I get asked a lot about fostering and what it entails. The truth is there’s a lot online about it and any rescue or shelter would be happy to share their program details with you. That said, I’m very passionate about what I do, so I am always happy to share with others anything I can about being a foster parent.
When you foster, you are providing a loving home to a special animal in need. The rescue will usually cover all your expenses for the pet (food, vet care, etc.) however; will not be responsible for any damages that the foster may cause. That said, the expectation is that you are a responsible person and will provide for a safe environment for your foster, which includes crating, if necessary.
If you’re interested in fostering, you should connect with your local shelter(s) and/or rescues, and they can talk you through their programs in detail. At a high level, you provide a caring home for the pet and get it ready to go to a forever home. You’ll work with the pet on any behavioural and/or trust issues, socialize the animal, as needed, and anything else the animal may need.
You have to be prepared, these animals are likely rescued (some with no previous homes), which means they could have come from the streets, abusive homes, puppy mills, hoarders, shelters, etc. They each have their own set of baggage and some adapt quicker than others. It’s your job as their foster parent to work with the agency you are fostering for and the animal to help him/her overcome any issues.
Once you select the organization you wish to foster for, you will have to go through a process, similar to the process one goes through to adopt. You’ll complete an application and provide references. A home inspection may also be required to ensure everyone in the household is on board with fostering, as well as advise you on any potential risks to the animal.
I cannot even begin to express how rewarding it is to see the dogs I foster coming out of their shells. It’s the most amazing feeling in the world when my timid foster starts wanting to be near me, or starts figuring out how to play. My previous foster, Dahlia, who I ended up adopting, is still so grateful every day to be loved and fed, it’s absolutely heart breaking and warming at the same time.
As your foster comes more and more out his/her shell, they will start bonding with you and your family, and you will likely bond with them too. Don’t worry its part of the process, and lets face it, you wouldn’t be considering fostering if you didn’t love animals; as your foster starts bonding with you it’s learning to trust humans, which is a great sign.
Eventually, it could be a week, it could be months, the right family will be found for your foster pet. That’s when you’ll have another rewarding experience knowing that you helped an animal in need waiting for you.
It is an emotional experience, as a human, to have this pet you love leave your home, but you also know there’s another animal in need waiting who needs your help.
People often say to me they don’t know how I can foster as they would fall in love with every one of them – I do! But I also know that if I don’t foster that’s one less dog who can be saved. Fostering is the best decision I ever made, yes I shed a selfish tear or two, when the dog goes to his/her new home, but I would much rather have a dog come into my life, help it grow into a pet and go to an amazing home, than to do nothing to help the many dogs in need around the globe.