As many of you might know, Bryan and I took an active interest in fostering when we were still fresh into our relationship and essentially living together in Hoboken. At the time, I had met a few people who worked at Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City, a really wonderful shelter with little resources and volunteers with great big hearts. Over the years, B and I have fostered a total of 8 dogs, some small, mostly pit bulls, a few breeds neither of us had any familiarity with, one pup with separation anxiety, all wonderful animals.
Yesterday, we went to an adoption event hosted by 11th Hour Rescue, a local rescue that a few of my friends had told me about. Since we are still relatively new to this area, we thought it could be a great way to meet some people and get back to fostering, something we have really missed.
Side note: the pain of losing Buster is still incredibly fresh and there can never be a replacement for him (he’s in my photo above). It’s been almost a month and we miss and talk about him always. We are both still processing his loss in our own ways, but I think we are at a point where we feel ready—not for a dog of our own, but to welcome another pup into our lives and prepare him (or her) for a forever home.
After we returned home last night I started to think about some of the things we have learned over the years that I wish I knew when we started. If you have ever considered fostering and have ANY questions whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to reach out (firstname.lastname@example.org)–I’m always happy to help!
If you already have a pet at home, make sure to do an introduction. This one is super important, because some pets (like humans!) are set in their ways and prefer to be the only one vying for your attention. ALWAYS do an introduction and listen to your pet’s needs—you don’t want this to be a stressful situation for anyone.
Know your lifestyle and choose a dog accordingly. Are you active and looking for a dog who can go on long hikes? Or do you prefer a couch potato to watch TV with at the end of a long day? Whatever your lifestyle, you’ll want to be sure you find a dog whose energy level matches yours.
Don’t overlook the seniors! I know I’m biased, because I have such a soft spot in my heart for them, but they need love, too (PLUS—as an added bonus, you probably won’t have to clean up after too many accidents and sometimes they are just super chill roommates!).
Approach the process differently than you would if you were adopting. When we left the shelter yesterday, Bryan said to me he didn’t feel a connection with Bruno, the main dog we had our sights set on, but that he likely would benefit from fostering the most. He is meeting a potential adopter this week (Bruno, not Bryan, LOL), so keep fingers crossed for him! PS: stop by my stories today to see Bruno in action 🙂
Be prepared! Here are just a few things you’ll need when bringing home your foster animal (also I’m not familiar with fostering cats, so many of these will be different if you decide to bring home a kitty, best to check with the rescue to see if they have any suggestions): blankets for the car and a car seat cover, food bowls, a leash, a harness (if the dog is prone to pulling on walks—this can make a huge difference!), a collar big enough to fit around your dog’s neck but not too big that he can escape, dog food (duh, right?), some toys, a dog bed so your pup feels as though they have their own safe space, poop bags (get in the habit of stuffing a few extras in all of your coat pockets!), and a crate for when you are away.
Give the animal time to adjust. This is the same for fostering/adopting, and it’ll always take a few days for your pet to settle in.
Have you ever fostered and what are some things you’ve learned? Let me know in the comments!