Recently I opened my door to foster another Great Dane named Woodrow. He is approximately a-year-and-a-half old, black, and has been through a lot. Where I am fostering him from has taken very good care of him. He is heartworm positive and currently under treatment. Let me tell everyone, this boy likes to sing when he is excited. All I hear when he does this is, “Raahh rooh rahhh rah!” and hearing that will warm your heart. This goes for all dogs, though; when someone opens their door to a foster, the dog usually go from sulking and feeling neglected to smiling and “roohing” like Woodie, LOL. Another example is the before and after photos I have seen of fosters getting out of the shelter and realizing they are going to a home. The light in their eyes beam. Very few do not respond this way; so keep in mind that every now and again there is one that has been extremely mistreated and will take a longer time to build trust with.
Now, after saying all that, what does it take to foster a dog? In my humble opinion it takes a pinch of patience, a hand full of understanding, and a heart full of love. When I think of love I think of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13. That is to me the very definition of love toward all.
How does one go about fostering? Your local shelters and rescues are in such great need of fosters. Go to their locations and take a look. In most cases you fill out an application to foster and then browse every dog the shelter/rescue has. I would encourage everyone to look even at the ones that seem to be unwanted. Ask if there is a known history on each foster and decide which one fits best in your home. If there are other dogs in your home, please consider them before bringing in a foster and remember to introduce them slowly. Also remember that if a dog chooses its foster after having a history of choosing no one, then that is the foster one should take home and help. Some of the best dogs I have seen are usually the ones that everyone thinks are unadoptable. By fostering, the dogs are shown that they are not forgotten, they stay socialized, and the overcrowding that is happening gets relieved. Plus, their lives are being saved, their frame of mind changes, and their spirits seem to lift the moment they realize they are taking a car ride to a real home. It’s a great stress relief for them and can take the loneliness away for all. Keep in mind that the last car ride the dog remembers was the one bringing it to the shelter; so the dog might at first be stressed. Just reassure them and give lots of “lubbins” (love and rubs).
Who knows? Luck might come your way, and a dog like Woodie might just sing when you come home or out of happiness just seeing its dinner being made. The greatest gift I feel one can experience when coming home is hearing that happy grumble and yawn-like noise that fosters make when they are glad to see you.
I wish everyone well and hope that more families will foster. One more thing to consider -- this can be a way to see if someone is ready for another dog; and just maybe that foster will be your next adopted dog. Something to think about and not take lightly.
By: Joel Allen