Right now, you may be stuck in an interesting situation- You’re working from home much more than usual. You may find yourself wishing you had some more company, but are really not sure that you can make a lifetime commitment to a new dog. Maybe you’ve been thinking about getting a new pup, and would like to test out if a dog is right for your home. Maybe you had a loss in your life and want to see if you are ready for a new dog. Or maybe you are just really craving something good in your life and you want to contribute to pets in your community, but aren’t sure how.
Have you ever considered fostering a dog? Right now may be the perfect time! You may currently have the ability to spend more time with a lonely shelter dog that could use some extra love in a safe environment. It can be an extremely rewarding experience. Not only that, fostering a pup will free up precious space, time, and other resources in shelters.
How does fostering a dog work?
It might be a little intimidating to think about the process of fostering a dog, but it’s a fairly simple process. Contact the local shelter you want to work with to ask about the fostering program they have in place. They will probably require that you fill out an application so they can ensure the animal will be fostered in a suitable home for its needs. Make sure you also let them know if there is a certain kind of dog that you are better able to care for- whether you can help a special needs animal, or if factors like size or tempernemt are make-or-break when it comes to your ability to help. Keep in mind though, the more needs that the dog has that you are able to fill, the more rewarding your fostering experience will be!
You will then get the dog from the shelter (of course the system for picking up the pet may be different with different shelters). Be sure to ask some good questions, such as if there are any health issues the dog needs help with (medication, special foods, or just general care). It will also help to be aware if the dog is used to being around other pets, people, or children.
Will my home be a good fit for a foster dog?
When deciding whether you should foster, there are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself:
-Do you have an appropriate living space for a dog?
-If you rent your home or apartment, are animals permitted under your lease?
-Do you have a plan for caring for the dog’s needs? (walking, feeding)
-Can you make arrangements for the dog when it needs to be left home alone? (crate, dogsitter, safe enclosure)
I’m not as familiar with dogs as other people- what else should I do?
Depending on where in your home the dog will be staying, you will need to dog-proof its living space. Make sure that tempting foods and objects aren’t where the dog can reach them. Double-check that you leave the toilet lid down, or consider keeping your bathroom shut- when my dog was a newly adopted puppy, he loved to grab the toilet paper and string it around the apartment! Cover up trash cans. Put away cleaning chemicals and medications. Block off any small nooks and crannies that the dog may be able to get into. If you have a fenced yard, ensure that there are no holes that the dog can squeeze through. Really, just think about how you would child-proof a home, but the child doesn’t have thumbs. Also consider how large the foster dog is when judging what is and is not out of reach.
You will also want to do some extra research online about general dog care, potty training if applicable, and obedience training. There are tons of great resources online for just about any information you need. You can also read some of our other blog posts if you see a subject you’re interested in! Remember that if you take the time to teach your foster dog a few tricks, it will be much more appealing for potential fur-ever homes to choose to add your foster dog to their family.
How do I get the most out of my fostering time?
Consider the reason you chose to foster:
- Did you just want company? Then just enjoy the time that you have with your foster dog! Play together, relax together, have a good time!
- Was it to see how a dog fits in your home? Take the time to observe how the dog interacts with you, as well as family, other pets, or even just how having a dog affects your life. Fostering is the closest you can get to owning a dog while you think about your decision.
- Did you experience a loss in your life? Losing a pet or person close to you can be a very difficult experience, You may be testing if you are ready for a new dog. Ask yourself: does having a foster dog bring you joy? Maybe you were drawn to the idea of helping a dog in need, and it has helped you heal. You may find being a foster parent rewarding and decide to continue rehabilitating other dogs in need!
What is the best thing I can do for my foster dog?
Regardless of your reason for fostering, you also want to make the most of this time for your foster dog. When someone is looking at dogs in a shelter, there are a number of things they consider. By fostering, you can help your dog become more appealing as an adoptable dog.
- Potty training
Having a dog that is potty trained can be one of the biggest factors that people look for in adopting a shelter dog. They may not have the time to potty train, or they may not want to deal with all the messes that might happen during potty training. If you foster a dog that is not potty trained, this is the number one change that you can make in its life to increase its adoptability.
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and they will want a dog that is already suitable for their family. If they have children, they want a dog that is gentle around kids. If they have guests over often, they will want a dog that is friendly around strangers. If they have pets, they want a dog that is already familiar with other animals. They also want a dog that does not have behavioural problems in general. Taking the time to expose your foster dog to lots of new situations and desensitize it to things it may be afraid of or aggressive towards will greatly increase its chances of adoption.
- Obedience Training and Fun Tricks
A dog that can do tricks is extra appealing to those looking to adopt a dog! Basic training like sit, stay, lay down, and leave it are very useful skills for any dog to have. It’s also a sign that a dog has had a lot of care put into it. Teaching other fun tricks might be the cherry on top when a family has a lot of choices they are looking at.
By doing all these things, you are not only making your dog more appealing to potential fur-ever homes, but you will also be giving that pup skills that will permanently increase its quality of life. A dog that is well-adjusted will always be happier and healthier no matter where it goes.
What if I fall in love with my foster dog?
If, after all the time and love you have put into your foster dog, you want to keep it- congratulations! You can always make the decision to permanently add your foster to your life by adopting it.
I can’t care for a dog right now- how else can I help?
If you are unable to adopt or foster at this time, but you still really want to help, call your local shelter and see if they are in need of food, bedding, or even general funding to help with medical expenses. If you’re not familiar with any shelters, here are a few of our favorite charities that you can donate to!
Abandoned Pet Project
Abandoned Pet Project is a nonprofit organization that works to provide medical care to shelter animals in need and to help them find forever homes. Here’s their mission statement:
“Our goal is to fund medical care for animals with treatable or curable conditions whom have been pulled from shelter euthanasia lists into responsible rescue partners’ programs. The medical treatments of these animals are funded by APP through generous contributions made by people from all over the world.”
To learn more about the Abandoned Pet Project, you can visit them at https://www/abandonedpetproject.org
CARE rescue is near and dear to our hearts- they are Southwest Missouri’s largest no-kill shelter, mainly rescuing homeless animals. CARE gives potential pet parents the opportunity to meet with their future furbabies in their cage free shelters. They also have a sanctuary for animals of all sizes needing extended rehabilitation.
CARE is a charity that I am personally familiar with- both my cat and dog were adopted there! They take excellent care of the animals in their shelters, and I can personally attest to their fantastic cage-free model. Both my pets were well-adjusted and healthy, and I would sometimes even visit the shelter on my own to spend extra time with their animals. When I lived nearby and was out running errands with my sisters or friends, sometimes we would drop by the shelter just to help socialize the cats and dogs. CARE works to ensure that all potential adoptive parents will result in a safe home for their animals and welcomes both their own volunteers as well as those who simply enjoy spending time with the animals under their wing.
Their mission statement is:
-To rescue as many adoptable animals from death row as we can properly provide and care for.
-To provide medical treatment for sick and injured stray animals.
-To combine an aggressive spay and neuter program with a high-volume adoption program while providing quality lifetime care for unadoptable pets.
-To network and provide a rescue service for other shelters, ultimately reducing the kill rate in Southwest Missouri.
You can learn more about C.A.R.E. Rescue at https://www.carerescue.org/
K9s for Camo
K9s for Camo is an amazing charity that encompasses so many good causes, all wrapped up into one. K9s for Camo works to take behaviorally challenged dogs from shelters, and train them with the assistance of inmates to contribute to their own rehabilitation, and take these skilled pups to serve as service dogs for veterans in need at no cost. This is a charity I am truthfully proud of and the founder is incredible at what he does.
If all these good causes are meaningful to you, you can read more at: https://k9sforcamo.org/about-us/
Underdog Rescue is a nonprofit organization that recognizess the extra need for animals such as black cats and pitbull puppies that often get overlooked due to hurtful stereotypes. Taking the time to rehabilitate these animals and find them forever homes, they hope to help shatter these stereotypes, one pet at a time.
“Underdog Rescue, MN is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, foster-based, rescue group dedicated to the rehabilitation and permanent placement of homeless dogs and cats of all ages and all breeds. We believe that all animals deserve caring, responsible homes and if there is one common bond between us and our foster volunteers, it is this:
We are genuinely moved by each of the amazing animals who come into our care and we believe we are their advocates.”
To learn more about Underdog Rescue, you can check them out at https://underdogrescuemn.com/about-underdog-rescue/
And finally, you can use our special code “weluvyou” for 10% off when buying your next PupRing, and 50% portion of the proceeds will go towards these fantastic charities! I hope this week’s blog has really helped you consider if fostering a dog is right for you. If it is, great! If not, I’m glad that you now have the ability to make informed decision. Thank you so much for reading, and I’m looking forward to writing for you again next week!