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Looking for a way to help a dog in need? Do you love dogs, but aren’t quite ready for the lifelong commitment of ownership? Interested in forming a relationship with your local shelter? Fostering might be the perfect answer for you.
What exactly does fostering mean? It means bringing a homeless dog into your home, caring for them, providing them with affection and socialization, until a permanent family comes along who will love them forever.
The benefits of fostering are numerous, and not only a wonderful thing for the dog and shelter or rescue, but can be beneficial to the one doing the fostering in so many ways!
1. Fostering saves lives:
Many times rescues who have no central facility, rely solely on foster homes to determine how many dogs they can pull from county shelters, who may be long term residents and/or at risk of euthanasia due to overcrowding. Shelters also rely on fosters to provide a change of environment for long term residents or those dogs who may be having a hard time adjusting to a kennel atmosphere. Fosters are crucial to shelters and rescues ability to help expectant female dogs, by affording them a quiet and comfortable atmosphere to deliver puppies and care for them in those first weeks of crucial development.
2. You have a hand in helping make the dog more “adoptable”:
Often times, certain dogs may not “show” well in a kennel environment due to excess energy, or jockeying for attention as potential adopters walk by. While fostering a dog, you are able to provide exercise and stimulation, which in turn creates a calmer dog in the kennel which in many cases may be closer to what their behavior will look like in a home environment. In addition you can work with the dog on leash training, house training, or other basic command training, that potential adopters will find attractive when looking for the perfect dog for their family.
3. You have the opportunity to change a dog’s future:
Shelters and rescues often look to fosters for those dogs who may have endured a difficult past such as abuse, cruelty, neglect, under socialization, etc. As a foster you have the chance and opportunity to gain a dogs trust, show them human touch and love perhaps for the first time, provide an environment for them to feel safe, and watch them transform before your eyes.
4. Fostering can be great for your family:
If you have existing pets, introducing a dog can be a great experience for them as an additional companion, additional socialization, and an additional playmate! Children can benefit from fostering as a way to introduce responsibility, selflessness, a way to educate about animals, and is also a great way to “test” the idea of a permanent dog into the home in the future.
5. You become part of a wonderful “community”:
Fellow fosters from the same shelter or rescue will help guide you through the experience, give ideas, answer any questions, and may even become your friends! There is nothing quite like sharing experiences with those who do the same, and being part of a community of people who have like passions.
6. You will make someone’s family complete:
When the day comes, that your foster finds that perfect home, the rewarding feeling you will experience is something very special. You will feel a sense of pride, in knowing what you helped that dog accomplish in his time with you. You will feel overjoyed, that he has found his forever family, and his happy ending that all homeless dogs so desire. And while certainly some goodbyes can be tough, knowing that a dog has found his happy ending, and that another precious life awaits to be afforded your gifts, is as a good of a feeling as there is!
So, change a life, save a life, and become a foster today!
Sarah Ingram is from Dayton, Ohio. She is the mom of 6 dogs, from a small Chihuahua/Pug mix, to a large Chocolate Lab! As a passionate animal advocate, she is a dedicated animal shelter volunteer, and enjoys visiting shelters across the State of Ohio and learning about their processes, procedures, needs, and ways to help. She is a volunteer with Rescue Me Ohio, as part of their education & advocacy team, sharing knowledge on topics in animal welfare, responsible pet ownership, spay & neuter, and many other important topics. She enjoys networking adoptable dogs from all over Ohio, which is one of the primary functions of her social media pages, Sarah’s Space for K9 Rescue & Awareness on Facebook & @SarahsSpace4K9s on Instagram, where she also shares helpful info for dog owners & important animal welfare issues.