One Dog At A Time: Foster For A Rescue

“By saving that one dog i may not change the world, but i will change the world for that one dog…” 

Running a dog rescue in the UK i hear all the time from the 1000’s of dog lovers from across the country how wonderful what i do is and how they wish they could work in dog rescue like me because it must be so rewarding… Well it is and you can! Without my voluntary staff of foster homes i could not run a dog rescue, and you reading this right now could volunteer for your local dog rescue to take in one dog at a time…

So you have definitely heard of foster homes for children who are waiting to find their forever families and be adopted, well this is much the same. Fostering a dog basically means the dog lives with you until somebody adopts them. The majority of rescues will financially reimburse or provide food and care equipment as well as taking full responsibility for any veterinary needs.

So what is required of a foster? A foster placement may well be the first proper ‘home’ a dog has been in, the dogs pulled from pounds may have been kept outside or in very poor conditions and many have suffered abuse.
The foster’s first job is to introduce the dog into this new environment and guide the dog through the process of adjusting to family life, being prepared for issues such as toilet training and redirecting chewing behaviours is essential as the stress and upset of moving can upset even well trained, indoor dogs.
Patience and understanding is also extremely important in those first few days of a new foster arriving. A foster’s temperament must be patient, loving, knowledgeable and calm to balance out correcting and teaching the dog with comforting and love.

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Foster’s come from all walks of life, it isn’t about how much money you have or how big your house is. As long as you have the space for one more dog in a clean, tidy, hygienic, secure and safe environment, your stature in life really isn’t important. Time management is crucial when fostering a dog, making sure you split your time correctly and don’t push out any of your own pets, as this can create resentment and tension. In reality, fostering a dog friendly dog really doesn’t affect your routine except you have to hold an extra lead, carry an extra poo baggy and make up an extra dinner. Fostering dog aggressive dogs can be a more difficult but not at all impossible situation, as long as you have the extra space to separate and manage them. A spare bedroom or unused back room can be converted into your foster’s room to chill, sleep and eat, but time management here is essential to allow all dogs their walk, play, cuddle time etc. Fostering for a rescue is a flexible way to get involved, taking breaks when you feel like it and joining the team again when you are revitalised, but each dog’s length of stay varies between just a couple of weeks to 7 or 8 months, this is why commitment and dedication is necessary.

The lengthier the stays, the more ‘foster fails’ are seen. This is when a foster family becomes so attached to their charge that they decide to actually adopt the dog. Now this is obviously wonderful for the dog’s in question, but this does tend to take that specific foster off the rota unless they do own a large property.

When you join a rescue as a foster home, you will find yourself becoming more involved emotionally with the overall efforts and actions of the organisation. This is a fantastic opportunity to become part of a community and meet like minded people but it also means you will be effected by the frequent negative occurrences in the rescue world, such as adoption cancellations, adoption failures, behavioral issues, social media trolling and much more… Please don’t let this put you off.

Rescues across the UK are desperately appealing and scrambling for foster homes to join their team as more and more dogs are left in the pounds everyday to face being put to sleep after just 7 days…

The dedication and commitment of all staff, volunteers and supporters to a rescue is what makes them special; the resilience against the negativity, the patience and empathy to put up with mishaps, the love they have to give over and over to new faces in need.

To Foster for Broken Souls Rescue in the West Midlands UK, please visit:


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