When you foster a dog, you will be doing so much more than temporarily caring for an animal in need. A foster home is a stepping stone in preparing a homeless dog for a forever home. The skills, training and love that a foster family provides can make a huge positive difference in finding a permanent home for that dog.

There are times when fostering a dog is the perfect answer for both the dog and the human caretaker. It is a much needed service that opens up more possibilities for the many dogs that need a home. Here are 7 things to consider if you’re thinking about fostering a dog.

Short Term Commitment

Even among dog lovers, not everyone is willing or able to take on the lifetime responsibility of caring for one. With fostering, you gets the joy of working with dogs, the companionship of a dog on a temporary basis, and the satisfaction of making a positive contribution to an overwhelmed shelter tasked with caring for dogs in need. If you have lost a dog but don’t feel ready to adopt another one, fostering can help you cope with missing your canine companion while you help the shelter and the dog.

Making a Difference

There is so much need for this service, that shelters are only too happy to have your help. As a foster, you become a voice for each dog in your care, and a guide on their path to a positive future. In the case of abused or neglected dogs, a temporary foster home may be just what he needs to learn to trust again. It is so rewarding to see them begin to blossom. Helping just one dog even for a short time does make a difference, especially to that one dog!

Increases Rescue Resources

Shelters and rescue facilities have limited funds and space for the endless dogs that are brought to them for care. Foster homes provide an invaluable extension of that service by giving a temporary home to dogs the shelter doesn’t have room for. More foster care families offering a temporary home and care increases the number of dogs that can be saved.

Training and Socialization

When a shelter has too many dogs, it is extremely difficult to train and socialize each one of them. However, a well trained and socialized dog is likely to be adopted sooner than one who isn’t. Training and socialization is an important service that a foster can provide. Even puppies can benefit from some basic training and getting used to living with humans.

An Act of Love

It’s not humanly possible to help every single dog in need, but if every person who loves animals offered help in a small way by fostering a dog until a home can be found, it would be an act of love put into action.

The Right Fit

You can specify the size and energy level of dog you want to foster, if you feel some are beyond your capabilities. For instance, an older or less mobile person may want to care for a small or less active dog. With some abused or neglected dogs, a calmer home may be just the ticket for them to get used to interacting and living with humans. Most good rescue facilities will work with foster volunteers to find a good fit for both the dog and the foster family.

Building Trust

A dog has to learn how to trust its human companions, particularly if he has had little or no exposure or only experienced negative human interaction. A frightened, hesitant dog has to learn that humans can be wonderful companions. Everything is new and scary in a world they have not experienced. As a foster, you can gradually and patiently earn the trust a dog needs to be able to thrive in his forever home. It is a chance to teach the dog that there is a happier and better way to live

Being a foster volunteer is a win-win service that is not only helpful for the dog and the shelter or rescue group, but fulfilling for you as well. Seeing how a dog changes in the home of a loving foster, and then seeing the difference your care made when the dog finds a forever family, makes all of the work worthwhile. When you foster a dog, you are offering hope for a bright future.

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