There are a couple of big advantages in adopting a dog from a foster home rather than a shelter. First, foster families are able to gather and share an enormous amount of information about the animal’s behavior, personality, and training. Even if well cared for, a dog in a shelter environment will act differently than after a few weeks settling in to a home, and there are certain things that are impossible to assess or predict in a shelter environment. With Lollie, it took about six weeks for what we consider her “real” personality to emerge (the one that celebrates the little things by doing head stands, and does a little bobble head move at a new sound).
Second, animals in foster care are more likely to be spayed / neutered and have had major and minor medical needs cared for. Lollie came to us unaltered, and we made arrangements for her spay a few weeks later. We monitored her as her surgery wound healed, gave her pills, applied ointments, shuttled her to follow-up visits at the vet, and kept her calm as she recovered. She also arrived with irritated, flaky skin and sores around her feet. We treated the pads and knuckles of her feet with soothing shampoo and carefully kept her clean and on soft bedding so she could heal. Many dogs go into foster care with more serious ailments, and by the time they are adopted, they have been treated and are “good as new.” These are all things that a foster dog’s future (where are you?) forever family will not have to deal with, making the transition that much easier.
Another advantage of foster animals is that in the right care, they are able to get a head start on the skills and habits that will make them a very good pet. We have crate trained Lollie carefully from the start, and because she is a very good sport who never complains, she has taken to it well. When we walk into the room and tell her “load up!” she trots in and sits to receive a snack or treat.
But it wasn’t until last night that– for the first time– she decided it was bedtime, teeter-tottered sleepily over her crate on her own, and curled up to go to sleep. They say that this is a very big step for a dog learning to crate train, and fosterdad and I quietly danced around in celebration.
For more info on adopting Lollie, contact us at DCpetographer@gmail.com or 301-520-7123.