Laruen Colman serves as the digital marketer for the dog boarding and dog sitting community at Rover.com and is a true dog lover at heart. Lauren spends her days at the office with her dogs Squish and Brando by her side. All photo credits in this post belong to Ms. Colman.
Fostering a homeless dog is a true labor of love. The experience can be difficult at times, but most foster families love what they do. Although many people would love to help dogs in need, some are fearful of the work or of becoming too attached to the animals. If you’ve been thinking about fostering but are hesitant to make a commitment, here are some of the benefits for both the dogs and the families involved.
Benefits for the Dog
For a homeless dog, being released from a shelter may mean the difference between life and death. Animal shelters are often filled to capacity and can’t keep dogs for very long. Volunteers from various animal rescue groups try to help as many dogs as they can, but they must have enough foster homes for the dogs. By fostering, you not only save one dog’s life, but two. By taking them into your home and out of the shelter, you help make room for another dog and give them a chance at adoption or foster care.
Foster homes are also used to rehabilitate dogs. Dogs that go into foster homes for the first time learn how to be a part of a family. They’re introduced to manners, rules, exercise and love that the foster parents work to teach and enforce. Once the dog has been trained, he is more likely to be adopted and remain with his adopted family. If you’re worried about being able to train a dog, the sponsoring rescue group usually provides help.
If a dog is in need of medical care, foster families provide a safe place for the dog to recuperate after treatment. Sick and injured dogs are more likely to recover in a loving home. Some foster families also care for pregnant dogs and help with the puppies after birth. Because all veterinary services are provided by the rescue group, you won’t have to worry about the cost.
Dogs are much happier in a home environment. Even if they are placed in a no-kill shelter, dogs are likely to be kept in kennels. Without freedom to run, consistent interaction with humans, love, and play, the dogs may grow depressed and may also gain weight. It is very hard to judge a dog in the shelter environment because of these implications, which can lead to lower adoption rates. By providing a temporary home environment, you are keeping the dog happy and healthy and allowing them to blossom into the character they really are.
Benefits for the Family
Although dogs definitely benefit from being fostered, there are also rewards for the foster families. If you already own a dog and aren’t sure if you’re ready for another one of your own, fostering is a great way to “test drive” the scenario and prepare you for the responsibilities of a multi-dog household down the road.
If fostering with no hard expiration date turns you off, consider short-term foster care. By doing this, you’re still able to test the situation and see how you, the dog and your family handle the living conditions. Regardless of time, by taking the dog in, you prepare them for adoption and help prevent overcrowding in the shelter.
If you have children, fostering an animal is a great way to teach responsibility. Taking in a homeless dog can show your kids the importance of caring for animals, and it can also help them to understand the impact of spaying and neutering our pets. In the U.S. as a whole, there are 6-8 million homeless animals entering shelters every year. Half of these animals are lucky enough to find homes while the other half is euthanized. These are healthy, sweet animals that could have made someone a great companion.
Fostering a dog is also a great way to give back to the community. You are not only saving a dog’s life, but you are also helping to prepare him for a new home. Although you may be worried about letting the dog go, you can rest assured that that you are providing an invaluable service. You will also be making more room for future dogs to come into your home.
Although fostering a homeless dog isn’t easy, it definitely has its rewards. By fostering, you provide the dog with a temporary home, medical care and training. In return, you’ll have the satisfaction of caring for an animal in need. Any fears or hurt you may feel by becoming “too attached” to your new addition will be replaced by the joy you feel when you see the new family with their dog. Remember, there is always another dog that needs your help after this one goes home.
Rover.com provides an alternative to kennels as a dog boarding option for pet owners. Whether it’s your own home or your neighbor’s home, you don’t have to drive hours to find a cageless kennel or worry about your dog being holed up in a lonely cage while you’re away. Sitters can sign up for the service on their own and range from professionals who will come to you home, large families with other dogs, or doting elderly folks who will love your pup like their grandchildren. For more dog tips, you can follow Rover.com on Twitter @roverdotcom or on their blog, Dog Boarding News.