CHENNAI : How can you give him up? Anyone who has fostered a dog has heard this question over and over. Most people we approach for fostering say they could never think about fostering because they’d never be able to give up a dog. But it’s not ‘giving up’ a dog; the job of a foster is to take a dog and get him ready for a great new home.
To foster a dog is, quite simply, saving that dog’s life. A foster home provides the dog with a safe, temporary place of refuge until he is ultimately placed in a permanent, adoptive home. Most of us rescuers rely solely on a network of dedicated, volunteer foster homes, and could not survive without them. And there are never enough foster homes.
Why? Because there are more dogs in need than there are foster homes available to meet that need. 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 interaction, into a pet ready to go to their permanent home.
Fostering provides a dog in need with a stable environment, coupled with love, attention and affection. Fosters are the essential eyes and ears of rescuers. By spending every day with their foster dog, fosters will learn all they can about his particular personality. When you foster, you agree to take a homeless dog into your home and give him or her love, care and attention, either for a predetermined period of time or until the dog is adopted. Fostering is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have (other than adopting, of course). By fostering, you are freeing up a spot so the shelter or rescuer can take in another dog.
Fostering is needed for various reasons. The rescuer doesn’t have a physical shelter and depends on foster homes to care for dogs until suitable homes are found. A puppy is too young to be adopted and needs a safe place to stay until he or she is old enough to go to a forever home. A dog is recovering from surgery, illness or injury and needs a safe place to recuperate. A dog under stress or a dog has not lived in a home before or has not had much contact with people and needs to be socialised.
When you foster, you can specify the type of dog you want to bring in your home. Some people only want puppies and others only want seniors. Some only want those that are known to be housebroken or known to be good with cats or other dogs. You can foster for a few weeks, months or whatever fits into your schedule. If you already have a dog, make sure your resident pets are healthy, up to date on all their vaccinations and are good-natured enough to welcome the occasional temporary visitor. 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 socialised he will become, the more easily he will handle stress, and the more relaxed he will be around strangers. For those who have never owned a dog, fostering provides them with the unique opportunity to see if they themselves are suited for permanent pet parenthood. There is even a term for it: Foster Fail. It is when the fosters get so attached to the dogs that they themselves adopt them instead of adopting them out.
So, the answer to the question, ‘How can you give him up?’ is that the most successful fosters, 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. It’s incredibly fulfilling when you take a scared/sick/unloved dog, and you help change that definition.
It’s amazing what some love and attention can do. 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. And if the dogs could speak they would have told you that you saved him. You gave him a second chance at life.
Are you ready to be a pet parent?
For those who have never owned a dog, fostering provides them with the unique opportunity to see if they themselves are suited for permanent pet parenthood. When you foster, you can specify the type of dog you want.