“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” ? M.K. Clinton
What is fostering?
Fostering involves taking a rescue into your home and providing him or her with affection, care, and attention for a set amount of time or before the dog is adopted.
Fostering is an important step in the cycle of adoption. People can foster rescues that do not have access to a physical shelter, or they can foster dogs from shelters that are overcrowded and cannot accommodate specific rescue needs. Many shelters deal with major illnesses and infections with a large number of dogs; it is especially difficult to rehabilitate rescues and maintain their health, as shelters often operate above the capacity of dogs for which they can provide care. Fostering a dog will relieve some of the strain on a shelter, allowing them to concentrate on more critical and immediate situations.
Let’s first understand two important terms that are often confused with each other - adopting and fostering. How do we differentiate between the two?
Fostering a dog means briefly bringing them into your house and allowing them to live with you and your family, until they find a new home or the shelter can welcome them again.
Some foster parents consider the experience as a trial run before adopting, in order to better understand the needs and personality traits of a future companion. Others foster even if they already have many existing pets, but also wish to support an animal in need.
Based on when he/she is ready to be adopted, a foster animal will stay with their foster family for a few days to a year or longer.
Adopting, on the other hand, entails accepting absolute responsibility for the dog, and the dog becomes your permanent companion.
With adopting, your dog has found a forever home and you’ve found a lifelong friend. Adopting is a beautiful process that benefits both the adoptive family and the dog - all of you will have lots of laughs, cuddles, and a better quality of life, forever!
Many times, foster parents fall so much in love with a dog that they decide to permanently adopt. Since they already are well acquainted with the dog while fostering, the whole process becomes a lot easier.
Now that we know the basic difference between the two terms, let’s understand the kind of dogs and situations that require fostering in most cases.
When does a dog get fostered?
- When a shelter is overcrowded, putting dogs in foster care allows more dogs to be rescued.
- A natural disaster or disease has impacted the rescue or shelter, and a foster home is a safer option.
- A dog is in recovery after a disease or accident.
- A shy or timid dog needs a secure environment in which to emerge from her shell.
- An elderly or ill dog needs the required physical and emotional support.
- A dog that is restless or hiding in the shelter needs a calm environment to relieve stress.
- Dogs who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned in the past and need to develop a safe relationship with humans.
- A puppy is too young to be raised and requires a temporary home before he/she is mature enough to be adopted into a permanent family.
The above cases happen frequently and require urgent fostering. It becomes imperative to find them a temporary home. Understanding what your dog has gone through helps in better understanding the needs and personality quirks while fostering him/her.
Now that we’ve learned the reasons and circumstances that result in the need for fostering, the next step lies in understanding whether a person is prepared to finally foster a dog. A parent needs to look after certain responsibilities that come with fostering a dog.
Responsibilities of fostering a dog
- A pet parent should be willing to tend to the needs of a dog. That includes feeding, training, socializing, and medically treating the dog. All of this shapes the dog’s behaviour as well.
- The dog is in a new environment with completely new people and animals. If possible, keep the foster dog apart from other pets, and keep him/her in a crate when the parent is not around.
- Before fostering a new dog, ensure that other dogs in the household are up-to-date with their vaccines and have been spayed or neutered.
- Observe any medical or behavioural problems, and report them to the shelter.
- Provide details on the dog's temperament to the shelter/rescue staff.
- Take the dog to various adoption drives and screen potential adoptive parents.
- Inform prospective adopters of the dog and assist them in determining whether they are a suitable fit.
- Instill proper manners and a definite routine, as the dog may not have much experience in this regard.
With fostering a dog comes many responsibilities. If you think you can look after the above requirements and are willing to spend the time and energy when fostering, you are the perfect fit for the dog. The shelter will inform you about all the requirements when fostering.
Fostering is ideal for both you and the dogs. It is one of the most beautiful and fulfilling experiences a person can have. So, why should one foster a dog?
Perks of fostering a dog
- Saving two lives: When a dog is fostered, it not only saves his/her life but also makes space in the shelter for another dog to be taken in and treated, thereby saving another life as well.
- Testing the waters: Many potential pet parents out there want a temporary experience before fully committing to a parent. Fostering is a great way to get acquainted with the responsibilities that come with adopting a dog.
- Lots of love and kisses: If you do not have the resources or the time to commit to be a full-time pet parent, fostering is a great way to get lots of cuddles and love your dog has to offer. Not to mention, dogs are incredibly therapeutic!
- Helping the dog get adopted: A dog may display signs of stress or may not be social enough to be adopted. Fostering is a great way to address this and prepare him/her for adoption. With the right amount of training, love, and cuddles, every dog can find a forever home.
- Finding a friend for your dog: Fostering is a great way to introduce your pets to a new friend. Your dog can play all day and have lots of fun with his/her new friend. This can also help the dogs better socialize and come out of their shells.
- Flexibility: Fostering can be done according to one’s schedule and offers both the parent and the dog to have time off from their usual lives. The parent can spend their free time with a fun doggo, and the dog can have a much-deserved break from the shelter.
- Helps in healing after losing a dog: Losing a dog is traumatic and creates a gap in our lives. Many of us do not feel comfortable with the idea of adopting a new dog ever again. Fostering can be a great way to spend time with a dog again and heal from the pain of losing a furry kid.
- Loving an abused dog: A dog that has been abused develops a complicated relationship with humans, making it even more difficult for him/her to stay at a shelter. Fostering provides a great way for the dog to trust humans and believe in love again. All dogs deserve love.
Now that you’re ready with all the information and have set your mind upon fostering a dog, it’s time to locate a furry kid in need.
How to locate pet fostering services near you
- Call local shelters and inquire about dogs up for fostering
- If you do not know about the shelters, you can also call veterinary hospitals or pet groomers around your area, as they have knowledge of and relationships with local shelters.
- Social media apps like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook can also be used to locate possible pets. People/shelters put up fostering posts with all the information about each dog.
- Ask your friends or neighbours who have a dog. They may know about the shelters in your area.
Dogs are one of the most beautiful creatures in the world. Unconditional love can have a significant impact on so many lives. After reading the information above, if you think you are in for unlimited cuddles and kisses, it’s probably time to foster a furry kid of your own. Go ahead, and find your perfect friend to spend quality time with.
It is the most rewarding experience out there. Trust me, once you start fostering, you won’t ever stop. It’s going to be the best adventure of your life.