When you think of admirable professions, dozens of occupations come to mind. Some of which may even convince you that there truly are angels on Earth, walking among us. I certainly feel this way anytime I hear a harrowing story of a Hospice worker, Nurse, Firefighter, etc. Their strength, compassion, and oversized hearts never cease to amaze me. However, there is another group of hard workers that also inspire the same sense of awe and respect: A group of volunteers that do not receive pay or nearly as much recognition as they should. The group that I am talking about consists of those souls that dedicate their lives to bettering the lives of homeless animals. Yes, the group I'm talking about call themselves fosters.
As National Foster a Pet Month, June is a time to acknowledge this special group and share some of their stories. When asked the following questions, here is what a few Fetching Tails Foundation (FTF) fosters had to say:
Why do you choose to foster?
“I want to make a difference and be part of the solution to the problem of unwanted pets.” – Debbie
“I temp/vacation foster because it allows regular fosters to go out of town or whatever the case may be and know that their foster dog will be safe and well taken care of!” – Kristy
“We foster so we can help as many dogs get out of crowded shelters and into loving homes.” – Sarah
2. What has been your most surprising moment/lesson while fostering?
“How resilient the dogs are. Some have been through Hell and they still are loving dogs.” – Debbie
“I was always a husky/German shepherd girl, so when we first started volunteering with FTF, we pretty much only took huskies home for sleepovers. After volunteering at the Hut for a few months, we realized that we have a bit of a “knack” for behavioral dogs. We’ve focused a lot of our efforts on the pups who need a bit more help/attention.” – Sarah
3. What has been most rewarding for you as a foster?
“You learn so much about these resilient dogs, even when they are only in your home a short time! You can see their true colors and then relay that information which allows you to be a small part of the journey to forever!” – Kristy
“Our first foster (who ended up becoming permanent) was a major problem dog at the Hut. He came from a bad situation (we suspect he was abused by a man) and we weren’t able to even touch his collar. He was extremely reactive towards other dogs, and fear aggressive towards new people. After months of training, lots of patience (and tears), and slow introductions to new people, he’s a completely different dog.” – Sarah
“My family also fosters hospice dogs ... spoiling these special doggies and giving them all the love and comfort they need no matter how much time they have left will always be a special part of animal rescue for me.” – Jenna
4. What tip(s) would you give a first-time foster?
“Be patient and don’t be afraid to ask for help!” – Debbie
“If you are able to open your heart and home to these dogs, do it! It’s so rewarding and will fill you with love, joy, and lots of wet doggy kisses!” – Kristy
“Approach fostering with patience and give the dogs time to settle in! The first few days are always a little crazy because your foster's world has been turned upside down and he/she needs time to adjust to this new life and routine. Some dogs feel at home immediately and others take some time to feel safe: go at their pace and let them know they are loved.” – Jenna
Ready to take the leap into fostering? Becoming a foster with Fetching Tails Foundation couldn’t be easier and there are different options of fostering available! There are volunteer positions for both permanent fosters (fosters who care for the dog until he/she is adopted), or short-term/vacation fosters who take care of dogs when the normal fosters go out of town. An application available on the FTF website offers full details of the Foster Agreement. Once a potential foster completes an application, the Foster Intake Coordinator will reach out for a conversation and find out what type of dog might work best for your situation and comfort level. Once the conversation is complete and a Foster Agreement form has been signed, then a short home check takes place. Upon successful completion of these simple steps, you’ll be ready to foster!
Fosters receive a great amount of support from fellow FTF fosters and volunteers. A Volunteer/Foster Facebook page and email blasts let fosters know which dogs are still looking for foster homes, and it is totally up to you if you would like to proceed. Foster FAQs and resources are also available.
Moreover, everything you will need for your foster dog’s care is supplied, including crates, beds, food, toys, treats, and any meds that the dog may need. You will never be surprised about a dog’s medical needs, as FTF is very transparent about any ongoing care that will be necessary, such as visits to the vet for initial check-ups and/or spaying or neutering. Consideration of your schedule is taken when scheduling these appointments to make things as convenient as possible.
Because fosters get the best sense of a dog’s personality, they are also involved in the process of helping their foster dog get placed into a forever home (that is, if they do not become a “foster fail” first!) Fosters review adoption applications and respond appropriately. There is never a need to feel uneasy with the process since fosters are partnered with a knowledgeable and experienced Foster Buddy right from the start, sort of like a mentor!
Fetching Tails works hard to make fostering as easy and enjoyable as possible, so that all that is left to do is supply the love and care! If you have ever considered fostering a dog, there is no better time than during National Foster a Pet Month to open up your heart and home. Go ahead and take the plunge! For you, too, can become an undercover angel for an animal in need.
Everything you need to know about fostering and our application you can find here: https://www.fetchingtailsfoundation.org/foster
Written By: Elyse N