Opening your Home to a Foster Dog

The pet adoption drive, Home 4 the Holidays, is an amazing way to bring a pet into your home. Nonetheless, if you can't adopt, foster care is another great way to bring a new pooch into your home.

Give me Shelter

A shelter is a wonderful place for a dog to temporarily live while waiting to be adopted into a loving family. Even though a shelter dog enjoys the daily nurturing from staff as well as the companionship with other dogs staying there, in some instances a dog will be happier in a foster home. For example, a nursing mother and her puppies may be better served in a domestic environment where they get more one on one attention. A dog might also be recovering from a minor surgery (like spaying or neutering), something best done in a home. And don't forget, it can also be fun to take in a high-energy dog such as a collie or a lively mixed breed that would enjoy getting a lot more exercise than they'd get in a shelter.

Enjoying Foster Care

Even though you'd probably like to keep your new buddy long term, sometimes it can last less than a week, like in cases where the dog is recovering from spay or neuter surgery. Other commitments are more long term - like when a shelter is taking some time to find the right family for your foster pet.

Love Without a Price

Worried about having added expenses when you invite a dog into your home? Don't be. Most shelters take care of everything. Whether it's food and a dish to place it in, or toys and a bed for your furry friend, there's a good chance that the shelter will cover it. And vet visits? Most shelters will take care of that too. When all is said and done, the only thing you'll have to provide is the love and attention - and that's free!

Social Animals

A foster parent can also help train and develop a shelter dog. You might find yourself working with a dog on everything from how to sit to begging at the dinner table. Of course there are also plenty of dogs in shelters that are already toilet trained and can do a ton of tricks as well. So no matter what kind of dog you take in, at the end of the day you'll have a happy and appreciative pooch that's ready for their forever family.

Becoming a Foster Parent

Contact your local shelter to find out more about becoming a foster parent. Each shelter has its own criteria for fostering, but you can generally expect to fill out some paperwork and maybe even come in for some training, an interview, or short orientation so that you can be matched with the best possible dog. To find out more about how you can take part, visit: http://www.animalcenter.org/home4theholidays/ .

From one Loving Family to Another

The National Council of Pet Population is happy to report that every year 3-4 million dogs and cats are adopted from shelters. So it's safe to say that it won't be long before your buddy is saying goodbye to you, and saying hello to his new family. And even though it's tough to let him go, you'll be content that your pooch is going to a loving home and that you were a big part in getting him there.

You can also take part in finding your dog a loving family, like taking your pooch to dog parks and adoption events wearing an "adopt me" vest.

Taking a foster dog into your home is a great way to experience the joy of pet ownership. It can be heart warming, rewarding, life affirming, and sometimes all of them at once. So when all is said and done, it's an enjoyable, thoughtful experience that will stay with you long after they've gone to their forever home.