Have you ever considered fostering a homeless animal? Did you even know there was such an opportunity? All across the country, many shelters and animal rescues are at maximum capacity. That means rescues have to turn animals away due to lack of space. It also means shelters have to euthanize many animals in order to make room for more. It’s a never-ending cycle, but with the help of foster families, more lives can be saved and more homes can be found.
For a homeless animal, being able to live in a foster home is extremely beneficial. It’s certainly less stressful than staying in a shelter. As a foster parent, it gives you the ability to get to know the animal and note any behavior issues or quirks. When an interested party needs more information about the pet, you will be able to provide it. How does the animal walk on the leash? Is he aggressive? Is he good with kids and other pets? Is he housebroken? These are things that the foster family will know about the pet and be able to pass on to potential adopters. Having fosters increases the number of successful adoptions and decreases the number of returns due to lack of initial information.
Often times, making the decision to become a foster is really just a small commitment of time and space. Most shelters and rescues will provide veterinary care, at the very least. Many rescues will also provide food for the pet and any necessary supplies such as food dishes, crates and leashes. Fosters have the option to open up their homes as little or as much as they wish. Whether you foster one animal per year or three at a time on a continual basis, the help you offer is always appreciated.
So how do you get started? Animals in need of temporary homes are all around you. Whether you are open to fostering only a certain breed, type or size of animal, there is certain to be a match. Some options are to locate your county animal shelter or a local rescue. Petfinder is a great resource for searching in your specific area by zip code. Many shelters and rescues are listed and the requests for fosters are often on the individual websites.
The reasons people give for becoming a foster vary, but the foundation is always due to a sense of caring for the welfare of the animals. There is no doubt that the connection is direct. Offering an animal a foster home saves lives. Not surprisingly, many fosters become what is known as a “foster failure”, that is, they end up adopting the animal they have fostered. That leads to the question many people have: How are you able to say goodbye to your foster pet when he leaves for his new home? It’s not always easy, and attachments are certainly formed, but knowing that you’ve helped that pet find its forever home is rewarding for all parties involved.