If you’re new to taking care of dogs or raising puppies, then you might wonder why you would want to foster a puppy instead of adopt one. When you adopt a pet, you take care of that pet for the rest of its life, but when you foster a puppy, you only take care of the puppy for a short time. Once someone else adopts the puppy, then the puppy moves on to its permanent home and your job is done. While you may be interested in adopting a puppy for the long term, fostering can give you some experience in a reduced pressure situation and you’ll be doing a good thing.
One great thing about fostering puppies is that if you are working with a rescue effort, the rescue will usually pay for the puppy’s expenses while you take care of it. Many puppies which are rescued and sent to foster homes would otherwise be euthanized. By taking care of the puppy for a short time while a permanent home can be located, you are saving a puppy from death.
Fostering puppies provides you with an opportunity to learn about raising puppies, but doesn’t require any sort of long-term commitment. Just as you won’t necessarily have to worry about covering expenses, you won’t have to worry about taking care of the puppy for a long time period. Many puppies are adopted within just a couple of months. During that time you can get a feel for the day-to-day needs of a puppy as well as what it takes to raise one. While you may not be paying the expenses, you can still calculate the kind of budget you’d need to adopt. Raising a puppy is a lot of work, and it can be wise to make sure you’re ready for the real commitment before you adopt.
It’s important to remember, however, that the real purpose of fostering a dog is not as a trial period for adopting that dog or any other. While it’s a good intermediary step to take before considering adoption if you’re new to raising puppies, the main reason to do it is to do something good. The puppies you are fostering do not belong to you—they are just staying with you for a little while until they discover their real owners (which in most cases probably isn’t going to mean you).
You may end up keeping a dog you foster—or several—but most people can only handle so many dogs on a permanent basis, so it’s best to keep that in mind before you get started, especially if you want to keep fostering dogs. You’ll always need one open slot in your household for a new puppy to come in. Also remember that many of the puppies who need your help will be untrained, mangy looking, and possibly feral. It isn’t just the quiet, well-behaved puppies who need help. It will be your job to make sure the puppy is able to socialize and adjust, which can be the biggest task of all.