The Joys of Volunteering and Fostering

March 2, 2012  

We are focusing on shelters this month and volunteers and fosters are such an important part of animal rescue. So we asked our Facebook fans, ‘Do you volunteer or foster for your local shelter? What do you enjoy about volunteering or fostering?’

It wasn’t surprising how rewarding volunteering and fostering is to our fans. It not only helps make a difference in the lives of the animals, but it also makes people better dog guardians.

Thanks everyone for sharing and for all you do for the animals.

(photos by Melissa Lipani)

I’ve been fostering for my local SPCA for three years. My dog is very social and playful but I haven’t wanted to commit to having another dog. Fostering works for both of us. He gets new playmates and I get to help socialize and work with dogs to better prepare them for their new homes. And I like knowing that by me fostering, another spot in the shelter is opened up for another dog in need. One of the best parts of fostering is the follow up pictures and notes from the new family, we fosters love the updates!

~ Cindi Drake

Well I’m not a volunteer, but every time I see a dog or cat in the streets I’ll take it to my house. My husband helps me to pay the vet bills and I take care of them until I can found a home for these babies. I love animals and the best part of rescue them are their eyes, how changes their sad expression, and how they are so grateful. I live in an apartment and I have a pit bull, but I always get a way to do this.

~ Vanesa Feltan

I am a foster home for local Humane Society and volunteer at our local spay/neuter clinic. I love it and know I am helping in a small way!

~ Anne Henson

Yes, I do (or did). I fostered kittens for the East Bay SPCA here in Oakland, Ca. What I enjoyed most was helping them mend from kitty colds and eye infections, and fattening them up for spay/neuter and adoption. Seeing them grow and thrive is so much fun. My two youngest fosters were 3 weeks old when I got them and I ended up adopting them…and now I am no longer “allowed” to foster until we move into a larger home!

~ AC Carter

Yes, we volunteer and love it! We love the dogs, seeing them placed in a loving home, seeing the dogs open up after receiving love and receiving pittie kisses!

~ Kelli Parker

I volunteer for Little Rascals, a local no-kill foster-based rescue in Phoenix. I transport, adoption events and foster. Fostering helps socialize my dogs, provides the opportunity for learning and most importantly opens up a spot for another life to be saved.

~ Emily Storkamp

Yes, I do, both! I help out with adoption hours and dog walking, kennel enrichment at the Humane Society of Calvert County, my local shelter, but what I really prefer is the fostering! There is always a foster in my house. I prefer the dogs who really need to learn what a home is like. It’s so rewarding when they go to a forever home and I can say “Hey, I helped to get that dog ready for that home!” And not always dogs. I’ve also brought home cats, chinchillas and even a pot bellied pig once (note: always warn your spouse that you’re bringing home a pig. Learned that the hard way with a 24 hour silent treatment). Can it be heartbreaking when they go? Yes, but then you meet the next one who needs you and you start all over again and move on!

~ Kirstyn Northrop Cobb

No, I wish my husband would let me, but I would want to keep them or bring them home.

~ Jenny Rice

Right now we are fostering a blue nose pit bull mama who had nine puppies on Valentine’s Day. We already have two other pits and an outside coyote/deer chasing dog, so we really planned on only being foster parents. What a great way to have puppies and someone else be the final responsibility, in this case the shelter in Port Angeles. Well mama dog came in and is so beautiful and sweet and worked so hard at making us love her. I should also mention we live in a tiny home so every other step is over a pit bull that all sleep in a line by the wood stove. She has done so well with us, the other dogs, ducks, geese and chickens that we can’t imagine sending her back to the shelter. We’re busy finding homes hopefully for her puppies in the hopes none of them have to go and stay in the shelter. We love that we brought a scared unwanted beautiful pit bull home and made her feel comfortable. Her puppies are by the side of our bed and it’s better than any movie or television show watching them grow and be healthy, even the runts. She is the best mama dog ever. It’s been a wonderful experience.

~ Colleen S Moore

I foster pit bulls only through our local pound in San Antonio. I foster and help mend these dogs because I know they’ll always be the ones overlooked. So by taking them in and socializing and giving medical help, I know I’ve helped one more pittie find a forever home and hopefully win one more person over with this wonderful silly smart special breed.

~ Susan Hughitt Glatz

I volunteer at a local animal control facility. I like to bath and brush the dogs, foster puppies, etc. After my beloved little dog passed at 17.5 years (she started as a foster from the same facility) I went to look for another small dog, preferably long hair, under 10 lbs. As I was passing out bowls of food in the big dog runs, one grabbed the bowl from my hand and started to fling it like a Frisbee. Food flew everywhere and I laughed for the first time in days as she danced around with the bowl. She was a black brindle pit puppy about 6 months old, already about 30 lbs. For days afterward I kept thinking about the silly pittie girl and after discussing it with my partner (“..are you kidding? A pit bull?!”) I decided to foster her. Well, Frieda is now around 65 lbs. or so and a loving member of a mixed family of people, parrots and occasional free range cockatiels. So, yes, volunteering at the shelter is the most profoundly life changing thing I have ever done.

~ Mary Horvath

I signed up with a local foster group to take care of a Chi/terrier mix. We dog-proofed our house the way we didn’t have to for our beloved pit, but the upside is the two get along so well…Jonesy has a small playmate! And now that we’re dog-proofed, when Honey finds a permanent home, we’re ready for the next one! I love knowing she’s being people- and dog-socialized, eating well, learning good habits, and being treated like one of the family until she finds her own family.

~ Liz Wickham

I volunteer and foster for Arizona Boston Terrier Rescue and I work mostly with senior dogs and dogs with health issues. I LOVE it when my dogs find their fur-ever homes; the sense of satisfaction and overwhelming joy I have each time a senior finds a home is unreal. I’ve learned so much from working with the rescue – I know I am a better dog parent now.

~ MacKenzie Case

We’re picking up our first foster on Friday and we couldn’t be more excited to be getting involved with our local rescue!

~ Jordan Howe

I volunteer with Fur Kid Rescue in Bethel Park, PA. Jennifer and all of her foster parents / volunteers are amazing loving people. I thoroughly enjoy spending time with the pups, transporting them, walking, bathing and having play dates / slumber parties. It has been such a wonderful experience for my children ages 11, 10 and 8. They love doing anything for the pups. My 2 year old Golden Retriever loves all his new buddies too. We’re not quite ready to start fostering yet, but plan on it in the future. Bless all of you for what you do. Check out the available pups .

~ Michele Mangione Werderber

I foster for a local pit bull rescue. I love the pups! It satisfies my puppy craving and saves dogs at the same time, what could be better?

~ Alexis Bywater

I volunteer at and foster for our city run animal shelter. One of the main reasons I love volunteering is the other volunteers. It’s amazing to work with a very diverse group of people who share a common passion. Although it is a “kill shelter” the euthanasia rate is far below the national average for a citiy this size, mainly due to the dedicated volunteers.
I work with all the dogs, but especially love working with the small dogs mainly because I have two big dogs of my own. I had no experience with smalls before and have come to enjoy how full of personality they are!
Fostering is also incredibly rewarding although I have a tendency to fail at it. I’ve fostered dogs for medical reasons as well as to relieve kennel stress (generally a death sentence, especially for pit bulls.) It’s wonderful to see dogs heal and grow and to know that the experience they gain in my home will make it far more unlikely that they’ll ever wind up at a shelter again.

~ Wren End Bsl Kellogg

I volunteer, foster, and work as the volunteer manager and foster coordinator for a shelter. The reason I do so is pretty simple; I love animals and the people that love them.

~ Rhett Nicks

I volunteer at the Stamford Animal Shelter and OPIN (Outreach to Pets in Need) which was started by volunteers because shelters really do need our help financially and in every other way. It’s been the most rewarding thing in my life. From walking dogs, training and socializing the pets, and then finding them their forever homes. It’s truly amazing. Like the OPIN Facebook page to learn more, become a foster family or join me in volunteering at the shelter – free dog training classes Wed. nights (bring your own dog or volunteer and help us train the shelter pets!

~ Alexandra Tejada Perimenis

I volunteer at Seattle Humaneand have to say it’s the highlight of my week! I do pictures of the dogs and just love the time I get to spend with each one I get to photograph! Each dog is so different, unique, individual and it’s such an awesome learning experience with the different personalities! I have learned so much about different breeds, training, handling, working with shy dogs, hyper dogs and scared ones. It’s also helped be better educated and better equipped to work with my own dogs at home. I enjoy learning from other photographers I follow on Facebook, to do the very best I can when I take my pictures, and be creative and open to trying different things and putting together the best, accurate descriptions to get them noticed and adopted! And nothing makes me happier than seeing “Adopted” on the website after their names (any of them for that matter)! Of course there are the ones that really pull my heartstrings, those are the toughies! They will always be in my heart! I love my volunteer time- I highly recommend it to anyone who’s even thought about it – you won’t regret it! Just a little bit here and there makes such a huge difference! (Two amazing pit bulls available right now – Osa Orchid and Daisy Mae! These girls are stunning, stellar, sweet-loving and ready to shower you with their love and affection, and silliness!)

~ Tracey Thompson

I occasionally volunteer at a local shelter by walking the dogs. Sometimes I take my kids and we drop off donations and then play with puppies. (I can’t bring them when walking full grown dogs). Socializing the puppies is a great animal welfare intro for kids.

~ Shannon Coulter

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3 Responses to “The Joys of Volunteering and Fostering”
  1. khermas says:

    I love to foster the old dogs.  It is truly rewarding to see an old sick dog blossom and take a renewed interest in life.  You know they will not be around for a very long time, but it is such a good feeling to make them feel better with medications, good food and supplements, and stimulation.  

    • StubbyDog says:

       @khermas Thank you for taking care of the older ones, it’s so important that they are loved in their golden years.

  2. HolisticPetService says:

    Fostering a dog is the key in dogs rehabilitation and re-homing. The identification and treatment of behavior problems, exposure and guidance  in every day scenarios will ensure the foster dog is ready for his future placement. BUT foster-parents are NOT behaviorists though they need to understand the canine needs, canine pack structure and CALL for help if issues are in the horizon.
    RESCUE organizations NEED to support foster-homes! Rescue org’s job is done if dog is placed in forever home. Un-suported Foster-homes are like warriors without supply.