Two prominent Metro Vancouver animal rescue groups are desperately seeking animal lovers who can temporarily open their homes to homeless dogs.
Loving and responsible foster homes that can care for animals before they go to their permanent homes are an extremely important piece of the puzzle for groups that specialize in relocating and rehabilitating shelter pets. Fostering frees up space for the group to rescue another animal from the shelter system.
A loving foster home also helps nurture and socialize the animal before it is placed in a forever home.
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It also allows the organization to gain valuable insight into the dogs’ temperament and disposition to make sure it ends up being adopted to a home that is well suited for its individual needs.
Additional bonus: It will also make you feel like a million bucks, and you can enjoy some canine companionship without the permanent responsibility associated with adopting a pet. Of course, many people who foster animals (myself included) become “foster failures.” This is when the foster parents fall in love with their furry charge, and decide to keep the animal. That’s okay too.
Dhana Metta has closed down to new intakes unless it can find “more dedicated, reliable, patient, longer-term foster homes.” Specifically, it is looking for people who have experience dealing with dogs that are under socialized, have food possession and special needs and senior dogs that need medication and more frequent potty breaks.
HugABull is looking for foster families that can commit to taking in a dog for at least 30 days. President April Fahr says fostering provides an essential decompression period for the dogs they pull from shelters, and allows them to learn about its individual personality, challenges, likes and dislikes.
“Adopting directly from a shelter can work out wonderfully for a lot of people, but there’s only so much you can learn about a dog by observing it in a kennel environment. By adopting a dog that has gone through a foster hold, it’s much more likely that ‘what you see is what you get,’” she tells Daily Hive.
Admittedly, saying goodbye to a foster dog is difficult. You’ve shared your home with that pup and it will always have a special place in your heart. But as Fahr says, one of the biggest rewards is knowing you have put that animal on the path to a loving, amazing home.
“And by freeing up a spot at the shelter, another dog can be taken in. We often say that fostering saves two lives,” says Fahr.
One issue both groups say they face is “foster flakiness:” people who say they’re happy to take in an animal, but then balk at the commitment and dedication it takes to care for the animal until a suitable adopter is found.
Each group has its own criteria for would-be fosters, but in general they are looking for pet-friendly homes and people who are committed to working with a rescue to follow instructions on handling, training, vet care and managing interactions with other animals.
Right now, HugABull has an urgent need for fosters in detached homes, for dogs that may be nervous of condos and could really benefit from having a yard. It’s also desperate for families who work from home or have flexible schedules.
“We will usually advise that you take it very slow during the foster period – most dogs coming from the shelter have been through an intensely stressful period and really need time to adjust,” says Fahr.
“That may mean no dog parks, no pet stores, and no marathon hikes. Instead, we recommend brain games, basic obedience, enriching neighbourhood walks, and lots of snuggles.”
Approved fosters are normally provided with the following: Dog food, medication (if necessary), crate, leash and collar, vet care, as well as ongoing communication and support.