The Little Black Dog Rescue Group (TLBD) is a completely foster-based rescue that places our pups in loving foster homes across the DMV instead of using a central facility to house our rescues. A huge part of the success of our foster program can be attributed to Sofia Herring, TLBD’s foster program director, and Abbie Hibsch, deputy foster director. Sofia and Abbie tell us all their favorite things about TLBD’s foster program and explain what sets it apart from other rescue organizations in the area.
How did you get involved with The Little Black Dog?
Sofia: I’ve been with The Little Black Dog since the beginning, and I’ve never wanted to do anything but work with our fosters. My day job is with a congressional committee, which is all about making connections, talking to people and problem-solving – there are a lot of parallels to running a foster program and making connections in the DC area. It’s so fulfilling to see dogs come from terrible situations and then transition into homes here with amazing foster families who love the dogs like their own.
Abbie: I wanted to adopt a dog for the longest time, but my landlord wouldn’t allow it. I started volunteering with TLBD’s foster team in Fall 2021 to help fill the doggy void. I enjoy connecting with our fosters who dedicate their time and availability to help our pups – it’s such a huge responsibility!
Do you have any special, personal stories about being a foster that you’d like to share?
Sofia: Besides my own foster-fail, Bagel (who’s my world!), my personal success story with rescue dog Champ still makes me cry – in a good way! Champ was never supposed to be a rescue dog; he was an owner surrender who had originally been bought from a breeder. When he first arrived at TLBD, no one thought he would live. He needed to see an emergency vet because he was so incredibly sick, and when we got there I didn’t even want to look down at him for fear that he was already gone. But Champ is the most resilient dog – every single day he fought to be alive. He’d wag his tail even when he couldn’t walk. He went from 15 pounds to 35 pounds, he grew his hair back and there was a light in his eyes that hadn’t been there before. He was the most frustrating dog to try to train, but he re-taught me everything it means to be a foster.
Abbie: Blanca, an all-white Pit Bull, is my soul dog. She was with me for quite some time, and was the sweetest girl. I had the hardest time letting her go and I think about her all the time, but her new family is wonderful and sends me pictures of her from time-to-time. I’m happy she’s happy and thriving!
What sets The Little Black Dog’s foster program apart?
Sofia: We’re a very accommodating foster program that doesn’t ask anything more of our fosters than to provide a loving home. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live in the DMV, what your yard (or lack thereof) looks like, if we have a dog that matches your lifestyle, you’ll be able to foster. We’re very intentional with our foster placements, and every foster has a point of contact within the organization so that they’re always supported. We also provide training resources for our fosters. Overall, we’re dedicated to going above-and-beyond for our foster community!
Abbie: We are entirely foster-based and all of our dogs live in homes – not shelters or communal areas – prior to being adopted. Our dogs get so much love and attention from their foster families and all of the TLBD volunteers.
What are you looking for in potential fosters?
Sofia: We’re looking for people who will be dedicated to their foster pup until the dog is adopted. It’s not always glamorous (think: potty training or behavioral challenges!), so we need fosters who are willing to put in the work and love the dog regardless.
Abbie: Good communicators! Please communicate when things come up. While our number one priority is our dogs, we also understand the balance between what’s best for the dog and what’s best for the human.
We have an amazing community of foster families here at TLBD, and we’re excited to share more about them in next month’s blog post! If you’re interested in fostering with The Little Black Dog, check out the foster application under "Ways to Help"!