If you are thinking about becoming a foster parent for a dog and don't know where to start, there are a few steps you need to take. Fostering a dog is one of the most rewarding experiences an animal lover can do, but it does come with as much hard work as it does doggy cuddles.
Things to Consider
The most important factor one needs to understand is that fostering comes with commitment. You have a commitment to the pup in your care by giving them access to their daily needs such as food, water, shelter, and love. Alongside those necessary means, a successful foster parent teaches the dog behavioral etiquette such as potty training, crate training, and interacting with other dogs – all which are crucial in helping the pup find a successful home. If the foundation to your foster endeavors is built on commitment, you can lay the grounds for being a successful foster parent.
Other factors to consider are whether you have enough space in your home to take in a dog, contemplating whether you have the time to invest in a dog until it gets adopted, if you are able to part with your new furry friend, and if you have other dogs currently residing in your home, knowing how they will react to a new fur friend. Doing your research and reading other's experiences on fostering can be a great way to give you insight on what it takes.
Foster Parent Duties
Here are a few duties you might be tasked with as a foster parent. Please note that these can vary depending on which rescue you are fostering for. Most rescues will provide food, pet supplies, and veterinary care for the dogs.
- Providing essential living conditions (food, water, shelter, and veterinary access)
- In some cases, vetting any possible adopters
- Transporting the foster pup to adoption events
- Maintaining proper grooming for the dog
- Teaching the dog basic etiquette
"Fostering isn't always easy, but it is always rewarding! Each foster has a different set of needs, based upon the situations they are coming from. But in the end, it's the foster parent that has the biggest role in providing love, training and daily needs for a successful forever home placement."
- Stacy Bilt, Customer Service Representative at Grandma Lucy's and foster parent of 7 years.
Ready, Set, Foster!
Once you have decided that fostering is right for you, making a list of specific breeds, characteristics, or size of the dog(s) that you would like to foster. Having knowledge of what you are expecting going in makes the process more doable. You can easily perform a Google search for specific rescues in your area that match up with your list. Once you have the name of a rescue whose mission you believe in, you can generally find their foster application on their website.
You may want to consider asking the rescue questions about the dog you are interested in fostering to better understand if they are going to be the right fit. Inquire about their expectations of a foster dog parent, details about their adoption process, and even information on how medical care for the dog is provided. Most rescues are volunteer based, so remember to be patient while your application is being reviewed. There are many types of foster dogs, and finding the one that works best with your expectations and lifestyle is crucial. Take your time during this investigative process, as it is an integral part of a successful foster relationship with your pup.
Fostering a pup in need is a wonderful way to help out your local rescue! Be prepared for the emotional attachment that comes with giving your all to a dog that may be temporary. Even if you end up falling head over heels for the pup, there's no shame in being a "foster failure" as the community likes to say!