THINKING ABOUT FOSTERING A SHELTER DOG?
Fostering a dog is a rewarding experience for both you and the animal you are fostering. Rescues are desperate for foster families ,to help care for the dogs, until forever families can be found.
Unsure if you’re the fostering kind? There is no perfect profile of a foster family, but there are some things you should know before volunteering with a local rescue group.
There’s a time commitment. You may be asked to foster a dog for weeks or for months, depending on circumstances. There is no set time period, as no one knows how soon the dog will be adopted. Most rescues will not pull for short term fosters so please try to commit to at least a few months.
You may be asked to work with a dog on some basic training and temperament issues. There’s more than just feeding, exercise, and grooming involved with a foster dog. Some might need to be house trained. Others may have problems with chewing, or jumping on strangers. Foster parents may need to devote time to breaking bad habits so a dog can be socialized. If a dog has a chewing problem, make preparations in advance–don’t leave shoes, clothes, or other important items around.
You might be asked to nurse a dog or cat back to health. Many dogs leave the ACC with Kennel cough. Kennel Cough is an upper respiratory infection that many equate to a common cold in humans. It is usually cured within 10 days, when antibiotics are given. The shelter will provide the antibiotics but additional medications might be needed. If you have other dogs at home, it is advised that you keep them separated until the foster dog is feeling better.
If you have other pets, please take a moment and consider their temperament, as well as the foster. Nothing spells disaster faster than animals that were not properly introduced. It takes time and should not be done as soon as your foster arrives. Life in a shelter is traumatic, and these dogs need a few days to “decompress”. Introductions should be done slowly and always with both dogs on a leash. Taking the dogs for a walk together, is a very successful approach and I recommend it as the first step in a happy new friendship.
**Note about CATS** – There is no way to know if a dog will like cats UNLESS the owners mentioned it while surrendering. The shelter may sometimes test dogs for their reaction to cats, but it is unreliable. This test involves walking the dog into the cat room, where all the cats are caged. If the dog is feeling under the weather, he may not react at all. The only way to know 100% is to introduce them while the dog is leashed, and then to closely monitor the animals together.
What’s the financial commitment for a family?
In most cases, the rescue will pay for vet visits and medications and can provide for other necessities if requested. Before becoming a foster parent, ask what your financial responsibilities will be.
For more information on fostering a dog, please contact your local rescue.