"You can't change a dog's past but you could rewrite his future"
In my last blog post I wrote about why I became a foster dog mom. Now I'd like to give you some tips if you decide to become a foster dog parent.
When I decided to foster small dogs, I didn't have any idea where to go or what questions to ask. Here are some tips from my experience fostering dogs.
1. Dog Friendly Home
First, you have to make sure that if you are renting a house or apartment that you have permission from your landlord to have a dog. You have to make sure that your place is dog friendly. If you have a fenced yard, do you have other pets? Are they aggressive or friendly? Are they small or big? Do you have kids? Are they allergic to dog hair? Do you work from
home? How many hours will the dog be by himself? If you are going to leave the dog by himself for long periods of time I'd recommend you not foster a dog. Animals, especially dogs, need our attention and love. If you can find a dog walker, that's another story (this is something that you will have to pay for, not the rescue). You need to give all this info to the rescue organization.
2. Google Rescues.
Search for a reputable rescue organization. Google it, look it up on Facebook or Instagram. How many followers do they have? Read the reviews, comments, etc.
3. Home Inspection.
So you've found your reputable rescue group. Now what? Contact them, send them an email, call them. They will probably ask you to fill out their application form. If they think you are good to go, they will send somebody to do a home inspection. This is totally normal. They want to make sure that your home is dog friendly. Once they've approved you, congrats! They have a dog for you. He/ she is adorable! Well now, before you say yes, you need to ask them where the dog comes from: If they pulled him from the animal shelter, or he was found on the streets, he was owner surrender or he was bought at an auction. Yes, you read it, "bought at an auction." Some rescues are buying puppies from breeders. Their excuse is that they are saving these puppies, but in reality puppy mills are producing more dogs because of rescuers hoping to save dogs from being bred by puppy mills.
4. Ask All the Questions Possible.
Ask them if the dog is healthy. Does he has kennel cough or any contagious disease? Does he have ticks or fleas? This question is very important if you have another pet at home, if the dog is taking any medication, if the dog is spayed/neutered. Is he/she is aggressive? Don't feel bad for asking all these questions. You have the right to know.
5. What the Rescue Provides.
Everything is going well and you are excited and want to foster the adorable pup. Before you say "yes" I want to let you know that you are going to get attached to him/her because dogs are adorable, and you are going to fall in love with them. This is normal. If you continue on this amazing journey, you need to ask what they are going to provide you to foster this dog. Are they are going to give you food, a bed, pee pads, treats, poop bags, a harness, collar, a leash, a crate, maybe a jacket or sweater if it is cold? Can they provide a play pen? I recommend you ask for one if you have another pet at home, so you can separate them when is time to eat and for the new dog to decompress.
6. Vet Appointments.
Don't be shy to ask if they are going to pay for any vet appointments. Are you taking him/her to their vet, or can you take him to your vet? What about grooming? Are they are going to pay for this? Rescues usually pay for all these but you have to make sure that you and the rescue group are on the same page. You don't want any surprises later.
From my experience they usually don't provide food and that's ok. But for the rest, they often do.
Ask if they are going to bring the dog to you, or you have to pick him/her up. They usually drop the dog off at your place. After they give you all the answers and you are still excited about fostering a dog, ask how long are you going to foster the dog. If you have plans to travel for a long time, don't commit to something you can't do because that dog will need to be placed in a new foster home. If you are going out of town, ask if you can bring the dog with you. Or maybe find a dog sitter? You will have to pay for this, not the rescue.
You are still excited about fostering the pup and you say, yes? The rescue brings the pup to you. You want to play with your adorable foster dog, but he/she is shy, he is stressed out, submissive, fearful or aggressive, and don't want to play with you? This is totally normal. You need to give him some time to decompress. Decompress is the amount of time dogs need to unwind and get into a relaxed frame of mind. The stress a dog experiences in a shelter can impact his mental state. “The sounds, smells, and noise in the shelter are very intimidating to pets who have lost their homes,” says Katie Shipman from Paulding County Animal Control. “Some dogs walk in the door and shut down completely while other dogs quickly show aggression or cower when they are walked through the kennels.”
9. Send Some Updates.
Dogs need a routine. Walk them 3 to 4 times a day. They will probably pee on your carpet or floor, but you need to teach them in a positive way to not to do it. Animals are smart and they understand. Feed them twice daily, in the morning and at night, and ask the rescue for advice too. They will be very happy to help. Keep the rescue updated about your new foster friend. Send them pictures on how they are improving because when they are ready, they will find him/her a forever home. And this is the sad part for every foster parent. But this is our job, to help these fur angels to be able to find their forever families. Our goal is very important for them to succeed. We wanted them to be happy. Our only job is to be patient and give them love. Our heart is going to be broken, but when we see that they are happy, we are going to be happy too and then we are ready to foster another dog again.
Hopefully my tips helped you have an easy journey as a foster dog parent. Remember that fostering an animal is a great gift and act of kindness. You are saving a life and not everybody would be able to do that.
Here is a list of reputable rescues:
* As a designer and a rescue dog mom, I created this apparel and home collection for people like you, who decided to make a change in this world by rescuing, fostering or adopting a dog or cat. Check it out! https://www.sketchpup.com/shop