There are so many post going around social media these days about dogs in need it can be overwhelming and if we are being honest a bit desensitizing. Dog lover's pages are flooded daily with pictures of dogs in need of a home that I even find myself scrolling right past sometimes because there are just SO many! I'm challenging all you dog lovers out there to do more than just click "share". Not that I am discouraging that either, but these dog's need more from us than a simple sharing of their picture. If you are like me and have reached your household limit of adopted dogs, there are still things you can do to help!
The thought of bringing a strange dog into your home can be scary for some people. But what you are doing for this animal has an enormous inpact! By fostering a dog you are really helping the lives of two animals because you are opening up another spot at the shelter or rescue for an additional dog. A foster dog gets to have a chance at experiencing what life in a home is like and gives them a chance to get away from the chaos of the shelter and become the dog they truly are. Most rescue organizations will provide you with everything you need such as food, veterinary care, crate, and bedding. Do you research and ask around to other friends or coworkers that might be foster parents. You want to find out on average how long it normally takes for a dog to be placed, how proactive they are in placing the dog, and what reseponsibilities they will expect of you. For examples some rescues will expect the foster parent to take the dog to adoption events or vet visits, while others have volunteers that will take care of that for you. You want to find an organization that fits your time and availability needs.
Don't be afraid of foster failure! The first one is always the hardest because you get attached quickly, but I promise once you see the joy a new family has when they take that fur baby home it will put your heart at ease. Getting updates and pictures from my former fosters lights up my day. It's cool to see a dog go from destined for death to being spoiled to death by the perfect family! You have to let them go if you really want to help the homeless!
You don't always have to say yes. If you are a foster parent it's okay to take a break every now and then. It doesn't mean there needs to be one in your house 24/7. The organizations understand that you have your own lives and won't always be available!
Under being a foster parent this is the by far the best way you can help out these homeless dogs. Rescue's rely on your donations to get the animals the care they need. Most of them are barely scraping by. Being an active rescuer doesn't always mean you are adopting and fostering dogs. Your monetary donation can make the difference in a rescue being able to help a dog or having to turn them away! Some even have an amazon shop set up where you can buy food, cleaning suplies or other needed items and have them sent directly to the rescue. Some rescues will let you sponsor a specific dog in need and send you updates on their progress.
Give these organizations your time. You can do everything from helping walk and exercise the dogs to transporting a dog from a kill shelter to a rescue for them. Volunteering for an adoption event or just contact them directly to see what they need! Most organizations will have a formal application for you to fill out on their website. The list is endless and there are never enough people to do everything!
Read up on your animal rescue facts and if you see a chance to educate someone, go for it! A lot of reasons dogs are surrendered by their owner are due to behavior issues that can often be fixed by some training and management. Recommend a trainer, doggie daycare or veterinary professional that might be able to help before they make any life changing decisions for the dog. If you know someone who wants to adopt a dog, encourage them to look past how "cute" a certain dog is and consider if the dog's personality will be a fit for their family. Dogs are not one size fot all so impulsive adoptions can sometimes lead to the dog going back to a kill shelter. And of course the importance of spaying and neutering your animals! Even the most careful owner can wind up with puppies on their hands. Be responsible and get your pet fixed!
Challenge your family and friends to do one of these things in the next 30 days and hold each other accountable! Make it fun and something you can do together! If you really want to help these animals each of us has to make an effort at some level!