By Tiana Nelson
Before I fostered for the first time, my biggest concern was how I would possibly be able to let a dog go after bonding with it so much. The idea alone kept me from fostering for years.
Then, one day I decided to do it — not because I planned to, but because it just happened.
The puppy rescue I was volunteering for had a puppy that needed a home for the week until the next adoption and my boyfriend, our pugs, kitty and I offered up our home. He came in as puppy #400-something and was soon Kona to us. When it came time to take him to the adoption event, we cried a lot — in a short week he had become part of our family.
I volunteered at the event and the first woman to come through the gates asked for Kona — she held him and I told her about the sweetheart we’d grown to love. She told me when she’d seen him on the website she knew he was the one and cuddled him in her arms — at that moment, I seemed to know that she was the right home for Kona, too.
Seeing Kona go to his forever home was one of the best feelings I’ve had to this day. And to know that we had a part in helping him get there felt even better.
We’ve fostered three dogs since then and will continue to do it as much as we can. There are so many benefits to fostering an animal, and it truly gives them a second chance at life.
Fostering allows animals to get out of the shelter environment and into a home, where they can be socialized and, in turn, makes them more adoptable because the animal’s behavior is more attune to how potential adopters want them to be in their own home. It’s also great for your animals because it exposes them to something new, gives them a new buddy to play with, and can keep them young (or calm them down) depending on the other animal.
The biggest benefit: fostering truly saves animals.
Shelters are overburdened and overflowing — when a dog is fostered, it frees up a cage and allows the shelter to save another animal from the streets, from abuse, or from euthanasia. Shelters and rescues need your help, it’s never too late, too early, too often, or too infrequent to foster — anything you can offer will make a difference.
Plus, it’s truly not as hard as it seems. Yes, you’ll grow to love the animal you foster — I almost guarantee it — but when you play a role in helping that animal find their forever family, it will be entirely worth it.
Tiana Nelson is from Denver, Colo., and started the Doggie Avenger Blog with the goal of educating people and changing their perceptions about animals. When she began volunteering at a local animal shelter, it struck her that so many people were not actively aware of animal overpopulation. She hopes to change the lives of animals one-by-one through increasing awareness and encouraging people to always adopt — never buy from a breeder or pet store, to always spay and neuter their pets, to understand the depth of animal issues and to know why all of that is important. Tiana currently works in higher education, and in her free time enjoys traveling, running, volunteering with animals, spending time with her two pugs, and her family and friends.