To ease the boredom and solitude brought about by social distancing, many people are turning to their local animal shelters.
The rate of fostering dogs has increased significantly since social distancing orders have gone into effect. More and more people are now discovering the benefits of having a four-legged friend by their side, and many dogs have since been adopted by their foster parents.
Fostering a dog can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s also one that requires a significant amount of planning and preparation. The following things to know before fostering a dog are important considerations for anyone interested in a canine companion.
3 Things to Know Before Fostering a Dog
1. Every dog is special
Every dog is unique in its own special way. Just like humans, dogs can develop a unique personality that sets it apart from the rest of the pack.
Even dogs of the same breed can develop vastly different personalities from one another. Therefore, it’s important to research your specific foster dog.
Begin by educating yourself on a breed’s specific medical history and conducting some research on their breed. Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to certain illnesses, and it’s important to be aware of their individual needs in advance of their arrival at your home.
Needs may also change depending on the age of your foster dog. Puppies and elderly dogs will have vastly different needs and will likely require special food to ensure proper nutrition. Consult an animal shelter employee or a veterinarian for advice for caring for your specific foster pup.
2. There will be a learning curve
Fostering a dog will not always be easy. It’s a process that will require a lot of patience and responsibility.
Your foster dog may not be accustomed to life in a home and will likely require a significant amount of training during their first days with you. Remember to be patient and to encourage your dog through positive reinforcement.
Dogs learn best through repeated behavior, so try to stick to the same schedule as much as possible.
Feed your foster dog at the same times every day, and establish a routine for walks and going to the bathroom. This routine will help your foster dog acclimate to home life more quickly and will allow you to create a stronger bond in a shorter period. Aiding the training process with a few treats doesn’t hurt, either.
3. Saying goodbye will be hard
As I’ve mentioned, fostering a dog can be an incredibly rewarding experience. You and your foster pup will form a very close bond in a very short amount of time, and before you know it, it will be time to say goodbye.
Goodbyes are never easy and will likely be quite emotional. As your final days together draw nearer, you may find yourself considering “foster failure”. This term sounds quite scary, but it essentially refers to foster parents who choose to adopt their dog at the end of the foster period.
This is a rather common occurrence among foster parents and is a very welcome option for most animal shelters. Be sure to ask a shelter employee about the possibility of adoption before you begin the foster period. This will help mitigate expectations while fostering and will help you best weigh your options throughout the whole process.
Fostering a dog will change your life in the best possible way. I highly recommend it if you have the ability to give a needy pet a home, even for just a short while.
Have you ever fostered a dog?
I’d love to hear all about your experience! Leave a comment below or stop by my private Facebook group for dog moms to join in the conversation there!