Not sure if a dog is the ideal companion for you? Can’t really add another dog to your family at this time? Please consider fostering. Almost all shelters and rescue groups take advantage of foster families. This way more dogs can be helped above and beyond what the actual shelter can house. It also means that dogs who have some special needs – temporary or permanent – can get the extra help they need while a forever home is found.
What dogs need fostering? It might be a pregnant dog who could whelp at any time. A shelter environment is not the ideal for her or her puppies. The same is true for a bitch who is dropped off with a litter of very young pups. A dog who has been injured and needs some extra home medical care may be a candidate for fostering. That is also true fo dogs with chronic health conditions who may need medication multiple times a day. In a home situation those dogs will get the extra TLC they need.
Some dogs are fostered out due to possible behavior or abuse problems. A dog who is fearful of men may need some time with a gentle caring guy who won’t push him or scare him. And sometimes dogs are fostered simply because the shelter or rescue is full and they are trying to avoid euthanizing a potentially adoptable dog.
Senior dogs often don’t do well in a shelter or kennel environment but thrive in a private home. The same is also true of dogs seized in puppy mill raids. They need some extra attention to make up for the poor care they have received.
As a foster home you need to be prepared to follow shelter/rescue guidelines. They may stress that dogs are not to be allowed off lead except in a safely fenced yard. They may have certain protocols for training and socializing. These are developed over time and via experience, so trust them.
Rome Humane Society’s foster program may place over 400 animals a year, giving them that extra TLC they need to move on. Fostering periods may range from a weekend to weeks or months depending on the individual situation. Foster parents are screened and also have the option of adopting their foster dog. Shelter staff work hard to make sure the foster family/dog match is a good one. Admittedly, falling in love with your foster dog is a major side effect of fostering!
Most purebred rescue groups also use foster homes. This could be a wonderful opportunity for you to see if a certain breed is the right one for your family. Rescue groups will also screen you thoroughly first before placing a foster dog in your care. The American Kennel Club works with purebred dog rescues.
When you offer to foster you need to be sure what the expectations are. Some shelters and breed rescues can afford financial support for you – such as providing money for food and veterinary care. Many of them are already strapped for cash and hope that you can contribute some too.
I have fostered dogs through both shelter programs and breed rescues. It is always a rewarding experience though it can be hard when “your dog” goes to his new forever home!