Fostering dogs and cats is a great way to help save a sweet, deserving life, but can seem daunting for those who have never been through the journey. One of our pet sitting clients fosters Boxers, in addition to having a wonderful furry family (we pet sit for little Bianca, their beautiful white Boxer in the photo). The Vargas’s recently welcomed one of their foster dogs, Jeter, as a permanent member of their family. Elizabeth was happy to answer questions about her experience fostering dogs for the Coastal Boxer Rescue of Florida. We hope her account convinces you to open up your heart and home to the many dogs and cats in need of help!
Why did you start fostering, and why Boxers?
I posed this question to a friend when I first decided to foster. When I asked her opinion, she said, “if you have room in your heart and your home, go for it.” I had both of those things, so my decision was easy. I became Facebook friends with a local organization called Coastal Boxer Rescue, and it was amazing to see a community come together to help these beautiful dogs. It called to me, and I knew that I had to help.
I decided to foster Boxers because they are a very special breed to me. The first big dog that came into my family was when I was a teenager. My sister and her now husband bought a Boxer puppy that they named Bianca. She was a very special dog. When they started a family together, Bianca was always so gentle and loving with the children. I always knew that a Boxer would be the dog that my husband and I would get when we had a family of our own because of their playful and gentle disposition. We now have three girls and a white Boxer who we also named Bianca in her memory.
How did you sign up for fostering?
The organization that I foster with is very responsible and thorough. I filled out an application on their website and a volunteer representative from the organization came to my home to meet our family. She also toured our home and our property to ensure that it was a good environment for a foster animal.
What was the most surprising thing you learned from fostering dogs?
I was afraid that I would adopt every dog that I brought into the house. I thought that I would feel guilty giving the dog up to its forever home. I realized that my role was not to be every animal’s savior. I was needed to save them from shelter life and bridge the gap until they found a home. However, sometimes you find that there is that one foster dog that was meant to be yours all along. For us, that was our newly adopted foster dog Jeter.
How did your life change with fostering?
My children are so proud of what we do. Being compassionate is such an important quality, and I am so glad that we are teaching our children this very important trait. Catching up on how your foster dog is doing is very rewarding also.
What are some tips for fostering that would benefit first-time fosters?
You have to be flexible and must understand that some dogs have manners and some dogs do not. You have to be gentle and loving. When you are, they will surprise you. Most importantly, don’t ever give up on them. Challenge yourself to help him/her succeed. You will feel even more rewarded for your efforts.
Do you recommend that people start fostering?
YES, YES, YES! There are so many animals out there that need a home. Giving a dog or a cat the chance to live a good life is the best feeling in the world. Find out what works for you. Maybe it’s a small dog or a cat with a litter of kittens. Everyone can make the difference in the life of an animal in need. It just takes a little bit of personal sacrifice and lots of love and affection.
We are grateful for such a beautiful, honest, and informative response from our friend Elizabeth, and we hope her experience inspires you to foster your own dog or cat. There is a wealth of information on local rescues who need help fostering. We have fostered for the Dachshund Rescue of South Florida, for example, and we too are “foster failures,” but we have helped re-home many more. We also recommend a few Miami cat rescues. Please call us with any questions or if you’d like personalized advice on fostering.