Thinking of becoming a foster parent?
So you want to be a foster mom or dad? Here are some tricks of the trade to make your fostering experience a success!
- Before fostering, make sure everyone in your household is in agreement. Be honest with your rescue coordinator on your preferences. Would you prefer and adult dog or a puppy? One foster dog or five foster dogs? Do you have other animals? If so, what types of personalities would get along best with them? At CCC, we do our best to pair foster dogs with the right foster family. Most foster parents for our organization have other dogs, animals, and children.
- Get prepared! CCC can provide you with a crate and food. If requested, we can also supply you with a collar, leash, and bowls. We strongly recommend that you have the basics: toys, towels and blankets. It would also be helpful if you had Nature’s Miracle for accidents, wee wee pads, and Dawn dish soap or dog shampoo. Baby gates can also be helpful for keeping your foster safe. Foster proof your house and outside area. A good rule of thumb is “if you don’t want it to be damaged, put it away!”
- If fostering a puppy, you are the canine’s first disciplinarian. Learn and use tools to break habits of food aggression, furniture chewing, housebreaking, etc. You need to have patience to be a foster parent. You also have to expect accidents!
- Before you pick up your foster pet, confine your own pets.
- Put towels down in your car and tether a leash to the door, or, purchase a canine seat belt. The towels are for accidents and the leash is to keep everyone safe while your vehicle is in motion. If you prefer, you can use a travel crate.
- Bring treats. When you meet your foster dog, the initial connection is everything. If you are able, walk your foster dog to establish a relationship.
- Once you get home, walk again. Let the dog sniff your yard, especially where he/she will hopefully be going to the bathroom. This is a great way to let the dog relieve him/herself and to release any energy before entering your home.
- Find out when the dog had its flea and tick medication from your rescue coordinator. If it is three or more days since application, it’s best to give your dog a bath. Dawn dish soap works wonders, or you can purchase a dog shampoo. Fill your tub with warm water, have plenty of towels ready, and an extra set of hands would be helpful as some dogs do not thrive during bath time.
- After the dog is clean, it’s important that the dog knows where to access food, water, and its crate. Letting the dog explore and get comfortable in its crate is paramount.
- Eating food and drnking water can sometimes present with a new set of challenges. First and foremost, never force your dog to drink or eat anything. It is recommended that you redirect them to the food and water. If your foster dog has diarrhea, a tablespoon or two of pumpkin puree helps cure stomach upset. Chicken and rice are good staples to have on hand, but purchasing chicken and rice baby food makes your life even easier. If you have an issue trying to get one of your foster dogs to eat, you can try the following meal enhancers – adding a scoop of wet food, chicken, hard boiled or scrambled eggs, shredded cheese, a little of coconut oil, carrots, apples, broccoli, peas, or brown rice. If your foster dog has not eaten or drank in 24 hours, contact your rescue coordinator immediately.
- Get your camera out. Take pictures of your foster dog living the good life! Send them to your rescue coordinator. These pictures will be going on adoption websites so please make sure they are not blurry and of good quality.
- Fine tune your writing skills! You know your foster dog best. Tell the world why they should adopt your foster girl or boy. Write up an honest truth and send to your rescue coordinator. It’s important to mention age, suspected breed, male or female, specific personality traits, if they get along well with your animals, and what still needs to be addressed (house breaking, walking on a leash) upon adoption. Send your write-up to your rescue coordinator for it to be featured on the adoption websites.
- When in doubt, or if you have any questions or concerns, contact your rescue coordinator. CCC is here to help you help the foster dog! Fostering is not an easy job. It takes time, energy, patience, and lots of love.
Just remember: You are saving a life!