9 Things You Must Have to Foster a Dog

Today I planned to post my first home shot video. But I didn’t have time to edit it. You see, we have a new foster dog in the house. And a foster dog trumps professional-looking video.

I thought you’d agree.

Golden Retriever

So who are you and how long are you staying? Oh, and can I eat your kibble?

Never Foster a Dog Without…

1. Paper towels and rags. Lots and lots of paper towels and rags.


2. An exercise pen or baby gates.


3. Extra food and water bowls.


4. A camera for taking lots of cute pictures.


5. Toys that your own dog doesn’t like.


6. Lots of extra room in the house.


7. The ability to say good bye without crying.


8. More time than you know what to do with.


9. An open heart. And if you have that, you don’t really need 1-8 at all.


Mixed breed foster dog from Tompkins County SPCA

I’m ready for my close-up.

Meet Chérie

Chérie will be with us for a couple weeks for “confidence-building.” She’s a very sweet 1 1/2 year old who loves to cuddle and wags to beat the band. She’s calm and gentle meeting other dogs.

Nice bonus–she’s house trained.

Certain things make her nervous: rolling wheels, piles of stones in the dark, a turned up floor mat. But I think with a gentle person at her side, she’ll blossom into a confident little girl.

She has the face and coat of a Beagle. But she has mottled black spots and one blue eye that reminds me of an Australian Shepherd.

For now, we’re keeping the foster and Honey separated as Cherie was spayed yesterday morning. We’ve gotta give a girl time to heal.

Chérie will make one lucky Ithaca family a very good friend.

Name a Dog Who Inspires You; Win a Pet Portrait

Yesterday I announced that SureFlap Microchip Pet Doors is looking to name their new dog mascot. And they want to name him for an inspirational dog. Click here or on the terrier in the right column to name the dog who inspires you for a chance to win a custom pet portrait. And hurry. The contest ends August 17.

What’s the one thing you’d absolutely need to foster a dog? Or the thing you most wished you had when fostering?

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  1. What a pretty girl! Thank you so much for fostering her. I SO want to foster one day. Right now I am short on number 6 from your list, and I won’t know about number 7 until I try.

  2. I’ve never met a foster who didn’t cry…a lot…part and parcel of the experience. And oh, so worth it. Best wishes to you, and a happy forever home for Cherie!

  3. Fostering is great! Cherie is lovely – what a wonderful American Dog (aka mutt). Wonderful list. Another thing I’m learning about fostering is to ask many questions of the group for whom you are fostering: what do they expect, who do you contact for emergencies, who pays for what; most of this is covered in the foster contract. One group I foster for is more laissé faire; another has scads and scads of paperwork – both want what’s best for the dogs.
    I have one foster home for my rescue dogs and she is GREAT. Thank you for fostering :) – plus, Cherie and Honey will play non-stop once Cherie is out. I so agree about keeping the newbie foster separate for a bit if just for adjustment.

  4. I have thought about fostering dogs from time to time because I definitely have #9 plus a lot of compassion and some basic training skills. However, everywhere I have looked into fostering from wants to call my landlord to make sure it is ok. I think that is the right thing to do but I highly doubt my landlord would say yes :(

  5. We fostered several dogs for our local golden retriever rescue and I helped out by doing home visits for potential adopters. Cali especially liked one of the boys that we fostered – it was ALMOST a foster fail :) I enjoyed it . . but the cats – not so much!!

  6. Awww! She’s precious! I can’t wait to hear how the confidence-building goes!

  7. She’s a beauty Pamela, I’m sure with your patience and love she will gather the confidence she needs.

    I don’t foster at the moment because I’m afraid I would be a failure. :-) Honestly I would have 100 dogs if I could manage it. :-)

    I applaud you, it’s not something I could do.

  8. Hoping to have more time and space to foster some day.
    Cherie is adorable!

  9. Before I could foster I would need the city to change the ordinance about the number of dogs they approve of in each household. The limit is three and I need to keep a low profile with four. I think a foster dog might blow my low profile.

  10. What a cutie! I bet she finds a home soon! Fostering is a lot of fun, but it is definitely a big job.

  11. aww thats a shame she’s scared, hope she comes out her shell a bit in her time with you

  12. Such a great post and of course a beautiful foster. I will have to repost on my site, but I love that I am still not organized enough to have half the things on this list. Cheers!

  13. LOL! I loved your caption for Honey looking into the xpen. I believe Jasper would have the very same thoughts running through his head.

    All good advice for having a foster dog or a houseguest. Cherie is lucky to have a foster mom who has been working very hard at helping her own dog gain confidence with a bicycle cart. She couldn’t have had a better foster mom. I hope she does well under your, and Honey’s, tutelage. :)

  14. No excuse for no video! I almost never edit mine and sure, they probably look like crap, but in my opinion one doesn’t need to look professional in order to entertain. It’s a blog, not a Hollywood film, right? Join me on the dark side with unedited glory!

    For now I will settle for that adorable photo of Chérie with her paws on the gate. She is smaller than I thought, but oh so cute.

    • Join you on the dark side, huh? So that’s what Darth Vader was talking about! :)

      Unedited isn’t the problem. 5 minutes of footage probably is. I’m already known for writing really wordy posts. I don’t want the double reputation of shooting really long videos. :)

  15. While I would love to foster there are quite a few reasons why I don’t/won’t/can’t. None of them are insurmountable singly but put them all together and fostering becomes wishful thinking.

    I have great admiration for those who do foster, it’s such a wonderful thing to do for those animals in need while they wait for their forever homes. I’m sure Cheri won’t have long to wait though, so I’d enjoy her while you can, Pamela. She’s a charmer for sure:)

  16. I don’t know how anyone survives #7. Cherie is beautiful and I’d have such a hard time letting her go. (Heck, I’m hoping you can convince her new owners to start a blog so we can continue to follow her progress. 😉 But fostering is sooooo important to the animal rescue movement.

    Unfortunately I could add a #10 to your list and that is a dog that won’t fight with your foster dog. We should have fostered when we had Beau – he’d have been a perfect mentor. (For that matter we should have done therapy with him, too, but I digress…) If we ever get Bella to a place where we know she won’t be damaged herself by bringing another dog into the house, I would love to foster. In the meantime, I’m so glad there are people like you out there helping dogs like Cherie.

    • We need both foster homes and permanent homes for dogs who don’t have all the advantages in life. By giving Bella a happy home, you’re making such a big contribution. She may never feel comfortable with strange dogs in the house. But you’ve certainly turned her life around.

      I used to feel so guilty for getting Honey from a breeder. I know there are calm, steady dogs in shelters that could do what she’s doing. But I’m not sure I have the skills to find one.

      But when I see how easy she makes it to bring foster dogs into the house, I manage to stuff down the guilt for just a few minutes. She’s doing her part too. :)