After fostering Buck (pictured above) for just over 3 weeks, we were informed by See Spot Rescued that they had adopted Buck to a different family. That family had been waiting for months for the perfect dog and Buck fit the bill. Can’t blame them! At first, I was angry and disappointed, as my boyfriend and I had become so attached to this little guy… just look at that face.
But we knew what we signed up for and that See Spot Rescued’s policy didn’t allow foster parents to get first dibs. Honestly, when I signed that contract, I didn’t know I would get so attached to this little chocolate model. If you are wondering what fostering a dog is really like, read on. Below are 5 lessons I learned from fostering Buck…
Your Schedule Will Change
I am not a morning person. My boyfriend had been wanting to become a morning person, but the darn snooze button always got him (and me – even at 9am). My work day starts at 9:30am, which meant I needed to leave my apartment by 8:50am. When fostering Buck, he would become our new alarm with his charming whine at 6:30am. At first, I would put on normal people clothes, but later turned to this look…
Since then I have become more accustomed to getting up in the morning (although on a few occasions I’ve hit snooze and let my boyfriend take Buck out). But the best part of my day would be walking hand-in-hand with my boyfriend and taking Buck to a hidden dog park. We found this area that had a HUGE lawn where dogs big and small are able to galavant, play and befriend one another. In Buck’s case, we called him the ‘dog walker’ because every time a dog had a leash attached he tried to grab on and lead the way. But we still had to adjust our schedules to our new furry friend, and you will too if you foster. Don’t worry though, the memories you’ll make will be well worth getting up an hour or two earlier!
Your Foster Dog may have Special Needs that you’ll need to Attend to
Buck from the get-go was well-behaved except for one thing: he clearly suffered from separation anxiety. If we went into another room and closed the door, we would hear a barking or scratching at the door. And when it came to bedtime, things got even worse.
We initially had his crate in the living room while we slept in the bedroom – BIG MISTAKE. After much crying and whining, we put his crate in our bedroom. This was better but he was still crying. Next, we both got on the floor with him (putting pillows and a yoga mat underneath us to try and make it a little cozier) and put on some ocean tunes from Spotify. We then set a sleep timer because we didn’t want to hear the ocean all night. The first few nights we slept on that floor with Buck for quite some time, sometimes together and other times taking turns. But it was a bonding experience that we will never forget. Some foster dogs may have hearing or vision problems, trouble getting around, or other behavioral quirks. Sometimes they may misbehave and you might need to do a little bit of training. Either way, expect some obstacles when fostering a dog.
Dog Lover’s Digest
You will likley Invest more than you had Originally Planned
Before we brought Buck home we had already invested in fresh dog bowls, toys, a new harness (the one provided was very tricky), treats, dog food, doggie bags etc. But there was something we certainly did not prepare for… FLEAS. Yes, by day 2 we noticed our boy was covered in fleas. We then had to go to a dog store in Tribeca to pick up flea shampoo, normal shampoo, a flea comb, and a spray for the floor to deter him from peeing in the house (the first two days he had 3 accidents).
Not only did we spend some more money, but our first weekend was spent bathing him, doing laundry, and vacuuming each piece of furniture and the house to ensure the fleas wouldn’t stick around.
Of course, we weren’t upset at Buck – if anything we felt bad for him and felt lucky that we had the means to resolve this issue. But it is important to remember that unexpected costs may pop up. Your foster pup may eat something dangerous and have to go to the emergency vet. The positive is if you’re fostering with a reputable rescue organization they should have the means to cover these costs. You just need to be sure you check with them first as they may have relationships with certain veterinarians they will want you to take the foster dog to.
Remember you are the Transitional Home
Remember that by fostering you are doing a good deed. No dog wants to spend time in a shelter. Fostering really is a great intermediary solution. Fostering allows the dogs to get accustomed to living with humans in a loving home. It’s the perfect practice for when they find their match!
Shelters provide love too, but are low on resources and can’t provide the same level of care as an individual person or family may do. Now, that is not to say that shelters don’t provide a safe haven for dogs – they do. It is just a very different experience for a dog to be in a shelter versus a home.
It is important to do everything in your power to make your pup as comfortable as possible. Be proud to provide a safe and warm place for your foster pup to rest, grow, cuddle and play.
You Might Fall in Love with the Dog
It is completely normal to fall in love with your foster dog. Many foster parents end up adopting their pup after a certain period of time. Keep in mind that not every rescue gives first dibs to foster parents to adopt. I certainly was disappointed about letting Buck go, but was relieved in knowing that he’d be going to a family that will love him as much as we did.
To help you navigate fostering and finding rescues that permit foster-to-adopt, we have put together a comprehensive list here.
We certainly fell in love with Buck, and as mentioned were heartbroken when we had to relinquish our little furry friend. But we knew that the organization had their processes and felt this was best for him. We respect their decisions and strongly believe he led us to our new puppy daughter, Lucy
We hope this has given you more of an idea of what fostering is like. Become a spotter for all kinds of tips, tricks, and guides through the crazy world that is dog ownership.