the foster home advantage

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 or 301-520-7123.

8 responses

  1. Oh yes! I Most Definitely agree that living in a fosterhome is the bestest thing when you’re just starting out looking for your forever family. All my siblings lived in fosterhomes, too. My mom says that she likes adopting pets from fosterhomes cuz, like you said, they can tell you a whole lot about what the pets’ real pawsonality is like so that you can make sure you made the right decision.

    Good job, Lollie. I often put myself to bed WAY before mom and dad are ready to turn out the light. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I get a kong every night at bedtime.

    Wiggles & Wags,

  2. Fostercare is probably the best situation for a dog waiting for his forever home. It gives him or her a chance to recover in a caring environment. I know a lot of stories of dogs placed in shelters actually regressing in behaviour. It is not the happiest place to be, especially not for more then a few weeks.

    And you guys are definitely the ideal foster parents. You have had enough time to help start her training and you know exactly what she needs to work on. Her future family is going to be very lucky.

  3. Fostering all animals is probably the way of the future for most shelters. It’s hard to create a stress-free and enriching environment in even the best ones.

    You’ve certainly provided a great setting for Lollie to flourish.

    As Lollie finds her new home and you prepare to bring a new foster into your family, I’d love to see a post on how you started fostering to begin with. How did you know Chick would be ok with a new household member? Did you get training in fostering before you started? How do you manage your schedule to provide all the training and enrichment a new dog needs while still keeping Chick used to all the fun and games he had before Lollie came.

    Just a thought–

  4. This is really a big deal. A lot of people don’t really recognize the advantages of adopting from a foster home. Especially knowing you have a great home and she’s already been crate trained which is huge. Mr. B came from a foster home and it was really easy for him to fit in. Miss M on the other hand came from a stint in boarding and it took me awhile to teach her about basic rules of a house (like tables aren’t for running across).

  5. Pingback: Thoughts on fostering… « Our Waldo Bungie

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