Are you interested in helping dogs in shelters? While adopting a dog certainly is one way to help shelter dogs, it is not the only way. Not every one has the time and resources to adopt a dog. So, some people choose to foster dogs! Are you interested in fostering a dog? This blog post discusses some important things you should consider if you want to foster a dog.
How to Foster a Dog
What is fostering and why is it important?
Fostering involves providing a temporary home for shelter/rescue pets who are awaiting adoption. Fostering can help improve the lives of these shelter animals because many shelters are dealing with an overpopulation problem. In fact, millions of dogs and cats end up in shelters every year. But, by fostering a dog, you take the dog out of the shelter, free up space in the shelter, and let the dog have a comfortable living space until someone adopts them.
There are many reasons why local shelters and rescue groups need foster homes for their animals:
- A shelter may be running out of space for the dog to stay at, or the rescue group may not have a physical shelter to house the pets. Some rescue groups rely solely on foster homes to keep the animals safe until adopted.
- A dog may become too stressed at a shelter and may need a comfortable and stable house.
- A dog may need to be socialized. Some shelter animals may have had little contact with people before he/she came into the shelter.
- A dog may be recovering from surgery or injury and may need a comfortable, safe, and calm place to recover.
Furthermore, here are the positive impacts of fostering:
- Fostering helps the shelter learn more about the dog’s personality. This will help the shelter pair the dog with the right family/owner.
- Fostering frees up space at the shelter.
- Fostering socializes the dog to different people and possibly other pets.
- Fostering helps the dog transition from life at the shelter to life in a loving home.
Is fostering a dog right for me?
Fostering a dog is an amazingly good deed. However, there are many important things to consider first:
- Do you have the time to commit to the dog? Dogs require physical exercise and positive stimulation.
- Know your limits. Know what kinds of dogs you are capable of caring for. Some dogs have special needs. For example, some dogs have health problems and need frequent medication or a special diet. Some may have behavioral problems. It is best to admit your limits and know what you are capable of doing.
How do I sign up to foster a dog?
To start your journey as a dog foster parent, you will need to contact an animal shelter near you. Usually, the process involves filling out an application and meeting with the shelter to discuss their pet foster program.
Bringing a Foster Dog Home
Before you bring your foster dog home, you will need to do a few things:
- Dog proof your house. Here is an article on how to dog proof your house.
- Doggie supplies: (sometimes the shelter will provide you with the supplies)
- Stainless steel bowls for food and water
- Leash and collar
- Dog food (ask shelter for recommendations)
- A comfortable place for the dog to sleep
- Dog treats, dog toys, and grooming supplies
When you bring a foster dog home, he/she may be frightened and confused about the new situation. It will probably take some time for the dog to warm up to the new surroundings and people. If many people and pets live in your house, slowly introduce the foster dog to them. Be patient and let the dog get used to you and your house. Sometimes, you may need to confine the dog to a small area to help him/her get used to the new setting. It is very important to dedicate a space for the dog so he/she can go there if they are feeling overwhelmed.
Daily Routine of Fostering a Dog
Stick to a daily routine with your dog. Try to mimic the schedule the dog followed at the shelter. Do not overwhelm the dog by introducing too many new experiences at once. A daily routine usually involves feeding, exercise/play, and grooming. You may also need to train the dog. Not all shelter dogs are house-trained. House-training a foster dog is important, because it will help the dog’s chances of being adopted. Furthermore, you may be required to bring the dog to the adoption center for adoption days. Presenting a happy and healthy dog at adoption events will help that dog get adopted!
As you can see, fostering gives many dogs a second chance at life! Fostering helps dogs better transition from shelter life to home life. Without all those doggie foster parents out there, many more dogs may be euthanized.