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.
The foster family should not
Costs to be covered by the foster family
Services provided by the MIRA Foundation
Moreover, the MIRA Foundation offers:
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 the money value of each dog being born and raised up to one year old is of $ 3 000. That includes the costs of our breeding herd of 80 dogs, the veterinary fees, the food, the nursery, the health and the maintenance staff. MIRA Foundation assumes the initial cost of the puppy. If a foster family wants to keep the dog, it can, by covering the maintenance expenses of $ 700.
Foster family application
If you meet these criterias and are interested in becoming a foster family, we invite you to fill this Application form and send it back to us either by fax (450) 795-3789 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upon reception of your application, you will be asked to attend a meeting at the MIRA Foundation. The purpose of this meeting is to complete and clarify the information you received and also to answer all questions you might have.
The staff responsible for the Foster family program is available to answer your questions.
Thank you in advance !