The emphasis today is largely on the benefits for humans of having a pet such as a dog and these have been well documented. But sadly the benefits for dogs of having humans isn’t always reciprocated.
Far too many healthy, loving companion dogs are being surrendered to rescues or abandoned to council pounds because people are either unable or unwilling to keep their dogs for life. And too many are being surrendered to rescues because people haven’t thought through the commitments of having a dog before buying a puppy. This clogs up a rescue system that should really only be required for genuine cases where for example, a person has become too ill to care for their dog, has becomes homeless, has gone into care or has died. There are of course other genuine reasons why a person may need to relinquish their dog to a rehoming organisation.
As a result, there are thousands of wonderful dogs in desperate need of new homes and someone to love and care for them. Whilst on one hand it’s true that more and more people are appreciating how great adopting a rescue dog can be, on the other more dogs continue to flood the shelter system every day. Dogs of every imaginable breed, crossbreed and age – from puppies through to older dogs.
Dogs are companion animals and there can be no sadder sight than a dog that has suddenly found himself or herself in the unfamiliar surroundings of a kennel. And although kennel staff will do everything they can to make these dogs comfortable, it can be frightening and confusing for them. Dogs grieve for what they have lost and many become very stressed and depressed in kennels. Some even stop eating while others have been known to self-harm because they are so desperately unhappy.
SHORTAGE OF RESCUE SPACES
Rescues, in particular smaller ones, are buckling under the strain and kennel spaces are becoming harder to find which is why fostering is such a lifeline for dogs. While they wait patiently for a new forever home, being able to take a break from kennel life in a loving home environment makes an enormous difference to their physical and emotional health and in doing so gives them their best possible chance of finding a new permanent home. In some cases, fostering can even be the difference between life and death.
There are so many dog lovers out there, especially retired people who have more time available during the day. So many of them have previous experience of having dogs and would love to enjoy the companionship of a dog again but are simply unable to commit to having one on a permanent basis. For them and for the dogs that are desperate for human companionship, fostering can be a perfect solution all round.
Take a look at the rescues who are part of the Foster First programme here.