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7 Things to Know Before Fostering a Dog Through a Shelter!

Are you an animal lover? At the PEDIGREE Foundation, we have a special place in our hearts for dogs in shelters looking for their forever home.

When there isn’t enough room in the shelter or a special case arrives, a foster family comes to the rescue!

PC: @thedogcalledenzo

Foster families take in dogs that are either too shy or too hyper for the shelter. Or, they may have been abused or neglected by their former owners and need to gradually learn what love feels like in a one-on-one environment. Most shelters have foster programs and training available if you are unsure about the process. One thing is for sure, by giving a dog a temporary home, you are extending their life and making them more adoptable!

Have you thought about fostering a dog from a shelter? Here are some things you need to know:

7. Be prepared for a ton of laundry!

Dogs are naturally messy, but when you foster a dog, prepare for an even messier start! The dog may or may not be potty trained, it may be sick or have digestive issues. Just like new parents, raising a dog consists of constantly cleaning up pee, poop, and dirt. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you!)

6. Each dog will be a different case.

Every dog has a different personality and background. Some will come to you from a socialized home and will instantly fit in. Others will come broken and literally beaten and will need lots of time and love to come out of their shell. Look at this as an opportunity to foster different breeds that you wouldn’t normally gravitate towards. The connection you have with a foster dog just might surprise you and open your eyes to the benefits of a specific breed.

PC: @fourpawsri

5. Fostering is not free, but it is close!

Generally, the animal shelter you are fostering through will cover any medical expenses the dog may have, including vaccines, procedures, and medications. Thanks to donated supplies and discounted fees, the cost of fostering is next to nothing! Fostering is a great way to practice the responsibility of having a dog without all the expenses that come with it.

4. You will be their biggest fans and help them get adopted!

Prepare to champion your dog (and the shelter)! Pick up marketing materials from the shelter and be ready to hand them out when you talk about your dog. You’re not only promoting the shelter and their efforts, but you are also helping the dog get adopted! Know when adoption events are going on in your area and sign up to volunteer and take your dog (if they are able). You never know who is looking to adopt a dog, and you might just find your dog’s forever family in the aisle of your local grocery store!

3. Join the foster family community

You are joining a community of animal lovers when you choose to foster a dog. There are so many benefits to joining the community of foster families, like play dates, sharing walking responsibilities, and getting advice from other people and families who have shared your experiences. You could form some new human relationships as well!

PC: @elyse.greco

2. You might just adopt the dog

Ever heard of a “foster failure?” It’s not really what it seems. Sometimes your family falls in love with the dog and ends up adopting it! Be open minded, and if your foster dog is the right fit for your family, adopt away! On the other side, not every dog will be easy. Some may be quite challenging. Your family may not be equipped emotionally and physically to handle a particular dog, but chances are that another family will.

Go into the process prepared for both outcomes: knowing that this dog could complete your family, or that you may not be the best fit to foster this dog.

1. The goodbye will be hard.

Goodbyes stink. There’s no way around it. Loving and caring for a dog who was in such bad shape and nursing it back to health is emotional and a big bonding experience. Watching her join her new family is bittersweet. No matter how many foster dogs you encounter, the goodbye will always be the hardest part.

For many busy American families, adopting a dog is not feasible. Money, time, and resources are limited. But fostering a dog might just be the perfect opportunity to show love to a dog in need, knowing that it will not live with you forever. Who knows, you might find that the happiness it brings is just the right prescription for your family!