Hi, My name is Kathie and I am a serial foster. Not that that’s bad, but I keep telling Karina to say no to more dogs, but she never does! So here I am…
I first started fostering for Rebound Hounds when I saw a post of a 6 month old puppy heading to the ACC if a home or foster wasn’t found for him. A week later Karina drove him out to me. To date, he is my only foster failure (meaning I adopted him). That was 5 1/2 years ago.
Since then I have fostered another 6 dogs for Rebound, without one regret.
As any experienced foster knows, it’s not always easy. I have three dogs of my own that don’t always appreciate every dog I bring here. I have had dogs I could introduce as soon as they got here and dogs that could never interact with my dogs. They very happily rotate outside and live respectfully of each other through baby gates or closed doors. Deciding how and when to introduce comes with knowing your dogs well and from experience.
When that new dog comes to you, you have no idea of their mind set, what they have been through, how much the shelter environment has stressed them out or what they may need from you. This is when they need a safe place to decompress and get used to their new environment and the new routine. I have often seen that if you rush this part, you set the dog up to fail. Not every dog comes out needing this, but the majority will and you have to be willing to give them the time and the patience to find out who they are and what they need.
I think every person that decides to foster does it with the best possible intentions, to save a life. The ideal of that is beautiful; the reality can often be much less romantic and incredibly frustrating. But make that first breakthrough, and it’s all worth it.
If you decide to foster, great! It’s fun, funny, silly and wonderful getting to help a new dog, but be prepared for it to take some time for most of the dogs to get there. It takes about 2 weeks for most dogs to get that it’s okay where they are, to feel safe and secure enough to start being themselves.
Be prepared! If you are not ready for a dog that may not be housebroken, barks, jumps, chews up stuff, snarks at your dog, your dog snarks at them, holes dug in the yard, still not housebroken, cries when you leave, (my current foster howls when I leave for work, and yes, she’s a pit) wakes you up at night sometimes, stops chewing up stuff and then randomly chews up more stuff, walking them when it’s raining/snowing/freezing, then you may not be ready to foster.
The good news is, there are plenty of other things you can do to help shelter dogs.
Donate to a rescue; they always need more funds for the dogs. Donate to your local shelter. Go to a local shelter, be a volunteer and walk dogs. Volunteer for an adoption event. Volunteer to help with paperwork. Donate blankets and toys for the pups.
If you do decide to foster, ask advice, reach out to us seasoned fosterers, and get help if you need it. None of us knows all of it and every dog is different, but every dog is worth it.
For those of you that think it would be too hard to let go of a foster dog to their next guardian, remember, they are alive and wagging their tails because of you…
For information on fostering, visit www.reboundhounds.org/foster-application1.html.