What exactly does fostering mean? It means bringing a homeless dog into your home, caring for them, providing them with affection and socialization, until a permanent family comes along who will love them forever.
The benefits of fostering are numerous, and not only a wonderful thing for the dog and shelter or rescue but can be beneficial to the one doing the fostering in so many ways!
Many times rescue groups who have no central facility rely on foster homes to determine how many Lagotti they can save from harmful situations. For dogs already in shelters, they also rely on fosters to provide a change of environment for long-term residents or those Lagotti who may have a hard time adjusting to a kennel atmosphere. Fosters are crucial to help expectant female Lagotti, who may be in shelters, by providing a quiet and comfortable atmosphere to deliver puppies and care for them in those first weeks of crucial development.
Some dogs may not "show" well in a kennel environment due to excess energy, or jockeying for attention as potential adopters walk by. By fostering, you are able to provide exercise and stimulation, which in turn creates a calmer pup and behavior that may be closer to what their behavior will look like in a forever home environment. In addition, you can work on leash training, house training, or other basic command training, that potential adopters will find attractive when looking for the perfect dog for their family.
Some dogs may have endured a difficult past and have been subjected to cruelty, neglect, under socialization, etc. As a foster, you have the chance and opportunity to gain a dog's trust, show them human touch and love perhaps for the first time, provide an environment for them to feel safe, and watch them transform before your eyes.
If you have existing pets, introducing a foster dog can be a great experience for them as an additional companion, additional socialization, and an additional playmate! Children can benefit from fostering as a way to introduce responsibility and selflessness, a way to educate about animals, and also a great way to "test" the idea of a permanent new family member.
Fellow fosters from the same shelter or rescue will help guide you through the experience, give ideas, answer any questions, and may even become your friends! There is nothing quite like sharing experiences with those who do the same and being part of a community of people who have the same passions.
When the day comes, that your foster finds that perfect home, the rewarding feeling you will experience is something very special. You will feel a sense of pride, in knowing what you helped that dog accomplish in his time with you. You will feel overjoyed, that they have found their forever family and the happy ending that all homeless dogs so desire. And while certainly, some goodbyes can be tough, knowing that a Lagotto has found his happy ending and that another precious life awaits to be afforded your gifts, is as good of a feeling as there is!
DEAR FOSTER MOM:
There I sat, alone and afraid,
You got a call and came right to my aid.
You bundled me up with blankets and love,
And, when I needed it most, you gave me a hug.
I learned that the world was not all that scary and cold,
That sometimes there is someone to have and to hold.
You taught me what love is, you helped me to mend,
You loved me and healed me and became my first friend.
And just when I thought you'd done all you do,
There came along not one new lesson, but two.
First you said, "Sweetheart, you're ready to go,
I've done all I can, and you've learned all I know."
Then you bundled me up with a blanket and kiss,
Along came a new family, they even have kids!
They took me to their home, forever to stay,
At first I thought you sent me away.
Then that second lesson became perfectly clear,
No matter how far, you will always be near.
And so, Foster Mom, you know I've moved on,
I have a new home, with toys and a lawn.
But I'll never forget what I learned that first day,
You never really give your fosters away.
You gave me these thoughts to remember you by,
We may never meet again, and now I know why.
You'll remember I lived with you for a time,
I may not be yours, but you'll always be mine.