Adoption of an animal is an incredible rewarding experience. Not only are you saving the animal from a shelter or perhaps bleak prospects, but you’re also contributing to enabling the shelters to take in more animals that have the same potential to find loving homes. Yet for some people, fostering someone’s future pet can be even more rewarding.
What is fostering?
Fostering is taking an animal into your home while they are still adoptable animals in a shelter or organization. There are many reasons that a dog or cat may need a foster home. It could be that the organization lacks a physical location and relies entirely on foste
r homes, or that the shelter is full and needs to find ways to take in more animals. In some cases a puppy or kitten may be too young to be cared for in a shelter, or an animal is recovering from a surgery or illness and needs a quiet place to recover.
Why choose to foster an animal?
There are many reasons why fostering has its advantages over adoption. Here are some key ones:
- The ability to help a greater number of animals. When you take a foster animal into your home, you’re only sheltering him or her until they find their permanent home. The length of time it takes for a dog or cat to be adopted depends on a wide variety of factors, but is more often than not less than a year. Some people find fostering even more rewarding than adoption because they can take in an provide a home for more than just one pet in a normal lifespan of an animal.
- To increase an animal’s chances of becoming adopted. More often than not, those who choose to foster animals are often experienced in owning a pet. Many people who come to shelters are first-time pet owners and are not as prepared or knowledgeable in adapting an animal into a suitable pet. If a foster home takes in a more challenging animal, socializes it, teaches it good behaviors and provides basic training, this increases an animal’s adaptability and can be a huge help in finding a forever home.
- Convenience. This may seem like a strange point to make about fostering, but it’s true that we as human beings experience varied times of availability and lack of extra time in the ups and downs of life. Fostering a dog or cat is a good solution for those with fluctuating periods of being busy as they can coordinate choosing to take in an animal with when they have more time available to devote to a pet. Also, fostering is not completely binding, so if life circumstances change, the organization you are offering your services to can make alternate arrangements for the animal. Additionally, many organizations cover all of the costs of owning a pet, such as food, toys and accessories.
How does one become a foster family?
Contact your local shelters. Chances are, the organizations in your area will have a foster program even if you haven’t heard of it before.
It’s also important to remember fostering isn’t for everyone.
It can be hard to s
ay goodbye, especially if you are someone who tends to fall in love with animals easily. It can end up being a slippery slope to be a person who continually takes on more and more animals because it is difficult to let them go, as there comes a point where all the divided attention between the animals makes it no longer the best home for an animal.
Also, remember that the purpose of fostering is for an animal to become adopted. Sometimes this agenda can interfere with your schedule, as the dog or cat may be required to attend adoption events.
Fostering and adoption are both big decisions and require some prior consideration and planning. Both have their advantages, and are incredibly rewarding. The purpose of this article was to introduce fostering which is not as commonly talked about and to present an alternative to making an impact in the lives of shelter animals. Ultimately, whatever decision you make that is right for you is also right for the animals you want to help.