Fostering can be an extremely enjoyable and rewarding experience. You help a dog through a very difficult point in it’s life, many times saving it’s life. You see it develop and blossom, and then see the excitement when it meets it’s new family for the first time. There is no perfect profile of a foster family, but there are some things you should know in order to decide if fostering is right for you and your home.
First and foremost, how much will it cost me?
4 Paws 4 Rescue tries to make fostering as financially feasible as possible. The rescue pays for all approved medical treatments and vaccinations for our foster dogs and cats. We supply monthly preventatives, and collar. When possible, we also supply a crate and dog food for free or at a significantly discounted rate. You may be required to purchase some toys, bedding, or other smaller purchases. However, any purchases directly related to fostering are fully tax-deductible. Any driving miles in correlation with volunteering are also tax-deductible.
There is a time commitment.
You may be asked to foster an animal from two weeks, two months, or even a year in some cases. The majority of time, fostering a single companion takes about a month. Foster parents don’t need to be home 24 hours a day. In fact, the majority of our homes work full-time. But you have to consider how often you go out at night or away for the weekend. We do try to find temporary foster homes if you are on vacation.
There are different types of fostering.
Rescues need foster parents for newborn puppies or young animals, for companions needing medical care, for senior citizens looking for a retirement, and for dogs/cats with behavioral issues. It doesn’t mean you have to be able to foster all of those types. We work with each foster home to determine if and when they are ready, and what type of dog they are looking for. Some of our homes can only have laid-back fosters. Another can only have female dogs (due to an alpha male in the house). But foster parents are needed in all categories, and 4 Paws 4 Rescue offers a great social group available for orientation and instruction to help you deal with each type.
You may be asked to work with a animal on some basic training and temperament issues. These pets come from all backgrounds and experiences. There’s more than just feeding, exercise, and grooming involved with a foster dog. Some might need to be housetrained. A few may have never even set foot in a house before. Others may have problems with chewing, jumping on strangers, or other behavioral issues. Foster parents may need to devote time to breaking bad habits so a dog can be socialized. Again, 4 Paws works with each foster home and helps where applicable. The safety of our foster families and their companions is our first priority.
For many foster parents, the single biggest concern is falling in love.
This is especially true if you already have pets at home, or have a long-term foster situation (nursing back to health, working on issues, etc). 4 Paws 4 Rescue fully supports “foster failing”, as we like to ironically call it. But it’s not always the best thing. If you adopt a pet that you’re fostering, you might have reached your limit of household pets and not be able to accept any others in desperate need of help. That’s one less foster home to help the many more needy animals.
You’d be surprised how good it feels to help a foster dog/cat find his or her forever home, with you then being able to accept another in need. We have all been there, and are here for support and consultation. Give it a try!