It’s estimated that around 7.6 million animals enter shelters each year. This is an alarming number that should not be as high as it is.
Reputable shelters and rescues aim to protect these animals and find them suitable homes where they can thrive. They also aim to promote reputable breeding, where an ethical breeder will take back any dog that they have bred in the event that an owner cannot keep it.
This is just scratching the surface. People are constantly needed to start fostering dogs which is an absolutely rewarding experience for the right person.
Let’s look at how to start fostering dogs and learn more about how we can help our dogs in the future.
What Does it Mean to Foster Dogs?
Fostering dogs means working with a shelter or rescue to not only give a dog a home during their time in rescue but to also evaluate a dog and help in finding them a suitable home for the remainder of their life.
Having the dog in your home also allows for another free space to save another dog in need at the rescue. For the right person, fostering dogs is a rewarding experience.
You have the chance to make a difference for all dogs, as well as help the one that you’ve invited into your home. So, how can you start fostering dogs? We’ll dive into what you need to know before starting and other factors to consider.
Before Starting: Check Your Qualifications
Before you get in too deep with fostering dogs, it’s crucial that you make sure that you’re prepared. While you don’t need to be a true expert at everything dogs, it’s good to have an above-average understanding of dog behavior, breed traits, and temperament.
If you’re working with a general dog rescue that has many different dogs of many breeds needing a foster home, you’ll want to read up on the breeds that each dog is mixed with, or that they are. It’s important to understand their breed traits and be prepared for them when bringing them into your home.
Of course, there is a level of unpredictability in breed traits when working with mixed breeds, as they can take on traits from any breed that they are mixed with. For example, a German Shepherd/Husky mix could have much endurance as outlined within the Siberian Husky Breed Standard. Or, it could take on more traits outlined in the German Shepherd Dog Breed Standard such as being a great guardian or showing herding instincts.
In fact, they may show more traits from one breed rather than another.
Another thing to consider is whether or not you have a passion for a certain breed. There are many breed-specific rescues that are often started by retired breeders or fanciers who dedicate their knowledge and time to saving dogs of a breed that they love.
So, if you’re a fancier and experienced owner of Chihuahuas, you can visit the Chihuahua Club of America (or parent club in your country) to find approved Chihuahua rescues that you can work with. Many breed-specific rescues are so thankful to have dedicated owners who can help with fostering these dogs. Your help will always be appreciated.
You should also feel quite confident that you’re ready to start fostering dogs You should have some good experience training your own dogs as you may have fosters that need to work on some aspects of training. You should also have good knowledge and history of general care with dogs before setting out to foster.
One more thing to consider is that you have the right atmosphere to foster a dog.I you have dogs at home currently, you have to think about them and their wellbeing also. Do they get along with other dogs generally? Are they predisposed to any type of dog aggression or same-sex aggression? Are they well trained and well-mannered? Would they be accepting of a foster in the home?
If you don’t already have dogs in your home, then fostering becomes a little less of a worry. You’ll need to think about whether or not your home is a good fit for fostering and if your lifestyle fits it.
With these points out of the way, you’re ready to learn how to start.
How To Start Fostering Dogs
Now that you’ve taken many considerations into account, you should have a good feeling of whether fostering dogs is a good move for you. Otherwise, you can also read these steps on ow to foster to get a better feel for the entire process.
Find a Rescue
There are dog shelters and rescues all around the world. There’s probably one right in your neighborhood.
Don’t forget to take our steps above when looking for the right shelter or rescue to work with. You can go to an all-breed shelter or a breed-specific rescue. They all need help!
Contact them and let them know that you’d love to become a foster with them. Tell them a little bit about yourself and your experience and start a dialogue with them.
Make Sure You Meet the Requirements
Many rescues will have requirements for their fosters. These are typically general rules for what you need to become a foster for the rescue.
If you don’t meet all the requirements – don’t sweat it. Talk with the rescue and see if your situation will work, or what you would have to do to make it work. Working together is key.
Come to An Agreement
As with anything, you’ll need to come to an agreement with the rescue. Usually, this will be in writing and signed by both parties.
An agreement may outline things like your obligations to the dog that you foster until it is time to adopt te dog out to a family. Typically, rescues will foot the bill for any vet trips or food while the dog is in your care, but this is something you will have to arrange with your individual rescue.
With an agreement, you’re ready to start fostering dogs.
With everything in order, you’re ready to welcome a foster dog into your home. Fostering a dog is much like owning the dog yourself, but you’re also evaluating and communicating everything about the dog to the rescue.d
Together, you’ll find this pup a loving home where it will thrive and you can feel proud that you’ve helped a dog in need. It’s an amazing deed to foster and see your rescue dog off to a home that will love them just as much as you do!
Keep Up the Great Work
With one dog fostered you’re gaining new experience to help you foster more in the future. You can take on new dogs and learn more during the process everyday.
You’ll also feel fulfilled that you’re making a difference in a deserving dog’s life.
Other Ways to Help Rescues
For some, fostering dogs is not feasible or not something that you feel you can do. Please know that this is fine to feel. If you can’t foster, there are many other things that you can do!
If you’re looking for a dog, you can consider rescuing from the shelter. For some, a rescue is fitting for your needs and lifestyle.
Please don’t feel ashamed if you aren’t able to rescue or don’t feel like this is the right fit. You can find a reputable and ethical preservation breeder of a breed that fits those needs and your lifestyle instead. Working with an ethical breeder means that less dogs end up in shelters, as an ethical breeder will always take back any dog that they have produced. If a breeder doesn’t do this, they are simply unethical and you should find a different one.
If you can’t rescue, but still want to help, consider volunteering. Volunteering allows you to help out the rescue with daily tasks such as feeding or dog walking. Rescues will always be grateful for your help.
If volunteering isn’t in the cards, please consider donating to a rescue. Saving a dog’s life isn’ cheap when it comes to vet and general care, so helping through donations is a great way to support them.
Finally, sharing dogs for adoption is a free way to help rescues. You never know if the perfect home for a dog is in your friends list.
Now You Know How to Start Fostering Dogs
Rescuing dogs is not easy, but fosters help make it a little easier on the system. Fostering dogs helps to save more lives, and you’ll feel very happy that you were able to help a dog in need.
Have you started fostering dogs? Tell us all about it in the comments.
To learn how to start something new, please keep reading our blog!