Every year, thousands of lovely dogs find themselves in animal shelters all across the country waiting to be adopted, but sadly, around 20% of them won’t make it out alive.
Most people don’t realize how many dogs are euthanized every year—over 4 million—and this number seems to be rising.
Here, we’ll share eight common myths about fostering rescue dogs—because it’s vital you know the facts before you bring a foster dog into your home.
Before you assume that the only thing you need to know about fostering a rescued dog is to show up with food, a leash, and a crate, there are a few other things you should know.
There are many myths about fostering rescued dogs that we’d like to dispel so that you can be a better foster parent.
1. You cannot go on vacation when you foster.
Some dog lovers foster dogs to give them a temporary home until they find a permanent family to adopt them. But others foster dogs so they can take them on vacation with them.
Fostering a dog is a great way to give a dog a vacation while also giving you the experience of being a dog owner.
When you’re a foster, you can never go on vacation. Dogs in shelters are often stuck there for various reasons, and when you foster a dog, you’re giving them a vacation from a place that’s not fun for them.
It’s up to you to give them a vacation, and that means you need to make sure to find a place that will take care.
2. Fostering is not good for resident pets.
There’s a common misconception that the only people in the animal adoption community who oppose the practice of foster-to-adopt are those who are not currently fostering.
Aspiring pet parents who wish to involve rescue pets in their family are often deterred by people who warn them that fostering will make their resident dog jealous or stressed.
In reality, fostering is just like having another dog in the family. You may have to make slight adjustments to your in-home routine, but your resident dog will adjust quickly and will most likely enjoy the extra company.
3. There are lots of people who are fostering, so they don’t need anymore.
It’s not unusual that people who are thinking about fostering a dog ask themselves: will a foster dog need special care? The quick answer is “no.”
The longer answer is that most dogs who need homes are cared for by dedicated professionals who know each dog’s needs. There are still lots of dogs who are seeking for home and family.
4. You need a big house to be able to foster one.
When you decide to become a foster family, it’s not uncommon to wonder about how much space you’ll need. Will you have to build a new kennel?
Will you have to build an outdoor play area? Will you have to take down a wall in your kitchen to make room for a dog crate? The answer is a big, definitive “It depends.”
5. You’re not qualified.
The main reason why people do not foster is that they believe they are not qualified. We are here to convince you that you are making a wonderful difference by giving a rescue dog a chance. There are so many misconceptions about fostering dogs.
6. You need to have special skills.
Fostering a dog for a rescue group sounds like a no-brainer. After all, you’re saving a life; isn’t that a good thing? It can be, but only if you’re prepared for the commitment.
The rescue group’s job is to match you with the right dog for your household, and they won’t do that if you don’t know what you’re getting into.
You don’t have special skills to be able to foster a dog. Instead, you only need to give love and care for them.
7. Only the sick dogs are being fostered.
When a rescue group asks a pet owner to foster a dog or cat, it’s not always a request. Often, it’s a demand. The animal needs a new home, and the pet parent is the only person they can think of to step up.
It’s not easy taking in a pet in need of medical care, but if you’re a pet owner with space and financial means to help, what’s the harm in trying?
But most importantly, not all foster dogs are sick. There are also healthy ones that are seeking shelter and family.
8. It is so hard to keep them permanently.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of dogs are at risk of euthanasia in the U.S. due to overpopulation. While most people will agree that spaying and neutering your dogs is the best solution, it doesn’t consider the working dogs, the guard dogs, the dogs that live in multi-dog households, or the family pets that are simply not up to date with their shots. For these dogs, there are a few options available:
- They can be humanely euthanized.
- The dog can be adopted from a shelter.
- They can be fostered.
If you choose to foster, you take the dog into your home, socialize them with your family, and work with them to help them get comfortable.
Well, keeping them comfortable with you will take time but not that too long.
To people who have never fostered a rescue dog, the entire process can seem a bit daunting. One of the most common myths is that the foster dog will be skittish and afraid.
Fear not! Rescue dogs are often more well-adjusted than shelter dogs. They’re happier because they know they have a place to live, and they’re calmer because they’ve already had at least one home and know what that’s like.
They’re also more used to being around people and other dogs, so fostering is often easier.
Benefits of dog fostering
Adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue organization seems like a great way to bring a dog into your life. After all, you save a dog that might otherwise be euthanized. But you also introduce a dog into your home that has a variety of unknowns:
- How it will get along with other dogs.
- How it will behave when left alone.
- How it will handle the stress of children or other pets in your home.
- How it will behave on walks.
If the dog is a larger breed, whether will you be able to walk it at all?
You also have no idea how long the dog has been in a shelter or rescue and how difficult it may be housebroken.
Fostering a dog can be a great way to help an animal in need, but it may also be a great way to help yourself. As a foster parent, you won’t only be caring for a dog that needs a home—you’ll be caring for yourself, too.
Fostering is a great way to work with dogs that might not be a good fit for your family but could be a great fit for someone else’s. Fostering is also a great way to make a difference in the lives of many dogs at once.
Dogs are divided into many different categories, and most people are familiar with the distinction between pure-breeds and mutts. But even among dogs of the same breed, not all are born the same.
A “purebred” dog is one whose parents are registered with the American Kennel Club or a similar registry. Still, there is a range of physical and behavioral traits, or “character,” within each breed.
As if that weren’t complicated enough, “rescue dogs” can come from many different backgrounds. Some may have been used as breeding animals, abandoned by families, or rescued from abusive or neglectful situations.
If you want to help but don’t want to commit to adopting, fostering is a great option. Many shelters and rescue organizations are desperate for foster families, and it can be a tremendously rewarding experience.
Some organizations even pair you with a dog who needs help with a specific problem, such as shyness or aggression.
Many rescue dogs are starting to feel the effects of age. It’s a natural part of life, but it can be a struggle for the dogs and a hard decision for their owners.
Should I give up my dog because he is getting old? The answer to this question is no. The answer is to do everything you can to keep your dog healthy and happy.
When you rescue a dog, both of you get to live a better life. When you foster a rescued dog, you not only get to experience a better life, you get to give a dog a better life.
Rescue dogs are also given priority at adoption clinics, shelters, and humane organizations. Many adopted dogs came from shelters and needed socialization skills and training.
There are hundreds of thousands of dogs in shelters waiting for their forever homes. If you’re an animal lover, it’s a great idea to consider rescuing a dog instead of buying one from a pet store or breeder.