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Get Ready to Foster a Pet (My Experience)


Connie Janzen shares her experience fostering dogs here in hopes of inspiring and encouraging others to consider being fosters . . .

pound pups; my first fosters!

“What if it’s too hard to let it go?”

That was my first thought before I decided to become a Foster Parent for the Humane Society. I’m so glad I put my concerns aside and set out on one of the most rewarding experiences ever.

I wanted to be an active supporter in my community and considered various avenues. Then I found out that fosters were needed for my local Humane Society. After being approved through their foster parent application process I was put on the list and waited for the call.

My First Fosters

Fostering needs vary depending on the demand. My first charges were two beagle/dachshund cross 8-week old puppies who had just been brought into the shelter. They were given their first set of shots and needed a foster home for two weeks. After that time they would be ready to go back, put into the shelter and ready to be adopted.

The Humane Society supplied the crate, blanket, a few toys, their collars and tags, and all of the food they would need for the time I would have them. If needed, they would also supply any necessary medicine. Pee pads were my expense.

They were wonderful little loves. Cute as could be, but no one told me how much work they would be. Loving, playing, and training were the easy things.

As with any other babies they never slept through the night, tore up the pee pads, got into everything and anything, and if I didn’t take them out fast enough – well, you can guess what happened.

I already had a fenced-in backyard and dog door for my dog, Annabelle, and her cousin, Chloe, but I made sure it was completely puppy proofed. On the inside of my house, I thought that a gate separating the kitchen from the rest of the house would be enough. Boy was I wrong. My first pups chewed off the bottom of my cupboards, and the tiles off my floor!

The Second Time Wiser

When I fostered my second set up of pups, I knew what to expect and was better prepared. I got smart and built a 4 foot by 6 foot box with 18 inch high walls. It was large enough for their crate, pee pad, a few toys and they had room to stretch out, play and were kept safe and out of trouble. I was able to get the materials from scraps at a local builder’s store and used laminate, sealing all the joints, so that I could easily clean it and keep it sanitized.

My first pups were healthy but socially undeveloped. They were scared of everything and were extremely shy. Their main need was love and attention. In the short time I had them, through lots of TLC, they became warm and friendly, were pretty much potty trained, and had mastered both stairs and coming and going through the doggy door.

My second set of pups were pretty much the same. Rescues from a puppy mill, but these pups were sick and took a lot more work. Thankfully we finally got the right medicine for them and they started to gain weight and were well on their way to being wonderful pets for some new family.

After two weeks of getting up every night, cleaning up mess after mess, I had had the time of my life snuggling and playing with these small treasures but I was ready for them to go back to the shelter and to their new homes. Everyone told me that, being the dog lover that I am, I wouldn’t be able to give them up when the time came. They were wrong.

I know that puppies don’t stay puppies. Also, I don’t know if it’s just my local Humane Society or all of them, but it’s not an option for me to adopt my fosters. I’m not sure exactly why, but if every foster adopted the dogs they bring into their homes there would be no fosters available for the new dogs that come in and need a safe place to live for a time.

These fosters, and the ones I’ve had since, have all been puppies but that’s not all that are needing homes. Older dogs, dogs that aren’t adjusting to the shelter, cats, kittens, sometimes momma cats with their litters, and so on are all frequently on the list. So what you accept into your home you can choose to fit you and your household.

The Greatest Reward

I encourage every pet lover to sign up today and become a foster, too. The Humane Society is always in need of more loving homes. Not only will you be rewarded by unconditional love in return, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that the ones you’ve loved will go on to be wonderful pets in someone else’s life.


About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi worked in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions. Retired, she currently lives with her spoiled dog and four chickens (who are, interestingly enough, also spoiled).


  1. Adopting a pet is a great way to bring a new pet into the home. So many animals go homeless every year. Try checking out an animal shelter next time around. There are often times many puppies available as well.

  2. I foster for My Local K9 recuse Leauge here in Oxford Michigan, Anyone can do it but the key is to not fall in Love with them, I know its hard to give them up at the end or at the beginning of the adoption, you just have to have a certain mindset, I tell all my adoptee’s that if they ever need a weekend away or a vacation I will be happy to have the dog back, So far ive had all of my dogs ive fostered visit with the exception of Angel, but she will be coming ocer soon .. and I REALLY missed that one the Most !
    If you think you have the Time, Energy, and Mindset to foster you can find Shealters all over the USA thru
    Just put in your zipcode and you will find your shealters, Keep in mind these shealters get there dogs and cats from what are Known as Kill shealters, if they are not cute and cudley and cant bring the local Humane soc. some extra cash and they are not claimed in a certain ammount of time, they are Utheinized. If your In Michigan and are looking to adopt a dog put zip code 48442 and check k9 recuse leauge in oxford mi. I have Vicky and Franky at my home.. Franky is just like that marley and me Movie dog.. he is so funny and offers so much love !

  3. I have a friend who fostered 6 cats, on top of the 2 cats she actually owned. Having taking care of them for over a year, nobody chose to adopt any of them, so she adopted all of them herself. Now she has 8 cats, two or three of which are extremely shy and don’t really like people (other than her) very much.

    So, be careful with choosing to foster. It’s a major decision that you shouldn’t take lightly. If you manage to pull it off, though, you have my respect!
    .-= Free Dog Leash´s last blog ..Boston Market Coupons =-.

  4. Turn Your Pet Into A Well Behaved Family Member on

    I am the same way as a lot of the posters and the author – I don’t know that I could take care of an abandoned animal indefinitely, and then let them go. I’d either end up miserable, or with a hundred puppies.

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