Let’s be honest, many foster canine parents fall in love with their lovely foster dogs and develop strong attachments to them. So, when you finally have to re-home your foster dog, will he think that you abandoned him?
No. With a shorter term situation in a home such as fostering a dog, they should typically not experience grief-level feelings of abandonment or distress when they are rehomed. The majority of dogs in foster care are being re-homed from their previous forever families or they have been saved from shelters.
Rather than viewing their foster families as permanent pack members, these foster situations allow them to adjust to a sense of normalcy and less stress in their environment and serve as a decompression period before they move on to whoever they’ll be spending the rest of their lives with.
The miserable truth that your foster dog faces
The majority of the dogs in foster care have been saved from a shelter, but some may also be rehomed dogs waiting to find their new families. These dogs have often already experienced a great deal of trauma due to being abused, abandoned, starved, and losing their homes and any family they may have had before arriving with a loving foster family. A number of them are rescued from puppy farms or backyard breeders and have been seized by law enforcement. Some may have been abandoned when their human died, and others may have been abandoned after their family relocated and simply left them behind.
Similarly, some kill shelters are akin to “hell on Earth” when it comes to the living conditions they provide. Death is all around the poor dogs trapped in these shelters; and they can see, hear, and smell it. These dogs see the kill shelter employees removing their cellmates and taking them away, never to be seen again.
A foster home serves as temporary transitional housing, especially for dogs rescued from such places and situations. The safe home and environment of a foster parent allows a pup to decompress over a period of time that can range from a few weeks to several months depending on the circumstances.
A rescued puppy is very aware that he or she has been released from the hell house known as the previous shelter. Even older, sad, miserable shelter dogs will bound out of the shelter like a young puppy because they hope for something good, especially when it’s clear they’ll be going somewhere with loving humans to care for them until they find proper homes.
Moving forward, during the decompression phase, a dog typically develops a strong attachment to its foster family. In most cases, they enjoy their newfound freedom and gradually return to their former selves: very happy dogs. It is a long and drawn-out procedure to get these dogs prepared for permanent homes, though. Some are spayed or neutered if they haven’t been already, and others are trained or rehabilitated in preparation for the next stage: finding their forever homes.
It will also usually take some time for foster pups (and particularly adult foster dogs) to establish a relationship with their eventual permanent family because they will think that new home is a just another temporary spot as well.
Tip: When fostering a dog, be sure to give him or her a couple of weeks to adjust to the first new environment before re-homing him permanently. This will help make them more adaptable to new environments and new homes while being less stressed about the transitions.
We cannot deny the fact that dogs undergo a great deal of stress when they are rehomed, though. The feelings of sadness and anxiety in dogs is not uncommon, even in dogs that have come from a pleasant home environment and are being rehomed to a family and place that is just as good. They will mourn their previous owner and may not want to do anything for a few days or even weeks due to their anguish at having to say goodbye.
All foster dog parents can attest to the fact that they have experienced an overwhelming surge of feelings when their first foster dog is adopted by another family. From being overjoyed that their rescue dog has finally found a “forever home” to call their own to being heartbroken that a dog with whom they’ve formed a relationship is no longer in their house, it’s a lot to process.
However, although foster dogs can experience a good deal of stress when they are rehomed, they are often relieved at the change of environment when leaving conditions such as those of their harsh past experiences, so they are much less likely to feel abandoned and much more likely to simply be thrilled at the love, attention, freedom, and good life they’re being given.
What is the best way to say goodbye to a foster dog?
By following these five steps, you can say goodbye to your foster dog in the best possible way:
- Adopt a foster dog who will not be a good long-term companion for you.
- Involve your friends and family members.
- Help in identifying and screening potential adopters.
- Keep in mind that letting go of this one dog allows you to rescue another life.
- Request follow-up reports and photographs from the person who adopted your foster dog.
What is the average length of stay for foster dogs?
The average length of time spent for a dog in a foster family is around two months. However, most pups and dogs with fantastic photos and stories on the internet may only be fostered for a few weeks at the most. Others—such as those recovering from an accident, specific breeds, and older canines—may be required to stay for an extended period of time before it is safe or suitable for them to be rehomed.
Is it possible to return a foster dog?
The most essential thing to understand when deciding to foster is that it is perfectly fine to return a foster dog if things aren’t working out. You are not obligated to put up with the canine if certain problems arise, and there are always other pets available for foster care if you still want to lend your home to an animal in need. If you find yourself debating whether or not you should return your foster pup, you should probably return him to the shelter.
How much money do you get paid for fostering a pet, especially a dog?
Foster care for animals is typically done on a volunteer basis, meaning you are not paid for your time and effort when homing and working with a dog or other animal in need. However, shelters and other organizations will cover the food and medical expenses during the time you’re providing lodging and care for the pup.
Is it bad for a dog to be fostered?
Fostering a pet, especially a dog, is one of the most effective ways that you can contribute to the success of your local animal shelter or rescue organization. However, one of the major (and wonderful) drawbacks of fostering is that you may fall in love with your foster canine companion after getting to know him or her, and your fostering connection may turn into a long-term commitment.
Do dogs ever express a desire to return to their foster parents?
Dogs are resilient, and they will generally come to love their new owners just as much as they adored their foster parents! Encourage the adoptive parent to be patient and to have a good attitude, especially during the initial few weeks of the adoption.
Family Dog Expert Author
Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.