From Quora: How can we take care of a dog for a year not at our house? We have 3 dogs, but due to budget circumstances etc. we have to move into a house for 1 year that only takes 1 dog… We are not willing to give up 2 of the dogs, but also cannot afford kennel fees for 1 year. We need to be able to keep the dogs for a year, but we can’t do it at our house, and we don’t have barely any budget for dog accommodation. Any ideas would be much appreciated :)


First off: whoever you find to help you, make sure you put the arrangements in writing. Get everything agreed to in writing – duration, arrangements, agreement, the dogs will be returned to you. Things can happen, you want to make sure your dogs are safe, cared for, and will be returned to you after the year is over. Dogs are considered property in most areas, so make sure you cover yourself appropriately even with friends or family. Some people, with good intentions, will feel they should care for the dogs instead on a permanent basis. Or they may decide they want to hand off the care to someone else you do not know or necessarily approve of. I reckon you don’t want this to end up happening.

Regarding who: +1 with the “friends/family” (answer on Quora)- this is the place to start, and is the best option as you will (hopefully!) be able to trust your dogs with people you know personally. It will be difficult to find foster families who typically help shelters and rescues, as many of those individuals will feel it is the owners responsibility to sort this out. And… they’re right, even though this is an unfortunate situation outside of your control. Your companions would be taking the spots of shelter dogs who would be losing their lives, for an entire year (not just two animals – however many they “move” during that time). Most fosters will not want to fill these spots with a stranger’s “owned” dogs, unless they are open to boarding dogs “on the side” as a business.

It’s just what the cause they are involved in (rescuing shelter dogs who are on a list to die), it doesn’t mean there aren’t fosters or organizations out there that will help you out :) It’s just where you need to look. I personally wouldn’t look to a shelter/rescues fosters, but you could contact a shelter to see if they know of an organization supporting your individual case (being forced out of your home). A good shelter will know of any resources in your area, who are supporting the reason you are being forced to move. Why? A good shelter will want to make sure you don’t take your dogs to a shelter. There are all kinds of organizations out there to help people with dogs in situations outside of their control. Here’s a great place to start looking for an organization: Helping Owners Keep Their Dogs

Your other option is to find long-term accommodations that you pay for, but at a much lower rate than standard kennel fees due to the duration and facility. I would start at sites like DogVacay and similar, because you will be contacting people opening their homes who are not standard “businesses” and you may be able to negotiate a lot more than you could with a typical dog boarding business. You might be able to negotiate a longer payment plan. Or, you may even be able to combine a small payment and trade something you have that is of value to the host (your own service, something tangible, whatever). Just make sure to check out the host and accommodations *very* carefully if you go this route. I also believe that the sites listing the services may have some say in how payment works, so you might need to do some research in that department as well. Draft up that contract, get everything in writing.

About Author

Jen deHaan is graphic designer, small business owner, and dog person living in Bay Area, California. Jen enjoys learning about dog training and behavior, and has taken several courses and seminars since 2010. She also contributes articles to leading websites, such as Victoria Stilwell's Positively . It all started with a great dog called Mikey (aka "dude"), loved and lost but remembered forever. Jen also runs a freelance business focusing on graphic, web, and UI design at FoundPixel, and a small business creating hand crafted dog products at Stylish Canine.