As you know, saving animals is very important to me. I love being an advocate for my beloved furry friends—it’s part of my mission here on this planet. So today I want to shine a light on a wonderful organization that’s doing so great work on behalf of dog fostering.
Perhaps some of you are considering fostering but don’t know how it works. Or maybe you just love staying informed about great organizations making a difference, either way, this blog is for you. Fostering is an important step in finding homeless animals the safe and cozy homes they deserve. By getting dogs out of the shelter and into a home, they’re far more likely to find their fur-ever pad.
That’s why we asked the spectacular Sarah Brasky, a pioneer in getting pups fostered, to show us the ropes and teach us about her organization, Foster Dogs NYC. She’s here to coach us on how we can help our animal friends—no matter where we live around the world.
Want to see Sarah in action? Watch this beautiful video highlighting her wonderful work…
Feeling inspired? Let’s dive in and learn from Sarah…
How was Foster Dogs NYC born?
Sarah: Nearly nine years ago, I was out of college and working in Manhattan. During my breaks, I would check pet adoption websites to see what sort of dogs were out there looking for homes. It was intense, and I knew I had to do something.
I learned about fostering from a program hosted by Animal Care Centers, the city shelter. It felt like a little secret that no one knew about: fostering a shelter dog! After bringing home my ACC Pittie Mocha, it became apparent that there needed to be a resource for foster parents to promote their dogs and for people to learn about fostering in the first place.
Mocha was with me for one month before being adopted by a lovely young woman who spotted her profile online. People began reaching out to me as a foster expert, and rescue groups utilized my website fosterdogsnyc.com as a reputable space to promote their dogs in need of foster care and currently in foster care.
Now, I have over 20 volunteer committee members, am running over 50 events per year, posting hundreds of dogs on our website and social media annually, and placing an average of one dog per day into a foster or adoptive home.
We work with dozens of rescue groups in the NYC area, as well as others around the country. Foster Dogs is a grassroots effort that grew out of a real need. Now that fostering has become so popular and publicized, I feel pride in knowing that we helped make that happen. Our work is never done, and that’s why education and support are so key, helping people save dogs in whatever way they can.
Right on, Sarah! So what’s the role of a foster parent––what’s their ‘job’?
Sarah: In many cases, Foster parents are the missing link in getting a dog out of a shelter and into an adoptive home. A kennel is no place for a dog to live long-term. By getting a dog into a home, the dog will adjust to home life and become more appealing to adopters!
Foster parents help with housetraining, providing a warm comfortable place to sleep, socializing dogs with people and possibly other animals, adjusting to their city’s sights and sounds, and can even get nice photos to promote on adoption websites!
The foster parent makes this all possible, and it’s a beautiful thing to feel like you’ve gotten this dog adopted. In turn, the foster dog gives you a feeling of accomplishment, pride, and joy — not to mention, forces you to walk a little more often and boost those endorphins!
Why do you think we are still seeing so many animals in need and what can we do to help?
Sarah: Our work is far from over, but animal rescue efforts are improving and increasing every year. Since the beginning of Foster Dogs NYC, it’s become a widely discussed and hugely popular commitment among New Yorkers who desperately desire to make a positive change in the world through the hands-on incredible experience of saving a dog.
Animal shelters around the country, and world, are overflowing with homeless animals, and some states do not practice spay and neutering like we do in New York. By not spaying or neutering your dog and letting him or her out to mingle among other animals, you are creating unwanted litters of puppies who may end up in a shelter, or euthanized.
Luckily there are many incredible animal rescuers out there working hard to save dogs, transport them to safe areas, change laws, and ensure the safety of each animal they meet. I’m constantly astounded with the rescue stories I hear, and the lifesaving efforts performed on a daily basis, sometimes by rescuers who are working on a solely volunteer basis.
What one thing would you to tell someone who’s thinking of fostering?
Sarah: Do it! Many people believe that they shouldn’t foster a dog because they work full time or because it will be sad to say goodbye. But it is all worth it and workable!
For people who work during the day, some dog walkers will offer a discount for fosters. Or your pup might not need to take a potty break outside mid-day if they use pee pads or are too young to go outside. And regarding the aspect of “Goodbye,” the first time is often the hardest. But you should remind yourself why you wanted to do this in the first place: to provide a safe space for homeless dogs who need our help. You can foster as many times as you want, and each foster dog will teach you something new about animal care – and about yourself!
Tell me more about your powerful Fospice program.
Sarah: Fospice is a unique program started by Foster Dogs NYC several years ago. We provide “lifetime” support for each dog, from the moment they leave the shelter until their last moment on Earth. It’s a beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking program for end-of-life hospice care for homeless dogs.
We sponsor 10-15 dogs every year from dozens of local rescue organizations. We provide a donation to support the dog’s initial vet exam, a BarkBox monthly subscription, an in-home professional photo shoot, a custom watercolor portrait, a fashionable dog leash, food and material support, and euthanasia support when the time comes.
How can people who aren’t able to adopt or foster still help?
Sarah: There are many ways to get involved with animal rescue, even if you can’t bring a dog into your home. One method is by volunteering at your local animal shelter, either in-person or remotely by helping them post their animals online and write bios. You can offer your skills, with photography, graphic design, copywriting, fundraising, and more.
Donations are always welcome, as we are a grassroots local NYC-area organization working to expand our reach all around the East Coast and across the country. Through the support of individual donors, Foster Dogs has been making a huge difference in promoting fostering and adoption since 2009, saving at least one dog per day!
Another excellent way to help animals which doesn’t cost you any time or extra money is by using Amazon Smile. We receive a small percentage of each purchase using our Smile link, and this is valid all-day-every-day. No expiration date, so please continue choosing Foster Dogs Incorporated when using Amazon Smile!
One easy (and free!) way to help is by tagging friends and sharing posts online. When you see photos of adoptable animals that your friends might be interested in, share, share, share! Social media has proven to be an incredible tool in getting homeless animals into loving homes.