How fostering can be the critical connection to pet adoption
It’s no secret that we love dogs. We want every dog to live a good life, and whether you buy them from a breeder, adopt them, or even foster, giving them a loving home is what matters most. We’ve talked about the pros and cons of buying vs. adopting; now let’s dive into the world of fostering.
Pets need fostering in situations where there’s not enough space or resources at shelters, they’re simply too young to adopt out, they’re recuperating and need extra attention, or they need socializing and some form of training.
Taking in fosters can be a very large commitment, but if done right you can add so much value to a dog’s life. You’re able to give them positive attention, an affectionate home, and meaningful interactions, sometimes for the first time ever. You’re also able to really get to know your fosters’ personalities on a deeper level than shelter employees could, so your feedback can lead to finding the best match possible with future pet parents.
Fostering is definitely a wonderful way to give a dog support when they need it most; however, fostering is certainly not for everyone.
So before you take the plunge, ask yourself these questions:
Do I have the time?
Fosters are often “special needs” in some way so they usually require extra time from you to do things like nursing them back from injury or illness, bottle-feeding if they’re very young, obedience training, socializing, house training, vet visits, and taking them to adoption events. Unfortunately, you’ll have no idea how long your foster will need to stay, it could only be a few days or it could be several months.
Can I afford it?
Basic medical care is often covered by the shelter, but every other expense that goes along with having a pet is usually on you.
Can I keep it separate from my other pets (or children) as long as needed?
Ideally they’ll grow to be well socialized and thrive around other pets and people with your help, but you need to guarantee a calm, private space until they adjust.
Can I eventually say goodbye?
This is probably the hardest part of being a pet foster parent. Falling in love with a dog under your care is so common that they’re jokingly referred to as “failed fosters”. Shelters certainly understand, but they’re really looking for people who can provide a high level of love and care to many animals over time.
Just as we discussed in our post about how to know if you’re ready for a puppy, you’ll need to look for foster dogs that fit nicely into your lifestyle. You might be an adoring pet parent, but if your idea of a good time is kicking back and binge watching Netflix, then a high-energy breed that needs a lot of outdoor time probably won’t work for you.
If you’re interested, then take the time to research and find a reputable organization you feel comfortable with. You’ll need to form a relationship that’s professional, but solid enough to help you withstand the heightened emotional burden of fostering. Don’t forget to ask plenty of questions about your expectations as a foster parent and the individual needs and restrictions each animal may have.
Fosters may not be forever, but the impact you can have on them may last a lifetime.