30 Apr Fostering a dog during lockdown
Dog fosters are crucial volunteers who help animal welfare charities by taking on the pets that struggle in a kennel environment. Unsurprisingly, the Coronavirus pandemic has meant there has been a surge in interest in fostering. On the surface, fostering seems to offer the benefits of having a dog around the house but without the long-term commitment. Of course, the reality is very different!
Can I foster a dog during lockdown?
Each animal welfare charity will have made their own decisions over whether or not they are accepting new fosters, but most are working with existing fosters and volunteers.
The RSPCA are currently accepting new fosters for certain animals. There is currently a slight delay in completing applications, but they are able to deliver foster pets to successful applicants whilst observing social distancing rules.
At the time of writing, the Dog’s Trust have put a pause on accepting new foster applications due to the high volume of enquiries. They are working through current applications and getting in touch with suitable applicants to take them through the process.
Battersea have temporarily suspended applications to foster whilst they prioritise working with existing staff and volunteers to provide care for their dogs and cats.
Woodgreen are still running a foster program, with an increase in applications. Applications can be made via a form on their website.
Blue Cross aren’t currently looking for new foster carers, but new opportunities are posted through their volunteer portal on their website.
Other rehoming centres
Each rehoming centre will have their own needs but are also likely to be busy at this time with the increased interest in becoming a foster carer. It’s always worth checking their websites and social media before calling to see if they are accepting applications.
If you can’t foster, or your application is unsuccessful, please consider donating to the animal charity of your choice to support the work they do to care for and rehome pets.
Things to consider when fostering a dog
Fostering a dog can be a rewarding experience for both the owner and the dog. Animal welfare charities will typically place dogs in foster homes when they aren’t quite suited for kennel life, or if they need to observe them in a family home setting where they are more comfortable and relaxed.
Fostering a dog is a temporary commitment, so it’s perfect for households that can’t make the long-term commitment to a dog right now. However, with that comes the knowledge that you’ll need to give the dog back eventually, albeit to a loving home.
Doggy fosters are there to give the dog in their care lots of love, affection, socialisation, food and exercise. Beyond that, the charity you are working with may also ask you to carry out other tasks, such as:
- Attending training classes and providing training at home
- Transporting the dog to the shelter to meet potential adopters
- Keeping notes of their behaviour for the charity
- Supplying photos or videos of the dog at home
- Speaking to potential adopters to see if they are a good match for the dog
Dog fosters are generally not expected to pay for any veterinary costs – this is usually covered by the charity.
Finally, as a foster you need to be fully prepared for the moment you give your foster dog back to go to their new home. After caring for a dog for weeks or even months you’ll grow attached to it and the process of handing them back can be bittersweet. That said, you’ll know they are going to a great home and eventually you’ll get used to the process of handing them back. Who knows – you may even find your new best friend and decide to give them a fur-ever home yourself.
Getting ready to welcome a foster dog into your home
Once you know you’ll be getting a foster dog, the process of placing them in your home can be very quick. Whilst many rescue centres will provide a lot of their equipment, such as leads, collars and bedding, this varies. Talk to your rescue centre about what you’ll need to buy in to ensure that your foster dog is healthy and happy whilst they stay with you. Make sure you have:
- Collar, harness and lead
- Food and treats
- Food and water bowls
- A comfy dog bed
- Poo bags
- Grooming tools, such as a brush and shedding comb
- A selection of dog toys
- A PitPat dog activity monitor to keep track of their daily activity (you’ll be able to use your PitPat with subsequent dogs in your care, just make sure you clean and disinfect it between each dog to prevent the spread of any parasites.)
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