What does Fostering a dog mean?
by Sharon O’Brien
I have discovered that there are a number of misconceptions about the true purpose of fostering a dog. Some people view fostering as a trial period to determine whether they want to adopt a dog permanently. Some start out with the right intentions, but become too attached to the dog and are unable to give it up. Others are only willing to foster one particular dog that they already feel an attachment to. One potential adopter even asked if she could foster instead of adopting because she wanted to get the dog without paying the adoption fee. In my opinion, none of these attitudes reflect the true spirit or intent of foster care programs
Fostering is not a way to get a free dog. It is not a trial period before adoption. And it certainly isn’t easy. Fostering is a way to help a dog that really needs you. At times, it’s incredibly stressful. It requires dedication, hard work, serious time commitments, and — above all — an understanding of the purpose of the process.
Fostering a dog for a rescue will allow that rescue to bring in more dogs, dogs who may not have had a chance to live otherwise. The foster home provides a safe place for the dog to land until the dog is ready to be adopted.
Foster homes provide the individual attention, that a shelter cannot provide. They help the shy, the scared and the lonely dogs decompress, and they help the dog learn house manners, they teach the dog to trust, to love again, they give them self-confidence.
The foster also teaches them that humans are not so bad, because some dogs come from abusive situations, or they were dumped in the streets to fend for themselves or surrendered to shelters, all these situations are very stressful for any dog, but the foster can assure them that they are safe.
Rescues take in dogs who are pregnant and need a home to care for them, until everyone is ready to find new homes, they take in the abused, and the elderly dogs.
Rescues depend heavily on the foster homes. And for every dog that gets adopted, there are many many more waiting to be taken in by a rescue.
I asked our previous fosters why they fostered dogs for us, and the following were their responses. They warmed my heart…
“My family fostered dogs for many years. My children came away with the ability to have patience, appreciation, responsibilities, and to love and have compassion. The dogs we fostered were able to learn to love and trust, to be trained, and to enjoy life again.”
“We fostered for K9 Resque to allow our dog to have a playmate, but we were surprised to learn just how much more we got from our experience”
“I fostered dogs because there is no better feeling when that scared dog that came to me for help, looks up at me with love and gratitude in their eyes. It was never easy to say goodbye, but I knew that the dog would be going to a loving new home and there was always another dog that needed me.”
“Our family wanted to do something together, so we started fostering dogs for K9 Resque. We started with puppies, our children always loved them but soon learned they were a lot of work, everyone pitched in and helped to potty train, to walk them, to teach them how to sit and how to stay, and other commands, we fostered adult dogs, too. By the time we were done, we had fostered over 100 dogs, it was not easy to see them leave but we knew they would be going to a great new home, besides, there was always another one waiting for our help.”
“I was unemployed when I spotted an ad for foster homes, I decided to give it a try, I had the extra time and I had experience with dogs. And they would help keep me busy, that was an understatement, lol. We walked we jogged, we played fetch, we learned new things, I got into shape and they got the training they needed to find a new home. I learned how to make a difference and for me, it made even the goodbyes worth it.”
“Our family started fostering for K9 Resque after we adopted a dog from them. We wanted to give back, to help by providing the necessary and valuable insights for each dog, we wanted to help by providing the safe landing. We enjoyed all the dogs we were able to foster.”
As you can see every foster does so for a variety of reasons. Fosters have a choice, to foster for long term or short term, to foster pregnant dogs, to foster the elderly, or to foster any dog that needs their help. They also have the choice to limit the times they foster, wintertime, summertime, vacation times.
But whatever they choose to do, the most important thing is that they offer to help!
IF a rescue does not have available foster homes, they cannot save any more dogs.
Every week of every month of every year, rescues are sent lists from many different shelters, begging for them to take some of their dogs, or even just one… Why you ask? Because these are shelters that kill animals for space.
Imagine being the one who receives that list of dogs with their pictures and names, that has to tell them no, because we have no room, no room (no room, means no available fosters) knowing what will happen to the dogs who do not make it out. Our hearts are broken and we all take a moment, and we pray that we will find a foster home, so when the next list comes in, we can finally say yes.
If you have ever adopted from a rescue then you need to be thankful to a foster.
Please consider opening your heart and your home to a rescued dog, we cannot do this without your help!