Foster homes save the lives of many dogs

TRACY JESSIMAN @SaltWireNetwork Tracy Jessiman is a pet portrait artist who lives in Halifax with her husband and their three pets. She has been rescuing animals most of her life, but more intimately, animals rescued her.



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Foster homes are the backbone of every rescue organization’s success. Independent rescue groups would be unable to save homeless dogs without the generosity of dedicated private foster homes. Most shelters have a brick-andmortar building to house homeless dogs temporarily while many private rescue organizations do not have a permanent indoor facility. Fostering a dog is not to be taken lightly. It requires dedication, commitment, time management and patience from everyone in the household. Fostering a dog is not for tire kickers or test drivers trying to decide if they want a dog full time. Fostering saves lives and gives a homeless dog time to decompress and let its personality shine. Whether the dog came from a family surrender (who dearly loved the dog) or an abusive, negligent situation, every rescue dog needs ample time in foster care. Foster care allows a rescue organization time to decide what type of forever home would be ideal for the individual dog. It’s important to note that a foster family will have significant input on what that forever home should look like, as they have lived with and loved the dog. A responsible rescue organization will have a network of dependable foster homes and share those homes with other organizations if and when needed. Each foster home will be unique; some may have dogs or cats living in the house, kids, blended families, careers and different activity levels. A great rescue will do everything possible to match a dog’s needs and traits to a specific foster home. A local animal rescuer and volunteer, Tressie Dutchyn, recently reached out to me via Facebook. She wrote: “Wondering whether you would consider doing a column on the importance of commitment when one fosters?” Dutchyn volunteers with a couple of rescue organizations and wrote: “It’s not easy to find a foster home on short notice for a dog, as you know. Anyway, I would be grateful if you would consider writing an article highlighting the importance of commitment when fostering.” Bringing a dog into your private home for an unknown amount of time is not to be taken lightly. That foster dog becomes part of your everyday life. That dog may have been removed from the only home it has ever known, whether that home was a loving one or negligent. That same organization covers the costs of feeding, training and medical care for the dog. The organization depends on everyone in the foster home to help keep the dog safe and fulfilled. Fostering saves lives. Offering your home, temporarily, to foster a homeless dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Watching a dog thrive under your care is a positive experience. Having that dog go to its forever home will, of course, bring on some tears. But knowing that you helped a desperate, homeless dog grow into a wonderful family pet will change your life. Please reach out to local rescue organizations if you have room in your home and heart to help a homeless dog. Please be kind to animals.