Fostering animals is, simply put, saving lives. When you become a foster parent, you volunteer to keep a homeless pet in your home temporarily until they go to a forever home or can be taken into an animal shelter. Fostering is best done through a local animal shelter or rescue group. Many shelters rely on foster homes to keep pets until they have room, and some rescue groups are run entirely through foster care.
While most people choose to foster dogs or cats, there are also rescues for hamsters, rabbits, horses, and other animals. Many people come up with excuses not to foster. They think they’re too busy, or they don’t want to get attached to an animal they’ll have to give up in a month or so. I believe that with a little preparation and they by working with the right organization, most people would make great foster parents. Here are eight reasons why you should consider becoming a foster parent.
1. Fostering increases an animal’s chance of getting adopted. Foster families are usually the first to find out about the pet’s personality. You may even be the first to teach your foster pet basic house manners, making them more appealing to potential adopters.
2. Your own pets will learn more social skills. The more animals your pets come in contact with, the better they are at dealing with stress and getting used to strangers. Your pet might even find a playmate in your foster pet.
3. You get to see if you’re ready to own another pet. Maybe you want to foster a certain dog breed to see if you’re ready to adopt one, or you want to see if adding a cat into your all-dog household will upset the balance. Or maybe you want a new pet now but aren’t sure where you’ll be in the next 5, 10, 15, or 20 years. Though fostering is not a trial adoption period for that pet, it can help you try out changes to your current “fur family.”
4. Fostering is temporary. Cats require minimal space and are very low-maintenance, so they don’t take a lot of time to look after. If you’ve already got a dog, it’s not a big change to add one more pup to your daily walks and potty break schedule. Knowing the foster animal will only be with you for a short time makes it easier to find the time to take care of them, and it also makes it easier to give them up when it’s time.
5. You probably already have the space for one more. A spare bedroom, office, or screen porch is the perfect place for a foster pet. Even a bathroom is enough room for a kitten or puppy, and it’s much larger than a cage in a shelter. Sometimes a spare room is the only thing standing between an animal and euthanasia in an animal control facility.
6. You can choose how to foster. Only want to foster bulldogs? Prefer to look after kittens? Can’t foster for more than a few months at a time? Most rescues can accommodate your requests, as long as you agree to it beforehand and give them plenty of notice about changes.
7. Fostering keeps animals out of shelters. As wonderful as animal shelters are, they can be stressful from the lack of quiet, training, and exercise. And there’s nothing like the love and warmth of a family! Animals in foster care tend to be less stressed, better socialized, and have a lower chance of getting sick than animals in shelters.
8. You are saving a life. You feel good, your shelter or rescue group helps more animals, and your foster pet is happy, healthy, and well-socialized. Talk about win-win-win!