To Foster or Adopt?

Choosing to bring a pet into your home can, and should be, a big decision that requires a lot of thought and consideration. There are many questions that need answered before you can decide which dog to make a permanent part of your family. Do you want a puppy or an adult dog? What breed is best for your family? What kind of temperament should the dog have? Does it need to be good with children and other animals? What energy level would fit your lifestyle best? Another question to answer is where you want to get the dog from. If you’ve already decided on adopting versus going to a breeder, you may also consider to foster first.

If you’re not familiar with fostering a pet – here is a quick rundown. First, you should find a shelter or rescue in your area. They will most likely have you fill out a foster application through their website or go into their facility to obtain one. They will ask you a few questions about your home and your lifestyle, and possibly do a home visit just to ensure your home is safe for a pet to reside in. Once you’ve been approved, you can specify which kind of dog you would like to foster, and the organization you’re working with will do their best to accommodate you. Depending on the shelter or rescue, you may be required to foster the dog for a minimum period of time.

Most shelters and rescues will provide you with everything you need for your foster dog, including a crate, collar, leash, etc. They may even provide food! A huge plus to fostering is that most vet/medical expenses are taken care of by the organization you are fostering through! You will just be responsible for taking the foster in to see the vet whenever it is needed. When an approved adoption application comes in, the shelter or rescue may ask you to speak to the applicant about your foster, since you will know the dog best. This will help ensure the dog and their potential adopter are a good match.

Fostering is a great way to bring a dog into your home without having to make the final decision right away. Maybe you thought you really wanted a puppy, but once you’ve fostered a 6 week old, you realize potty training and rescuing your favorite shoes from its mouth every day just isn’t your thing. Or, you’ve always wanted a giant breed like a Great Dane or a Newfoundland, but after fostering one for a few months, you decide you only want to use the bibs for your baby’s drool- not your dog’s too!

When you decide you might be ready to bring a dog into your home, but you’re not completely confident you know exactly what you want, try fostering. You don’t have to make a lifetime commitment (unless you fall in love with your foster and decide to adopt it), and you get a chance to enjoy multiple kinds of dogs. You’re not only going to be playing it safe on your end, but you’ll also be saving the life of a dog in need! Happy fostering- or adopting!

Amanda Bauman
Suburban K9