As a result of the cost of living crisis, rehoming centres are seeing an increase in dogs being handed over while at the same time there is a decrease in adoptions. More and more people are worried about how they are going to put food on the table for themselves let alone in their dog’s bowl.
Dogs Trust has had record numbers wanting to rehome their dog. While in June, a YouGov survey for the RSPCA found that 78% of owners thought the crisis would affect their pet with 19% worried about how they would feed them.
Are you wondering how you can help? In March 2020 we fostered a dog for the first time during lockdown and now, foster carers are needed more than ever. For dog lovers it has just as many benefits for you as it does for the pup. So here’s why, if you can, you should consider doing it too.
1. All the benefits of having a dog without the commitment
Dogs are a huge commitment and not one that everyone is able to make, even if they want to. Fostering enables you to get all the benefits of owning a dog – from snuggles on the sofa to walks in the countryside – without making that commitment long-term.
2. An opportunity to see if you are ready for a dog
If you’ve been considering getting a dog yourself (and perhaps haven’t had one of your own before) this is the perfect way to make sure you are ready. If a dog fits into your life – great! If they don’t, then you can continue to foster and work having a dog around your lifestyle.
3. It’ll save you money
The initial cost of buying a puppy or adopting a dog is just the beginning. Dog ownership is expensive and the cost has risen to approximately £2000 a year according to Battersea. Along with other costs increasing, this is why so many dog owners are now struggling. When fostering, most rehoming centres will help you with the financial side, providing everything you need from food to veterinary treatment, should the pup need it.
4. You’re not on your own
Taking a dog home for the first time can be daunting, especially if you have never had one before. Underestimating what it takes to own a puppy or rescue dog, is one of the reasons they may end up needing to be rehomed. When you foster you’re not alone. The rehoming centre is there to support you every step of the way and answer any questions you may have.
5. It’s incredibly rewarding
Helping a dog in need during a difficult time in their life will be incredibly rewarding. Not only have you kept them out of kennels and offered them the comfort and enjoyment of being in a home, you’ll also be able to see the progression they make while with you.
6. It’s beneficial for the dog
Many dogs find kennels stressful. Others may have medical issues that would benefit from a quiet place to recover. While some have behavioural issues that can be better helped in a home. It could be that they simply need toilet training or help building up their confidence. Of course, all dogs – and their circumstances – are different and some may settle straight into your home. They’ll just be happier and avoid issues developing due to a potentially prolonged period in kennels.
7. It’ll help them find their forever home
As well as offering the dog a home, you’ll also make it easier for them to find their forever family. This is because the transition will be easier from a home rather than a kennel. For some, you’ll also be giving them the opportunity to get used to being in a home and learn the skills needed to avoid them finding themselves back in a rehoming centre. Plus, what you learn about the dog while they are with you can help match them up with the perfect family for them.
8. You’ll be helping more than one dog
Each time a dog is fostered it keeps one in a home and opens up a space for the rehoming centre to help one more. So while you may only foster one dog, you’ll actually be helping two.
9. You get to meet and spend time with a variety of dogs
You might be thinking that you’ll find it hard to wave goodbye to that dog when they find their forever home – and you’re right, it won’t be easy. But, there are plenty more dogs that are waiting to be fostered. You can take a break from it, if you need to. Or, welcome another dog straight into your home. As well as all shapes and sizes, you’ll be treated to a range of personalities.
10. You’ll get to know different breeds
Fostering is a great way to get to know different breeds of dogs and while you may have your heart set on one, it could open your eyes to another. I absolutely adore staffies – they are the breed my family has always had and the one I always wanted myself. While I still know I want a staffie one day, we fostered a whippet cross. I didn’t know much about whippets at the time but he couldn’t have been more perfect for us.
Of course, the dog we fostered never went anywhere and two and a half years later we couldn’t imagine life without him. So you never know, you might just find that the dog you foster is perfect for you and they’ll have already found their forever home.