Almost anyone who has fostered a dog can tell you what an amazing experience it is. It can be tough to spend your time caring for a pup, fall in love, and then have to say goodbye when they eventually go to a forever home, but there are so many good things that happen when you foster a dog, too. Fostering a dog will change your life, dogs’ lives, and the lives of people around you for the better. The benefits outweigh the sadness of goodbyes, and if you have room in your heart and home to foster a dog, you should absolutely give it a try. Here are five good things that happen when you foster a dog.
1. You Get To Practice Having A Dog
If you don’t already have a dog of your own, fostering is a great way to test the waters and see if you’re ready for the responsibility. One of the benefits of fostering before you adopt is that the shelter or rescue group that you work with will usually cover part or all of the costs associated with caring for the pup. You’ll get a chance to see what the financial burden of owning a dog will be so you can find out if you’re ready. This is also a good time to see if you can handle the time commitment, the physical needs, and the spacial requirements that come with dog ownership. And who knows? If you can handle the challenges of ownership, maybe you’ll join the ranks of failed foster parents that end up adopting the dogs in their care permanently.
2. You Free Up Resources At The Shelter
Dog shelters get crowded, and that can be a very difficult thing to deal with. Not all shelters have space for the many, many animals that come into their care. Some dogs have to be shuffled around to sanctuaries or other rescue groups and shelters when they can’t find forever homes fast enough, and others are euthanized to make space for more “adoptable” dogs. When you foster, you’re freeing up space and resources at the animal shelter, which means more dogs will get the care they need. You’re may not just be saving one dog; you might be saving the next dog that comes into the shelter. That’s two lives that you’re saving.
3. A Dog Gets To Learn And Love
Socialization is important for dogs who must learn to interact with other humans and animals in appropriate ways, and that training is difficult in a shelter setting where there is a lot of commotion and shelter workers’ time is divided among many other animals. When you foster, you’re giving a dog individual practice interacting with a family, learning to walk on leash and approach or avoid other dogs respectfully, and learning to trust and love people. That goes a long way in getting a dog a forever home. You’re giving a dog a much, much better chance at finding a family.
4. You Grow As A Person
You might surprise yourself when you’re put in a position of responsibility that you’re not used to, and caring for a dog will give you a sense of who you are–or who you could be–that you wouldn’t get any other way. Many dog foster parents and dog owners can tell you that their whole lives changed when special dogs came into the picture, and for the better. Having a dog will keep you humble, help you learn how to put others before yourself, and teach you discipline. Your life will be filled with love and compassion that weren’t there before, and you will grow from that. Even saying goodbye is an opportunity to learn lessons about appreciating what you have and those around you. And, if nothing else, all the exercise and energy you spend will get you in shape and help you stay healthy. It’s almost a certainty that you will leave the experience as a better person, whatever that might mean to you.
5. Others Learn From You
When you foster a dog, you might find yourself talking about the pup in your care all the time. It happens to all of us. The people around you will take the lessons you share to heart, and you may just convince a few of them to foster, too. They will go on to influence even more people, and you can be the start of a chain of events that benefits both dogs and people, alike. You’ll also be helping a family out there to find a loving dog that will enrich their lives, and while you’re saying goodbye, it will be bittersweet, as you’ll know you’ve helped the dog you cared for have a happily ever after. So please, consider fostering a dog if you haven’t already, and spread the word when you find out what an amazing experience it is. Dogs and people will be so grateful to you.
Have you ever fostered a dog? What kinds of good things came from your experience? Let us know in the comments below!