Consider Fostering a Dog

Cindy SmithDog Health, Senior Dogs

Although many of the shelters were cleared out during the pandemic, it seems that many are full again. Have you ever considered fostering a dog? Here we’ll talk about what it involves and the fantastic opportunities it may provide for you and your family.

What is fostering a dog?
Fostering a dog means you provide temporary care for a predetermined amount of time and give him all the basics of food, shelter, and exercise in addition to the love and care he deserves. The predetermined amount of time may vary until the shelter can find someone to permanently adopt the dog.

Why are foster homes needed?
Because of a variety of life circumstances, dogs end up without a permanent home and enter shelters. Foster homes may be needed because:

  • Shelters run out of physical areas to shelter the dogs and are overpopulated so fostering frees up space to adopt more dogs.
  • Some puppies are too young to be adopted and need a safe place to stay until they are old enough to go to a forever home.
  • A rescue group wants to know more about a dog’s personality and behavior before permanent placement.
  • A dog may be recovering from an illness and needs a safe place to recuperate.
  • A dog has never lived indoors before and needs to learn to live in a home and socialize with other animals.
  • A senior dog may need hospice care.
  • A natural disaster has occurred, and the pets have been displaced.
  • A pregnant dog that has just given birth may find a shelter environment difficult. A safe space in a private home is always preferable for a mother and her puppies.

What Are a Foster Parent’s Responsibilities?
As a foster parent, you will be responsible for the day-to-day care of your dog which includes food, shelter, socialization, exercise and love – everything that is needed to keep a dog happy and healthy!  You may also need to give him/her medications, help with housetraining and crate training and transportation to adoption events.

You may be asked to observe the pet’s behavior so you will know how he/she can best fit into her forever home. Does she like other dogs? Kids? This information can be extremely important to shelter workers when they match the pet to an adoptive home.

Why Be a Foster Parent?
Being a foster parent can be very rewarding. In fact, it may have MAJOR advantages. Don’t know what type of breed would fit in best with your family? Consider fostering one first. Thinking of getting a dog but not sure if you’re ready for the lifelong commitment? Are you a senior citizen that can’t afford a dog but really wants the companionship? The shelter that places the animal often provides food, medicine and veterinary care.

Or think you want a career as a veterinarian, a veterinary technician, a shelter director, or a pet sitter? Being a foster parent may help you decide if this career works for you and improve your skills with pets. It may also help you land a job in a veterinary clinic, shelter, or kennel.

How to Become a Foster Parent
Contact the shelters or rescues in your area to find out if they have a foster program. Depending on the area, you may have to go through a background check and a minimal amount of training.

As we head into the holiday season, know that fostering a dog means playtime, snuggles, kisses and the satisfaction of knowing you are helping to save a life.