I’ve always been a dog lover, but it was only a few years ago that I got involved in dog rescue and learned about fostering and how it works. Since then, I have fostered multiple dogs, giving them a soft place to land and some TLC until they’ve found their new homes. Some fosters were easier than others, but all brought great joy and the reward of knowing that I played a part in saving that dog’s life and helping them find a loving family.
What Is Fostering?
Fostering is the backbone of rescue. Mutts Matter can only save as many dogs as we have foster families available to welcome them into their homes. Our foster families provide a loving, temporary home for a rescued dog until a permanent adoptive family can be found. As the dog begins to realize they are safe and cared for, they begin to trust and open up, and we can get a better sense of their personality, level of socialization and understand the type of home and family that will best suit them.
Everyone benefits in 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 bad circumstance, and starts to learn how to be part of a family. The new adopters get a dog that’s better socialized and adapted to home life, and receives first-hand insight and guidance from the foster family who has lived with and often rehabilitated their dog.
I spoke with some of Mutts Matter’s veteran foster moms to understand how they got involved in fostering and what it’s meant to them.
Debbie G. started fostering when she left her fulltime job and moved to Virginia in 2005. She wanted to spend more time volunteering, loved dogs, had the time and space, and decided to try it. She found it immediately rewarding and, after fostering countless dogs, she still fondly remembers her first foster pup, Rambo, and all the families she has met over the years.
Debbie discovered through fostering she not only made a difference in the life of a dog, but was amazed to learn the difference she made in people’s lives. She recounts being contacted by a 76-year-old woman who had just lost her husband suddenly to a brain tumor, and couldn’t bear the thought of being alone for the holidays. At the time, Debbie’s rescue did not have the right pup fit for the woman, but the very next day, a dog came into the rescue that was a great fit. Debbie promptly picked him up and delivered him to the woman in person with a big red bow, and she was overjoyed. Debbie made a difference in the lives of another person and a deserving dog.
Rebecca K. and her husband decided to try fostering when they were considering getting a dog of their own. They wanted to make sure they were ready for the long-term commitment, and felt fostering was a really good thing to do and would help them prepare for what having a dog would be like. Five years later, their home has been a safe haven to many dogs of all breeds, sizes, and conditions. Even though they have dogs of their own now, they believe fostering is still an important thing to do, and always want to have room to welcome a dog in need. I asked Rebecca what draws her to fostering.
“I love it,” she said. “It’s so gratifying to know you’ve made this big of a difference, to watch the dog truly blossom in front or your eyes.”
Debbie and Rebecca are two great examples of the amazing foster moms who work with Mutts Matter Rescue and are the very essence of what we do.
How To Get Started
If you have some time, patience and love to share, volunteer to care for a rescue dog in your home. Mutts Matter will cover the cost of vet care, medication and food. 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 approved for your foster pup.
As the foster parent, you will know the dog better than anyone, and we want your buy-in. Our foster families are included in the adoption process and make the placement decisions with us. While the foster dog is in your care, MMR volunteers will work with you to screen prospective adopters, make home visits, and attempt to find the perfect match for your foster pup.
Dog are the most grateful, loving and loyal creatures. By fostering, you are not only saving the life of your foster dog, but you are making room for another dog in the shelter to have a second chance at a good life.
A special Thank You to all the wonderful foster families who do such great work.
The dogs featured in this article’s photos are all in need of foster homes!