|source - (For those of you who don't know me, this isn't me-- just a relevant image I found)|
As anyone involved in animal rescue will tell you, foster homes are critically important to the effort to save as many furry lives as possible. Read some basics about fostering here. Many of the approximately four million homeless pets euthanized each year in the United States are put to sleep simply because shelters do not have the space and/or resources to keep them. Foster homes take some of this pressure off of shelters and give animals who otherwise would not have survived a chance to find a loving forever home.
Unfortunately, for logistical reasons my husband, Peter, and I are not able to be "full-time" foster parents (full-timers keep their foster pet until s/he finds an adoptive home). However, many rescue groups, in addition to needing full-time foster parents, are also in need of temporary or short-term fosters. These types of fosters keep an animal only for a shorter period of time, generally anywhere from a few days to a week. This is the type of fostering that Peter and I do.
The reasons why pets might be in need of a short-term foster home vary. Sometimes their full-time foster family is going out of town. Sometimes they are recovering from an illness or medical procedure and need a quiet environment and/or some TLC. Sometimes they just need a safe place to go for a few days, to get them out of a shelter, until a full-time foster can be found.
We foster through Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, the organization from which we adopted Lily. Lucky Dog transports most of its dogs from high-kill shelters in the rural South to the Washington, DC metro area where they have a better chance of finding a home. They usually do transports every week or two, and every dog must have either an adopter, a full-time foster, or a temporary foster commitment in order to make it onto the transport. All the dogs who are not adopted off of the transport then attend an adoption event later that weekend. Dogs who were in a short-term foster home who do not get adopted at that event are then transferred either to a full-time foster home or to boarding with one of Lucky Dog's wonderful area boarding partners. So, though as a short-term foster you may or may not get to see your foster pup ride off into the sunset to his/her forever home, you know that you have played an integral part in getting that dog out of a shelter to somewhere safe. And you then eagerly check Lucky Dog's list of adopted dogs each week, waiting to see your foster dog's name!
Peter and I have so far fostered three wonderful dogs in this way: Frank, Lucy, and Juancho. Stay tuned for separate posts about each of them, as well as posts about fosters we have in the future! And if you live in or around Washington, DC and would be interested in fostering for Lucky Dog, either full-time or short-term, please click here for more information.