Who’s thinking about fostering their first dog this year? In January of 2010, we were. It was a year if big hopes and big dreams for us. Buy our first house. Start a new job. Foster our first dog.

And we did it. And we loved it. And we grew addicted. We’ve done it time and time again.

So why not give it a try? There are rescues and shelters out there with needs to suit almost everybody’s lifestyle. Even if you can only commit to a few days, or a certain size, temperament, color, breed, energy level, and astrological sign, there’s a dog (or a cat!) out there whose life you can save by opening your home and your heart for a short while. Who knows? Loving lonely, homeless animals while they search for their forever might be the most satisfying thing you’ve ever done.

Here are the faces we’ve been honored to love this year. What will your first face look like?

31 responses

  1. Beautiful photos. I love the way each one was tied together by the presence of pink and red in the shot.

    I got an email on December 31 asking if I could foster a frightened and seriously neglected dachshund. We said, “of course,” but the SPCA managed to find a foster situation that was even better for Sheila–a house with no dogs (one of her fears).

    I took it as good karma that we were asked and I look forward to doing more fostering in 2011.

    Your site and others I read have made the idea of fostering much less scary. It was particularly helpful to see your reminders to give a new dog no chance to get into trouble. Thank you!

    I hope many more people heed your call.

    BTW, love the new look.

  2. Look at those adorable faces! We are definitely going to return to fostering this year – it’s been far too long, and hopefully Rufus will behave himself.

  3. Loving the new logo!!

    We too took on our first “full time” foster dog this year. I was considering the idea and found your blog and knew I had to do it. 5 pups later, we’re loving it! We’re taking a quick break for some housework and vacations (and Izzy training), but we will definitely be back!

  4. Thank you from the very bottom of my familys heart. By you fostering Lily, we really got to know her personailty and realize she’d be a great fit for our rowdy family. I know that we would have overlooked her in the shelter. Without your guidance and love, I dont think we would have adopted a pit…but you showed us how wonderful and sweet she is…the fostering world is a better place because of you Alex! Thank you!

  5. Love the new look! And thanks for sharing this post – you were one my inspirations to foster and it has been a challenging but super fulfilling experience! I hope many more people will be inspired to foster by you!

  6. Wonderful post to start the year! I got an early start last week, adding a new foster to the current pack, which is now 4 fosters plus my ‘personal’ dog (a perfect, patient pibble) and 3 cats. Not as hectic as it may sound since I foster senior dogs, an overlooked demographic. They often fit in easily, although the newest is taking longer than most I’ve had, in part because she has limited sight.
    Consider a senior dog if you don’t have the time or physical capacity to exercise a young dog. While some rescues avoid seniors as less adoptable and more expensive, there are a few that take them. I foster for Old Dog Haven in Washington state, we only take seniors, most from shelters. About 95% of our dogs are hospice (too old or sick to adopt), but in 2011 we adopted out 207 old dogs! The need is very great and more acute in this recession. Right now we have 212 dogs in our foster homes and get calls every day about old dogs who need a foster spot.

  7. Inspired by you, we recently applied to foster…only to have our hopes dashed and find that the bylaws in our neighborhood aren’t flexible enough to allow for it. We have two dogs and that is the max, no fosters. Period. **sigh** I’m looking into finding out how hard it is to get a kennel license which would allow us some leeway.

    I’m harbouring a secret hope that 2012 might be the year I can finally talk my other half into leaving our hometown and striking out to a place with some more flexibility. Until then, I’m resolving to spend more time at our local shelter and make sure all the pups who have to stay get a bit of love and attention.

    • Hope you find good luck with a kennel license. Availability really varies depending on location. Where I am (Everett WA) there’s a 2-pet limit but you can get a cheap “hobby” license which is perfect for fostering. The commercial kennel license is more expensive. However, other cities in this area really vary.

      Everett also has BSL but mercifully not a ban, just a lot of restrictions on bully breeds – so at least I don’t have to move.

  8. The new header look great! Nice job.
    I “oohed and ahhed” all the way through the pictures! Such beautiful dogs.

  9. Beautiful new header saying in design and words just what you are about – I keep posting your blogs to Facebook, hoping more people will foster.
    @Gabrielle, THANK YOU for dedicating your fosters to senior dogs. I have many seniors here at Silverwalk Hounds; I love them and yes, they make great pets. Congrats on your adoptions :).

  10. the logo is awesome, and your right, it is addicting. It’s tough sometimes, but I cant help but always go back for more. Congrats on your first full year of fostering! You are a model foster home for so many, including me, so good luck in 2012. I’m so excited to see what new faces sneak their way into your home and heart!

  11. Hi! I am a fairly new reader & I’m completely smitten by all your fosters, and of course Chick. I have an 18-year-old cat & a dog-phobic landlord, so fostering any dog is out of the question for me. BUT, because of your wonderful blog, I sponsored a dog in foster care – he stayed with someone else, but I helped with food expenses, took him on walks, and helped get the word out about his availability. Happily, he found his forever people in time for the holidays & I could not have been more thrilled to do my part to help out. I don’t know if I would have been open to it if I hadn’t been reading your blog. Thanks from the bottom of my heart!

    • Wow Naomi, this comment just blew me away. Sponsoring a dog in foster care is such an amazing thing to do. I think those of us who foster are in it mostly for the good of the dog, but there’s that little bit of us that feels like a rockstar for being in the middle of the connection when it happens. Being willing to play it behind the scenes elevates you to a whole new level of awesome in my book.

      Have you ever thought of fostering cats?

  12. LOVE the new look! And although I’ve done some overnights with tiny puppies, Stella has made it quite clear she is not sharing me. So I’ll have to keep advocating for the pit bulls in other ways. I did just get a little older half-blind staffy man into a new home just before the holidays. I’ll let you know when that post is up.

  13. You guys are the best! Look at all the beautiful pooches you saved. Doesn’t hurt that your photographs are stunning.

    I’ve got a full house so I won’t be able to take any fosters in unfortunately. Louise is still around and at the rate we’re going she probably will be for a long time. Sigh.

  14. I love love love your blog. You inspired me to start the new year by submitting a foster application with a local rescue. I’m keeping my fingers crossed until I hear back! My parents fostered dogs when I was a child, and I suspect that somewhere in the garage we still have a framed photo “collage” of all of our past fosters.

  15. Love your blog – thank you for all the helpful fostering tips! My husband and I usually foster puppy mill rescues but recently got the opportunity to foster a 6 week old abandoned pitty pup and are loving it! Do you have any tips on the most important things to work on at a young age to ensure a good pitty for the long run?

    • Hi Jillian,

      Congrats, and thank you for stepping up for the little pit bull puppy!

      I can absolutely tell you that the most important things to work on with little puppies are (1) socialization; and (2) handling. Take him/her to as many new places as you can, and expose him/her to as many new things as possible. People of all shapes, sizes, and colors and ages, dogs, cats, parks and stores and cafes and cars, etc, etc. Also make sure you are handling your puppy’s paws, ears, tail, belly, teeth, etc. Feed treats while you’re doing any of these new things to build a positive association.

      Many behavioral issues in adult dogs come from insufficient socialization when dogs are babies — the most critical time is between 0 and 12 weeks, but the next few months are really important too.

      Good luck, and send a photo when you have a chance!


  16. Thanks Aleks! Definitely all stuff we are working on – she is sweet as pie and super smart. We’re enjoying our time with her and hope we can mix it up and foster more pitt bull types in the future along with mill dogs. I have no idea how to add a picture here but I’ll send you one.

  17. I am very glad I stumbled across your blog. We lost our 5 year old GSD to lymphoma cancer just a couple weeks ago over the holidays. Last week we met with a retired sergeant who fosters GSDs, and have been considering fostering once our broken heart mends a bit. Thank you for your honest information about fostering – the good and the bad. I will be back to read more! πŸ™‚

    • I’m sorry for your loss — it must have been pretty tough, especially at such a young age. Sharing your home with a needy, lonely, homeless dog won’t make the hurt go away, but it will satisfy some of that ache you’re feeling. I’m available as a resource if you choose to start fostering. It can feel a little intimidating when you start, but there’s a big community out there of people who want to help you succeed and enjoy. Best, Aleks

  18. I am very glad I stumbled across your blog. We lost our 5 year old GSD to lymphoma cancer just a couple weeks ago over the holidays. Last week we met with a retired sergeant who fosters GSDs, and have been considering fostering once our broken heart mends a bit. Thank you for your honest information about fostering – the good and the bad. I will be back to read more! πŸ™‚

  19. Pingback: A bit of fostering inspiration for our new friends «

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