What exactly does fostering mean? It means bringing a homeless dog into your
home, caring for them, providing them with affection and socialization, until a
permanent family comes along who will love them forever.
The benefits of fostering are numerous, and not only a wonderful thing for the dog and our rescue, but it can be beneficial to the one doing the fostering in so many ways!
We are a foster-based rescue, which means we have no shelter or central facility, so when we get a request to bring a beagle into the rescue, we cannot say yes unless we have a foster home to welcome them. Often shelters or relinquishing owners cannot wait while we search for a foster, so it is important to always have homes available. Relying solely on foster homes determines how many beagles we can help out of shelters (who may have long term residents and/or at risk of euthanasia due to overcrowding), how many we can transfer from other rescues (who may be overcrowded within their own group) or how many we can move from private homes (who may need to move to long-term care for example). Fosters are crucial to our ability to help in special cases as well, such as an expectant mother beagle rescued, by providing her a quiet and comfortable atmosphere to deliver puppies and care for them in those first weeks of crucial development, or a senior beagle living out their life in a hospice environment.
Some of the beagles coming to us have never lived in a home. They may be retired research beagles, rescued hunting dogs, or transfers from other rescues in areas where beagles are difficult to place. Our rescue partners are sometimes able to provide short term foster placement, medical care, and socialization prior to sending their beagles to us, so those dogs are already on the path to readiness for adoption. However, with some rescues the fosters may need to work on leash training, house training, and other basic behaviors and commands. All these beagles need and deserve love, a sense of security, and a chance to decompress from living in a stressful environment. Some beagles coming into our rescue are from families that cannot keep them due to life changes. These pups may be confused and stressed by the loss of their home and family. In many cases they have been loved family members and need support as they adjust to a new life.
As a foster, you have the chance and opportunity to gain a dogs trust, show them human touch and love perhaps for the first time, provide an environment for them to feel safe, and watch them transform before your eyes.
If you have existing pets, introducing a beagle can be a great experience for them as an additional companion, additional socialization, and an additional playmate! Your confident dog can help a stressed beagle understand that they are safe and how they can be a loved family member. Children can benefit from fostering as a way to introduce responsibility, selflessness, a way to educate about animals. For children in your home, we recommend that they be at least 5, unless your family has previous dog/beagle experience.
Fellow volunteers will help guide you through the experience, give ideas, answer any questions, and may even become your friends! There is nothing quite like sharing experiences with those who do the same and being part of a community of people who have like passions.
When the day comes that your foster finds that perfect home, the rewarding feeling you will experience is something very special. You will feel a sense of pride, in knowing what you helped that dog accomplish in his/her time with you. You will feel overjoyed, that they have found their forever family and their happy ending that all homeless dogs so desire. And while certainly, some goodbyes can be tough, knowing that a beagle has found their happy ending and that another precious life awaits to be afforded your gifts, is as good of a feeling as there is!
If you are thinking of adoption and want to find out if a beagle is a fit for you, your family and lifestyle, complete the adoption application and indicate that you are interested in Foster-to-Adopt. You will be matched with an incoming dog for a trial of two weeks. You will sign a foster to adopt contract that lists your responsibilities and ours. At the end of two weeks, you can complete the adoption, or decide that the beagle is not your permanent match but you can then continue to foster until we find a perfect match for the beagle, or you can ask us to find a different foster.
This is the more traditional fostering model and one where we always have great need! In this model, you welcome a dog into your home, knowing you are preparing it to move on to a permanent adopter. We cannot bring beagles into rescue without traditional foster homes.
NOTE: Seattle Beagle Rescue pays for medical care for your foster beagle, with preapproval from our Medical Coordinator and will provide supplies as needed with preapproval from our Foster Coordinator.