Is Fostering right for my family?


Fostering is an integral part of many rescue organizations today. In fact, many can not rescue without foster family volunteers. There are some misconceptions about fostering and they can lead to foster dogs finding themselves without anywhere to go.

"Our Rescue is 100% Foster.
We Can't Save Dogs Without It."

Fostering isn't for everyone. So before you contact your local shelter and answer the "Can You Foster a Dog?," take this self-assessment to make sure fostering is a good fit for YOU, YOUR FAMILY and THE DOG in need.

Answer YES or NO to the following questions - 

  1. Do you and your family have a basic knowledge of dog behavior and basic obedience training?
  2. Are your pets up to date with their vaccines and in overall good health?
  3. Are all animals in your house spayed/neutered and with a disposition that will not put the Foster in danger or stress?
  4. Is your home clean and loving?
  5. Are you willing to learn the needs of your Foster?
  6. Can you make a minimum of a 2 week commitment?
  7. Can you take your Foster on all necessary vet appointments or be willing to make arrangements with Rescue volunteers to do so on your behalf?
  8. Are you willing to get good photos of your Foster and help promote them on Social Media?
  9. Can you arrange for your Foster to attend local adoption events?
  10. Do you and your family have a willingness to learn as well as follow Rescue Organization policies and procedures?
  11. Is your home safe for animals?
  12. Are you willing to love the Foster like it were your own?
  13. Do you have patience for a Foster that is learning the ropes of being with a family for the first time?
  14. Are you willing to provide guidance to your Foster to teach them socialization behaviors (no jumping on counters, house training, leash training, crate training, no biting, etc)

If you answered YES to the above questions, you are a GREAT Foster Candidate! We would highly recommend that you contact your local Rescue Organization and apply to be a Foster family. Each organization is different in their Foster Family critera but they can fill you in on their process and get you started. 

If you said NO to any of the questions, you still could be a good candidate but may require some training and support. We recommend contacting your local Rescue and let them know about these areas and see if it's a good fit. Many Rescue organizations offer training and support to their Foster families.

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Ramona the foster dog with Bella  Henry the Foster Dog

Myths About Fostering

I will get stuck with the dog
Fostering agreements generally ask for a minimum of a 2 week commitment. It can be longer but just be upfront with your commitment level and the Rescue organization can place dogs with you that are appropriate. Don't avoid fostering if you know you will be away a lot. Sometimes Rescue Organizations need back-up fosters that are good for travel relief or short-term/weekend long fostering time frames.  

Foster dogs always have health problems
It's true that some do. Generally the Rescue organization is aware of health issues before they add a dog to their transport list so make sure they are aware of your home situation so there is no concern. Vet visits are covered by the Rescue organization and require approval, however you should expect at least 1 vet visit for your Foster during their stay if the animal needs to be spayed/neutered.

It's a great way to own a dog if you can't afford it
While the Rescue organization covers the costs of the Foster while they are in your care, this is not a replacement of having your own pet. If you are not able or willing to adopt, someone else likely will so just understand this is generally a temporary situation. 

It's a great way to try out a dog before we adopt him/her
There is some truth to this. However, understand your Foster is coming from a possibly life-long stay in a Shelter. They may not know how to live with a family and it's your job as the Foster family to learn the skills, behaviors and respect that will make them a successful member of a family. If they end up being a "Foster Fail" and become your Forever Family, that's not a bad thing at all! 


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