Recently, I had the good fortune to keep a sweet, intelligent, playful, and curious street dog named Frankie for a week. The experience was completely transformative.
I adopted another rescue dog nearly 8 years ago. And still have him to this day. I used to think it wouldn’t do much to house a dog for only a week. But it helped all the volunteers behind The Street Dog Project, based in Dallas.
I also wasn’t prepared for how much the experience would change me. I’m grateful for the time I got to spend with this sweetheart.
Here’s more about my experience adopting and fostering dogs. And why you should consider it!
Adopt or foster a pet
Eight years ago, I adopted my dog, Fenwick. He was so scared and small when I got him. But he’s grown into a handsome, silly, incredibly smart and kind dog. To say he’s changed my life would be an understatement. He’s become part of my whole world.
So far, it’s been the two of us. He’s given me constant love and companionship for years by now. And lately, I’ve been thinking about getting him a little brother or sister to play with now that I have more space.
So when I saw a cute dog named Frankie on The Street Dog Project, I couldn’t resist applying. The folks behind the project are some of the kindest people I’ve met – all volunteers.
While Frankie and Fenwick didn’t get along as well as I hoped, I was happy to keep and give him a home for a week.
I thought if I didn’t adopt him forever that it wouldn’t make much a difference. I was so wrong.
I dropped him off yesterday after spending a week with him. As I drove away, my heart sank to my stomach. I’d grown to care for that dog. I knew his temperament and started to learn his habits and thought processes. And everyone at The Street Dog Project assured me that giving him a place to sleep and play for a week outside of a boarding facility was a help and a gift.
If adopting a dog forever doesn’t feel right because of your living arrangement, future plans, or current situation, you can still do good every day by fostering for a local shelter. Trust me, giving a pet a quiet place to sleep for a few nights is so beneficial for their mental and physical health. And you’ll get the satisfaction of getting to know a kindred animal spirit.
How much does adopting cost? Around $200
Most rates I’ve seen are around $200 to adopt. That covers shots, microchips, treatment for existing conditions, and spaying/neutering. If you paid for that on your own, it would cost much more. But shelters have partnerships and preferred rates us regular folks can’t get.
Your remaining costs are:
- Pet insurance – I recommend Healthy Paws. Mine is $30 a month
- Food – $25 a month
- Bowls – $10 one time
- Collar and leash – $20 one time
- Toys/accessories – I love BarkBox for this! $20+ depending which box you get
- Treats/bones – Cheap
- Chew toys – Cheap (you get 2 a month with BarkBox)
Definitely keep the recurring costs in mind. I reckon I spend around $70 per month to keep Fenwick, with his food and pet insurance factored in.
Fostering costs nothing and is edifying
When you foster, you’ll generally get food, supplies, a crate, and everything else you need to keep the pet comfortable for a while. Plus, they have tons of extras on hand to loan out while you foster.
You can foster for a few days or a few weeks – whatever is convenient for you. If you can drive the pet to the next foster, vet, or boarding facility, you’ll help so much until the sweet animal can find a forever home.
You’ll get to know them. And you’ll know you helped care for them, even if for a short time in their lives. And that’s worth so much.
- Link: ASPCA
Look up your local shelter or ASPCA and ask if you can adopt or volunteer to foster. I bet you they’ll have plenty of things you can help with!
Take a few minutes to call. And when you can, set up a visit to see how you can help. If you love animals, there’s little as fulfilling as fostering an animal in need.
If you want to be a Big Help, consider adopting a pet as soon as you’re financially able. And if you help for free, call a local shelter and offer to be a foster parent.
But be aware: animals will need lots of affection, play, and care. So don’t underestimate the emotional part of your readiness, either.
Animal care pays you back in spades. Note you will likely get attached in some way, especially if you keep them for a few weeks. That’s part of the exchange – you’ll be better for having cared for an animal, a being that can’t care for themselves. And that’s good every day. 🐶