How to Become a Dog Foster

August 26, 2021 3 min read

Every year millions of animals end up in shelters for one reason or another. Unfortunately, space is limited in these shelters and some dogs never get the chance to find a forever home. Furthermore, some of these animals require special attention that is hard to give in a shelter environment.

But the good news is that you can help by becoming a dog foster parent!

When people open their homes and hearts to these precious pups, it alleviates the strain at the shelter. This allows them to help more animals and gives individual animals more time to find their forever homes.

So if you’ve ever considered fostering a pup, we encourage you to take the leap and give it a try. Here’s what you need to know before you get started.

Consider Carefully

Being a dog foster parent can be challenging but is oh-so-rewarding! Of course, there are a few things you should consider before fostering a dog.

Giving Them Up

Many people express concerns about being able to give the dogs up after opening their homes. After all, we all know how hard it is to say goodbye to a beloved pet.

Most foster parents say that it is easier than they expected simply because they already knew the dog’s stay was temporary.

But easier than expected doesn’t mean easy. Be prepared for some tears — as well as the urge to adopt every dog you foster. Just remember, there are more foster dogs out there who will need you in the future.

That said, if your pup becomes a “foster fail,” meaning they end up at your home permanently, that’s okay, too. That’s a great way to adopt a pup.

Do You Have the Time and Ability?

You also want to consider your home and lifestyle. Do you have time to dedicate to fostering a pet? Some dogs will require special attention and care. Also consider the other members of your household. For example, if you have small children, it’s best to only foster animals that are comfortable being around kids. 

Do You Have the Right Space?

Are you going to foster a large, lazy fluffball? Or maybe an energetic pup that needs room to run? Some shelters require that foster parents have fenced-in yards. But, if you don’t, it doesn’t necessarily exclude you from fostering. Just make sure to take in the right pup who is a fit for your space.

In addition, city or HOA rules may limit the number or size of pets that you can have on your property. Be sure to investigate these rules and to clear any foster pets with the property owners.

Do You Have Other Pets?

If you already have other pets, how will this affect them? Do you have the ability to quarantine them from each other if necessary?

How to Become a Dog Foster Parent

The actual process of becoming a dog foster parent is rather easy. Call around to your local rescues and shelters to inquire about their foster programs. You can also sign up to volunteer with an organization first, so you can get to know them and the animals in their care.

Once you decide to foster, often there will be a home check and you’ll need to fill out an application with the group you want to foster for.

On the application, you can often specify your preference for the type(s) of dogs you would like to foster. You can also specify your willingness for working with difficult dogs or dogs that need extra care.

Importantly, you should also find out who is responsible for what. Sometimes the shelter will cover the vet bills as well as routine costs such as food or medication. The shelter may want you to help with training the dog. You need to be willing to do this or work with a trainer.

You will also be responsible for showing the dog in your care. This will mean meeting with potential adopters, either at the rescue or in your home. In addition, the rescue may require you to bring the pup to events in which it participates, especially adoption events.

Enjoy a Rewarding Experience

Yes, it’s likely you’ll want to adopt every shelter pup you welcome into your home. But if you can resist the temptation, the amount of good you’ll do for rescue pups compounds. Every time you foster and adopt out a new pup, you’re saving that life and making room for another life at the rescue.

Of course, if you can’t resist the temptation and you end up adopting one or two pups, we won’t judge.



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