Fostering Dogs…yes…no…maybe?

Anyone who reads the blog knows I really like dogs.  Since Pepper passed away, I’ve been thinking about getting another dog.  We don’t want an outside dog..we’d want an inside dog but then we’re not sure if we actually do.  When Kelli brings Puppycat home, Ruby doesn’t listen quite as good…Puppycat doesn’t listen quite as good.  That leaves Hubby saying NO-one dog.

That led me to thinking about possibly doing foster care for one of the shelters in the area.  I talked to Hubby about that and he was willing to try that if I wanted.  I had thought about that when Pepper was still with us but didn’t think she would appreciate another dog around here.  Yet, I am hesitant too.  Have any of you done foster care??

This little guy was a dog I might have been able to foster.

Humphrey-COME MEET ME!!

or maybe these pups…


Truth be told…I would probably be pretty sad if I had to let one of these go to someone else as beagles are my favorite dog ever.

Maybe if I fostered a different breed it wouldn’t be as hard to let them go….maybe I just need to work on Hubby more and see if we can have two dogs.

Kelli and I have watched lots of The Dog Whisperer.  People often bring in another dog and it doesn’t go well.  Then part of me says to wait until we get moved.  then..then…then.  I just don’t know what to do and truth be told, if I begged he’d probably let me get another and I’m not against begging…I am really leaning towards fostering though.

So have any of you fostered dogs…how is it?  Can you let them go?  Part of me knows I just need to have the attitude that I have to work with them to make them as adoptable as possible and that it’s a job more than anything.  I know I need to teach so the chances of the next home being the forever home are much higher.  I’ve been sad with the passing of a pet but not devastated that I couldn’t have a dog again so I think I can do this.  Feel free to chime in with some advice.  I’d really like to hear lots so I can make a good decision on this.

16 thoughts on “Fostering Dogs…yes…no…maybe?”

  1. Interesting. We always had one dog – farm dog – because there is such a problem with behavior and learning and maintaining commands. And we had working dogs – herding cattle, or pigs (the worse) or sheep – even the kids at times. And they were used for hunting – a lot of silent hand commands to be learned. My daughter is fostering a dog right now and they are leaning toward keeping him – excellent behavior, great with the kids and someone trained him really well – and she feels the same – one dog.

  2. My son and family do rescue for Boykin spaniels. From a one dog family they are now a three
    dog family. They end up loving them to much to send them on there way.

  3. I fostered for about a year. Would never do it again. Most dogs were very sick, many trips to vet. In our case, the dogs were adopted after only spending a few minutes with the family. I often got the dog back in a few days as the people were really unprepared for the responsibility. This meant driving to where ever they lived to get the dog quickly so they wouldn’t leave it in unsafe places.

    Now, on the plus side, it costs you nothing. We kept some really sweet dogs. But we also got dogs that were really hard to handle. It was fun having different breeds. Don’t regret doing it. Good luck

    Many people in our group ended up loving the foster so much, they kept the dogs. And really loved them.

  4. I live in the UK and used to foster Beagles for our Beagle rescue organisation over here. It is a wonderful and very rewarding thing to do – BUT you really do have to steel yourself to let them go. . We had some lovely dogs through our doors and our other dogs were very tolerant (we have two Beagles and a Springer Spaniel). We also had some very sad cases. I could have kept every single one of them but I always told myself that if they went to their forever homes then I could help the next one, and the next one. It’s also very hard work by the way. Foster dogs need lots more attention than your own dogs do – by their very nature they are insecure as they are between homes and many have been neglected or mistreated. Good luck.

  5. I think all your concerns are realistic.
    Have you considered adopting an older already trained dog that lost it’s owner?
    So many pets are given up when their elderly owner either passes or goes into assisted care.
    These animals are traumatized over their change in life.
    My experience are that shelter pets are the best. Both of mine were castoffs and they were really special…full grown too and trained. I had them well into their late teens.
    ….Something to consider.

  6. I have been fostering for about five years. I love it most of the times. My foster organization would never place sick dogs on a foster home and has a great application process, I am shocked at Kathy’s experience. There have been dogs I cried when they were adopted and dogs I cheered when they left. And of course the dog and a few cats I couldn’t let go of.

    Most of the dogs just need love and rules to become a happy dog. They thrive under loving care and you would never know that they had a rough start in life. Many dogs are great dogs whose family can no longer keep them for various reasons. Some, puppy mill dogs in particular, need lots of love and patience and may never become typical pets. They break my heart. But most puppy mill dogs can learn to love and trust like any dog, they are just much harder to reach.

    I say go for it. Fostered dogs have a much better adoption rate then sheltered dogs because we know the dogs and can better match them with adoptors. Dogs in shelters are not really themselves. And you should be able to return the dog if fostering does not work out. I would love to talk more about it so email me if you want to hear more. I am nearly as crazy about animals as I am about quilting!

  7. Hi Jo, I am in the UK and foster ex-racing greyhounds, it is a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. Many of the dogs have never been anywhere but kennels and racetracks so their reactions to everyday (to us) objects and events can be hilarious. Imagine if you hadn’t ever seen glass doors, stairs, sofas or heard a washing machine, hairdryer or vacuum cleaner. I can heartily recommend fostering although you may find it difficult to take the first one back, it gets easier especially when you remind yourself that you are helping in a good cause. Debbie.x

  8. I would really think about fostering. I have wanted to but I know that after having a dog with me for a few days I would not be able to let them go. As far your first dog not listening when you adopt another dog,I have noticed that every time I get a new dog. Just keep with the training and they will fall in place again. At least that is what I noticed.

  9. Suzanne McFadden

    I’ve fostered cats (not dogs) for several months. It is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Many of them come with upper respiratory infections, but administering the drugs isn’t hard. Tomorrow, I’ll be taking a feral cat I’ve fostered for 3 months to his new home. When he came, he spent the first month hiding. He now lets me pet and love on him.

    Be realistic about what you can handle. You won’t regret it. Yes, it’s hard to let them go, but alas, there’s a never-ending supply of animals who need loving homes. It’s a really good feeling when you can help them find one!

  10. I think that, now that I have had animals (bottle fed goats) who were born on our farm but left for different homes, I could foster dogs or cats. All three of our current dogs were rescues of one form or another. We have brought them around by just being patient. But if for some reason they needed to go live with another family, I could do that. I have had a dog in my life who I could have never given up – but only one.

    If you are worried about how Ruby and another dog would get along, try this idea from a friend of mine: She was going back to work and thought her only-dog needed a friend, so she took her dog to the animal shelter and let the _dog_ pick out her own friend. My (human) friend said that she would have picked a dog that looked a lot like hers, but her dog picked out one much different. The two dogs do, and always have, gotten along splendidly.

  11. We foster Airedales (ADT) through an ADT rescue organization. I love the breed but they can be quite the pills sometimes – very independent, strong-willed, clownish, etc. I’m grateful to be able to help these homeless terriers. Many times they’ve been given up because the owners didn’t know what they were getting into — didn’t know the breed well enough to know how to train them. All that being said, if you foster through an organization that is supportive (i.e., has people you can call when there’s a problem you don’t know how to handle, has information about helping a foster dog, etc.) , I should think it would be very worthwhile and fulfilling, for both you and the dog. The foster dogs usually need limits and then help staying within the limits. There are some wonderful books that would be helpful. Carol Lea Benjamin has written several about helping foster dogs and Patricia McConnell’s book, The Other End of the Leash, is excellent. She also has a blog (

    I wish you all the best in your decision.

    P.S. About giving them up: go into it with the mindset that this dog will be leaving in a few weeks and NOT with the mindset that you’re going to adore this dog and not want to give him/her up.

  12. Have you considered whether a cat would fit the bill? Depending on the breed, some behave very much like dogs, and are great company for people and other pets, and are small/med dog size. My maine coon comes when I call, chases paper balls, snuggles besides me or at my feet, and got along great with my Australian terrier…they used to play together a lot.

  13. I think you may enjoy fostering. Even though you will get attached in your heart you know that you are helping this dog(s) to find their forever home(s.) I haven’t fostered but volunteered at an animal shelter. I spent one on one time with as many of the bigger kennel dogs that I could. Depending on the individual dogs needs, we’d have lovin’ time, fetch time, walk time and/or brushing time. Each dog was different and it depended on what the dog wanted that day. For example the older arthritic dogs would have shorter walk than a puppy or younger dog, but more brush time and hug time. It took no time at all to fall in love with every single one of them. People that foster get dogs out of the kennel environment which does the dogs a lot of good. Kennel living beats the alternative but is not a natural life for a dog. One thing I noticed about every single dog at the shelter is that they were very eager to please and thrived on the desperately needed attention they received.

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