Daisy has found her forever home. She has a German Shepherd to play with regularly, and her mom walks a mile every morning. Since that’s all she would walk with me, this is perfect. Her family had suddenly lost their older dog to cancer, Daisy is happily filling the void that their dog left in their home.
Daisy is a lovely dog who deserved a wonderful pet home. She could have easily stayed with me, but she would not have thrived here. I am a person who requires my dogs to get out and do things or spend time training and learning new skills. Daisy did not enjoy either of those things so placing her in a home that would not require her to learn to retrieve a duck, or have a fancy heel was in her best interest.
Sometimes that realization is a difficult one to reach. Daisy’s first family realized they loved her dearly, but they were not able to give her the life she needed. Just as I realized Daisy would not be happiest here in my chaos, I’m glad she was able to stay with me for a bit so I could learn who she was and where she needed to be.
How to find your next pet
Fostering is a great way to decide if a dog is a good fit for your family. There are so many rescue groups that cannot function without foster families. Our local shelters also depend on foster families to help relieve the overflow inside the shelter, and also learn what the dogs are like outside of that stressful environment.
Shelter dogs change so much once they have a chance to decompress from the upheaval of ending up in the building, leaving the family they knew and being surrounded by other barking dogs. In a foster home, even temporarily, can tell potential adopters about their behavior inside a home. Things like, “are they house trained” “are they active or a couch potato” “do they get along with cats and other dogs” are all critical questions for the shelter staff to help direct potential adopters to the right match. Bringing a dog home temporarily, also helps the shelter staff better care for the other animals that are being brought into the shelter as strays or surrenders that might need medical care or a little TLC before being adopted.
Fostering also helps you decide if you are ready for the “next dog.” By fostering, you invite the new dog into your home to see how you and your family adjust to having one more being. If after a few weeks you decide that its not time for “next dog” or your current dogs are not ready, then you get to provide the shelter or rescue with valuable information on where the dog in your care will thrive.
Not sure you are ready for a fostering commitment?
Becoming a volunteer with a local rescue or shelter is also incredibly important and fulfilling. Attending adoption events and walking the shelter dogs for a few hours also helps with the critical overflow our shelters are experiencing. The more people who volunteer, the less time the dogs spend in their kennels, the better their behavior in the long run.
Many of our shelter also run “field trip” programs where you can “rent a dog” for a few hours to get them out of the shelter. When you return, you fill out a field trip report telling potential adopters how the dog acted while you were away, and what you did together. This is a great way to give back to our shelter system without too much long term commitment. And the dogs love it!