About Caring Hearts Rescue
Who We Are
Caring Hearts Rescue is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization based in Fairfax County, VA that rescues and finds homes for abandoned or homeless dogs with an emphasis on small-breed dogs. We do not have a physical shelter. All of our rescued dogs are in foster homes in the VA, DC and Maryland area. In addition to finding loving forever homes for dogs, we also educate dog owners and the community about positive dog training techniques in an effort to decrease the number of dog owners who choose to give up their pets due to behavioral problems.
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!