April 24, 2010 6:58 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to get a dog, but my work/living situation is up in the air next year. What opportunities are there to foster or raise/train dogs for a short period of time?

What sorts of organizations should I be looking for? Any other experiences with fostering dogs would be appreciated.

posted by pilibeen to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Pretty much any local rescue place will have a fostering program for their shelter dogs. Just get down there and get involved.
posted by merocet at 7:06 AM on April 24, 2010

Organizations that train service animals often ask for volunteers to raise the dogs from puppies, until they're ready to be trained as service animals. Then you don't have to feel bad that you have to give him up at the end of the year!
posted by musofire at 8:05 AM on April 24, 2010

Second merocet's comment about fostering for rescues. If there's a specific breed you want to help, there's probably a local rescue specific to that breed, even.

Service animals could be tougher; my (albeit limited) understanding is that it's usually for a longer period than one year.
posted by inigo2 at 8:41 AM on April 24, 2010

I foster for my local Doberman rescue group (it's my preferred breed). Typically, fostering will involve keeping the dog, taking it for necessary vet care (paid for by the rescue), and hosting meet and greets with potential adopters. I've had some fosters as short as a month, others for up to 6 months.

Petfinder has a list of breed-specific rescue and animal welfare groups by state - it's a great resource.
posted by tryniti at 9:16 AM on April 24, 2010

Finding rescue organizations in your area that are looking for fosters is an easy google search away. Rescues are always desperate for fosters, so you shouldn't have a problem finding one that is a good fit.

I can't recommend fostering highly enough. I did it for a couple of years while I was living in two different countries. Every time I was back in New York, there would be a dog for me to foster within a few days of my arrival. I must have cared for a dozen different dogs in that time, all of them pulled from the shelter just hours before being euthanized, all of them having their own unique, extremely lovable personalities, and all of them eventually finding homes with people who fell in love with them.

It's a hugely gratifying experience.
posted by newpotato at 10:52 AM on April 24, 2010

Another note, I found what worked better for me was a situation where my sole responsibility was as caregiver, and not having the responsibility of finding a new family for the dog. I'm not particularly outgoing with strangers, so that type of thing would not have worked well for me.

The organization I fostered with took the responsibility of finding adoptive families and did basic background checks on them, then passed them on to me to meet the dog as long as they passed muster.
posted by newpotato at 11:01 AM on April 24, 2010

You can do puppy raising for guide dogs for the blind, hearing ear dogs for the deaf, or other assistance dogs. More links about raising assistance dogs.

Most of the organizations that do this only take puppy raisers in certain areas, so you might have to check around a bit to find something in your region.
posted by yohko at 12:18 PM on April 24, 2010

On a less-committed note - the Humane Society near me likes volunteers to come in and walk the dogs for an hour or so outside. It's just an hour and you get some exercise. You go as frequently (or not) as you like.
posted by CathyG at 2:15 PM on April 24, 2010

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