Puppy fostering is a rewarding way to save animals’ lives. Puppy fostering is what it sounds like: being a “foster parent” to a puppy until they are adopted to a forever home or, in some cases, until a rescue group can take them. Most high-kill shelters desperately need short-term puppy fosters. These shelters work with rescue groups around the country to save as many animals as possible but often, space runs out at the shelter before a rescue trip can be arranged. Puppy fostering really saves lives! Below are a few tips and things to consider when deciding if puppy fostering is right for you.
Time Commitment– How long do you want to keep the foster puppy? A puppy in short-term foster care could be with you anywhere from a few days to a few months, but usually stays about a week to two weeks. Long-term foster care can last months and sometimes years; this is when you agree to foster a puppy until he or she is adopted to a forever home. This is a much greater commitment than short-term fostering because there is no specific time limit and it’s much easier to get attached to the puppy.
Responsibility– Consider the responsibility required to care for a pup. Sometimes foster puppies are sick, hurt or weak; this can require around-the-clock care, including medicine, feeding, doctor’s visits, and more. Even a healthy puppy requires lots of time; they must frequently be taken outside, played with and nurtured. A puppy must be watched constantly, as they like to get into everything and can become destructive without proper training, toys and attention.
Financial Responsibility– In most cases, when agreeing to foster a puppy, you agree to take on all financial responsibility. This includes food, housing and emergency medical care and can include routine medical care, medications, and more. Make sure to check with the shelter or group you are fostering for to get the specifics.
Emotional Attachment– It’s easy to get attached to an adorable little puppy who relies on you, makes you laugh, snuggles with you and fits in with your family! The longer the puppy stays, the easier it is to become attached. There’s nothing wrong in adopting a puppy if you have the resources, time and commitment, but when puppy fostering on a regular basis, it’s impossible to keep every puppy. Children can get attached much quicker, so be sure they understand the puppy will eventually leave. If you become easily attached, remember to keep telling yourself that as well!
If you decide to join this cause, you will directly help save animals and find them forever homes. By promoting rescue and adoption, you are fighting against a system that must euthanize 3-4 million dogs a year due to breeding, overpopulation and lack of homes. Many foster puppies have never had homes; they were strays or lived in a shelter, a stressful situation for any puppy or dog. By opening your home to these pups, you will watch them change into lively, sociable, people-loving pets—which may be the most rewarding thing. If you want to help give puppies a chance at a life and can handle the responsibility, contact your local shelter, rescue group or Humane Society today! You can immediately start making a difference in your community.
Currently, I puppy foster with Miami-Dade Animal Services in Miami, FL as well as Pick Your Paw Animal Rescue in Shrewsbury, NJ. Rescue efforts have no limits so think big! You could get involved down the street or across the world. Check out the organizations I’m involved with.
Here are some more general resources to get you started.
PetFinder– Search Animal Welfare Organizations Near You
ASPCA– Find a Shelter
The Shelter Pet Project– Find a Shelter