Fostering for “newbies”

Fostering for Newbies

I think it’s safe to say that we “foster people” are a different breed. Our love for animals is at the level that some might perceive as crazy, right?! I am one of those crazy foster people and the awesome thing about it is that I don’t fit the mold of what I had perceived a foster parent would be. When I thought about fostering, I always assumed that those who did it worked from home full time or didn’t work at all and needed a hobby. I also thought they probably didn’t have any other animals or had a giant house where they all could cohabitate in blissful harmony or they worked with animals at a shelter where the pandemonium was just part of their lives. Well, needless to say… I don’t fit in any of these categories and I soon found out neither do most foster parents. Most of the time, my house is in a manageable state of chaos. With our permanent fur babies (two dogs and cat) and our foster babies which change on average every two to three weeks it seems like my life revolves around cleaning up messes and trying to get everyone’s name right (which most of the time I never get on the first try). But the trade off is seeing each dog grow and learn and eventually find their forever home and knowing you 

Anyone who is thinking of fostering needs to understand that there is no manual and no one way to do it right. We are all going to have those 1:00 a.m. conversations with ourselves where we question if we bit off more than we can chew but we take it one moment at a time until one day you realize that it isn’t as difficult anymore. I am not the expert on this topic, but as a newbie to the foster world I have come up with a few tips that will hopefully help you decide you too can take the plunge:

1. Buy lots of paper towel… like the Costco economy pack. I’m not kidding… accidents happen and being prepared helps!

2. Puppy proof your house. And even when you think you put everything away they will still find something they aren’t supposed to have

3. Distraction tactics. There are going to be times where you just want to go to the bathroom alone or you are trying to cook dinner and you need something to keep your foster occupied here’s one that has worked wonders for me 

• Frozen Kong: Spoon peanut butter into a Kong toy and freeze. You can also add a greenie or other chewy treat to the peanut butter before freezing to anchor it in place. 

Not crazy about peanut butter for your foster? Here are some other ideas 

4. Give yourself and your foster time to adjust. At first, things might get a little crazy, but most of the time I have found that taking a breath and a few days to adjust makes all the difference.

5. Ask for help. This is the most important thing to remember. If you are having doubts do not hesitate or feel ashamed to ask for help!

By Alicia Bresina Foster Mother and Volunteer for My Fairy Dawg Mother Rescue in Denver, Colorado

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