The Term Fostering

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The first time I opened my home to a dog in need on a temporary basis was about 15 years ago and I instinctively called it "fostering". 

I was not dog sitting Cowboy as he had been left behind by his owners.  Instead I was providing temporary care for a dog that had no one else.  I didn't even question that I was "fostering" this dog.  In all the years since, I haven't questioned what I called "fostering", the function of individuals who open their hearts and homes temporarily to dogs in need.  Until recently. 

Imagine my surprise to hear someone say that the term "fostering" should not be used for dogs because fostering a dog does not require the same commitment, sacrifice or selflessness as fostering a child.  That fostering a dog is less of an emotional experience and less rewarding. 

To be clear, I have never fostered a child and I do not have children, therefore I cannot speak to that experience.  However, my use of the term "fostering" for dogs comes from my idealistic view of the function of fostering. 

-          When you choose to foster, you choose to do so because of a concern for those in need and a desire to contribute something special to the community. 

-          As a foster parent, you believe you can provide a safe and caring environment. 

-          Although you may not have extra time in your schedule, as a foster parent, the commitment to making a difference is more important. 

-          No foster parent thinks fostering is easy, but the reward of knowing you are making a positive difference keeps you going. 

To me, these sentiments about fostering can apply to canines or children alike. 

The etymology of foster simply means to nourish and encourage growth and I believe that when dogs come into foster care, foster parents see a great deal of change and growth.  When a dog begins to trust, when a dog forgets fear, when a dog physically heals, to me this is growth. 

I am not one of those crazy dog people that consider dogs as humans, however I do recognize that they are sentient beings and have chosen to devote my time to giving dogs in need a second chance.  While the debate about the foster terminology was interesting, I will continue to embrace the concept and the term fostering as part of the rescue, rehabilitate and rehoming cycle. 

I am a canine foster parent and proud to say it!  

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Written by Lyndsay hart at 00:00
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