The Truth About Fostering Dogs: Debunking Common Misconceptions [part 1]

Brieanah Schwartz

Fostering a dog can be one of the most rewarding things a dog lover can do to help a pup in need. At Caim, we are all about giving every dog the best chance possible to find their loving forever home, but that isn’t possible without the generosity of foster homes!

For those that may not know, fostering a pet in need involves bringing a rescue animal into your home and providing them with shelter and care for a predetermined amount of time or until a forever home is found. Fostering is a crucial part of animal rescue because it allows more dogs to be saved than a rescue can handle alone. 

When you foster, you’re changing the lives of every animal you open your home to. In this blog, we break down some of the most common concerns of first-time foster families so you know how it works, what to expect, and feel prepared to get in touch with a rescue or shelter today!

It’ll be too difficult for me to part with my foster dog when they get adopted.

Opening your home to an animal in need can be an emotional experience. And when it’s time for them to move on to their forever home, it will be a hard goodbye. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid fostering in the first place!

You will play a vital part in your foster’s rescue story. After all, without your willingness to open your home, their story could have ended very differently. In fact, because no one will know your foster pup better than you, many rescues will ask for your input as to what home would be best for your foster and seek your input on applications. Most importantly, by letting your foster move into their forever home, you’re able to help save another life and welcome in the next animal in need. 

Additionally, animals are incredibly adaptable. From our own experience, we’ve seen our fosters blend into their families and quickly forget that we were once “their human.” When your foster dog finds their forever home, you’ll both know it. It will be clear they belong with this new family. In the end, you’ll feel good knowing that because you said yes to fostering them, you helped make this happy ending possible.

In short, fostering can be an emotional experience but it is also incredibly rewarding. Try not to let the fear of parting with your foster keep you from helping save a life in the first place!

I won’t be able to give enough attention to the dog because my schedule is too hectic.

Many people are hesitant to foster because their schedules are unpredictable. The good news is that different rescues and animals have varying needs with respect to fostering timeframes. So, there is a good chance you can find a time commitment that will work for your schedule.

For example, sometimes an animal only needs someone when their current foster is on vacation, or if the rescue already has transport lined up to move them out of state but needs a temporary home until the animal’s departure date. In both of these scenarios, you'd help by fostering the animal for a shorter, known timeframe.

Even if you work long hours away from home or know you will be traveling for extended periods of time, your home is still a better place for that pup than the shelter! Plus, there are tons of strategies you can use to make their stay with you even more enjoyable, such as:

At the end of the day, it never hurts to simply start the conversation with your local rescue. They’ll be able to chat with you about their needs and how you can best support animals in need in your area!

I don’t have the money to care for an animal right now.

One of the benefits of fostering is that you get the perks of adoption without the costs. So, if you are interested in caring for a pet, but are not in a financial place to be able to afford one, fostering could be a great option for you.

When you open your home to a pet in need, the rescue will supply pet food, bedding, leash and collar, bowls, litter, and even cover veterinary care, so you don’t have to worry about incurring any financial expenses! 

In short, even if you are on a very tight budget you don’t have to let the costs of caring for an animal keep you from helping one in need!

I’m concerned that a foster dog won’t get along with my other animals.

Many first time fosters are dog owners themselves and they’re worried about their beloved pet getting along with a new foster pup. The truth is there are so many tools and strategies to help fostering be a carefree experience, even when you already have a four-legged friend at home!

Some of our favorites include:

Suffice it to say that if you feel called to be a foster pet parent, there are ways to help an animal in need and keep your beloved pet happy and healthy at the same time!

I’m worried about keeping my kids safe with a foster dog.

Aside from strays, one of the most common reasons an animal ends up in need of a foster is because of owner surrender. In fact, roughly 30% or more animals find themselves in a shelter this way. Because of this, oftentimes foster pups have some child experience!

For example, because it’s still unfortunately very common to gift a puppy for Christmas, shelters fill up with owner surrenders when the family realizes they can’t provide proper care for their new pet. But the good news is that these dogs have often been in homes with children. So, placing them in foster homes becomes an easier task!

In general, shelters usually have a litter of puppies to place or foster. Puppies are another wonderful option for anyone concerned about fostering with a family because they are too young to have any established negative views of people or other animals.

Our best advice is to be open with the rescues in your area about the ages of the children in your home. A rescue will be able to work with you to place the best animal possible in your home for your family to care for together. 

An added bonus to fostering with children is that it also allows you to expose them to what it would be like to own a pet of their own and provides them an opportunity to learn more about rescue in general. Fostering will help your kids learn a lot about animals, philanthropy, and self-esteem. Honestly, there’s nothing better than helping your child learn how they can help save a life!

Continue reading part 2.

Other blog posts you may be interested in...

The Foster Process
The Truth About Fostering Dogs: Debunking Common Misconceptions [part 2]