We foster for the Humane Society and will start fostering for the DFW German Shepherd Rescue once I have Kaiser well situated (we're getting there faster than expected).
The reason we started fostering is b/c I really wanted a German Shepherd. We had the brilliant idea that we would put it off by fostering. Worked for 3 months and then Kaiser showed up the DFW GSD Rescue and was exactly what I wanted in a GSD.
Prior to that I was struggling with going to a breeder. There are a lot of good ethical breeders out there who work really hard at making sure they are not contributing to the overpopulation problem the rescues have to deal with. The advantage these people offer is that you can select what you want from the very beginning. You get to meet mom and dad, get to see what they are like. Good breeders will help educate you and show you want to expect. When the litter arrives you get to pick the puppy you want and at 8 weeks you get to take it home. From then on you are on the front line of dealing with everything. The breeder becomes tech support and if they are good a cheerleading section. But you have to do the work.
On the other hand, my case for instance. I didn't really get to experience all that stuff. I also got to skip the house breaking and initial crate training and other beginner obedience stuff. Because Kaiser's first owner had huge allergy problems he had to give Kaiser up and I was positioned to swoop in and hit the jackpot.
The challenge with rescues is that it might take a while to find exactly what you want. It can also be really emotional when you see how many great dogs are out there but who are not exactly what you are after. It becomes really tempting to compromise. Truth is: even a compromise can turn out to be jackpot if given a wags worth of a chance.
At the end of the day, I would recommend looking around and doing a lot of research. It's fun and give you a chance to reflect on what it is you really want. Think bigger than just the cute puppy dog eyes. How do you want this dog to affect your life? Use that information to inform your search. You might be like me and hit the jackpot with a rescue. Or you might find an insanely great breeder who you hit it off with and have the opportunity to raise the perfect puppy from the start.
Good luck. can't wait to see what happens.
Kaiser Von Crybaby Met Tsunami (GSD)
Hawk Nom Nom Nom (Boxer)
Sparkles That Is Your Majesty To You (Boxer)