Why become a fosterer ?
I have been fostering for many years now, each dog is special to me and I always have a pang of sadness when each one leaves. Letting go can be very hard but I firmly believe that fostering is by far the most productive way that I, as just one normal (ish) person, can literally save lives. No matter how many rescue centres there are or how many kennel spaces they offer there will always be times when they reach saturation point and dogs have to be turned away. The fostering system can be used for, amongst other things, an over spill network.
For many dogs the kennelling system of rescue is a terrifying experience and many rescues will utilise fosterers to spare these cases the ordeal of spending weeks or months in an environment that could literally send them over the edge. Imagine you are a little lap dog, you have lived since eight weeks old with your quiet elderly owner. You have had a sheltered existence with very few visitors, you have been cherished and pampered for many years and have never known any other way of life.
Then one day, your elderly owner has to go into a retirement home, she cannot take you with her. All of a sudden you are plunged head first into a world of constant barking of a multitude of other, bigger dogs. You are fed by strangers but are too scared to eat. Gone are the quiet afternoons on your beloved owner’s lap and in their place is a plastic bed in the corner of a concrete kennel. At intervals, complete strangers poke their head around your kennel door and you are supposed to perform for them to make them want to take you home, but you are just too scared. You cower in the corner, shying away from a world that you cannot begin to understand.
Yes, as a fosterer it can hurt when a dog leaves, but to spare a dog an experience like the one I just described it is worth every tear.
Another reason to foster: it is a widely unknown fact that in pounds all round the UK, healthy dogs and puppies are destroyed every day simply because there is nowhere for them to go. Rescuers work tirelessly against a tide of ever flowing dogs. They find places for them in any rescues that can offer them room, but still some die. By fostering for a rescue you can clear a kennel space for one dog that otherwise may have died. Every life that is saved is a triumph.
Fostering for the Oldies Club
I love fostering for the Oldies Club. These dogs come from all walks of life as you will see from our Dogs in Oldies Club Care page. They have outgrown all the naughtiness of youth, they fit straight into your routines without a single quibble. Often they will arrive skinny and stressed and it is the most rewarding thing in the world to watch the years fall off them with proper care and a good diet. They fit in well with my own pack of dogs and are no bother at all to my dog-wise cats.
How to get started
First you must take a good, honest look at your domestic arrangements. You must talk the project through with every member of the household; if just one person is against the idea it is unlikely to work. Dogs can pick up instantly if there is tension in the household and will become stressed because of it. If you have any existing pets you must decide if it is fair on them to bring new dogs into their territory. If you have a problematic dog already another dog in the household can make the situation with that dog so much worse.
Are your children dog friendly? Many dogs in need of foster have been through troubled times, they need reassurance and kindness, they do not need rowdy children who won’t leave them alone when they are told. The golden rule with children and dogs is that when the dog is asleep or eating the children keep right away, if you do not feel your children are old enough to abide by that then you should wait a while longer before volunteering to foster.
With all that decided, your next step is to decide who to foster for. Contact your local rescue to see if they have a fostering system. Commonly a rescue will carry out a home check before allowing you your first charge. This is an opportunity to discuss procedure, should your foster charge need veterinary attention and also to discuss adoption procedures when a permanent home is found. The rescue should pay veterinary costs but not all will pay the feeding costs, this is something that needs to be taken into account. Similarly you will need to have a means of transport to get your foster charge to the vet should the need arise. All rescues will expect any existing household dogs to be fully inoculated and will ask to see proof of this.
If you decide you would like to foster for the Oldies Club or would like further information please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. No matter where you are in the UK we have a team of volunteer transporters that can get a needy dog to you.