Foster homes are one of the hardest resources for rescue groups and shelters to find. They are used to house dogs that are awaiting adoption. This time period can range from a few weeks to several months depending on the dog. Some dogs may require special medical care or training, while others will require little other than a place to stay until a new home is found. Many people worry they will become too attached to the dog and won’t be able to give it up when the time comes. Although this is a legitimate concern and foster homes do become very attached to the dogs in their care, the knowledge that the dog has found a wonderful home and is making another family so happy often compensates for the immediate loss. Unlike when a dog passes away, the foster home knows this isn’t the end but rather just the beginning.
It is rare that a rescue organization is not in need of foster homes, so do not be afraid to volunteer with the group of your choice. There are rescue groups that focus on specific breeds, mixed breeds, senior dogs, dogs with special need, and so on. Whatever your main interest is, there is a group that specializes
When applying to a rescue group to foster a dog, it is very important that you be completely honest with them about your lifestyle, your household, and any pets you have in that household. This will allow them to make the best choice in which dog you should foster. Poor matches can lead to stress for the foster family and the dog. Expect the group to want to interview you and visit your home to examine its suitability. They will want to know about things like fencing, where the dog will sleep, other pets in the household, children, work schedules, etc. They may bring a similar dog along to see how your household reacts to him.
Don’t be afraid to say that you can’t handle certain situations and be honest about your experience with dogs. Some rescues are much easier to handle than others and some require some training before they are ready to move on to a new home. There’s nothing wrong with saying that you don’t have the time or experience to work with an untrained dog.
Expect the rescue group to cover all expenses including food, veterinary care, and any training expenses. Food donations are appreciated but should not be your responsibility unless you choose to donate in that way.
Fostering can be a great way to give back to animals in need. It’s a desperately needed service and it can mean the difference between a dog being saved and being euthanized because a shelter doesn’t have enough space. If it isn’t something you feel you can do though, there are still many other ways you can assist canine rescue groups. Consider donating some of your time to help with fundraisers, home visits, transportation and other needs. Rescue groups are often short on manpower and appreciate any help you are willing to offer. It’s a great way to help a dog in need.