program at any time. After the female has been retired or excluded from the program and the foster family has had her spayed, we transfer full ownership to the foster family.
Our females are extremely important to us and to our breeding program, and so we are very selective in who we choose to become a foster family. In addition to agreeing to our contract, families must also live an appropriate distance from Cooperslane Kennels (Arthur, Ontario). Also, we must meet each foster family and decide whether it is a good fit before we offer a fostering contract. Ideally, we prefer to work with families who have previous experience with Labrador Retrievers or other large breed dogs, and with families who have another dog in the home. Our females are not spayed while they are in the breeding program, so they can not go to homes with un-neutered male dogs.
Nana and Melrose enjoying the sun at their foster family's home.
Topanga with her foster family.