By Karen A. Soukiasian
If you knew more about what fostering dogs or puppies entails, and the benefits it provides, is it something you would consider? The primary goal of fostering is to temporarily home and prepare a puppy or dog for adoption. As with everything in life, there are pros and cons.
There are decisions to make before committing to fostering dogs. Are you willing to make and keep the promise of time, energy, patience, and love. Which would you prefer, a puppy or an older dog? Are you aware of the responsibilities associated with that decision? Are you aware some animals put up for fostering may have behavioral problems?
Which breed, mix, age, size, or sex would you be most comfortable with. Are you willing to take a senior dog? Would you consider a puppy or dog with a disability or health problem?
How does your family feel about fostering dogs? If you have a pet, how would he or she react to another animal moving in on their turf? Remember, everyone should be comfortable with this decision.
For how long are you willing to make the commitment? Some fosters prefer short-term commitments. Others, for however long it takes. Would you be able to give up the animal, especially knowing it would be going to a loving home. Would you be willing to adopt your foster, if no forever home is their fate?
There will be changes in your routine; most likely for the better. You will exercise more!
You may have to provide the food. There are rescues that occasionally help with the food expenses.
The most common complaint heard is how attached a foster has become to their animal. Usually this is made from less experienced fosters. Those who have done it before, have an easier time “letting go.” They are happy their foster has found a loving family, forever home. There is also another side to the attachment complaint. It is not unheard of for the foster parent to decide to keep their ward. Everyone is a winner!
The majority of shelter dogs are mid-size or larger, and/or mix breeds. If there is a specific breed you prefer, check with rescues of that breed. They are overloaded, and are looking for foster homes too.
Some of the animals in rescues and shelters have health issues, disabilities, or behavior problems. Would this be a problem for you? There are fosters who prefer to take on the tender, loving care of a senior, or terminally ill animal. They want to offer them the best quality of life, in the short time they may have left. They, without question, are extraordinary people. Kudos to them!
The animal you foster may require basic obedience or housebreaking training. Are you willing to invest the necessary time to make them more adoptable?
You most likely will have to pass a background check and home inspection. It’s gratifying to know you have met the shelter or rescues standards, and qualify to provide a temporary home.
Most shelters/rescues will take care of necessary veterinary and medication expenses. Astonishingly, there fosters, who absorb those expenses as part of their responsibilities. They too deserve kudos!
By fostering, it will be one less animal destroyed, and you will be creating a vacancy so the shelter/rescue can offer another puppy or dog a roof over their head, and food in their belly, until they find their forever home.
Bottom line. You will earn the unconditional love and appreciation of the animal you have opened your heart and home to, for however long that may be. You will have the rewarding feeling of saving at least one puppy or dog, from being destroyed simply because there are so many out there, that need our help.
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