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. It’s 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.
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?