I got a call from a friend who would love to adopt a dog but will be traveling for work after the summer so I suggested she try fostering like I did with Kilo the Pug.
At Talent Hounds, we believe Rescues Rock! and are always looking for ways to help dogs in need – building awareness, education, fundraising, donating, volunteering, fostering and adopting.
Fostering can be so rewarding as you enjoy time with a dog and watch them grow then find their forever family but there are questions you should ask yourself and the rescue organization.
I am very glad I fostered Kilo the Pug, and it is a “happily-ever-after foster-failure” story. He is now part of our family – known as the “Favorite Child” or King of his Castle or The Little Prince. However, in retrospect, I was a little impulsive as he looked so cute and vulnerable in his photo. I probably should have done more due diligence about him. Hopefully, these are 13 questions to ask before you foster which may help you.
The Rescue Organization and the Foster Parent all want the best for the dog so everyone needs to ask the right questions. Homeward Bound has a very professional detailed questionnaire and contract, like many Rescue Organizations. They made my responsibilities very clear and answered any questions well. They provided food, supplies, information and contacts (eg vet). They are super responsive and responsible.
It was me who did not really ask enough questions about pugs, or Kilo and his history. He ended up having some quite major behavioral issues that did not present themselves immediately and pugs can be a bit quirky. These sort of things can sometimes be easier to deal with if you know upfront and understand behavior triggers and background. Thank goodness I have access to some of the best vets, behaviorists, and trainers in North America and the resources to help him (I wish I had more time as it is so time-consuming and progress can be slow).
Considering fostering a dog?
Here are some questions to ask the rescue group or shelter before you sign up to foster (or adopt) based on advice from PetFinder and my own experiences with Kilo the Pug and my previous rescue dogs.
13 Helpful Questions to Ask
Questions about the Dog:
- How did the dog come into the shelter or rescue group? How long has he or she been there?
- Why a foster home now? Do you have his or her history?
- Does he or she have any medical concerns or need medication? Allergies? Special food?
- Has he been neutered or spayed, if the dog is female? If not, when and where will he or she be?
- Is he or she up to date on vaccinations and tested for diseases such as heartworm?
- Since certain conditions such as kennel cough cannot be tested for, how long should I keep him or her separated from my own pets?
- Any behavioral issues or concerns eg resource guarding? How should they be they dealt with?
- Do you know how he or she is with kids, cats, dogs and/or strangers? Can my children or pets meet him or her before I commit to fostering or adopting?
- Do you know how he or she does when left alone?
- Is he or she crate trained?
- Is he or she housetrained?
- How is he or she on Leash walking? Basic Obedience? Recall? Energy level?
- Is he or she microchipped?
Questions to ask the rescue or shelter about the fostering process:
- How long will I be expected to foster? Do you have an estimate?
- What happens if I can no longer care for the dog or I have to travel?
- Who pays for medical bills if they arise? Does that include treatments for my pets if they catch something from my foster dog?
- What should I do if there’s a medical emergency? Is there a specific vet?
- Who is responsible for communicating with potential adopters, screening them and introducing the dog to them?
- Will I be required to bring him to adoption events and, if so, where/when?
- Will you provide food, litter, supplies (such as a leash or a litter box), medications, etc., or will I be expected to? Does he have a specific diet?
- If I have a problem, whom can I contact? If I leave a message, how quickly will that person get back to me?
- Could my foster dog be deemed unadoptable and, if so, what happens then?
- Can I adopt him if I choose? What is the process and cost?
Being well-prepared should make the fostering process more successful for all involved.
Do you have any foster success stories? Any other questions to suggest?