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MJ's Animal Blog

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Fostering Dogs From A Shelter

photo credit: Pixabay

Play a role in helping shelter dogs by considering being a foster dog home. Shelters are overcrowded, and foster care families offer a temporary home to train and socialize dogs. Each year, 670,000 dogs are euthanized in U.S. shelters. By opening up your home to foster, you provide individual attention and love the dog desperately needs and help create more space in shelters for more dogs to be saved.
Dogs can be surrendered to shelters for a variety of reasons, and often it’s due to lifestyle changes of the prior owners. The left behind dog is now in a smaller space with less comfort and contact with people. Dogs can get stressed in their new normal and may become anxious and even destructive. By serving as a foster home, you are providing a homeless dog with the stepping stones to be ready for their furever home.
Puppies also need to be fostered because they are too young to stay in a shelter. Puppies don’t have the needed vaccinations to remain healthy in a shelter, and puppies need extra love and attention to be properly socialized. Whelping mothers and puppies thrive in a quiet place where they can be raised and grow. Also many shelters wait to adopt puppies until they can be spayed or neutered.
Due to health costs, some dogs are surrendered because owners can’t afford the treatments. Many shelters will get the treatments the dogs need, but then they need someone who can offer more constant and direct care during the healing process.
photo credit: Pixabay
Older dogs often do best with a foster family rather than being in a shelter. The loud noises and barking can be extremely stressful to an older dog. Give this older dog a special place in your home, maybe on a blanket or towels where they can relax throughout the day.
Before you decide to foster a dog, review the application carefully and ask a variety of questions. You will want to know who is responsible paying for medical bills, food, a crate, a leash, among other items. Ask whether you will have to administer medications. Some shelters also require foster families to meet with prospective dog owners or attend adoption events. Training may be another requirement of fostering and knowing the level of expectation will be important to the success of the placement. Another aspect to check is whether the dog has to have a fenced in yard or has to be microchipped. Discuss the health history of the dog with the shelter and your veterinarian, especially if you have other pets at home. Shelter dogs may have communicable diseases and a quarantine period between pets in your home may be necessary. Find out what you need to do in case the fostering is not a good fit with you and the dog or if you need to go out of town. Some shelters ask for 24 hour notice before the foster time is over. Also, ask about time expectations and how much you need to be home with the dog.
Discuss the daily care routine expectations. Find out how often your dog needs to eat, what kind of food, and whether it’s acceptable to give treats.  Many shelter dogs will not used to daily walks and may need some help with house training. Working with your dog on house training is extremely helpful, as dogs with good inside manners are more likely to be adopted. Practice with your dog on crate training as well. This will provide a safe haven for him, but don’t force the dog in the crate if he is fearful and never use the crate as discipline or punishment. Also spend time brushing and bathing your dog. You may consider taking him to a groomer, especially if you don’t feel comfortable trimming nails. It is also recommended that most shelter dogs get at least two 30-minute play sessions or walks with you per day. Offer many different toys to play with but always discourage the dog from playing with your hands. Mouthing is not a desirable behavior to adopters. If your dog bites and breaks skin, notify the shelter immediately.
In most areas, the primary caregiver of the fostered dog must be at least 18 years old. However, teenagers can help at home and some schools will issue school credit. Ask your school counselor about whether this is as added bonus for fostering.
Fostering may only be a couple week commitment. It can be a longer period of time up to several months, depending on when the dog is adopted. Depending on your lifestyle, having a full-time companion may not be the best option, and then you may opt to have a dog for the weekend to break up its time in the shelter.
By acting as a foster care provider, you can give the future dog owner a better picture of the dog’s personality and abilities. This extra level of attention will provide a better match between the dog and owner, and as an added benefit, it should reduce the number of dogs ending up in shelters.
Consider fostering a dog today. Talk with your local shelter about how you can play an important bridge between the shelter and the dog’s new owners.

 


Michael John Kulick
My goal with this venture is to give these pets a fighting chance in finding a good home for them and to let people know about the health benefits that come with owning a pet. I believe that every is unique and that each dog can cater to different people.

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