April 19th is “Dog Parent Appreciation Day.” On this day, every year, we appreciate all of the love, sacrifice, and care that pet parents give to their precious dogs. These sweet animals crave to be a part of a loving family in a safe home. And that’s exactly what these dog parents are giving them!
But what’s even more impressive than just the typical dog parent is those who go above and beyond to take in senior dogs, dogs with illnesses, and dogs with special needs. These pups often get forgotten or cast aside as “too burdensome.” But some dog parents intentionally choose to welcome these pooches home with open arms!
And some dog parents will even do the most challenging dog parenting job of all: dog fostering! Can you imagine how difficult it must be to take a sweet, adorable dog into your home, care for it like your own, and then give it away? But some people volunteer to do just that because they know there’s nothing better for a pup than a dedicated forever home.
We actually know a couple who not only fosters dogs, but they choose to foster canines with significant physical and emotional health problems… just to make sure that every dog who comes their way gets a shot at a healthy life and a loving home.
What Does Dog Fostering Mean for Dogs?
Have you ever known a dog foster parent? What does that mean exactly? The animal rescue, Rescue Rovers, describes it: “Foster Families care for dogs in their home until adoption. They provide shelter, love, transportation to events, and food for their foster dogs (we do often have food donations for fosters).”
Many animal shelters and rescues across the nation need loving families to volunteer as dog foster parents. And we’ve had the opportunity to speak with some active volunteers from the Rescue Rovers organization.
At Rescue Rovers, when you choose to foster a dog, the organization provides “all medical care, marketing, and support, including discounted professional services such as photography, grooming, training, doggie day camp, etc.”
So, as a dog foster family, you would be responsible for the dog’s basic needs and care, and loving on these dogs like they are your own until an adoption family can bring these pups into their home.
What is Rescue Rovers?
Rescue Rovers is a non-profit dog rescue that survives entirely with the help of their all-volunteer crew. They are one of the many organizations across the United States committed to providing the best care for every homeless dog who comes into their custody. “We believe there is a home for every dog, and we work tirelessly to make the perfect match for each pup.”
Those who volunteer as foster families don’t get paid and, frankly, don’t get much recognition. They do what they do for these pups solely out of the kindness of their hearts.
The Rescue Rovers organization pulls dogs out of high kill shelters. “When a shelter is full or dogs are approaching their ‘due out’ date, a shelter contacts a rescue for help. Rescue Rovers has a strong working relationship with many shelters, and we often pull up to 100 dogs in a month.” So you can imagine just how many dogs there are who need the loving care of a foster family.
Dog Foster Parents
I had the opportunity to speak with one of the volunteer foster couples from Rescue Rovers. And they make it their mission to take in any of the dogs who have hit rock bottom and those who need the most care. Some of these dogs have physical disabilities—like only having three legs. Some are very sick and need to be nursed back to health. And some struggle with emotional problems like fear, stress, and anxiety—requiring special attention to heal from their prior traumas.
Cynthia and Lin are a part of the volunteer team at Rescue Rovers. They devote themselves to rehabilitating dogs and preparing them for their future forever home. These ladies told me all about the ups and downs of dog fostering. And how, over many years, they have now fostered over 200 dogs! And Rescue Rovers as a whole has been able to rescue over 10,000 dogs.
They explained how difficult it is to let go of a dog they have come to know and love. But how they could never stop fostering because they understand just how much of a need there is for dog foster families.
What Do Animal Rescues Need the Most?
If you’re wondering how you can help an organization like Rescue Rovers, there are several needs you can help fill.
- Donate money, food, and supplies: As with any animal shelter or rescue, there is always a need for financial help, as well as a need for dog food, treats, cleaning supplies, potty pads, toys, blankets, kennels, and more! You can contact Rescue Rovers or your local animal rescue or shelter to ask about their specific needs.
- Become a dog foster parent: The largest need Rescue Rovers and other animal rescues have is the need for more volunteer foster dog parents. Like we said above, this isn’t a paid gig. And sometimes it’s hard to find enough willing volunteers to foster a dog and care for them until the dog finds their forever home.
- Adopt! And, of course, the ultimate goal is to find new homes for these homeless pups. So why not adopt and become a dog parent today? Similar to Rescue Rovers, there are animal rescues and shelters all over the United States with thousands of dogs just waiting for new loving families to bring them home.
You can actually search for adoptable dogs and cats at the shelters and rescues near you on PetFinder.com. You can even search for specific genders, age ranges, and breed mixes. There are sweet, loving dogs ready to be adopted near you every day! Find yours.