Select Page

All the Time in the World?

all the time in the world to foster a dog like Herbie

Hi Friends,

What a wild time right now. For those of us lucky enough to work from home or simply have all the time in the world, what do we do with ourselves?

Do you also find you have all day to do those little things around the home you’ve been meaning to get around to for months? All the floors are mopped and spring cleaning is ahead of schedule? What next?

We’ve noticed a spike in the amount of people applying to foster dogs in our community and for good reason. Now that we’re all doing our part to stay home and stay safe, there’s got to be some way to give back.

Well you know what that means. Time to apply to foster a dog!

The best way to break repetition and dullness in days that blend seamlessly together into weeks that go on and on is to spice things up with fostering a dog from your local animal rescue.

Just be sure that you know what you’re getting into! The last thing a rescue wants is to have an eager keener go in way over their heads with a dog that’s too much for them and have to scramble to arrange other plans.

Our advice for a smoother experience when first applying to foster a dog?

  • be open to hearing what your contact person has to share about their specific fostering process
  • be honest about your experience, there’s no shame in letting them know you’ve ‘only’ done house sitting for a friend and loved it
  • ask about their expectations of you during the time you’ll be looking after an animal
  • have patience – the vast majority of rescues are volunteer-run and are often under-resourced to handle a large volume of foster applications ie. what’s happening right now
  • be open to feedback to see where you could best help out

We hope this can lead to more awesome people like you who care about animals, to fostering a dog in need.

With a little more time on all of our hands, fostering is the best excuse out there to keep your mind and body active!

 

 

Why Not Adopt a Dog?

We want people to adopt a dog when they’re ready.

If you can offer a great home for a dog for 10-15 years straight, this could be a fantastic idea for you! At Foster Dog Life, we want dogs to find the right home. So just make sure you can pull it off – this is a BIG decision.

Speaking of big decisions, I’d like to share how I started on the path of fostering dogs.

In my mid-twenties, my girlfriend (now fiancé) and I were also tempted to adopt a young dog. One we’d getting to know through walks with the BC SPCA.

 

His name was Diego.

He was squirrelly, playful and charming. Just how we like them.

Taking Diego out for day trip adventures, we’d have the best time together. Running along the beach, hiking in the woods and playing fetch in the gated-off baseball park. Okay, maybe don’t mention that last bit to the City of West Vancouver, but I trust you.

Having a string of random jobs, we knew finding steady work in the same city could be tough. This whole ‘big city’ thing was new to us and one of the reasons we were looking for guaranteed fun in our lives – aka a puppy.

But the more we got to know this fluffy 8 month old puppy, the more the A-word kept coming up. It’s easy and it can sneak up on you like a dog reaching their nose for fresh bread on the counter. Instinct?

Getting to know a shelter dog can put bold ideas in your head.

These are ones you may not have had compared to walking a friend’s dog who already has a home. A few of the crazy thoughts had by our 20-something brains, fresh and sparkly in the big city:

  • I’d do such a good job looking after him
  • I really feel a connection between us I haven’t experienced before
  • he’s special
  • we have the best dates with him
  • our landlord said we could have a dog
  • we could go for hikes EVERY day
  • I can’t picture my life without this dog
  • come on, look at his ears!
  • his tail!
  • can we??

All this excitement came to a full stop when we delivered the news to our landlord. Previously, he had been open to us caring for a dog short-term so we let him know we wanted to adopt a dog.

Nope.

The landlord of our 500 square foot apartment replied with a NO, we could not adopt a dog and still keep our place.

Not letting this no stop us, we launched an immediate search for a place that ALLOWED dogs. With a total stroke of luck, we discovered an ad for a basement suite off Main Street with access to a yard! We met the homeowners – a young and laidback couple, expecting their first baby and it was a match!

We gave our notice and moved to our new dog-friendly home.

This was one of our quickest moves, but not not quick enough for Diego. Because he was such an a handsome little rascal, our dream dog had been adopted just before we settled in. Bummer.

This was hard to news to hear until we realized it was only the beginning of great things to come. Besides, who knew where we’d be 2 years from now, let alone 12 when Diego would be a much older dog.

As luck would have it, living in a pet-friendly home is a BIG step closer to actually having a dog in your life.

And just the beginning of our story fostering dogs.

 

Where Can I Take My Foster Dog Off Leash?

Finding somewhere to take your foster dog off leash can be tricky.

The right answer always depends on the animal rescue you’re teaming up with and their specific rules. A lot of the time, the history of your foster dog can be a bit foggy so most rescues air on the side of caution. Because of this, they can seem like party poopers by saying you can’t take your foster dog off leash outside.

When it comes to letting your dog off leash, most organizations ask you to keep your dog leashed when you’re going for a walk. From personal experience this is a GOOD IDEA, avoiding real things like these:

  • running away for 40 minutes to chase bunnies in the forest at night
  • breaking up dog fights on hiking trails
  • casually strutting across the middle of a busy road
  • climbing rock walls to meet the neighbours
  • belly flopping with a grin into stinky swamps

Needless to say, it’s a lot easier on you and your dog to keep them on leash when you’re out and about.

As you get used to taking your foster dog for walks, you’ll learn what they like and dislike.

Sometimes meeting new dogs on the sidewalk is a good idea and other times it’s easier to make a detour. Either way, it will be much easier to get your dog moving by keeping your dog on a leash.

So what about when you want your dog to run and play?

Do you or a friend have a fully fenced backyard? This can be a great chance to let your foster dog off leash and let them explore the yard. Playing fetch or tug-of-war is always a good time when there’s a bit more space than your living room to run around in.

With a new foster dog off leash in the yard, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on them as you get to know their traits. More importantly their squirrelly side.

If they start digging in the grass try distracting by throwing a toy for them to chase in the other direction. Jumping up to see what’s over the fence? Sounds like time for something else! You never know what dogs are capable of until they’ve surprised you by getting into the refrigerator or baking a loaf of bread while you aren’t looking.

Whenever you have your foster dog off leash in the yard, enjoy the moment and have fun with them.

You’ll both get a lot of good out of a little play time.

What Kind of Dog Toys Do Foster Dogs Like?

The same dog toys any other dog likes!

A big thing people forget about foster dogs is that they’re a dog just like any other.

Came from an animal shelter? Still a dog.

Found on the trail in the rain without a collar? Chilly and could use a blanket, still a dog.

A ressssscue? Many people associate rescue dogs as being fragile, in-need and hard-done-by. But you guessed it, they’re still a dog.

Dogs have an amazing ability to rebound from their past and focus on the present.

And in the present, dogs love a good chomp-able toy to play with, reminding them how good life can be.

If you’re looking to get a quality toy for your foster dog, one of the best I’ve used with our foster dogs is a Kong Extreme. These things are ridiculously well made for getting your chomp on.

The best part? You can fill them with treats and a bit of peanut butter to give to your foster dog when you head out for a coffee. It’s both a treat and something fun to occupy themselves while you go about your day. Use this trick to take gradual departures to get your foster dog used to you leaving and actually coming back.

These dog toys are also great at occupying your dog’s mind.

Plus, with the biggest expenses of ‘owning’ a dog covered by the animal rescues we work with, we’re able to splurge on a couple high quality dog toys. Why replace a poorly designed dog toy every month if you don’t have to? One of our Kongs has lasted through over 8 foster dogs and counting. Now that’s a lot of chomping.

Give one a try and if you’ve got some space to play a little fetch in your home, the random shape leads to some great bounces for your dog to chase.

Just remember to wipe off the peanut butter first.