Set Boundaries for the Foster Pet ahead of Time
Your foster pet should feel safe, comfortable, and cared for while in your home. That doesn’t necessarily mean he needs to have free roam of the house. If you only want the pet to be on one side of the house, set up blockades to prevent him from exploring too far. As long as you make an effort to interact with the pet in that designated area, he will still feel like he’s home.
Get Attached Like Velcro, Not Glue
Foster homes are designed to be temporary. Thus it is important not to get overly attached to your foster pet, unless you plan to adopt him in the future. You can still love and cherish the pet as if he was your own, but there needs to be some level of separation at the same time. Attach yourself like Velcro, not glue.
How this theory applies to you will depend on how you interact with the pets already in your home (if any). For example, if your dogs sleep with you in bed, you may keep the foster pet in a kennel at night so he does not get too emotionally invested in you. You can still play fetch outside and let the dog sit on your lap while you watch TV, but maintain separate sleeping quarters.
Socialize the Pet, If Possible
If your foster pet is friendly with dogs, cats, children, etc., try to socialize him as much as possible. The goal here is to give the dog the best chance at finding a home when the time comes. If you can say with confidence “plays well with other dogs” or “kid friendly,” you open up the potential for many extra homes for your foster pet. This also gives him or her a chance to make friends other than you so he does not become too attached to you specifically.
Spend Some One-on-One Time
Even though you want to remain somewhat unattached to your foster pet, it’s important to let him know that you care for him and that everything is going to be okay. Moving to a new home is scary enough on its own. Spend some one-on-one time with your foster pet and get to know his personality a little better. Bring some dog training treats with you and try to teach him a few tricks before he finds his forever home. This will be good experience for you as well, giving you a chance to learn about different dogs’ personalities and how to respond to each of them.
Be Happy When He Finds a Home
Every pet deserves a forever home. When your foster pet finds his, rejoice! Get him a going away toy, or take him to the groomers to get dolled up for the big day. The more excited you are, the easier it will be for your foster pet to feel safe in his new home. Then once the dust has settled, you can open your door to a new foster pet in need of your care.