Saturday, February 18, 2012

Want to Become a Foster? Start by Finding the Right Rescue Group

Fostering is not a task to take lightly.  Not only are you opening your heart and home but you are introducing an entirely new world for the dog that will be entering your life.  A game plan should be in place BEFORE you bring home your new friend.  Although you are not starting out as the dog's "forever" home, fostering is still a long-term commitment. Be ready to make this amazing commitment!

Today, we're focusing on the importance of choosing the right rescue group. Fostering for a quality rescue group is probably the most important aspect of your fostering journey.

*A successful foster experience requires a good relationship with the rescue group you are working with.
*An important goal of the rescue group should be making the right dog/family match. The rescue group should take matching foster dogs with foster families very seriously.
*Stay clear of groups that will toss any dog your way before getting to know you and/or the dog.


Quality rescue groups will ASK you the right questions!

An experienced group will WANT to know about your environment/life, how many family members are living with you and if they will be helping with or at least accepting of a foster dog. They will want to know about the other animals you have (how many and what kind). They will want to determine for themselves if those animals will be accepting of another animal and go over options if they are not. They will want to know if you have the knowledge of fostering in general and for the specific breed you may be choosing (side note here - no experience does not mean you don't qualify! It just means that a good group will take this, and everything else, into consideration when finding the right match). An experienced rescue group will want to know if you are willing and able to follow their guidelines for fostering one of their dogs. They'll want to know if you'll be willing to communicate concerns that may arise during your journey with your new friend. They will want to make you aware that it can take time to find a forever family and will want to know if you are completely on board.

*Bottom line - they will want to find out everything they can about you just as much as you want to find out about them!

GO TEAM! Fostering is a team effort.

Look for a group that will give you the support and guidance you will need during the entire time your foster dog is with you.  This is a group effort and you should never feel as if you are taking this on alone.  This journey is a huge responsibility that all parties need to take seriously (all parties = you, people in your home, and people of the rescue you decide to go with). The more seriously all parties take fostering, the more likely you all will successfully reach your goals - getting the dog home-ready and finding the right forever home!


Fostering is a two-way relationship - what questions should YOU ask?

Make sure you ask the group you are going to foster for how they will aid in this foster experience:

-What will they supply to get you started? (crate, bowls, blankets, collar, leash etc. . .)
-Will they take care of the foster dog's medical/vet needs?
-Will they help you with obedience & home-ready training?
-What will they do with the dog when/if your family goes on vacation? Or has an emergency?
-How will they help you address issues that may arise?
-Will they be available for questions at any time regarding your foster dog?
And any other questions that you can think of that will help you enter this situation with confidence.

The experience.

Fostering is a fun and very rewarding experience. You will grow and learn right along with your foster dog. You will feel joy and love and your new friend will feel it, too.  It may not be easy at first but you are learning and so is the dog you just saved.  Be patient. Be kind. Ask questions. Learn. Enjoy.

Happy fostering everyone. 1 home = 1 life saved!


  1. This has some great info in it. I posted it to my wall in hoping that someone I was talking to will read it and maybe start fostering for a group in heir area. Thanks for posting this. It came at just the right time.

  2. Thank you Terry for reposting :)
    We have had some messages asking "how to get started fostering pit bulls" this is an in general post that covers all animals. Hope it does help.
    And if you friend has further questions they are more then welcome to email us at (title email fostering) and we will help them in any way we can.