Many of the larger breeds out there actually have very low energy levels and do wonderfully in apartments. Even higher-energy breeds can be just fine in an apartment if their humans are committed to meeting their energy needs outside of the apartment, (dog sports, long walks, doggy daycare, dog parks, or whatever). Heck, there are people out there with huge yards and houses that don’t bother to care for their dogs, or just toss them outside in the backyard and expect them to exercise themselves. So why should an apartment life exclude the OP (or anyone else) from fostering a dog? If only those in perfect situations could own/foster dogs, almost NOBODY would be able to.
Let’s consider the life of a shelter dog. Most are kept in kennels all day and all night. Some shelters have facilities to allow the dogs outside for play time, exercise, and stimulation, but many don’t even have that much. Dogs are often lucky if they can get out once or twice a day to go potty. Which means most of them are forced to urinate and defecate in their small kennel. Potty trained dogs often suffer from UTIs because they KNOW they aren’t supposed to go in their kennel and they hold it for as long as they physically can do so. And the fact that they know what they are doing is “wrong” this can really stress a dog out.
In most shelters, dogs are scared, confused, and stressed. If they themselves aren’t, they are surrounded by dogs who are. Shelter environments aren’t usually very quiet because there is usually at least one dog barking. Social dogs, especially, have a hard time in shelters, and are at risk for going “kennel crazy” more quickly. Most shelters just don’t have the resources to provide dogs with the daily one-on-one attention they need. And unfortunately, many just don’t have the resources to be no-kill….so animals have a limited amount of time to get out the front door (rescue/adoption) or they go out the back door, (euthanasia).
Many shelters have been doing a lot of work to improve the lives of the animals kept there. But still, it’s not like having a home, and it’s stressful and scary. Do you think ANY dog, if given the choice, would choose shelter life over apartment life? It might not be the perfect, ideal situation, but it’s a damn sight better than living in a shelter!
This is an actual photo of a dog in a shelter that a group I’ve fostered for has stepped up to pull. Does this dog look happy to you? Of course not. But if there are no foster homes, rescues aren’t able to save dogs.
OP, if you sign up to foster with a rescue group, they will most likely work with you to find a dog that will fit with your apartment lifestyle. Some dogs won’t be good candidates because they will be barkers or have issues that require someone to be home all the time. However, I am certain that somewhere out there is a dog (or twenty) that would be perfectly fine in an apartment.