The first time I opened my home to a dog in need on a temporary
basis was about 15 years ago and I instinctively called it
I was not dog sitting Cowboy as he had been left behind by his
owners. Instead I was providing temporary care for a dog that
had no one else. I didn't even question that I was
"fostering" this dog. In all the years since, I haven't
questioned what I called "fostering", the function of individuals
who open their hearts and homes temporarily to dogs in need.
Imagine my surprise to hear someone say that the term
"fostering" should not be used for dogs because fostering a dog
does not require the same commitment, sacrifice or selflessness as
fostering a child. That fostering a dog is less of an
emotional experience and less rewarding.
To be clear, I have never fostered a child and I do not have
children, therefore I cannot speak to that experience.
However, my use of the term "fostering" for dogs comes from my
idealistic view of the function of fostering.
- When you
choose to foster, you choose to do so because of a concern for
those in need and a desire to contribute something special to the
- As a
foster parent, you believe you can provide a safe and caring
you may not have extra time in your schedule, as a foster parent,
the commitment to making a difference is more important.
foster parent thinks fostering is easy, but the reward of knowing
you are making a positive difference keeps you going.
To me, these sentiments about fostering can apply to canines or
The etymology of foster simply means to nourish and encourage
growth and I believe that when dogs come into foster care, foster
parents see a great deal of change and growth. When a dog
begins to trust, when a dog forgets fear, when a dog physically
heals, to me this is growth.
I am not one of those crazy dog people that consider dogs as
humans, however I do recognize that they are sentient beings and
have chosen to devote my time to giving dogs in need a second
chance. While the debate about the foster terminology was
interesting, I will continue to embrace the concept and the term
fostering as part of the rescue, rehabilitate and rehoming
I am a canine foster parent and proud to say it!