Today I get to share with you about a topic that is very dear to me: FOSTERING! For those who don’t know, many rescue groups and shelters rely on volunteers to take animals into their home for either a short-term or long-term basis before adoption.
The rescue we work with, Unleashed, uses both types of fostering. Most dogs they take in from other shelters will be in foster for a period of 2 weeks. This is to make sure that only healthy, vaccinated dogs enter the shelter, for the protection of both the new dogs and the existing shelter dogs. Dogs receive their first round of shots before going to their foster, who can then monitor them closely for signs of any contagion or other health issues.
Fosters learn about a dog’s behavior, temperament, likes and dislikes, and generally help prepare the dog for its future home. Sometimes a dog will need a bit more time in home, or just wouldn’t adapt as well to the chaos of a shelter. Then a foster might keep the dog for a longer period of time, taking it to adoption events or one-on-one meetings with potential adopters until they find the dog’s forever home.
Many people ask how we can foster–aren’t we tempted to adopt them all? Yes and no. We love all our fosters, but not every dog that comes into our home would be the right fit for us long-term. And every dog that we help find a home for means one more life that can be saved later. To date, we have fostered 24 dogs (counting Tessa’s 8 babies). Of those, we have adopted two–Tonks and Ginny. (They call this “foster failing”–when you keep the dog you’re meant to just be fostering.) One other, Ghibli, developed a brain tumor, and we kept her until she had to be put down–the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do. All the others were adopted, and are living their lives with wonderful families who love them very much. We’re fortunate to know some of the adopters personally, so we’ve been able to see follow-up pictures of many of our former fosters.
Fostering is a rewarding experience. It’s also great if you want a dog, but haven’t quite figured out what kind of dog you want, or can’t commit yet to having your own dog full-time. It’s the most fun way I can think of to save a life!