What Does Fostering Involve?

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Jackson, formerly known as "Hugo," pulled from Liberty County AC in October 2011. Adopted by his foster mom Mary Beth.

Fostering a dog means taking that dog into your home and treating it with love, care, and patience until it can find a permanent home. Foster parents are responsible for ensuring that the dog's basic daily needs -- food, water, shelter, and mental and physical exercise -- are met. You may be asked to take the dog to veterinary appointments or administer medication. Foster parents are invaluable in training and socializing dogs so that they can make a smooth transition into their new lives with their adoptive families -- and in getting to know their foster pups' personalities, so that they can make the best possible match between dogs and people. Above all, you provide love and security to a dog whose early life was very likely lacking in both.

A foster placement can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months. My quickest turnaround was 10 days from arrival to placement; the longest-tenured foster dog I've had so far stayed with us for just over three months. While the rescue group can always take a dog back in case of emergency, generally there's no way to know exactly how long a given pup will be with you. All you can do is love your foster mutt day by day.

WAGS will provide all necessary medical care, food, leashes, collars, and crates. Training and behavioral advice (not to mention emotional support!) is always available from a network of experienced foster homes. Additionally, WAGS will help you find your foster mutt's forever home by listing dogs on Petfinder and hosting regular adoption events that attract dozens of prospective adopters.

Further resources on fostering: