Many people ask me about fostering and how I began doing it. Well, if you’ve read my Lucky Dogs (and cats) page you know that I began volunteering in shelters at age twelve. I knew the inner workings of shelters and rescues at an early age and knew there was a great need for foster homes. My family has a great love for Siberian Huskies (we have two) so it was logical that we chose a Siberian Husky rescue to provide our first foster. There is such a great need for dog fosters that pretty much every rescue I contacted needed a foster and was happy to give me information. I chose a rescue that was about 2 hours away from me; I won’t do that again. Fostering involves a lot of travel, depending on the rescue you work with. Traveling to adoptions, rescue events, vets, and other appointments, depending on the situation your dog has, can occupy a lot of your time. I found that the closer the rescue is to me, the less traveling I have to do. Since most adoptions and events are close to the rescue base, you’ll decrease your travel distance and expenses by choosing a close rescue.
In this post I will discuss what fostering involves, who can foster, why foster, and where you can find information about specific rescues and their needs. OK, so what is the big deal about fostering and why are there so many dog rescues in need of foster families? First of all, fostering is very important to many shelters and rescues. It is important to shelters because it frees kennel space and allows them to take in more dogs. It also helps dogs that are particularly sick, injured or have trouble adjusting to shelter life by taking them and putting them in a home environment. Fostering is an integral part of rescues since many rescues do not have a shelter. They rely solely on a network of foster homes for housing their dogs. The more qualified foster home they have, the more dogs they can rescue.
So, you can see how important foster homes are for both shelters and rescues. Without foster homes, they wouldn’t be able to rescue nearly the amount of animals that they do. Many of the sick and injured animals they do take in would not have the best chance at survival in a shelter environment. Some of these animals need around the clock care and foster families are pertinent to their recovery.
Yes, foster homes are super important but who exactly can foster? Each shelter and rescue has their own set of rules for foster families but, in my experience, it is important to either have a fenced in yard or be willing to walk your foster several times a day, have the time to take on a foster dog (or cat) and treat them as you would your own pet. The foster family also needs to be flexible and able to take the foster to events, and appointments. In all the rescues and shelters that I fostered for, I was NEVER responsible for any financial costs. Most rescues and shelters provide food, but not all of them do. You should never foster for a rescue that does not pay the vet bills. You could end up with a very sick animal and a lot of costs. Until the animal is adopted, it is the responsibility of the shelter or rescue and they should be responsible for all bills.
The easiest way to find out what a rescue requires in their foster homes, is to access their website. Most rescues have a need for foster homes and will explain their requirements right on their website. There is usually an application online as well. If you are located in Pennsylvania, Tales of the Tundra Siberian Husky Rescue, Castaway Critters, MaPaw Siberian Husky Rescue, and German Shepard Rescue of Southeastern PAare all great rescues to contact for information. You can also contact your local SPCA or Humane Society for fostering information.
Fostering is no,t by any means, easy. It is getting another pet, even if only temporarily. If you have other dogs, cats, or children you will need to be very selective with the foster you choose. This was also a lesson I learned from my first foster. At the time, I had two female dogs and a male dog. The first foster this rescue gave me was a female, IN HEAT. Never again!!! There was constant fighting and the new female was always trying to escape.
Make sure you fully explain your living situation to the rescue and also make sure they are knowledgeable with matching fosters to appropriate homes. The rescue never should have done this knowing I already had two females, even if mine were spayed. Anyway, she was a total sweetheart and ended up getting adopted, but I did have to give her to the foster coordinator till she had her adoption. I’ll share that story later, it’s quite funny.
This experience did not turn me off from fostering and I’m glad it didn’t because, I fostered three more dogs, and they all found wonderful homes. The fifth, foster, we kept. He is a sweetheart and has been living with us for the past 5 months. Benny, the Bichon Frise pictured to the left, is a great addition to our furry family and completes our “pack”.
Fostering is a very hard, but very rewarding experience and I would definitely recommend it to anyone up for the challenge.