11 reasons to foster a dog

Animal rescue programs often have limited space for dogs and depend on volunteers to provide temporary homes.

Many of my posts will now be about Vixen, the pitbull we are fostering, and my attempts to improve her training and behavior in the process of finding her a home.

I hope I encourage you to foster a dog, adopt a homeless dog and maybe even welcome Vixen into your family. She really is a sweet, calm dog. If I didn’t already have three animals I would consider adopting her.

There will be more to come on Vixen so check back soon.

11 reasons to foster a dog:


1. You increase that dog’s chance of being adopted.

By fostering Vixen, I am a link between her and potential homes. I can spread the word about what a good dog she is, how she loves people and how she walks nicely on a leash. By living with me, Vixen has the chance to learn behavior that will make her more appealing to other families. If you foster a dog, you have the ability to transform that barking, out of control mutt at the shelter to a dog someone would be honored to live with.

2. Your own dog will learn more social skills.

Ace gets along with all animals, but it’s still important for him to be around a variety of dogs. Vixen is more dominant than Ace, who tends to avoid other dogs. Having Vixen around will build Ace’s self confidence because Vixen encourages and shows Ace how to play. Ace also has to learn to share the water dish and dog bed with Vixen. And oh yeah, he has to share me.

3. Its a good way to see if you are ready for an additional dog.

It’s not always clear whether a second or third dog would fit in with your family. Sometimes an additional dog is a disaster. Other times it couldn’t be better. With fostering, you have a chance to see whether or not another dog is right for your family. Maybe providing temporary care is better for you.

4. You help the rescue learn about the dog’s personality.

I will interact with Vixen every day, learning about her unique personality and behavioral issues. It’s hard to know much about a dog when she is living in a shelter environment with 15 other dogs. Placing dogs in foster homes help rescues learn if the dogs like children, beg at the table, chase cats, bark when crated, know basic commands or have high or low energy. The possibilities of what a foster family will learn about a dog are unlimited.

5. You will appreciate your own dog’s good behavior.

Or maybe you will realize the foster dog is better behaved than your own dog! It makes it a whole lot easier for me to show Vixen the rules because she has Ace to copy. He heels at my side and she walks directly behind us. He sits at the door and she sits. She sees that he sits and waits for his food, so she does the same. Currently I am using Ace to show Vixen it’s OK to be left in a kennel. As long as Ace is in sight, she doesn’t feel alone and doesn’t bark as much. His calm energy helps her remain calm. Ace is being a very good teacher for Vixen, and I appreciate how well behaved he is.

6. You are saving a dog’s life.

Many rescues are full to their limits and cannot take in more dogs until additional foster homes open up. 4 Luv of Dog Rescue where Vixen is from pays to board its dogs that aren’t in foster homes. Now that I am fostering Vixen, the rescue can save money on her boarding fees and use it to save another homeless dog.

Vixen the brindle and white pitbull type dog!

7. Many animal shelters can’t function without foster homes.

I found my mutt Ace through Adopt-A-Pet of Fargo-Moorhead, which depends entirely on foster homes because it does not have a shelter. If it weren’t for all the generous foster families willing to foster a dog or foster a cat, this program would not be functioning.

8. You might end up with a new family member.

Many foster families realize the dog they are fostering is a perfect fit for their family. This is a happy ending for both the dog and humans. If you don’t foster a dog, then you will never know what you are missing. You might never meet that special dog that could add to your life.

9. The dog gets to live with your family rather than at a shelter.

Dogs get stressed from shelter conditions. Shelters are noisy with limited one-on-one interaction. The dogs don’t get enough exercise, training or socialization. With time, many dogs develop psychological issues as pent-up energy, frustration, aggression or boredom builds.

10. Any volunteering makes a person feel good.

Fostering a dog is a way to give back to your community. If you love animals, there is nothing more rewarding than helping a homeless dog.

11. It’s a way to help without spending money.

If you don’t have the money to donate to animal shelters, you can donate your time by fostering. Some programs require foster families to cover all the expenses of the dog’s supplies. Other rescue organizations cover everything for you, providing food, a crate, bowls and veterinary care. In my case, I have to pay very little for Vixen. So far I have spent $13 on treats and rawhide bones that will be shared between her and Ace.

What are some additional reasons to foster a dog?

33 thoughts on “11 reasons to foster a dog”

    1. you may be afraid of getting attatched but they are afraid of being put to sleep, they are afraid of the dark when the lights at the shelter go off and they are afraid of the sounds/ sights they see everyday. <3 Help them out, and believe me when i say that seeing that dog you saved go off with a new loving family is a bitter sweet moment. but knowing you saved that dogs life is amazing !

  1. Loved this post! I always try to convince friends, family, and strangers that I meet to foster a dog if they are considering adding a pet to the family. I usually list 3 or 4 of the reasons that you’ve given above.

    For years, my husband and I fostered dogs for our local all breed rescue, and for the most part, I didn’t have problems letting go when the right family came along. However, you know the latest foster baby that came to us, will not be going anywhere. LOL

  2. Lindsay, I love the post. Thank you so much for fostering Vixen! I am looking forward to reading future posts about your fostering experience.

  3. Fostering is so critical to successful rescues. I wish we had more foster homes for collies here in Utah. I might be getting another foster on Monday myself.

  4. Wow Lindsay that is AWESOME!
    Vixen is very lucky to have you as a foster mom.
    I’m very excited to see updates on how she’s doing in your home.
    I would LOVE to someday foster dogs
    This will be neat to see how it goes for you

  5. ps, i’ve been reading your posts on my google reader so I don’t know when you changed the look and feel of your site but I am diggin it!

  6. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thanks everyone! I just changed the look this week, Vee.

    Jeff, I’m not on Twitter yet. I’ll have to get on it soon. Thank you!

  7. You sound like an EXCELLENT foster mom! Vixen and the 4 Luv of Dog rescue are very lucky to have you. Thanks for being a loving and caring person that gives back. You are a wonderful person. I’ve fostered before too, it’s something you’ll never forget. Thanks too, for getting a dog from Adopt A Pet. These two rescue groups that serve the Fargo-Moorhead area are great.

  8. I feel that a dog’s true personality can come out when they are in a home. I fostered Tess the treeing walker coonhound from the 4 Lov of Dog Rescue, and well I kept her. She had a lot of problems but wow…..I look at her and think this is not the same dog that I came home with. I thank Kish, Patti, and Tina (especially Tina as she was there to give me advice). Now I don’t know what I would do with out her as she has a great personality! Unless for fostering I don’t think her true personality would have come out. It can be hard, but it is so worth it!

  9. Wow! What a great thing you are doing! Vixen looks like a great dog and you are giving her a great chance at a new life by fostering her!

    I’ve heard much about fostering animals. I have never done it, but would consider it in the future. We have too many cats at the moment who would not take to an additional animal kindly, but at some point down the road, I think fostering animals would be a great thing for us!

  10. Thank you for such a wonderful and heart-touching post. I haven’t considered fostering a dog so far but lately I’ve considered volunteering at a dog shelter for a few hours a week. I think if I fostered a dog I would get terribly attached and then unable to give it away. I wish I had a larger home so I could adopt several dogs.

  11. My Tessy girl..(Tess)…Well, she was severely abused, she had food aggression, was not properly socialized with other animals, and she was not potty trained; were the main ones. If it wasn’t for the help from the 4 Lov of Dog rescue and my stubbornness I would have given up. I will admit the first few days were rough. However, I knew in my heart she was a good dog, and it was not her fault. It took love, patience, and time.
    Before I could really work with her I needed her to be comfortable in her new home. I did this by allowing her explore things in the house because she was scared of everything. Every day noises would make her on guard and ready to fight if needed. But I went with my normal daily routine. As she became more comfortable in my home these items were not so scary any more.
    She needed to be kenneled when she was eating, muzzled when we went to the dog park, and I did a lot of research on dogs with aggression. I read a lot and asked Tina for advice when problems arisen. I think the biggest thing is to remember to look for small successes. As a bunch of small success lead to large ones.
    For example: when walking the dogs, I didn’t worry about if they were healing, not pulling…instead I worried about if they could all walk together with out growling. I considered that a success.
    Tessy now:
    Tessy never had shown aggression towards people or children. She is excellent with children that have disabilities as she loves them and they love her. Tessy loves people!
    She no longer has to eat in her kennel, and can be left out of her kennel for a couple of hours.
    She is potty trained.
    One of the biggest differences: She plays with other dogs. These are the same dogs that she wanted to fight when they looked at her. Now she plays tug-a-war, wrestles with them, and snuggles next to them. She is no longer scared of walking by a car, the dryer, phone, and shower. She loves her bed, toys, and her blanket. She ia a very smart dog as she can open the screen door and if the door is not latched she lets herself back in.
    By all means we still have work, but that is okay. As we are all a work in progress.
    Like I said it was not easy but it was so worth it! I look at her and I don’t know what I would do with out her as she has such a personality. She will always be my Tessy girl and I love sharing stories about her.

    When you know that your foster dog has a forever home…..you will let them go. I am not going to lie and say that it is easy to let them go. But as you need to remember that if you did not care…………then you would not be a foster parent!

  12. I think it’s great to foster instead of adopting a dog if you have time for a dog now, but you’re not sure if you will in 10 years.

    We just sent our first foster to his new home, and although my husband and I wanted to keep him, we know that he will be happier in his new home.

    Although we still miss him, it’s easier to let him go to a home that we know will be better for him in the long run.

    Fostering can also help people who aren’t currently dog owners see what it really takes to take care of a dog on a permanent basis.

  13. Lindsay Stordahl

    Hi Sarah, thanks for stopping by my blog. You are right, fostering a dog is a great way for a person to see if dog ownership is right for them or not. I wish more people would foster before adopting a dog.

    When Vixen finds a permanent home, it will be better for her than living with me and my three other animals. She will get the time and attention she needs and deserves.

  14. Pingback: Save lives for FREE! « Paws Humane

  15. I “LOVE” being a foster parent and can not imagine not having a house full of dogs. It does not matter what breed, what sex, what age… they are all a joy to have.

  16. I’m 14 and after showing my parints this and your other post about this topic I covinst them to let us foster! The dog will be comming in a week

  17. Pingback: Joys of Pet Parent Fostering | Lincoln Animal Ambassadors

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