PO Box 32547
Pikesville, MD 21282-9998
11/30/2020 9:50 PM
© 2020 ERU
What is Vets Foster Pets?
Vets Foster Pets is a companion dog foster caretaker program that is made possible by a research grant from Maddie's Fund*.
This program has two goals:
1st: to start a foster program made up of military veterans in the Baltimore, MD area.
2nd: to examine whether older inactive veterans show an increase in physical activity and improvements in quality of life and health (e.g. blood pressure, weight, body mass index) after fostering a companion dog for a two-month period.
Where do the foster dogs come from?
Dogs come from shelters, other rescue groups, and directly from owners who can no longer care for their dogs (owner surrenders). Dogs in need of temporary homes will initially be placed with skilled foster caretakers who are members of Eskie Rescuers United (Randallstown, MD), Canine Humane Network (Columbia, MD), Maryland Animal Sanctuary & Rescue (Baltimore, MD), Pits and Rotts For Life (Owings Mills, MD) and other local rescues and shelters. The dogs will be evaluated by certified and professional dog trainers and will have all known behavioral and medical needs addressed before being placed with a veteran in the Vets Foster Pets program.
What is the time commitment?
In order to participate in the research study we will require up to a four-month commitment.
What does the research study entail?
Before foster dog lives with veteran:
1st month: We will measure blood pressure, weight, waist, resting heart rate, six-minute walk time, and balance twice before the foster dog goes to the veteran's home. We will measure quality of life (questionnaires) once before the foster dog goes to the veteran's home.
We will also ask the veteran to wear an activity monitor (similar in size to a watch) on their wrist for the entire research period.
While foster dog is living with veteran:
2nd month: We will measure blood pressure, weight, waist, resting heart rate, six-minute walk time, and balance 30-days after the foster dog has been living in the veteran's home.
3rd month: We will measure blood pressure, weight, waist, resting heart rate, six-minute walk time, balance, and quality of life 60-days after the foster dog has been living in the veteran's home.
After foster dog lives with veteran (the foster dog has been adopted to a new family):
4th month: We will measure blood pressure, weight, waist, resting heart rate, six-minute walk time, balance, and quality of life 30-days after the foster dog has been adopted (no longer living in veteran's home).
How much will it cost?
The rescue groups will provide high-quality dog food, flea/tick/heartworm prevention medication, crate (if needed), collar, leash, harness, dog bowls, and dog bed for the entire research period. The rescue groups will pay for dog-related medical expenses for the entire research period.
The veteran will have minor expenses associated with charging the batteries of the activity monitors and transportation to and from the VA Maryland Health Care Center in Baltimore. The veteran can choose to have the research team come to their home for any or all of the testing periods.
Will the participating veteran be compensated for their time?
Yes. The participating veteran will receive $250 after completing the entire (4-month) study period.
What if I want to adopt my foster dog after the fostering period ends?
That is wonderful! In this case the final (4th) month of testing would not be completed; therefore, the compensation will be $200, which can be applied toward the adoption fee for the foster dog. The adoption would need to be approved by the rescue group first.
How do I get involved?
1st: Complete an online Vets Foster Pets application
The foster approval process includes a home visit and reference checks.
2nd: After approval to become a foster caretaker, you will meet with research team to consent to be in the research study. The veteran can choose to have the research team come to their home for the consenting session.
* The research grant was awarded by Maddie's Fund to Heidi Ortmeyer, Ph.D., Executive Director of Eskie Rescuers United and Research Physiologist at the VA Medical Health Care Center and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
For more information please e-mail Heidi@vetsfosterpets.org
Thank you Maddie!
Thanks to Whistle for donating 15 Whistle GPS monitors for the dogs!
Thanks to VeRUS for providing a discount on high-quality nutritious dog food!
Thanks to Blue-9 Pet Products for providing a discount on balance harnesses for the dogs!
Thanks to PetPace for providing a discount on health monitors for the dogs!
Thanks to Polar for donating H7 heart rate monitors for the Veterans!