I’m interested in being a foster parent for shelter dogs. How do I get started?
Very often, shelters will place pregnant, injured dogs or untrained dogs in a foster home so they can be in a quieter environment. You’ll also save the dog from possibly being euthanized. Fostered dogs can live in the temporary home anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
The first thing you should do is determine what kind of dog you can live with and what you cannot. For instance, will it be too difficult for you to take care of a pregnant animal, or are there certain breeds, sizes or personality types you can’t handle? What about gender, because some people are adamant about only wanting a specific sex.
Now call the local rescues, as many as you can. Each will have different requirements, such as fenced yards, or someone home at all times. Some will also have an application that they will require you to complete. Others still, may want to do a home visit or conduct background checks.
Once you have chosen a rescue group, meet with them to explain what you would like to get out of this and how you can help them. Make sure you are honest with them so they can make the best possible match.
Now meet with the dog. Sometimes, dogs are returned from foster care because the foster parents did not understand their dog’s temperament and needs. Ask about care, special needs and expenses.
Now “doggie-proof” your home, making sure there are no harmful or dangerous objects, such as toxic plants or cords and wires. Also decide where you new foster will sleep. Do you have a dog bed and/or a dog crate?
The idea of fostering a dog is to help get them adjusted to family life and home life. Beginning training is also a plus to help them get adopted. Your foster will not be perfect, has he/she has had a rough time in life so far. While you must shower the new dog with love and attention, do remember that she is a temporary addition to your home and hopefully soon she’ll be moving on to a permanent one.