So you want a dog, but cannot commit to being a full-time owner? In such a case, fostering may be your answer. Shelters are often full to capacity and depending upon their no-kill vs. euthanizing policies they must reluctantly refuse to add to their boarders when there is no more room at the inn. Arrangements can be made to “borrow” an animal that may need socialization, or perhaps some short-term medical care, or simply one that needs more TLC than the workers and volunteers are able to provide.

Fostering can be short term – perhaps just a few days or weeks until a permanent adoption can be finalized – or longer term such as when there can be issues (size, breed, temperament) that make the dog less desirable to the general public. Every shelter has its own requirements and if you are interested in pursing this avenue for canine (or feline) care a phone call is all you need to get the process underway.

Recently, in Massachusetts, our daughter and her husband fostered a beautiful rescued dog from the south. He came to them due to the owner’s neglect. “Brett” was a mature dog that was woefully underweight (about 50 pounds short of his breed’s norm), covered in skin eruptions due to a serious flea allergy, missing much of his formerly fluffy fur from malnutrition, with bilateral eye infections and worms, and was diagnosed with kennel cough. What was originally planned as a “short term” care situation became a visitation for several months. This pitiful creature had the potential to become a gorgeous specimen and he had an amazingly sweet temperament. Surprisingly, he responded to several commands and was eager to please. His appetite was ravenous, but calmed down once the worm issue had been resolved. Totally housebroken, Brett did not destroy things and played well with other dogs.

So, why would anyone want to take on the responsibility of rehabilitating such a creature? If you saw him, and imagined what he could become, the challenge was worth every effort. As his health steadily improved his sheer devotion and apparent appreciation to his caregivers made all the work worthwhile. Eventually he was adopted by a loving owner and found his forever home.

If you love animals and want to do something for one of them, even for a little while, fostering might be the solution for you and definitely for the animal in need. Think about it, but not too long, since many dogs and cats could use a loving, even if temporary, home.

Pat Jauch

Caledonia Animal Rescue, Inc.

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