Ridgebacks & Friends

Dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Ridgeback mixes in California. Potential adopters must meet the dog(s) prior to adoption.

The purpose of Ridgeback & Friends is to save Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Ridgeback mixes in California and place them in suitable homes. While the focus remains on saving dogs from California's high-intake shelters, some of the dogs come into rescue as owner surrenders or homeless strays. All dogs are carefully screened for good behavior and receive proper veterinary care, including spay/neuter surgery and vaccinations, before being matched with appropriate adopters. The group provides sanctuary to a limited number of sick and/or under socialized dogs.  

We are 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity. 



Cover photo courtesy of Andrea Altman. 

photo taken by Art Valdivia of Manzanita pups 2013

photo taken by Art Valdivia of Manzanita pups 2013

We don not have a kennel or boarding facility, so we always need foster homes in the Los Angeles area, Orange County, Riverside County, and San Diego County. Simply put, FOSTERS ARE THE HEART OF OUR RESCUE: We do all we can to set our fosters and rescue dogs up for success. In addition to covering all medical needs, we provide food and a loaner crate, as well as any other supplies they may need: bowls, leashes, treats, etc. We have built partnerships with trainers, as well as daycares and boarding places, who can assist if the foster works or has to go out of town. We also offer a foster mentor system and actively involve fosters in the placement of the foster dog.  Our motto is “me or better” and we want the foster families to feel comfortable that their foster dog is headed off to a great home. 

How Do I Apply To Become A Foster? 

If you are interested in fostering, please apply here. You can foster after you are fully approved. You can sign up for the foster dog of your choice, though we place dogs where we believe they are best fit (e.g. allergies, training needs, health needs, etc.). Our matchmaking is very thoughtful. 

What is the Foster Application Process Like?

We process all applications by checking two references (non-family), and conducting a home visit to make sure that your home environment is safe. Our process is thorough and extensive, because we are looking for dedicated fosters who are committed and willing to work through both the challenges (and fun!) of fostering. Because we are a small, all-volunteer organization, the process can take 1-2 weeks, so please be patient with us. Once you have been approved as a foster, you do not need to re-apply for each subsequent dog,

What Do I Need To Do Before My Foster Dog Arrives?

We usually are able to provide initial necessities, like a collar and leash. Generally, the fosters buy food, treats, and toys for their foster pups, though we do sometimes get food and treat donations that we share with our fosters. Anything you provide for your foster dog is tax deductible

We will do our best to provide you with a crate if you need one. If the dog is coming from a shelter and we know virtually nothing about them, we find that a crate is a very important tool to use. It is important not only to crate train them for their adoptive family but also especially if you have another dog - it's prudent to go slowly because a lot of negative behaviors don't surface immediately till the dog starts to feel comfortable.

What Happens if the Dog has Health Issues?

All of our dogs will have been to a veterinarian and spayed/neutered when they arrive. If there are any known health issues, you will be notified in advance. We cover all medical issues, however we must be notified prior to any treatments and we can set up appointments with our partner veterinarians.

How Long Do I Foster A Dog For?

To provide as much stability as possible, we ask that you keep the foster dog until they are adopted. This can range from a couple of days to a couple of months.  However, if you notify the foster team in advance of any dates that you are unable to foster, we will try to make appropriate arrangements to move the dog to another foster. Last minute requests are very hard to fulfill. 

I have never fostered before. What advice can you give me?

One of the main apprehensions people have about fostering is fear of the unknown.  Who is this dog I'm going to bring into my house straight from a shelter? You will not just jumping in blindly.  We will train you the best of our ability and someone will be there with them every step of the way.  To fulfill this promise, we offer a Foster Mentor Program where you are matched up with an experienced foster, ideally in your geographic area, who you can call for advice and assistance. Some foster mentors are even able to serve as back-up fosters if you have to go out of town for a weekend or need help one evening.  We never want you to feel that you are “stuck” or all alone. We also will email you a Foster Guidebook, filled with tips and advice.

While fostering can be a wonderful experience, we also must be honest that not all dogs work out.  Some can end up having behavior or health problems that are more that you bargained for. Some may end up not being a good "fit" for your family.  If you are no longer comfortable keeping a dog, please contact us immediately and we will move the dog.

How Can I Help My Foster Dog Get Adopted?

We advertise our foster dogs through social media to help their adoption prospects, but your efforts to help us get the word out so that our foster dogs get the promotion that they deserve.  You can buy an "Adopt Me" vest and even make up little business cards with your foster pup's picture, statistics and our contact information.

What if I fall in love with my foster and can’t let him/her go?

We will NEVER rip a dog out of your heart but if you are not in a position to keep the dog then you can be part of the decision process as to who gets the dog.  You will not be asked to turn over a dog to people you’re not comfortable with.  Our motto: me or better.  It's so much easier letting go of a foster dog if you feel great about the people who are getting him/her.  

WHY FOSTER? We asked a few of our foster families why they do it. Here is Jan’s story:

”To foster or not to foster? That is the question.

That is just one of the many questions that you should ask yourself before you say yes to fostering. How can you give them up after you’ve spent time with them and loved them and picked up their poop?

I consider myself the bridge a dog takes on their way to forever. On that bridge we love them when they sometimes don’t know love. We nurse their wounds inside and out. On the bridge we discover who they thrive with (kids, large dogs,small dogs, cats). We do this so we can match them up with their perfect family. When I see the faces of the moms and dads and kids who are going to love this dog forever I see in their eyes and smiles the memories they’ve had with pets from their past. I see their arms go around them with complete joy and love and excitement. They come with their stories of what they promise to be and what they want this addition to their family to be. To miss this would be a mistake. To deny myself the love of a grateful dog whether it’s a few days or a few months would be a mistake. The question should be “How could I NOT?”

The hard part is not being able to take them all. Not to say “I’ll do it! I’ll take him” to every request that comes across my screen.

Sometimes they poop or pee in the house. Sometimes they chew up a couch. Sometimes they counter surf and eat Thanksgiving turkey. But sometimes they know that they are alive because of your help. All of the time they gave me more than I had to give them.”

Here is Audrey and Jimi’s story:

”My husband and I became a foster family years ago and it lead us to our most beloved Tanner. We fostered a handful of dogs prior to Tanner but our boy Jackson told us he wanted Tanner to stay.

When I became Facebook friends with Ridgebacks & friends, we would feel bad for the dogs as we viewed the posts of those that were stuck in the shelters. I wanted to foster again because I felt that feeling sorry for these dogs was just not good enough. I wanted to help.

Seeing the look on a dogs face when you pull from the shelter is an unmistakable look of freedom.

When fostering a dog, you become part of something special, part of a community a group of compassionate wonderful people that you admire and respect. The challenges of bringing an unknown dog in your home are worth it. You learn how to make things work and you are supported every step of the way.

It is a very rewarding experience and when you have helped that dog find their forever home the feeling is wonderful.”

Ridgebacks and Friends needs foster homes in LA, San Diego, and Orange County as well as nearby counties like Riverside and San Bernadino. We make sure our foster homes have any needed crates, food, beds, bowls, collars etc and we give medical care...Fosters provide the love.

If you can help, please contact us at ridgebacksandfriends@gmail.com or submit a form at http://www.ridgebacksandfriends.org/apply-to-foster-or-adopt/