How to Say Goodbye to a Foster Dog

August 18th, 2017

I have a soft spot in my heart for folks who foster dogs. Fostering dogs saves lives, keeps dogs out of shelters, and provides you with the unique experience of owning a dog temporarily. There are lots of reasons to foster a dog. It comes without the lifetime hassle of vet bills, walks in the rain, scooping poop, or accidents on the carpet.

But saying goodbye to a foster dog can be really challenging. Here’s how the make the process a little easier.

Pick an Ugly Dog

Before you laugh, think about it. If you choose #thecutestdogever, you’re going to have the hardest goodbye ever. If you’re a minimal fan of Yorkies or chocolate labs, consider fostering one of those over your favorite retriever or chihuahua.




Find an Adoptive Family

If you help out with the adoption process, or if you know the family the dog is going to, you’ll have visitation rights. Or you’ll at least know where the dog is, you might get texted some photo updates. And if you know and trust the family, you’ll know your foster dog is going to good hands.


Stay In Touch

It’s totally reasonable — and totally normal — to ask for updates from the dog’s new family. Playdates, email or text photos, following the dog’s Instagram can be a good way for you to stay clued in to what your little lover is up to.





Throw a Party

Don’t think of this new home as a loss. Your dog has graduated! You could celebrate with just the foster dog by taking them on an epic hike in the hills, or have the new family come along. Make a doggy cake with sweet potato, chicken, fish, or get some yummy treats or a new toy. Taking some time to celebrate and acknowledge both the time you spent together and the milestone of your dog going to its forever home can help ease the transition.


Rinse, Repeat

Foster again! Now that you’re a pro, you can help out another dog by giving it a temporary amazing home. You can soothe over the loss of one dog with the wagging tail of another. Each time you foster, it becomes easier to say goodbye. And more fun to pick out a new foster dog you get to help out.

Have you ever fostered a dog before? Let us know what it was like for you!