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What are Dog Foster Homes?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2016
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Dog foster homes are a unique idea that eases the burden on shelters, and also may exist in programs that train guide or assistance dogs. Like foster homes for children, dog foster homes are a means of temporarily sheltering dogs until a permanent home can be found for them. A dog or cat might be fostered if it requires special attention, behavioral retraining, or time to recover from an illness or injury. By giving the dog more space and a home environment, dogs often become more “adoptable,” and at least are saved from quick euthanization when shelters become overcrowded.

The simplest dog foster homes exist to care for any dog that might need a temporary home. Individual families or pet owners may be willing to take care of a dog for a few days, a week or even a couple of months. Keeping the dog in a more social environment of a home is usually less restrictive than keeping a dog at an animal shelter. Breeds that require a great deal of exercise may have their needs served better in dog foster homes, when they can’t in a shelter.

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Dog foster homes are often organized to work in conjunction with animal shelters or humane societies, and the work of getting the dog adopted belongs to the shelter. Many shelter workers are always fostering a dog or cat at home, and will reach out to other pet owners to do the same. An enjoyment of animals and an ability to care for them appropriately is usually all that is required to become a dog foster parent.

Another type of dog fostering is a breed rescue service. In many states, animals of most breeds may be taken into dog foster homes in order to help the animal recover from poor treatment, loss of a home, illness or return to a breeder who already has a maximum number of dogs. If you are looking for a specific breed at a lower price, it’s a great idea to investigate breed rescue services. They frequently have dogs only a year or two old that have received enough attention and care to make good pets. Yet some have been the victims of animal cruelty and may require specialized homes or care.

Many services that train assistance dogs ask supportive families and members of their organizations to foster puppies, or to briefly care for adult dogs that will be trained. Usually, these dog foster homes are less restrictive than the homes provided for adult dogs while they undergo specific training. Normally, puppies are simply socialized and may receive basic training, like paper or bathroom training. Primarily, the foster care provider is there to offer loving care to the dog so it is well adjusted and receptive to training.

Each organization will have its own eligibility requirements for dog foster homes. All dog fosterers share in common the joys and the work of caring for an animal, and sometimes the difficulty in giving up dogs to other people. Especially when a dog must remain in a foster home for a long time period, it can be challenging to give up an animal. Most people who regularly foster dogs would agree that this little loss is well repaid by seeing the dog placed in a loving and stable home.

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