Top Questions About Fostering Senior Dogs

Fostering dogs is an incredibly rewarding experience. But not everyone knows what fostering means and what it entails, so in this post, we’re going to answer the top questions we get about fostering senior dogs.

Have a question we didn’t cover? Put it in a comment below, and we’ll get back to you!

Top Questions About Fostering Senior Dogs

What is fostering?

Fostering is housing and caring for a homeless senior dog. When a foster dog comes into your home, you agree to provide the level of care and love you would if it were your own dog. CSDRH pays for all medical expenses and can help provide necessary pet care supplies like bedding, food, diapers, etc. Your responsibility as a foster parent is to take care of your foster dog by scheduling and attending veterinary appointments, administering medications, communicating with CSDRH about how the dog is doing, and showing the dog love and affection.

Are there different types of fostering?

Yes! At CSDRH, we utilize three different types of fosters homes: temporary fosters, hospice fosters, and respite fosters.

Temporary Fosters

Temporary Fosters are fosters who commit to fostering an adoptable senior dog for a short period of time (average is 1-3 months). Temporary fosters care for the dog, take them to their vet appointments, administer medications, and help vet potential adopters.

Hospice Fosters

Hospice Fosters are fosters who commit to fostering a dog in our hospice gram until the end of its life. Hospice dogs typically need a little more medical care than average, but it varies widely on a case-by-case basis.

Respite Fosters

Respite Fosters are foster homes that provide a temporary landing place for a dog in our care if their primary foster family has a trip out of town, a family obligation, or a vacation to attend. It’s basically just babysitting! Respite fostering is typically (3-7 days).

Why should I foster a senior dog?

Deciding to become a foster parent to a senior dog in need is a deeply personal decision. Fostering takes a special kind of person. Someone willing to open up their home, their hearts, and their time to caring for senior dogs. It’s not always easy, and it’s definitely not glamorous, but it’s ALWAYS rewarding.

I’ve never fostered before; do I need special skills or training?

Foster families should have experience caring for dogs. They should also be compassionate, caring, patient, loving, and dedicated. Before taking a new dog home, you’ll be given all the information we have on the dog, including medical info and behavioral info. Foster families should be willing to work with dogs who have trouble adjusting, who aren’t house-trained, and who may have issues like resource guarding or separation anxiety. CSDRH is here to support you in all of this and can help answer any questions and provide guidance that you may find helpful.

I could never foster; I’d get too attached. How hard is it to say goodbye?

Dogs deserve love, no matter how long they are in your life – temporarily or permanently. Yes, getting attached to a dog and then having to say goodbye is hard. But these dogs deserve a caregiver who cares. It might be hard to say goodbye sometimes, but that’s okay. Sometimes, for an animal’s best interest, we must do hard things and make hard decisions. And that is the ultimate act of love.

Top questions about fostering a senior dog

My apartment/home is super small, can I still foster?

Yes! Dogs need regular access to the outdoors to eliminate, so as long as you can provide that for them, then it doesn’t matter if you live in an apartment building or have a small home. We do recommend fostering a dog that adapts well to that environment rather than a high-energy dog that would need more exercise.

What do I have to pay for?

We cover all necessary veterinary and medical expenses. If you need additional everyday pet care supplies like food, bowls, leashes, collars, bedding, pee pads, diapers etc, let us know, and we’ll send some your way. If you have your own supplies that you’d like to use, that’s totally fine too!

What is the daily time commitment to foster a senior dog?

It all depends! Some dogs require extra care if they are recovering from an illness and surgery. However, you should be ready to dedicate as much time as you would if it were your own dog. We will do our best to match you with a dog that fits your lifestyle and availability.

How long will I have my foster?

It all depends! Each dog has different needs. Fostering can last anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. If you are fostering a hospice dog, you agree to house and care for the dog until the end of its life (CSDRH pays all hospice medical expenses). Fostering hospice dogs can last up to 1-1/5 years.

Are there any risks to fostering a senior dog?

As with caring for any animal, there are some potential risks involved:

  • Housetraining accidents – peeing and pooping in your house.
  • Destruction of personal items (chewing on shoes, etc).
  • Foster animals could die in foster care or need to be euthanized.
  • Your own dogs could catch a disease and/or parasite from a foster animal if they are not up to date on vaccinations and are not kept in separate areas.
  • You, a member of your household, or a visitor could be injured by a foster animal.

Can I adopt my foster dog?

Yes! Foster parents can absolutely adopt their foster dog and are given the first choice.

I’m having an issue with my foster dog; what should I do?

You can either reach out to the rescue owner directly or post in our Foster Facebook Group. Our Foster Facebook Group is where CSDR fosters can communicate, ask questions, share about their foster dog, or search for resources. You’re never alone in this journey, and we are here to support you 100% of the way.

How do I get started?

If you’d like to become a foster with Colorado Senior Dog Rescue and Hospice, then head over here to get started.

If you’re looking to work with a senior dog rescue in your area:

  1. Research local rescue groups and learn about their mission and values
  2. Check their website to see if they have a foster program.
  3. Fill out any application or forms required.
  4. Ask the rescue any questions you have!

Fostering dogs truly saves lives. It’s rewarding and meaningful work to care for senior dogs in need.

Have a fostering question we didn’t answer? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!

Colorado Senior Dog Rescue and Hospice

Colorado Senior Dog Rescue and Hospice is a  volunteer-run, foster-based animal welfare organization dedicated to rescuing senior dogs.


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