Foster One Dog, Save Two Lives
Approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats) . These are shocking numbers. What can we do, on an individual level, to improve them?
One of the most rewarding and effective way to do your part in decreasing the euthanasia rates in shelters nationwide, is to be a foster home for a reputable shelter, humane association, or non-profit rescue group.
As a foster home, you save the dog’s life you choose to foster, and you open up the kennel space for another dog, therefore potentially saving the lives of two dogs.
What dogs need foster homes the most? Medium to large breed dogs, adolescents (6 months-1 year in age), and dogs that lack obedience training are prime candidates for foster homes. They are often overlooked at shelters because of their age, appearance, age, etc. These dogs are often past the baby puppy stage, but have yet to enter the more mature adult phase. Dogs that “fit the bill” as candidates for foster just need a second chance!
Aside from day to day care, the responsibilities of a foster home include basic training (crate training, house training, basic obedience, leash training, etc.), any needed behavior modification (chewing, digging, barking, etc.), and socialization with other animals and people. They also of course get lots and lots of love, attention, and cuddles! There are also breed specific rescues, so if you have an affinity for a certain breed and prefer to work solely with them, there are plenty of options for that as well! Breed specific rescues are fantastic!
When you foster through a reputable organization, medical costs and promotion of the dog are usually provided. All you need to do is prepare the dog for adoption into a permanent home, and treat the dog just as you would your own. If you already have a resident dog(s) in your home, it is also a fantastic way to socialize your dogs!
One of the most common reason people say they cannot foster is, “Oh but I’ll just get too attached, I could never re-home the dog”. All of us who have fostered for many years will tell you that although it is sometimes hard to re-home the pet, the rewards of saving that animal’s life FAR outweigh the sadness you may initially feel when the dog goes to his or her forever home. I have fostered over 20 dogs in the last few years, and can tell you that it gets more and more rewarding each and every time I bring a new dog into my home.
Although fostering a dog sometimes may seem like a difficult task, if you work with a reputable rescue group they will be there to help you every step of the way, and it REALLY makes a difference in the lives of the animals. There are only benefits to fostering: the kennel gains space for a new dog, the foster dog gets out of confinement and receives a second chance at being a family pet, and the new owners get a well adjusted dog that is better adapted to living in a home environment, therefore giving that dog a better chance of staying in the new home permanently .
Please consider fostering a dog. It will save lives, and improve your own.
Here are some local rescue organizations that always need foster homes:
www.chako.org (Based out of Sacramento; however I am a local foster and coordinator)
http://www.smileydogrescue.org/blueweb/resources/other_rescues.html (Here is a more complete list of local non-profits in the SF Bay Area and surrounding locations)
- Pet Statistics. ASPCA: We Are Their Voice, 2012. http://www.aspca.org/about-us/faq/pet-statistics.aspx
- Fostering: What’s it all about? Foster Dogs, 2012. http://www.fosterdogs.com/