I’ve written a few articles about fostering dogs over the past two years, and multiple readers from the Patch community have stepped up to become foster families. It’s great to see more and more people becoming aware of dog rescue, getting involved, and understanding the importance and vital need of fostering. Fostering is the backbone of rescue, and we can only save as many dogs as we have foster families available to welcome them into their homes.
It was only a few years ago that I learned about fostering and how it works. Fostering involves opening your heart and home to a pup in need, and giving them a safe place to land and some TLC until they’ve found their new home. Some foster pups are easier than others, but all bring great joy and the reward of knowing that you played a part in saving that dog’s life and helping them find a loving family.
How Does Fostering Work?
Mutts Matter is a network of volunteers, so we don’t have a facility or full-time staff. When we rescue a dog from a shelter or bad situation, we need to have a safe place for them to go so they can begin their transition to home life. Foster families not only provide a loving, temporary home for a dog, they are our insight into the dog’s personality and behavior, and help them learn how to be part of a family. As the dog begins to realize they are safe and cared for, they begin to trust and open up, and the families help us get a better sense of their good and bad habits, level of socialization, and the type of home and family that will best suit them.
Everyone benefits from the foster process. The foster family gets a rewarding experience and is able to see real, tangible results from the time and love they invest. The foster dog gets a break from a stressful life in a shelter or some other unfortunate circumstance, and only has to worry about being a dog again. The adopters get a dog that’s better socialized and adapted to home life, and receive first-hand perspective and guidance from the foster family who has lived with and often rehabilitated their dog.
Foster Families Come In All Shapes & Sizes
Our foster families vary greatly, from single moms to families with four children, to graduate students, to retirees and singles who are looking for companionship and want to give back. They are your neighbors, friends, and coworkers who all have busy lives, but make time and selflessly give these innocent pups a second chance at a great life, and sometimes their first positive human experience.
I spoke with some of Mutts Matter’s foster families to understand how they got involved in fostering and what it means to them. Some enjoy helping the dog transition and watching them blossom, some love the fact that they are bringing joy to a family, and making a difference in the life of another person while helping a deserving dog find a loving home. Some are looking for companionship, or testing the waters to see if they’re ready for the responsibility of full-time dog ownership. They come to fostering for different reasons, but they’re all making a difference, and are essential to what we do.
How To Get Started
If you have some time, patience, and love to share, please consider volunteering to care for a rescue dog in your home. Mutts Matter will cover the cost of vet care, medication, and food as needed. You provide the comfort of your home and some TLC until they find their permanent family. Time commitments for fostering can vary from a few days to a few months – it depends on how long it takes for the right adoptive family to be identified and approved for your foster pup.
As the foster parent, you will get to know the dog better than anyone and we rely on your insight. Mutts Matter includes our foster families in the adoption process and you have input into the placement decisions. While the foster dog is in your care, MMR volunteers will work with you to screen prospective adopters, make home visits, and find the perfect match for your foster pup.
How You Can Help During the Holidays?
Life in today’s world is busy. We all have family, professional, and social obligations, and many of us work long hours, so it’s hard to find extra time to give back to your community. The holidays are a time when rescues are stretched particularly thin. Temporary fostering is one way to help a dog in need over the holidays. A lot of our foster families are traveling during this time and can’t take their foster pups with them, so we need to find temporary homes for a defined period of time – a few days to two weeks. It’s a great way to try fostering, and to help a dog who needs to know that they are safe and loved until they find their family.
Dog are the most grateful, loving, and loyal creatures. By fostering, you're not only saving the life of your foster dog, but you are making room for another dog in a shelter somewhere to have a second chance at a good life.
A special Thank You to all the wonderful foster families who do such great work for Mutts Matter Rescue!
***The dogs featured in this article’s photos are all in need of foster homes***