The Best Thing About Fostering Dogs No One Talks About

Layla the foster beagle in the snow.

Darn right they better think seriously before bringing me home. I’m worth it!

Update: Layla just went home with her name family a short time ago. They’re a wonderful couple with a large, mellow lab/hound mix. Everyone will have an adjustment period but I suspect they’ll be very happy together.

We all know about the joys of puppy breath. The feeling of satisfaction from helping a suffering dog. And the great tax benefits of fostering animals. :)

But what’s the high point of fostering no one talks about?

Helping families find their forever friend.

Adopting a Dog is a Big Decision

You know what it’s like to search for the right dog. You’ve been there yourself.

  • Reviewing shelter and rescue websites.
  • Doing daily searches on PetFinder when you’re supposed to be working.
  • Trying to understand a dog’s personality based on a picture and a carefully worded description.

Then, when you find a dog you just can’t get out of your mind, you arrange to meet her. And figure out in a short visit if she’ll fit into your family—if you can learn to love each other.

Talking to Potential Adopters

I love meeting and talking to potential adopters.

I even like it when a potential adopter decides a dog isn’t for him. Because that shows how seriously they’re taking this process.

Layla got to visit with a family for a second time yesterday. She had to meet more members of the family. It doesn’t sound like she’s found her home with this family. And that’s wonderful.

I’m thrilled that someone only wants to adopt the dog they know they can love and care for her whole life long.

She’ll be meeting another family this morning. Although we don’t have a Vanna White cat to show off her best traits, this family will get to see Layla in a home setting with her full personality on display. Their own dog will be there to offer his opinion of her as well.

I hope they all love each other.

But if not, I’ll be happy to see this family keep looking until they find the right dog to fit into their lives.

She’s Family

People I have talked to about my foster dogs aren’t just looking for a dog. They’re looking for a family member.

It’s exciting to be a part of their search. I love hearing their questions. And I know some dog will be very lucky to find her home with them.

It gives me hope to meet so many caring pet people. It’s the best thing about fostering that everyone forgets to tell you.

Whether you foster or not, what do you see as the biggest sign that people are taking pet adoption more seriously?

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Comments

  1. When I was on my search for Sampson, I was super picky. I dragged Hubby all over the place, held more puppies than I can remember and still kept saying ‘No.’

    At that time I was simply looking for a dog, well we know how that worked out. This guy got into my heart and changed my life. Now, I’m not so sure I could look at a dog in need and say no. Which (besides worrying about how S & D would get along with another dog) is one of the main reasons I am not fostering. I would have too many dogs. :-)

    I think the situation might be different if I only had one dog, but two is really a lot to handle for one person. I’m glad there are people like you, willing to help out and give these guys a chance.

    You rock Pamela! Best of luck to Layla today.

  2. We’ve fostered numerous dogs and adopted 3 shelter pups ourselves. When we first started fostering, our dogs were older and model citizens, so a new foster easily fit in. But I notice as each of them passed on and we brought a new dog into the home, that evaluation process became more and more important. So few people think about how a dog will fit with their lifestyle, their home, their family – you’re right, the more time they take to evaluate the better and the more likely it will be the right fit. Hope Layla finds that home today!

  3. It’s great that the families knew she wasn’t the dog for them. When looking for another dog a couple months after Sephi died, my husband and I looked at a number of dogs. But Pierson was the only one that clicked. He’s been an absolute joy. I hope Layla finds that right family too!

  4. I agree with you! When we fostered, I saw lots of meetings with people who weren’t the right fit. I even spoke to our group president about it at times and said that the dog just couldn’t go with a certain family, and it all worked out. Most of them found perfect fits with forever homes, as far as I know. I can still remember one puppy we fostered, who turned a year old while we had her. She had a bad leg that had been stepped on by her mother when she was really little, but it didn’t hold her back at all! She was a pistol, into everything. Her adopters chose her just before Christmas, but had to be out of state for the week, so we agreed to keep her here until they got back. When they pulled up a couple of days after Christmas, the back seat was PILED up with things for her; new beds, toys, a blanket, bags of food. They had thought of everything for this girl. And after they coaxed her into the back seat and onto her new bed, the woman sat in the back seat with her as they drove off. I am pretty sure I saw Sadie drive off into the sunset to be one of the most spoiled dogs of all time. I still can’t help smiling about it!

  5. P.S. I’m sure you can still find a great Vanna White cat! It’s never too late for that!

  6. I have experienced this first hand when we adopted Meadow, and back when we adopted our doberman, Harley, too. I had SO MANY questions for their foster moms to make sure they were a good fit. And when I was considering getting a fourth for a while there, I spoke with two foster homes for Labs I was interested and decided they were not a good fit after speaking with them.

    With all that said, I hope Layla does find her forever family soon. Maybe even the people she was meeting this morning. Good luck! :-)

  7. We were lucky in the end. First few times at one rescue we were paired up with exactly the kind of dogs we didn’t want. We left in disgust and found a local rescue on line. After being checked etc Pippin stormed into our life and it was like she had always been there. Molly crashed landed in our lives 7 years later. We believe we have been very fortunate to have two great rescue dogs. Have a super Saturday.
    Best wishes Molly

  8. I love how instead of being disappointed for Layla, you have the big picture for her as well as the potential families in your mind! That is truly a great perspective!

  9. You definitely have the right idea. Our local shelter director told me about a recent adoption who was returned. They wanted a Cocker Spaniel and even though she warned them that the breed tended to bite when provoked, they returned the dog in a week because she bit the children. Now she has to find a childless home for the dog or she is doomed.

  10. I love when someone asks about the negatives (not a great word for what I’m thinking, but the only one coming to mind right now) of a particular pet, breed or species. We all have different levels of tolerance. Some of us may tolerate a dog that digs or a bird that screams, while other won’ts. Knowing what behaviors might not work in your household and finding a pet that fits in I think will help make that home a forever home.

  11. I think people take getting a pet far more seriously these days than in days of ‘old’ …like when I was a kid. This new awareness, I believe, is largely due to the attention Animal Planet, Cesar Milan AND bloggers like you who spread the word. Keep up the good work! Happy Saturday.

  12. PetFinder has changed the world of pet adoption. And I think “education” – about shelter and animals, puppy and kitten mills, the stupid reasons some people dump animals, and just all the great rescue stories are helping pet adoptions. Hopefully animal shelters are becoming more humane (mine is) and really trying to save animal lives (rather than just tackle the problem of homeless animals). I agree with you: there’s nothing like the “high” you get when you see an animal placed in a great home and you know you were a big part of the process.

  13. I truly believe in the whole fostering process. The dogs are given a much better chance of ending up in a home that is suited to their needs. I think anyone that is willing to go through the process of adopting through a rescue group is someone with the patience to find the right dog. Layla is a sweetie, I hope she finds her forever home soon!

  14. It has to be a wonderfully rewarding experience to be the conduit that puts a dog together with the people who will love her forever. I hope that Layla’s meeting went well today and even if this isn’t the right fit for her and them, it’s good to know she has a fantastic temporary home with lots of love in the meantime.

  15. So well said! We have only fostered once. My biggest fear was that when the time came I wouldn’t want to give him up. But we had such a great experience, and even though he’s likely long forgotten us, I know we made an important contribution to his life and happiness.

  16. YESH!! I love many questions, I love potential adopters thinking things through and I LOVE dogs finding their final homes; I don’t want them back, I want the family and dog to be very, very happy for a very, very long time. Last weekend, I had a couple look at the Beagles here and at Safe Harbor, my companion sanctuary – they adopted a Beagle from Safe Harbor who had been through the Prison Training Program (Go, Jail Dogs!) and who was ready to step into a home fully trained and house trained. I would rather people change their minds than take home a dog on a whim; I don’t allow whims. Even at adoption events, dogs don’t go home the same day since references need to be checked out. Thank you and I agree, Petfinder made a huge difference in pet adoption and the No Kill Movement cont. to raise conscioiusness re: the treatment and re-homing of animals in need.

  17. I fostered motherless kittens, what a joy. It was hard when they left me but so happy they found forever homes. I also had cats at a Petsmart. My volunteers and myself always knew if the cat and people were right for each other. The rescue, that we worked with had all kind of rules that were stupid. We had cats stay with us longer then they would have if they would have allowed our thoughts to count.
    I have been thinking of fostering a dog but I have 4 dogs and 4 cats. This past year several of my cats went to the Rainbow Bridge. I am not not ready to foster. My cats are not ready. Some day, when we are not grieving I hope to foster a dog. When the time is right.

  18. I know it’s best for a family to get the pup who fits the family, and I know this may sound dumb, but I really feel sorry for the pup who’s being evaluated by a family. This particularly true for a shelter dog sitting in a cage. When someone comes up to the cage, the pup gets so excited because he thinks that someone is taking him.

  19. Nobody can better speak for the pup than the foster parents to be sure it’s a good fit. Thanks for this post!

  20. Congratulations to Layla, and to you!

  21. Great points! So happy that Layla found a home; thanks for fostering her!

    I’m certainly thinking about all of this, now that we’ve brought in our first foster. I hope he will find the perfect family for him soon!

  22. So happy to come back and see that she was adopted and even has a new canine friend. :-)

  23. My photos turn out great! But that’s because for every good one, there are hundreds that aren’t good. Thank Dog for digital cameras!

  24. Thank you for this terrific article! Much Love doesn’t have a facility, so we rely on foster parents to take care of our animals. We’re always looking for more fosters, and this article will certainly encourage more people to give it a try.

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