We’ve all seen the sappy commercials that show poor dogs in really bad conditions. Seeing what dogs go through with humans that don’t care about them. This is happening everywhere.
People surrender their dog because of different situations, but all the dog can think is “Why did you leave me here?”. Being in a shelter can change a dog’s personality. They are scared in being in a new environment with nobody they know and other dogs asking the same questions. “Are we ever getting out of here?” is what goes through their heads every time they see someone pass their cage.
I’ve been a volunteer with shelters and have seen happy dogs come in to only wait for so long that they begin to break down and lose hope. These are the dogs that need a home even if it’s just for temporarily. That’s where fostering come in!
Opening your home and heart can help so many dogs that don’t do well in a shelter environment. This gives the dog a chance to relax in a home where it’s not so scary for them.
Fill Out the Foster Application
Many shelters offer an application that you can fill out to become a foster home. The application mainly asks questions like do you have any other pets, do you have any children, do you leave frequently out of town, and if you have a yard. A person from the shelter usually does a home check to make sure it’s a right fit for a dog to be in your home.
The next step is determining what kind of dog you would like to foster. Would you like to take care of a sick dog that you have to give medications to? Or do you know how to train, so you might want a younger dog that doesn’t know commands? Nobody will pressure you in taking a dog that you don’t feel comfortable with in your home. If you do foster a dog that isn’t working out, you can always tell the shelter that it’s not a good fit and they will find another foster home for that dog.
All you need to provide is a loving home. The shelter/rescue covers all expenses from food to vet costs. They do not care how much you make. Anyone can become a foster!
You will never have to pay out of pocket for anything. (Unless you really spoil them!) Shelters pay for all care and feeding like:
- Any food the dog should eat. Kibble, soft food, medicated foods.
- Bedding. Beds and blankets are sometimes provided.
- Toys. A variety of toys from squeaky to chewy toys.
- Leashes and collar. Basic leash and collar, or if the dog needs a specific kind, they will provide them
- Vet care. Veterinary care is all covered with the shelter. Shots that they need, checkups, surgeries like spay and neuters, and any medications. Also if they get sick, vet care is covered by the shelter.
Your First Foster Dog
Ok, now you’ve filled out the application and are ready for your first dog to foster. Your first foster should be an easy dog or puppy. You want your first experience to be a joyful one for you and the dog. You wouldn’t want to overwhelm yourself and have the dog transfer to another home.
When you get the dog to your house, you’ll want to keep them in a quiet room where they can decompress and settle down. They’ve just been through a whirlwind of places and seeing new people and are probably scared. After a couple days when they feel ready, they can start to come out and explore your house. Make sure to keep an eye on them!
Now you can start interacting with them by playing and training. Show them what is acceptable to chew on and basic training like Sit, Stay, and Come. These are great when someone is interested in adopting them. (Yes, you are doing all of this to get them adopted. Most shelters/rescues won’t let you “foster fail” for the first 3 dogs you foster.) Just think, once they get adopted, you have room for another dog in need that you can foster.
Lots of adopters will share pictures of how the dog is doing in their home. This brings fostering it’s heartfelt feeling that you are supporting dogs to go to good loving homes.
But, what if you have to travel?
Shelters will provide a “vacation foster” that will take care of your dog either in your home or theirs for the time you are away. So no worries if you need to be out of town for a short time.
Traveling To The Vet
Shelters/Rescues want to make sure the veterinary clinic is within reasonable travel distance for you. They usually have preselected vets that they do business with and will let you pick which one you’d like to travel to. There are also volunteers that can take the dog to and from the vet if it’s not convenient for you. I’ve done this many times!
Fostering dogs from shelters and rescues can help save lives.
Contact your local shelter/rescue for questions and how they do the process of fostering.