I love my little Kirby so I do my best to keep him safe and healthy and happy. Truth is I love all dogs and it literally breaks my heart to know there are so many homeless,frightened dogs who are suffering, or worse, may not live to see tomorrow. But I'm only one person so what can I do? Well, I decided I can foster one dog in need at a time. I can give that one dog a chance at a new life with a forever family while opening a spot at the shelter for another dog. So, in a sense I'm giving two dogs a chance.
Dogs are abandoned every day. Sometimes there's a good reason, often times there's not. I read of one woman who dropped off a dog at a shelter because it's hair color clashed with her living room drapes! With shelters filled to the max foster homes are becoming a much needed resource. A foster is a temporary placement for dogs in a rescue or shelter and is responsible for basic house training, socialization, health care, and temperament assessment of a placed dog.
Fostering experiences can vary greatly. An older dog may be with you until the end but a puppy may only be in your home for a few weeks. These programs will place a dog based on need, temperament, and your abilities. They take great care not to place a dog with you that you are not ready or able to handle. If you do find yourself fostering a dog you can’t handle you should immediately notify the organization that placed the dog with you so they can help you overcome the situation with additional training or another placement.
Fosters take vacations or have events that take them out of town for a few days and always need someone to take the animals for that brief time. This means you could make it a part time job fitting in with your schedule by fostering for those short periods. In some cases the foster family discovers they want to keep the dog they are fostering which means you could meet that dog you've been looking for. Yes,fostering does take some effort but it really is a win-win situation for both human and dog.
Last year I signed up with Homeward Bound, a local foster program. These dogs (and cats) are fostered until they are transported to the northeastern states where they stay at no-kill shelters where they are adopted by their forever families. Kirby and I have had two fosters so far - Miss Cordelia, a sweet five month pit mix who stayed with us for a three day weekend and Mia Bella, a beautiful black lab/shepherd mix who stayed with us for two months. This afternoon we are meeting our third foster, Lil Bit, a 3 year old male chihuahua mix who will stay with us until April 2nd.
It’s so hard to say goodbye when they head north but as the tears fall I remind myself that we are saving a deserving life that might not otherwise have a chance. If you are like me and know you can't afford any more pets, then please consider becoming a foster. I promise it will change your life.