Why you should foster!
Look into the eyes of your foster dog and you will find the best reward in the world. You gave life to an animal that might otherwise have died because he or she had no place to go. All of us at Triangle Pets Alive very much appreciate your efforts and recognize that you are providing an invaluable gift to a dog.
The key to Triangle Pets Alive’s ability to carry out the mission of saving the lives of shelter dogs is the existence of loving and committed foster homes. When a dog is rescued from the stressful and often chaotic environment of a shelter, a caring and stable foster home provides not only basic care and love, but reassurance of a brighter future. Foster families make an immediate and lasting difference in the life of a shelter dog. If you would like to foster with our organization, please submit an online foster application.
- How does fostering work?
- How long will I foster?
- How am I saving lives?
- What if I already have pets of my own?
- What exactly does a foster
- Do I need to be home all day to foster?
- Do I have to pay for everything myself?
- How do you handle potential adopters for my foster dog?
- What if I want to adopt my foster dog?
- Won′t it be hard to let them go?
I want to help, but how do I know if fostering is right for me?
As a foster, you are considered an active and valued Triangle Pets Alive volunteer. The act of fostering begins the moment you step forward and offer to nurture and care for a shelter dog in need in your home. While fostering is a highly rewarding experience, it is hard work. Therefore, the decision to foster a dog should be well considered and discussed with your entire family and/or support system. Before applying, do some research, ask questions, and consider how well your personal situation suits the act of fostering. Your Triangle Pets Alive team and existing network of fosters is here to help your clarify any areas of uncertainty you may have.
How much time can I expect a foster dog to stay in my home with me?
At Triangle Pets Alive, every dog we rescue from euthanasia at various NC shelters remains in foster care until they are adopted. As a result, foster periods vary from a few weeks to several months depending on the health of the dog and how long it takes for the right person to come along. Our adoptions team is very active and generally, our foster dogs are placed in their forever homes within 30 to 60 days. However, there is no way for us to place an exact timeline on foster periods.
Changing foster homes can be very taxing on both the dog and on the rescue. Therefore, time availability and commitment should be a key consideration for you when deciding whether or not to apply to foster a dog.
I always read that “fostering saves lives.” How exactly am I saving lives?
Fostering is one of the most important things you can volunteer to do for a rescue. When you foster a dog, you not only save the life of your foster dog (by providing a nurturing temporary home), but you also make room for another animal to come into rescue. Furthermore, the work you do with your foster dog allows the dog to learn key social skills in a loving environment, and these skills go a long way to helping the dog get adopted and to promoting the importance and benefit of adopting dogs in need from rescues and shelters.
I already have pets. Can I still be a foster?
Fostering a dog with existing pets is generally fine. In fact, most fosters already have resident pets. Learning to cohabitate with other animals can be very beneficial for foster dogs. However, at Triangle Pets Alive, we always put safety first – both your safety and that of your existing pet(s).
If you do have resident pets, our team will work very closely with you to make sure that your foster dog is a good fit for your home. Until we have enough time to properly assess your foster dogs’ temperament (including but not limited to any tendencies towards resource guarding, prey drive, and fearful behavior), you will be required to abide by important safety procedures regarding feeding, exercising, and basic care.
Sometimes, transitioning a new dog into a home where there are other pets is met with challenges. In most cases, these challenges are easily resolved. If not, we will work to place your foster dog in a more suitable environment.
What exactly do I need to do as a foster?
Fostering is a highly rewarding experience, but it does involve perseverance, commitment and hard work. As a foster, you will provide daily care, feeding, and safety in a loving environment. You will also work on reinforcing the principles of basic obedience with your foster dog, allowing them to become well rounded as house pets. Some areas include:
Sadly, in many cases, dogs come into rescue having never lived indoors. Therefore, you may expect to work on basic housebreaking skills with your dog. Initially, some “accidents” may occur. However, after a few days in foster care, your foster dog will learn where the door is and adapt to the timing of outdoor breaks. Once this is accomplished, housebreaking issues generally resolve very quickly.
Housebreaking is something new fosters can be very nervous about. Don’t worry – as rescuers this is something we have a lot of experience with and we are ready and willing to share all our tips and tricks with you to help you through this phase if required.
In some cases, accepting food, treats, or toys from a person can be met with desperation as many dogs enter the shelter system malnourished, either due to living as a stray for long periods of time or because of negligence by their former owners. Starving dogs often feel the need to protect their food, and they can retaliate if they feel their boundaries are being disrespected. While these issues generally resolve over time, teaching a dog to trust and feel safe again requires patience, respect, and understanding.
To prevent potential accidents or fights with resident pets, we require that foster dogs be fed privately and safely in a crated environment as they learn that they will be fed routinely. At Triangle Pets Alive, we stand strong in our commitment to setting our rescued pets up for success as lifelong companion animals, and our foster families as permanent members of our small but mighty team.
Often, shelter dogs need some help refining their leash skills. As a foster, you will work closely with your foster dog during your walks as you learn to make daily exercise as pleasant and stress-free as possible. It is not unusual for fosters to feel like they are “being walked” by the dog at first. With consistency, hard work and perseverance, your foster dog will learn to walk nicely and calmly alongside you, something their eventual adoptive family will be extremely grateful for. These daily walks are a great opportunity to bond with your foster dog as you learn about each others’ needs.
The preceding are a few examples of areas you can expect to work on with your foster dog. For more information on basic behavioral challenges, refer to Pet Care and Health in the “adopt” section of our website.
Does fostering require me being home all the time?
No. However, to ensure his/her safety and that of any resident pets, we do ask that your foster dog be secured in a crate (or room) while you are away from the home. Initially, your foster dog must NEVER be left unsupervised with resident pets or in an area of the home that may be hazardous.
In time, you may learn that your foster dog has bonded with your resident pets and may judge that it is safe for them to be together. We value your safety, that of your resident pets and foster dog, and above all else we put these measures in place to set all parties up for success.
How much will fostering a dog cost me?
All medical treatment, medications, and maintenance medications are funded and provided by the rescue. Your foster dog will come to you with a collar/harness, leash, and crate. As we are a small rescue, we do not have the funds to provide food at this time. However, we often receive food donations and that food is dispersed amongst fosters.
Since Triangle Pets Alive is a 501c3 non-profit organization, many of the expenses you may incur while providing foster care to an animal in need are tax-deductible with proper documentation.
I’m nervous about my foster dog’s adoption. What can I expect?
At Triangle Pets Alive, we recognize that no one will get to know your foster dog better than you. We value your insight. As a foster, you are included and integrated in the adoption process for your foster dog, and have the right to make final decisions regarding his/her placement, unless unusual circumstances prevail. Not only is this beneficial to us and to the dog, we believe it is an important emotional component of the fostering process.
While the foster dog is in your care, Triangle Pets Alive volunteers will work with you to screen prospective adopters to find the perfect match for your foster dog.
Most meetings between the foster dog and potential adopters occur at adoption events. However, we make every effort to meet privately with potential adopters if they are not available to attend a scheduled event.
I’m in love. Can I keep my foster dog?
Occasionally, the chemistry is so perfect between a foster and their foster dog that they will want to permanently welcome their foster dog into their family. The foster always has the right to apply to adopt the dog they are fostering.
I don’t know if I can do it. Won’t it hurt too much to say goodbye?
Seeing a foster dog off to their forever home is always bittersweet. No matter how short or long the duration of the foster period, you and your foster dog will accomplish a lot together. It is natural for you to form a bond with each other.
Having an emotional reaction to parting with your foster dog does not mean you are bad at fostering, it means you are great at it!
The knowledge that YOU gave your foster dog the gift of life and the opportunity to find a loving forever home is what is most rewarding about the foster process. After adopting out their dog, fosters often realize what an amazing gift they were able to give to an animal in need. It is a deeply profound feeling.
Ultimately, turning over your foster dog to a permanent home means that you will be able to foster another dog in need if you so choose. Saving one more life means everything to that one animal. Every foster dog you welcome into your home helps you gain important experience in one of the most valuable areas of the companion animal rescue world. It’s a win-win.