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Foster a dog

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By Carol Bryant

"A walk through the kennels, and one realizes these dogs are barking for their lives," says Terry Humerickhouse of Gulf Coast Cocker Spaniel Rescue, summarizing why he has fostered over 150 dogs in his lifetime.

Fostering a dog for a temporary period of time will increase the likelihood that the dog will find a forever home. While in the care of a foster home, abused or abandoned dogs can receive training, be resocialized and gain a sense of how to better adapt to a host of situations.

While a permanent owner is sought, a foster parent enables dogs to find solace until a forever home is found. Fran Muzio of West Hills, Calif., realizes she is saving lives by fostering with Camp Cocker Rescue. "The fosters seem to understand what you are doing for them; it's a wonderful thing. It is also good for my own dogs, as they have learned to accept other dogs coming and going from the home," she says.

Making the lifelong commitment to dog ownership might not be a viable option for everyone, so fostering fills a gap for many. Rescue groups subsist on donations, so much of the care and maintenance of a foster dog comes from this funding. From a nonmonetary standpoint, foster parents will be involved in daily needs, may assist with behavior modifications, and work with a trainer to make the dog more adoptable. They may even get involved in medical care, such as taking the dog to vet visits.

A foster parent's goal is to make the dog more adoptable for a prospective owner. Foster parents increase their dog's chances of finding that forever placement by attending adoption shows where the general public can see the dog, interact with it and ask questions.

Learn more about fostering a dog by contacting a local animal shelter, breed rescue group or humane society.

Carol Bryant is the Social Media and PR Director for Fido Friendly magazine. A frequent media contributor, Carol is a two-time nominee from the Dog Writers Association of America. Her articles have previously appeared in The Dog Daily and Exceptional Canine.

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