Are you thinking about fostering a dog? Like many things in life, there are pros and cons to a responsibility of this magnitude. While it can be an enriching experience, it comes with its fair share of challenges. Before making a decision, it’s essential to learn about the advantages and disadvantages you might encounter when fostering dogs.
Pros of fostering dogs
Foster programs offer a second chance at life and transform dogs from shelter animals to pets ready to find their forever families. Here are four tremendous benefits you need to know.
1. It’s a learning experience
One of the greatest benefits of fostering dogs is the ability to learn from the experience. You and your family will have the opportunity to interact with different dog breeds. If you have children, they’ll learn about raising and training pets.
The foster dog will also learn from the experience. When fostered successfully, they’ll have a chance to socialize and begin to trust people. If you have other animals in the home, it also provides an opportunity for them to interact together.
2. It releases you from long-term commitments
When you decide to adopt a dog, you make a lifelong commitment to care for the animal. In many cases, this could mean a 10-15 year responsibility. With fostering, you don’t have such a lengthy commitment to the animal. At most, foster pets are usually in your care for a matter of months rather than years.
Fostering allows you to explore other interests. You may decide after a year that you’re ready to adopt, or you may prefer to stop entirely. Either way, you’re still in control of your time and commitments.
3. It provides a sense of purpose
Fostering can provide a sense of purpose and fill a hole in your life that you may not have known even existed. Research shows that animal companionship can reduce symptoms of depression, calm the mind and promote healthy living. In essence, you are saving the dog’s life, but they might also be saving yours
4. It’s practically free
Unlike personal pets, the rescue center is typically responsible for all of a foster dog’s needs. While you should still check the contract, most arrangements cover food costs, medical care and vet bills. This means you can enjoy the benefits of pet companionship at a fraction of the usual price of dog ownership.
Cons of fostering dogs
Whenever you introduce a new animal into your life, there’s a potential for challenges to arise. Here are the four most common drawbacks of dog fostering.
1. You may not meet eligibility requirements
Depending on the shelter or rescue group’s requirements, you may not be eligible to foster a dog. Most animals need space to run around and play. If you have other pets, your foster dog will need a quiet area of their own to decompress. If you lack the necessary room in your house, the shelter may prefer you to volunteer rather than foster.
2. You may not know their background
When rescued, sometimes a shelter will discover an animal’s medical history and background, but it may also remain a mystery. When you foster, you may later learn that the animal is sick, pregnant or has experienced abuse. This can significantly influence your foster experience.
When scared, animals can display signs of aggression that foster parents may not be ready to handle. If these triggers are unknown, it could result in dangerous situations for the dog and foster family.
3. Your property may become damaged
After deciding to foster a dog, you may notice unpleasant or disgusting odors, gross markings and loud noises. For the dog, this may be their first time in a house, which means they probably won’t know how to act. As a result, they may make messes and destroy your property. While these behaviors are understandable, they can be costly and upsetting for foster families.
4. You may experience heartbreak
It can feel heartbreaking when it’s time to say goodbye and send your foster pet to their new home. While you know that the experience was beneficial for the dog’s welfare, it can be very upsetting to give them up at the end of the process. Sometimes this is why some foster families decide to adopt their pets.
Take a chance
If you are willing to take a chance, fostering a dog can change your life and theirs. After reviewing these four major pros and cons, you can feel more confident in making a decision. If you are still on the fence, remember that you can return a foster dog if they aren’t a good fit for your household.
Jane Marsh is an environmental writer who is passionate about pet care and health. To read more of her work, follow her site Environment.co.