Foster a Pet Today!
Fostering gives a temporary loving home for some of our animals who do not do well in a shelter environment. Fostering is also the only way Regional can help cats in need, as we do not have a safe space for cats at the shelter. We need fosters for both cats and dogs!
To foster, you must be at least 21, complete an application, and consent to a home visit. Meet and greets are mandatory if there are other animals in the house. As a foster parent, you help an animal in need while making space for another that needs it. All of the supplies and all veterinary expenses are provided by Regional, you provide some love and a couch.
Have questions? Foster mom Alex is going answer them. Thanks, Alex!
*clears throat* I talk to people often about dogs I’ve fostered and nearly every time they tell me about how they could never do it for a whole host of reasons. And they ask lots of questions so I thought I’d share them with you.
Are the goodbye’s hard?
Of course they are. But if I kept every foster dog, I wouldn’t have a warm, safe place for the next dog who needed it. I do my best to keep in mind from the very beginning that the dogs I foster aren’t “mine”. My job isn’t to spoil them stupid (though there certainly is spoiling that happens), instead my job is to get them healthy and used to living in a home and ready to have a family of their own. Sometimes it’s the ones who can’t handle shelter life and need a quiet place to decompress and sometimes it’s those who need a spot to go when the shelter is full.
Is it a disruption to your household and routine?
Yup. I wish I had the pleasure of being a stay at home doggie mom but I work a 9-5. My resident dog is rather insecure (and a bit of a brat with strange people and dogs), so he’s not thrilled with having a houseguest. I am really lucky to have help from my family and shelter family, who help support the foster effort by transporting dogs to appointments and providing care when I can’t be there so that in spite of all of the obstacles I am still able to foster.
Does it cost any money?
Nope, the shelter supplies absolutely everything and pays for all of the veterinary care the dog needs. You do need to use the shelter’s vets.
Do you love it?
Absolutely YES! I get so much warm fuzzy out of seeing a dog go from zero to hero, from homeless and skinny to king or queen of their own couch.
How exactly does it work?
It’s very similar to caring for a new dog at the shelter! When they first arrive, they get a bath, often get dewormed, and receive a a flea and tick preventative. They get a checkup at one of our awesome vets, tested for Lyme and heartworm, vaccinated for rabies and parvo/distempter, fixed and microchipped.
Because they are in foster, we get to know more about what their ideal home looks like than the dogs who live at the shelter because they are already in a home setting. When they go up for adoption I talk with potential adopters about their personalities and their needs and essentially help to hand pick the home that is the very best fit for them.
Do you have any tips?
Slow and steady is the name of the game!
Acclimating a dog to a new environment, new people and other dogs takes time and I do my best not to ask more of a dog than they’re ready to give or put them in a situation they can’t handle. I very rarely introduce a foster to my resident dog in the first week, sometimes I never do. We use a crate, gate, rotate, segregate system that works really, really, well. Regional will help you find a system that works for your foster and your home.
Not everyone is cut out for fostering, and that’s okay. And foster failure (when a family adopts their foster dog) is inevitable and absolutely okay.
This sounds awesome. Sign me up!
Fabulous! Just a friendly reminder:
- You must be at least 21 years old to foster.
- You must consent to reference checks and home visits
- You must fill out an application and complete a foster contract when placed with an appropriate pet.