Due to an overwhelming number of emails, I’ve compiled a little bit of data on fostering, loving and caring for the critters that you don’t get to keep.
OK, maybe I’m not the best person to write this. After all, I’m a foster failure. But after an overwhelming number of inquiries about how to be a foster, I thought I would relay my information to those of you who are considering fostering but don’t know where to start.
First of all, you’re about to jump into a very special, very loving community. There’s a lot of team work at most rescues and they rely on each other for help and supplies
I went through Angels Among Us Rescue for Danielle Steele-Gable. They have a very active Facebook page, so start there.
Once you find the rescue, fill out a foster application. I’m attaching the one for Angels Among Us to this story. Fill it out and email it back in.
Whatever you do, don't commit to being a foster parent on Facebook. I'm not sure why, but over and over I read that that will hurt the chances of the animal getting saved. Apply to be a foster then email the person listed in Facebook post.
Then look on the site to see if there is an animal that needs a foster and that fits your home. If you remember my Daschund three-hour fiasco, you’ll know that you have to make sure the dog matches your home.
If there is something that is calling out to you, email about it. That’s what I did with Danielle Steele. I was drawn to the fact that she was named after a writer, and was a small breed female—exactly what I was looking for.
Once you get approved to foster and you get set up with a dog, the hard part is over. From here on out, you just have to love on them.
There were a lot of terms I wasn’t sure about when I first started this journey.
Fostering: Keeping an animal for a period of time. In some cases you agree to pay for the vet bills, but some private rescues pay for the vet bills. If you’re on a budget and can’t afford high vet bills, but can afford the basic supplies for a dog—food, water, toys, treats—then look for a rescue that pays for vetting.
Boarding: Animals that get out of kill shelters but are waiting for foster or adoption are put into boarding at local vets, no-kill shelters and grooming salons. These usually include small cages and unhappy animals.
Sponsorship: For rescues that pay vetting bills, they ask for donations to cover the cost of spaying, neutering and other medical problems such as Parvo.
Heartstick: Heartstick euthanasia is the current form of destroying animals. Do not Google this. I didn't link to it for a reason. You don't want to know the details. You don't. Trust me, it's terrible.
Adoption events: You generally have to agree to two of these a month. They’re when you take the dog to Petsmart or another location on a weekend to see if anyone wants to adopt it. While I didn’t make it to one of these for Danielle Steele, I did attend a lot of them as a shopper before I got her. If you’re a good salesman, you can talk someone into taking care of the puppy. Seriously, someone in Kennesaw almost convinced me I could take a St. Bernard puppy into my one-room apartment to raise.
Out of this whole experience, I’ve learned that the big thing is to keep on trying and not get discouraged. After the first pet-sitting fiasco, I didn’t think I would ever try again. Now, I think this is one of the best decisions I ever made.
I used to have this youth minister growing up who would wear a rubber band on mission trips and tell us to “be flexible.” It was beyond annoying at the time, but now I think that’s a big part of this. Be flexible. If you try do rush things, you’re just going to stress everyone and every creature out. Don’t do it for the first time right before you leave for a holiday.
The hardest part is taking that first step and getting that first dog (or cat, but y’all know how I am about cats).
It should probably also be noted that several sources state that foster dogs love McDonald's french fries, so living within driving distance to the golden arches is preferable.