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Short Mugs Rescue Squad

Thursday, May 29, 2014

What Does a Foster Family Do? And How Do I Become a Foster?

There was a lot of thought and discussion in our home before becoming a foster family for Short Mugs Rescue Squad.  Could we handle another dog in our home?  What if we fell in love with the dog?  How much will this really cost us?  What if the dog doesn't get along with our dogs?  And the biggest question out there was...what does being a foster family really mean?  At the end of the day, the positives seemed to outweighed the negatives and we decided to plunge headfirst into fostering.

What I found out about fostering is that it is one of the most fulfilling endeavors I have ever taken on.  I loved it.  I loved everything about it.  And not all of it was what I had expected.  I've had sick dogs.  I've had a dog that was dog aggressive.  I've had a fearful dog.  I've been through heartworm treatment and the dreaded crate rest that follows.  I've had a long-term foster dog, and two foster dogs that were just passing through before being placed with other foster families.  And through it all, it seems that these dogs have brought me as much joy as I have them, possibly more.

Being a foster family isn't easy, but it wasn't hard either.  All it takes is a little bit of time, and a little bit of patience, and determination.  These foster dogs want to make you happy, but they need you to show them how.  As a foster family, I have kept in my mind that it's my job to give this dog the skills necessary to go out and be successful in another home.  A home that could be completely different from ours.  So what basic skills does a dog need for that?  Well, they're going to need to be able to be crate trained, potty trained, follow basic commands, ride in a car, and walk on a leash.  And while the dog doesn't have to be 100% on all of these points, the dog needs to be worked with and well on its way.  It takes a very special person to be happy with a dog that is constantly using their house as their personal latrine.

I've had to learn to crate my resident dogs to spend some much needed alone time with my foster dog. Even if it's just for 10 minutes, the foster dogs need that time to bond with their families.  It also makes it easier to train them with just a little bit of alone time.  It really allows the dog time to focus on you as the person doing the talking, and not the rest of the gang running around and showing off their skills for treats or attention.

Short Mugs has been easy to work with.  I've never had to wait to take my fosters to the vet.  I've had a great group of experienced fosters and volunteers to connect with on various questions.  I'm as involved with that group as I can be, and it helps us out immensely.  And the odd thing about all of this is, that I'm the only foster in my city!  I'm approximately 2 hours away from any other fosters, but I'm able to get assistance from any number of people when I need help.  I'm not located in a metro area, but I'm not made to feel like I'm the odd man out.  On the contrary, I feel very connected with the other fosters.

Our biggest concern at becoming a foster family was that we wouldn't have enough time.  That it would be hard to balance between work demands and family demands.  The opposite of this has actually occurred.  I became more focused in my work and was able to accomplish more at home also.  I was able to let go of petty things that bothered me, because I was a lot happier.  I wasn't bringing home stress with me, and I was a much more enjoyable person to be around.  I love fostering and I am so happy we took this leap of faith.  There is no feeling that compares to seeing a dog who's life you've touched in even the smallest way grow, and move forward to be happy in their forever home.

If you are interested in becoming a foster family with Short Mugs Rescue Squad, just fill out our online application.  The link is available below.  We are always looking for new foster families.  They are so important to the rescue effort and allow us to do what we do best, and that's placing smush faces in great places!

Short Mugs Rescue Squad Foster Application

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