Anyone who has ever fostered a dog knows it’s a rewarding and emotional experience. From the moment you pull the pup from the pound to the time you hand your sweet house guest over to its new forever family, taking care of a foster dog is something you will remember for a lifetime.
While a love for animals is an important prerequisite for becoming a dog foster, you also need to get your car and home in order. Fortunately, thanks to some pet-friendly products, it is easy to transform your home and car into the perfect places for dogs waiting for their forever families.
Consider a Crate—or Two
When you are introducing your foster dog into your home, he or she will probably be overwhelmed. This may be especially true if you already have pets or young kids who cannot wait to play with your foster dog.
It’s important that your foster has its own place to hang out, so set up a crate in a quiet-but-accessible room for him to rest and sleep. As Modern Dog Magazine notes, dogs have a natural denning instinct and typically love spending time in a crate, even with the door open.
This also proves convenient when you leave the house for short periods of time and can keep your foster dog crated while you are away, at least until you know each other a little better.
Since you might foster dogs of various sizes, it’s a good idea to purchase a large crate that will be comfy and cozy for both Bichon Frises and Border Collies. PetSmart sells a wide variety of crates in different sizes; wire dog crates are roomy, easy to clean and feature a plastic pan on the bottom that can be covered with a big towel or blanket.
Four Wheels for Four Legs
Granted, you probably are not going to run out and buy a new dog-friendly vehicle once you get your first foster pooch. But if you plan to make fostering a new norm in your life, there’s certainly nothing wrong with looking for a vehicle that is as great for dogs as it is for you.
Depending on your budget, either shop new or used cars with features like seats that fold flat and a rear liftgate; this way, you might be able to fit a crate or two in the back of your vehicle and safely transport foster dogs from the local shelter to your home, or to their vet appointments.
Rather than a high truck or SUV that is hard to jump into, look for vehicles that advertise a lower height, which is easier for small and older pooches to maneuver. Also, if you live in super hot or cold climate, consider a car with rear temperature controls and vents, so the pups will stay cool on 100-plus degree days and cozy when it’s snowy outside.
Always Buckle Up
If you don’t have room for a crate in your car, there are still safe ways to secure your foster pup(s) so he or she is not hopping and falling all over the vehicle while you are trying to drive.
For example, the Clickit Utility harness has three points of attachment that keep dogs safe in his or her seat in the event of a fender bender or just for safety when out for a drive. The padded vest is comfy and most dogs will readily wear it; as a bonus, it comes with a D-ring that lets you use it as a walking harness.