7 myths about fostering senior dogs
Foster families play such a vital role at Forever Loved — they provide a safe haven for dogs often recovering from health issues or recent trauma. Fosters allow us to save even more dogs and to accurately learn about a dog’s behavior in a natural setting, so we can successfully place them in their forever homes.
Sadly, several harmful misconceptions keep people from considering fostering. Not anymore! Read on as we debunk some common myths about fostering dogs.
1. It’s expensive
Fortunately, this is not true! Fostering is actually a great option for someone who is unsure about adopting a dog based on the financial commitment.
FLPS foster families are under no obligation to cover out-of-pocket costs, including:
- Dog food
- Veterinary care
In addition to covering the cost of vet visits, Forever Loved volunteers can be available to drive your foster dog to and from their vet appointment.
Forever Loved provides everything you’ll need. “I received food, treats, bowls, bed, leash, doggy bags, extra blankets, and toys,” says Carrie Owens, who started fostering for FLPS about nine months ago. “Plus you can go back and replenish as needed.”
2. It’s too long of a commitment
You may be worried that if you agree to foster a dog, you could be “stuck” with that foster dog for a very long time, waiting and waiting to find a forever family. Fortunately for our dogs, this generally isn’t the case.
“Unless you have a dog with a lot of issues and needs a very specific adopter, you don’t have them too long,” says Scott Rudy, who has been fostering FLPS dogs with his wife Gina, also for about nine months.
Every dog’s experience, however, is different. If you were to have a dog for a long time and for whatever reason you needed a change, you can always reach out to FLPS and they will accommodate you.
3. All the dogs have behavioral issues
Some people believe that all rescue dogs are given up because they are bad-tempered or have behavioral issues. This isn’t an accurate assumption — often it’s a move, divorce, or death that leaves our dogs in need of new forever homes.
Carrie says a number of her foster dogs have been surrendered because of the owner passing away. This is a great reminder to all us dog owners to have a plan in place.
It’s an added bonus that FLPS dogs are all seniors. “They are house-trained and past the whole chewing stage,” Gina says. Carrie agrees, saying the foster dogs tend to be used to living in a house.
“It’s just like people — each dog is different,” Gina says. “We’ve had a little bit of everything — a couple dogs have needed nothing, and a few had minor issues.”
Our foster dogs can have some bad manners that need changing, but you’re never stuck with a dog that you don’t know how to manage. “You are matched with what you can handle,” Gina says. And of course fosters can always call FLPS any time with any concern.
4. No one helps if any issues arise
This would be terrible if true! Fortunately FLPS always has the backs of our fosters.
“There is always someone to call. You are never stranded, and any issue is always dealt with and never left up in the air,” explains Gina.
Recently, Carrie was concerned that her foster dog was going to the bathroom too infrequently, so she reached out to FLPS and they were very responsive in getting it addressed.
5. Only those with big homes and yards can foster
It’s a common misconception that a foster must have a huge home or expansive backyard. Dogs don’t require gigantic spaces; most important is a loving home and proper care.
FLPS does, however, consider the size of your home when deciding foster dog placement.
“They’ll kind of match the dog with what the foster would like and can provide. Having a smaller place is not a hindrance to being a foster,” says Gina.
As long as the dog can expel energy, space isn’t an issue, according to Carrie, who currently lives in a smaller space. You just need to make sure the dog gets exercise.
6. Travel is prohibited
Fosters can, and do, travel! In fact, frequent travel hasn’t affected Gina and Scott’s ability to foster. They just make sure to coordinate with FLPS. They tell them their travel plans and “they are just happy to have us fostering when we can,” Scott says.
Carrie, who went on vacation in June, agrees. She simply lets FLPS know when she will be traveling, and FLPS arranges for the dog’s care.
7. Saying goodbye is too sad
This is a common refrain our fosters hear. Carrie says some people have even thought she must be kind of “cold” to be able to foster. She acknowledges she’s always sad to say goodbye but keeps it in perspective.
“We are a stop they take on the way to their forever home. I feel like we’re doing good so that part outweighs any emotional tug we feel.”
“You always get attached relatively quickly, but because our time with the dogs is fairly brief, it’s a bit easier to say goodbye,” says Scott.
“A lot of people say, ‘I could never do that, I couldn’t let them go.’ It’s kind of a mindset you have to have when you go into it,” Gina says.
By getting to know the dog, fosters play a highly valuable role in getting the dog adopted into a home that is the right fit.
“When they have been adopted and you see the family, it’s such a fantastic feeling knowing that you were part of that happening and that now you will have room to help another dog. To me, knowing that they are now a part of a happy family, I can get excited for the next one,” Gina says.
Words of wisdom
Perhaps not surprising, our fosters are in complete agreement that everyone should try fostering.
“I would encourage everyone to do this,” Carrie says. “We would’ve adopted all of them, but we are not in a situation to during such an unknown time right now. It’s the best of both worlds. It’s fantastic.”
“Go for it. I think anybody considering it should give it a try,” Gina says. “This is a no-lose situation. If you decide fostering is not for you, there’s no obligation to keep the dog for any certain length of time. Just try it and see how you feel about it.”