About Caring Hearts Rescue
Who We Are
Caring Hearts Rescue is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in Fairfax County that works to rescue abandoned or homeless senior and special needs dogs, rehabilitate them both medically and behaviorally.
Making sure our rescue dogs are healthy from “head to paw,” is our first priority, so any dog entering our rescue receives medical care such as any needed surgeries, spay/neutering, flea and tick removal, dental care, supplements and medications. After receiving any needed medical care, we place our rescues in one of our many volunteer foster homes. All of our rescued dogs are in foster homes in the VA, DC and Maryland area.
Rehabilitating dogs before placing them up for adoption is our specialty, so every dog entering our rescue is assessed to determine their training needs. Our Paws of Zen Rehabilitation Program provides each foster parent with training and a unique behavioral plan designed to help their foster dog adjust to a new caretaker and learn to trust humans again. Having a clear understanding of our rescue dog’s emotional and behavioral needs, helps us provide adopters with a clearer understanding of the rescue dog’s needs and we also train and provide each adopter with a behavioral plan in case problems arise. This greatly reduces return rates to CHR and empowers our adopters to be the best dog parents they can be.
In addition to finding loving forever homes for dogs and educating our dog foster and adopters, we educate and train dog owners in the general community about positive dog training techniques in an effort to decrease the number of dog owners who choose to give up their pets to shelters or rescue groups due to behavioral problems that they feel ill-equipped to deal with.
Caring Hearts Rescue relies on donations, grants and community support to achieve our mission of saving senior and special needs dogs.
How Our Rescue Works
Our volunteers rescue small breed dogs from desperate situations including neglect, puppy mill rescue, owner surrender, and euthanasia by animal shelters due to overpopulation. Most of our rescued dogs come from the DC metro area, although a few have come from rural parts of Virginia or Maryland.
Many of our rescued dogs are victims of neglect and need rehabilitation to get them to an adoptable state. We begin with a thorough medical exam and provide all necessary treatment, including surgery, medication, and special diets. Dogs are given all the necessary vaccines and started on heartworm and flea and tick preventatives. They are usually spayed/neutered before placement, except for puppies who must wait until they are 6 months old.
Many of our dogs undergo dental cleanings and extractions to treat painful dental disease and prevent serious health problems that can develop from gum inflammation such as heart, kidney, and liver disease. Because we believe that good nutrition is the foundation of good health in a dog, our dogs are put on a high quality diet and given supplements as necessary.
Every dog that enters our rescue is also evaluated by a dog trainer who identifies behavior problems and devises a training plan for fosters to implement so that the behavior can be addressed before the dog transitions to a new home. Caring Hearts Rescue follows a positive-reinforcement training philosophy that emphasizes rewarding positive behaviors rather than punishing negative ones.
A key feature of our foster program is that dogs are allowed to remain in a foster home for weeks or months so that they can begin to recover emotionally from the experience of being separated from their owners and suddenly finding themselves in a strange place like a shelter or new home. Rescued dogs often defecate or urinate indoors when their former lives and routines are disrupted so our fosters place dogs on a routine to help with housetraining.
We put a lot of effort into carefully screening applicants and matching each dog to the right home. Because our dogs are in a foster home for more than just a few days, our fosters can accurately describe the dog’s habits and behaviors to potential adopters and ensure that the dog and applicant are a good fit and there are no “surprises.” We ask for potential adopters to complete an adoption application prior to meeting any of the dogs.The application is reviewed by the foster parents of the rescue dog since they know the dogs best. Applicants are also required to have a phone interview with the foster parent or a volunteer and participate in a home visit in which a volunteer comes to their home to make sure it is appropriate for the dog in question. Our volunteers search for adopters that understand the responsibility of being a Guardian to our rescue dogs and consider them members of the family. This is a priority to our organization.
Once an adoption is complete, Caring Hearts Rescue continues to work with adopters who need advice and support to make sure that the adoption is successful. Our positive-reinforcement dog trainer is available to consult by phone or in person to address any problems that may arise in the new home. This free service is one of the features that set us apart from many other rescues that do not provide support after adoption.
A lot of love and care goes into every dog we take into our rescue. We hope you see that after working with us!