Adventures of Fostering a Dog (or many!)

Our superstar foster mom Lisa Baker shares her experience with fostering. Read on to find out what it's really like!

About a year ago, I decided to be a doggie foster parent. I had the space in my home and my heart and I knew what fostering could mean for a dog in need. I didn’t know about all the ups and downs that would come with fostering and each foster dog that stayed with me brought a new personality, a new challenge, and lots of love. I have now been part of the process of helping 9 dogs get to their forever homes. I’ve fostered puppies, adults, big dogs, and small ones. That’s one of the really fun parts about being a foster, you can have all different types of dogs stay with you. I have been willing to open my home to lots of different kinds of dogs but that doesn’t work for everyone and it’s not required to be a foster parent. Before fostering you will speak with the rescue group about what your lifestyle is like and what kind of dogs you are willing to take in.

The dog is here! When a new dog arrives the work and fun begins! Puppies are usually easy to bring into a new home and will be happy to play, love, and snuggle. They require all the usual training that a puppy brings. They need to learn where to go to the bathroom, where they will be sleeping, and their basic manners. The rescue will usually supply the majority of the supplies and pay for any vet care that’s required. Usually, the dog will feel a little hesitant in the first few days but as they become more comfortable their personalities start to shine! Don’t be surprised if your foster wakes you in the night needing a bathroom break or a comforting pat on the head, no one told them how long night time lasts. Adult dogs may have a bit more training under their belt depending on how they came into the rescue. They also could have certain behaviors that you might want to un-train and that can be harder than training from scratch. It’s common for adult rescue dogs to be scared of loud noises or new people or new dogs but not all are. Some adult dogs have come into my house and acclimated very easily while others have had a hard time getting used to their new surroundings. I’ve had adult dogs that never learned how to go up or down stairs or that lived outside their whole lives and didn’t understand why we would stay inside and then go outside for walks. All the dogs had one thing in common, they needed love, patience, and a place to crash. We had to figure out the rest as we went. If you need any support, Sochi Dogs will be there to help, guide, and support you.

Isn’t it hard to let them go? I’ve had sleepless night, chewed up shoes, vet visits, and more. The dogs I’ve fostered have stayed with me for a few days up to 5 weeks. Some dogs I’ve wanted to keep with all my heart and cried when they left. Other times I’ve breathed a sigh of relief when we found a dog their forever family because they were a lot of work. The most common question I get asked as a dog foster mom is “isn’t it hard to let them go” and the answer is: sometimes. One thing that can make it easier to let go is to foster dogs that are not perfect matches for you. For example, if you really like big dogs, foster little ones! You never really know who is going to steal your heart so if you do start feeling like you are growing attached to your foster dog just make sure to tell the rescue as soon as you can so that you can start discussing options. Foster parents will generally get priority in adopting a dog they are fostering.

A forever family is found! Get your camera ready; you can help your foster dog find it’s forever family by snapping lots of great pics. As you get to know your foster dog you will also learn what their behavior is like in a home, how well trained they are, and what kinds of likes and dislikes they have. These are important things to take note of and communicate back to Sochi Dogs so they can select the best family for the dog. Don’t be surprised if the rescue wants you to help in selecting a family. Since the foster parent has direct interaction with the dog, it can be easier for the foster family to talk to potential adopters to answer questions and see if it would be a good fit. When that special family is found you may also want to explain the kind of routine the dog has had in your home, what kind of food they are eating, etc. The day the dog goes home with their forever family is a special and bittersweet day. You will likely feel some mix of happy, sad, fulfilled, reward, emptiness, and accomplishment. Not to fear, that’s when you get a little break with less responsibility or you can start planning which dog you want to foster next.

Fostering a dog is a great way to get to “have” a dog without taking on the long-term responsibilities of adoption. It has its good days and bad days but in the end you are helping to save a dog’s life! Are you ready for fostering a Sochi Dog? Fill out a foster application today!