During the month of October, we’re taking time to celebrate our rescued canine counterparts and encourage our friends nationwide to open their hearts and their homes to a dog in need—even if just temporarily as a foster caregiver.
An important step in the journeys of countless shelter animals is time in foster homes, and sadly, many large dogs are overlooked in the shelter due to common concerns and misconceptions.
Fostering a dog is an incredible opportunity for both the foster caregiver and the shelter dog! That’s why we’re here to break down the top six common myths and misconceptions surrounding foster dogs and to let you know just how great it can be to bring home a large, lovable dog!
1. “My apartment or home is too small to foster dogs, especially larger ones. I don’t have enough space!”
While a big dog may take up more space when snuggling on your bed or couch, you don’t have to have a large house and a yard to foster a dog. While those things are a plus, foster dogs just need someone to make sure they can stretch their legs when they need to, provide their daily essential care and help them enjoy each day as they wait to find loving homes.
2. “I can’t foster a larger dog because I have other pets.”
Every dog is completely unique! Which means that some enjoy the company of other animals, and others don’t. Fortunately, animal rescues and shelters take matchmaking as seriously for their fosters as they do for their adopters. So while your home may not be the right foster fit for every large dog, it doesn’t mean that there’s not an eager pup who would love the chance to join a home with other dogs or cats.
3. “I have no idea how to help a dog adjust to a home. How can I help them?”
Dogs get invaluable experience when they live with a foster caregiver because it gives them the opportunity to learn what it’s like to live in a home. While you’ll need to be there for your foster dog to help them mind their manners and adjust, you won’t be doing it alone! Staff at your local shelter or rescue will stay in close contact with you, helping you along the way with any behavior tips to guide you in welcoming your foster dog home and helping them blossom in your care.
4. “A large dog is too energetic for me. I also worry that they are too strong.”
Dogs of all sizes can have varying dispositions and energy levels, much like people! When you consider fostering a dog, it helps to think about the level of activity you and your family may enjoy on a normal day, and to tell the staff at your local shelter so they can help match you with a foster dog who is a good fit. The same thing applies when considering the strength of a potential foster dog. Sharing household information and asking questions are important tools in the foster matchmaking process. Are you willing and able to provide a lot of exercise, such as long walks, hikes, or running each day, or do you prefer a ‘couch potato’ who likes to slowly meander around the block? Are you comfortable walking a strong dog that may pull? Or do you feel more confident with a dog who is calmer on-leash, regardless of size? As you learn more about your foster dog while they are in your care, your observations will be very helpful to your local shelter.
5. “I have kids, large dogs would be unsafe.”
This is another misconception that forgets that not all dogs are the same. While some dogs may be fearful or wary around children, others adore having a small pal to run around outside or snuggle with. The foster team at your local shelter will be able to match you with a foster dog who best fits in with your family. Plus, with supervision, fostering offers children an opportunity to learn how to respect and care for a dog, play with and socialize them.
6. “I can’t take on the financial responsibility. I just don’t have the money to care for a large dog.”
Many foster programs across the country cover the cost of the dog’s care and their supplies and toys. It’s low-cost and fun, to have a large cuddle buddy getting cozy at your house for a bit!
Now that you have all the facts, we hope you’ll consider becoming a foster caregiver! Contact your local shelter or animal rescue to get more information about how you can get involved today.