Everything you need to know about fostering a dog

Could you look after a dog for the weekend? Picture: RSPCA SUFFOLK EAST AND IPSWICH

Could you look after a dog for the weekend? Picture: RSPCA SUFFOLK EAST AND IPSWICH - Credit: RSPCA Suffolk East and Ipswich

Dog fostering gives members of the public the chance to make a real difference to a pooch’s life without the commitment of adoption.

Millie is desperate for a new home

Millie is desperate for a new home - Credit: RSPCA Suffolk East and Ipswich

Fostering a four-legged friend requires no previous experience and won’t cost you a penny.

You also have the option to look after the canine for a short period, like a weekend, or long term and have them with you for a few months.

Natalie Wood, who is the kennel supervisor at the RSPCA Suffolk East and Ipswich Branch, said: “We offer fostering for both dogs and cats.

However, we need fosterers for dogs more, we struggle to get them as dogs need the company and to be walked.

Lucy, Mitzi and Winnie need a home. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Lucy, Mitzi and Winnie need a home. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

“It is completely free to foster a dog and we provide everything you need food, bed, toys, medication.”

The only requirements the RSPCA asks for is that those interested have their own transport, so if something did happen to the pet they are able to take them to the vet the charity uses. Also, a full secure garden with 5ft high fences is needed as well as an open mind when it comes to different dog breeds.

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Natalie explained: “Fosterers don’t get to pick which dog they go home with.

“Obviously we wouldn’t give them a dog they weren’t comfortable with but when it comes to fostering we prioritise the dogs who we feel need a break from the kennels the most.”

Blue the four-year-old Lurcher

Blue the four-year-old Lurcher - Credit: RSPCA Suffolk East and Ipswich

The dogs who find themselves in a fostering programme are normally the ones with separation issues and those who aren’t good with other animals.

She said that opening up your home to one of these pooches is highly rewarding and extremely beneficial to their wellbeing.

Natalie added: “A lot of our dogs come from cruelty and neglect, some have never been in a house before so fostering gives them that experience.

“We also find dogs are more settled in a home than they are in a kennel.

“If you foster you can help more dogs, whereas when you adopt you only help that one.

“By fostering, you look after a number of dogs and it is really rewarding, when they do go to their forever home it can be sad as you do get attached to them but you can then help the next one.”

Potential fosterers will need to fill in an application form and supply two references from non-family members.

You can get the application form by popping into the centre or sending an email to the address here.

Once the form is submitted, a home visit will be scheduled so the team can check the house and garden to make sure it is safe.

The final step is then to come to the centre to go through paperwork and training regimes with the dogs. It is beneficial to spend a few days with the dogs so you can get used to each other.

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