Why foster a dog?
The challenges of fostering a dog.
Our own Rottie Ella can be slow to warm up to strangers, but she is a lady, and has perfect house manners. She does not consider the kitchen a potty spot, she does not drool on my feet and car seats; she does not guard her food. Ella waits patiently for permission to approach her filled bowl of food, and does not view a cookie left on the counter as her own. She is not a "talker", and will only bark when someone comes to the door.
Our first foster boy came in with a fast wagging tail and a sizable baggage of issues.
- Bo had little to no house manners. The very first day, he tried to "mark" kitchen chairs, and even our legs.
- He drooled.
- Bo had severe crate anxiety, and in general did not handle us being out of sight well.
- Bo had no intention to allow us to sleep through the first night. Or the second. Or the third. It took Bo about a week to settle down and to develop a manageable sleeping pattern.
- Bo did not want to share toys, bones or treats.
- He was a 100 lb puppy with a big smile and no manners.
The reality is, healthy, well-behaved dogs usually have loving homes, or will find those homes rather quickly. The good news is, rescue groups will listen to your concerns and will help match your skill level to a dog you can handle in your current situation. On one hand, you should be prepared to face some challenges, and on the other hand, you don't have to give up on the idea of becoming a foster parent, just because you don't feel confident in your dog-handling abilities. Talk to the rescue organizations in your area.
Rescue groups take dogs in from people who can no longer care (or simply don't want to care) for their dogs, and they also pull the dogs out of kill shelters such as AC&C of New York and Miami Dade Animal shelter .
What happens after a dog leaves his old life? Well, (s)he will visit a vet, if need be, and until (s)he is adopted, (s)he will be placed in a kennel. Many rescue groups have an arrangement with local dog boarding kennels that will host rescue animals at a discounted rate. The only other alternative to keeping a dog in a kennel for weeks, and often months at a time, is finding a temporary home for him/her, with a foster family.
As you can imagine, all of the above costs money.
- Driving to another state to pick up dogs on the To Be Destroyed list costs money.
- Saving a sick animal costs money.
- Placing, feeding, and providing for a dog in a kennel costs money.
- Even when dog is placed in a foster family, the rescue group still pays for all the veterinary costs, food, and other necessities.
If there are no foster homes, rescues cannot afford to pay boarding fees, even at the most excellent rate, for every dog in need. This means that fewer dogs will be transported from kill shelters into a safe place, fewer animals will receive a second chance.
When you offer to take care of a dog in your home, you are lessening the financial burden on the rescues, and in return, giving them an opportunity to save more lives.
Forster for the love of dog.
When was the last time you did something selfless? Something big and significant?
Our commitment to each other, to our families and children is selfless, significant and expected. But what about pushing our own limits and doing more than what is "normal", and pushing our own comfort zone in order to make this world a better place?
Fostering saves lives. Think about the meaning behind that statement. Not only are you making it possible for the rescues to save more dogs, but you hold the power to offer love and affection to an animal that might never have known what it's like to feel safe. You have the power to allow a life to go on living. Foster for the love of dog.
How can you help, if you cannot foster?
Just like the rescue groups, we all have our limits. Maybe your housing does not allow you to bring in a pet into your life. Maybe you simply don't have the time to dedicate to caring for a dog, but this doesn't mean that you can't help. Even of adoption and fostering is out of question for you, you still have a number of option.
Consider volunteering at a local shelter, or offer the rescues to walk the dogs, stuck in the kennels, awaiting for that just right owner to come along and take them home. If your schedule does not allow you to volunteer, you can choose to donate to assist with the costly business of rescuing animals, or even simply spread awareness about the needs of the local shelters and rescues. Last, but not least, be a responsible pet owner: spay, neuter, and take the time to train your dog.
We might not be able to change how some people treat their dogs, but we hold the power over our own actions. You determine how far you can go to assist thousands of animals behind bars through no fault of their own. The truth is, everyone can help, and fostering is just one of many rewarding tools that helps to save lives of dogs.
Let me leave you with this Dr. Seuss quote:
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."