With thousands of homeless pets across the United States, pet foster care is becoming increasingly popular. Pet foster care gives temporary homes to animals that are awaiting adoption. A foster care situation can be for either a predetermined amount of time, or can last until a pet finds a permanent home. While dogs and cats are the most popular animals in foster homes, there are situations in which other animals, including birds, rabbits, and farm animals, are placed in foster care.
With information from the Best Friends Animal Society, who states that “For over 30 years, [we] have been running the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals and building effective programs that reduce the number of animals entering shelters,” let’s explore pet foster care and provide answers to some common questions about fostering animals.
Why do animals need foster care?
There are many different reasons that pets require foster care. Some of the most common include space shortage at a local shelter, an inability for the animal to adapt to the shelter environment, recovery from surgery or other medical issues, an animal that is too young for a shelter environment and requires extra attention, or extra socialization needs for an animal that has not had a lot of human contact. According to Best Friends Animal Society, “Whatever the reason, these animals need some extra love and care before they can be adopted.”
Why should I foster a pet?
There are many reasons to foster a pet. Not only can you feel good about giving a pet a good home until they find a long-term owner, you can also help the animal prepare for his permanent home through care and socialization. Foster pet arrangements also free up shelter space and give shelter and rescue workers a chance to learn more about a pet to help them find a pet the best home possible.
How do I know if I would be a good pet foster parent?
Best Friends Animal Society says that ‘If you want to do something to help the animals, fostering can be a flexible, fun, and rewarding volunteer job.” It is particularly good for individuals who want to enjoy a pet, but don’t have the ability to make the long-term commitment required for pet ownership. Pet foster care can also give you the chance to find out if you’re ready for a long-term pet if you’re unsure. The most important thing in pet foster care is providing a loving home to an animal. “Taking animals into your home, loving them, and letting them go requires a special kind of person. Your role as a foster parent is to prepare animals for adoption into a loving home.”
Are there any special skills needed to foster a pet?
The best pet foster parents have some knowledge about the type of animal they are looking to foster and understand the different behavior and health needs of pets. If you are interested in fostering a pet, but don’t have experience, there are many groups that will provide you with training.
Are there any additional requirements for fostering?
All organizations have their own policies and requirements for pet foster parents that depend on the type of animal being fostered and the special needs of the individual pet being fostered.
Do I need to provide the food and medical care for my foster pet?
Many organizations provide food, medications, and medical expense coverage for the fostered pet. You can ask your foster program what their policy is regarding these costs.
I already own pets. Can I still provide a foster home to other animals?
You have to consider what’s best for your pet before deciding to open your home to a foster animal. Some pets do great with outside animals, while others are not so open. Many times, foster animals will need to be isolated from other pets either temporarily or for the entire duration of the foster situation. Your foster program can help you determine what’s best for every animal in the situation. If you do decide to bring a foster animal into your home, you’ll need to ensure that your pets are up-to-date on vaccinations.
Do I have to find a home for my foster animal?
Usually not. “Most groups will take full responsibility for finding a new home, though you can help by telling friends, family, and co-workers about your foster pet.”
Isn’t it hard to say goodbye to a fostered pet?
Of course it can be difficult when an animal you’ve loved and cared for moves into their new home. But it can also be rewarding knowing that you’ve helped your foster pet find a loving, long-term family. Often, foster families will receive pictures and updates that show their friend enjoying his new home. Sometimes, a foster pet becomes a permanent family member in your home. Either way, it can feel really good to bring love and joy into an animal’s life and impact them for the better.
Do foster animals suffer from abandonment issues as a result of foster care?
“Not at all,” according to Best Friends Animal Society. “Being a foster home can be a lifesaving bridge for a stray or frightened pet. It gives the animal a chance to get used to life in a house, and an opportunity to learn that people can be kind, food is available, and there is a warm, secure place to sleep. Foster care can help prepare a dog or cat for a new life in a permanent home. There’s no shortage of animals who need this preparation time before finding their own people.”
How do I get started with pet foster care?
The best first step is to contact a local animal shelter or rescue group. You may have to go through some training and paperwork, but you can usually begin fostering an animal in a short amount of time.
To learn more about pet foster care or the Best Friends Animal Society, visit bestfriends.org.