General How To's

Fostering A Dog

Written by Nancy Boland

Perhaps your longing for a dog but not quite ready for the long term-commitment.  Fostering a dog could be a serious option and great balance for you. As a doggy fosterer, you take care of the dog(s) in your own home for a set period of time until a permanent home is found for them. You get help a dog in need and enrich your life too.

These programs are invaluable to dogs in shelters and rescues for a number of reasons.

  1. The dog you foster gets to experience life in a home environment, socialising with you and your family and friends, making them better prepared for their eventual forever home.
  1. The dog you take on will have more opportunity in getting regular exercise, since you will provide a garden and regular walks, which may not be so readily available at the shelter.
  1. Taking in a dog means you get to know his or her temperament better which will provide invaluable insight for potential adopters. For instance, you will find out whether your dog likes cats or other wildlife, whether they pull on the lead, if they are good with cars and other dogs or have any disliking to loud noises. Fostering really allows you to give an in-depth analysis about the dog and can help them work out any problems they might have. In turn this will help them get a home that’s a perfect match.
  1. Dogs recovering from illness or injuries can get the attention and care that they need which is not always possible in a busy, hectic rescue shelter. Being in a calm home environment will be less stressful for them while they recover.
  1. Dogs stressed by a shelter environment have an opportunity for more comfortable living environment. When dogs are stressed in kennels they don’t always show themselves off in their best light so hindering any potential visitors for adoption.
  1. The more people who foster the more space available within the shelter to take on more dogs. This is invaluable for overrun, busy shelters.

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If you’re considering adopting, fostering can be an opportunity to see how a dog can fit in your life before making a commitment. But it’s important to be aware that it’s still a serious responsibility to take on.

Are you ready to foster? Here are a few more things to bear in mind.

  • Are you prepared to potentially handle a dog with special needs, such as medical or behavioural issues? If not, make sure to express well what kind of dog you are looking to foster. What kinds of issues are you not ready or experienced enough to handle? Would you prefer an older dog with a more laid back lifestyle, or are you experienced with dogs with behavioural issues and feel ready to make a difference for them? Perhaps you have experience with a certain type of illness like diabetes where medication requires administration.  Be honest with yourself and the organisation you are fostering from.
  • How many hours a day will have to dedicate to your potential dog? You don’t need to be available full-time, but it’s important to know so you can be matched appropriately with the right dog.
  • Accidents happen. Are you ready to accept that the dog may damage or mess up your home? Can you provide regular exercise, walks and general stimulation for them?
  • Will you regularly groom the dog or bring him to a professional groomer?
  • Are you able to get the dog to the shelter’s vet quickly if needed or be contactable at any given time?
  • Finally, will you be able to let go of the dog to its forever home when the time comes? Dogs are very easy to get attached to and this can be emotionally draining if you aren’t prepared.

If you think you could make a good fosterer contact your local dog rescue and find out more about their requirements. You will have to go through a series of interviews and may even be subject to a home check to see if you are suitable.

About the author

Nancy Boland

I'm Nancy, owner of a very spoiled, one eyed Jack Russell called Basil. I'm a trainee veterinarian with a love for all things dogs. I'm especially passionate about dog adoption and always advocate rescue and enjoy writing about canine health and nutrition, alongside overall well-being tips for happy dogs!