Why Foster A Dog?

 

“Fostering a dog is not a lifetime commitment, it is a commitment to saving a life.”

This is the watchword of rescue groups everywhere.

To foster a dog is, quite simply, to save that dog’s life. A foster home provides that same dog with a safe, temporary place of refuge until he is ultimately placed in a permanent, adoptive home.

Most rescues rely solely on a network of dedicated, volunteer foster homes, and could not survive without them. And rescues NEVER have enough foster homes.  Why? Because there are more dogs in need than there are foster homes available to meet that need.

There are many benefits to fostering, many pleasant surprises and many unexpected rewards. Foster parents, past and present, describe it as one of the most memorable and gratifying experiences of their lives.

Fostering is both a way of enriching the lives of the dogs and people involved, and a constructive way for people to give back to their communities. Fostered dogs can provide hours of entertainment and love for their humans, and provide valuable life lessons for adults and children alike.

By taking a deserving dog into their homes, fosters increase that dog’s chances of being adopted. Foster families have the time and the ability to transform their foster dog, through one-on-one contact, exercise and training, into a pet any person or family would be proud to call their own.

Fostering provides a needy dog with a stable environment, coupled with love, attention and affection. While the foster family provides the food, the rescue usually provides everything else, including payment of all medical costs to ensure the dog’s ongoing health and well being.

Fosters are the essential eyes and ears of rescue. By spending every day with their foster dog, fosters will learn all they can about his particular personality. They will be able to identify any behavioral issues that need to be addressed, then work on addressing them.

If fosters already have a dog – either their own or another foster — in residence, all the better. The more animals their foster dog meets, the more socialized he will become, the more easily he will handle stress, and the more relaxed he will be around strangers. And it’s a simple matter to add another warm, furry body to their own dog’s daily walks, meal and potty schedules.

For those who have never owned a dog, fostering provides them with the unique opportunity of seeing if they themselves are suited for permanent pet parenthood.

But fostering a dog is NOT a form of trial adoption for that particular dog. There is even a term for it: foster failure. The most successful fosters are those who, despite being emotionally invested, know that they are a stepping stone towards their foster dog’s future. And that as one successfully fostered dog leaves their home, another needy and deserving dog is waiting to enter it.

Ultimately, then, fostering a dog saves not just one life, but two.

BEING CAUTIOUS IS COOL THIS SUMMER

Picture yourself on a sweltering summer day in a long winter coat. Are you hot yet? Are you itchy or thirsty? Are you desperately searching for shade?

Now picture your dogs on that same summer day. And you’ll have some idea of how THEY feel.

Protecting them from the hot sun, hot air and hot ground is essential to keeping them safe outside. All it requires is common sense and some advance planning.

Here are some suggestions:

For dogs with particularly thick or heavy coats, have a groomer lightly trim them back.

Guard against sunburn by applying either a child’s SPF 45 sun block or a specially formulated animal sunscreen to the tips of your dog’s ears, the nose and the belly.

Whether on a porch, patio or lawn, create a shaded area using planters or shrubbery.

Set up a makeshift canopy using a blanket draped across two chairs.

Limit your dog’s outdoor exercise.

Take your walks early in the morning or when the sun is setting. If the day’s particularly hot and humid, forego your walks altogether.

Turn on a garden sprinkler and let your dog run through it or fill a specially constructed doggy pool with water for him to lie in or splash about in.

Keep your dog’s water bowl filled, cool, and free of floating debris.

Avoid hot asphalt, which can quickly burn the pads of your dog’s paws. Place the back of your hand on the sidewalk or road pavement. If you can’t keep your hand there for seven seconds, then it’s too hot for your dog.

Wherever possible, walk your dog on the grass instead.

NEVER leave your dog unattended in the car. Whether in the shade with the windows cracked or with the motor running and the air conditioning on, your car can become a deathtrap within minutes.

Watch your dog for signs of heat exhaustion. Because dogs don’t sweat, their only way of cooling down is by panting or releasing heat through their paws.

Warning signs of heat exhaustion include exaggerated panting, excessive salivation, a vacant expression, restlessness or listlessness, trembling, and skin that’s hot to the touch.

If your dog is exhibiting any of these signs, get him into the shade as quickly as possible. Give him cool water to drink and either hose him down, cover him with cool, damp cloths or put him in a bathtub filled with cool water.

If your dog’s condition worsens, seek immediate medical attention.

To be a responsible pet owner is to be an informed pet owner.

The list of safety rules may seem long, but the hot days of summer are even longer.