Are you ready to adopt a dog, but not sure what type of dog would be a good fit for your family? Are you worried if the dog will be good with your kids or maybe even get along with your current dog? Adopting a dog isn’t just about how cute he is, we should be considering the dog's size, personality, energy level, and so much more.
Foster-to-adopt a dog programs are becoming more popular as rescues realize it is a great way to match dogs with the right owners. These programs can actually reduce the number of dogs being returned to the rescue since the adopter has already “test-driven” the dog. But what does it really mean to foster-to-adopt a dog?
What Is a Foster-To-Adopt Program?
Many rescues rely on people willing to donate their time, their homes and big hearts to become foster homes for dogs. A foster home will be the dog's safe place to live until a permanent home is found. Most of the time, a dog will be in a foster home for a short period of time until a permanent home is found to adopt him.
In a foster-to-adopt program, the foster family has the option to adopt their foster dog before he goes up for adoption. Not all rescues have this option, so it’s important to research and find a rescue near you that allows foster families to adopt.
What Happens If I Foster a Dog to Adopt and I Decide I Don’t Want To Adopt Him?
This scenario is exactly why fostering-to-adopt is such a great program! If you realize your foster dog isn’t the dog you dreamed of, then the dog goes up for adoption to find his perfect forever home. Just because he isn’t a good match for you, doesn’t mean there isn’t a good match for him out there somewhere. Once he is adopted then you find another dog to foster. With each dog you foster, you will learn something new. We fostered 5 dogs before finding the dog we wanted to adopt, and with each foster dog, we became more knowledgeable and better dog owners.
My Story of Fostering and Adopting Our Dog, Ginger
We personally started fostering so that I can teach my, then 9-year-old, daughter about the responsibility of different dog breeds and personalities. Even though we had a family dog, she wanted a dog of her own since she was 3 years old.
We fostered a big range of dog breeds and ages over a two-year span. Several of them could have been a good match for our family, and others were a “no-way”! Our entire family learned so much from our fostering experience.
After two years of fostering dogs, we were ready to find a dog for my daughter. I saw a German Shepherd mix dog come through the list of dogs needing a foster home and thought she could be the one. After fostering her for a couple of months, we got to know her personality and quirks and decided we would adopt her. Ginger isn’t perfect by any means, we struggle with resource guarding and allergies, but she is perfect for us.
Finding A Foster-To-Adopt Program
Not all rescues will allow their foster families to adopt a foster dog, so it’s important to do your research and find the right match. And not all rescues have a name for it, so be specific when asking if they have a foster-to-adopt program. There are even some humane societies jumping in on fostering programs because they are overfilled with dogs. Talk with friends, neighbors, co-workers, and Google for reviews. Not all rescues are created equal and you want to make sure you connect with a reputable group.
Good luck and I hope you find your perfect dog for your family! Fostering and adopting can be such a rewarding experience. You may even find after adopting you want to continue to foster more dogs. And remember, no dog is perfect, but a dog can be perfect for your family.
Debi McKee is the founder of RescueDogs101.com, foster home, and all-in-all dog fanatic. Debi’s mission is to guide you through every step of your dog journey, from adopting the perfect dog for you and your family, to training your dog and keeping your dog happy and healthy. Sign up for her free resource library of must-have resources, containing valuable downloads to help you in your dog journey.