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Is Fostering a Pet for Me?

Is Fostering a Pet for Me?

By Dani Hemmat

There are so many reasons for fostering a pet. When you decide to become a pet foster parent, you are giving a scared, frazzled animal time away from the stress of the shelter. You are providing a safe home environment, and behavior guidance to help an older dog with less-than-desirable-behaviors get a second chance at a loving home. Fostering means that the shelter gets one more space to accept a new dog that might otherwise be euthanized.

When you spend time with your foster pet, you learn the special details about her personality—details that won’t show up on the description at the shelter—that may help place her with her perfect, forever home. You become a pet-person matchmaker!

Some animals are so timid and scared that the kennel environment stresses them out. A frightened, stressed pooch or kitty is less likely to be considered for adoption, but that same pet can come out of its shell in the comfort of your home. Happy adopts easier than terrified.

To help you decide whether or not fostering is for you, here are some considerations:

  • The shelter or agency will typically take care of veterinary care and some even provide food or supplies, meaning you get to provide love, comfort, shelter and behavioral guidance.
  • The dog who needs you most may not be what you were expecting—be prepared for hard work, occasional household accidents and a dog who has perhaps had a hard, sad life. It takes work to help them learn that the world is good and they deserve love again. Know that your role in fostering is giving the animal a second chance at life.
  • Fostering is not necessarily a trial period for you and the dog. It can help you decide if you want a dog in your life, but the dog you’re fostering is being prepared for a new home. If it just so happens that you end up falling in love and you keep her, that’s wonderful for you both! But fostering isn’t about you “trying on” dogs, it’s about you helping man’s best friend find his forever home.
  • The dog you foster may have serious health problems that you have to tend. Those are always the animals that get euthanized first. If you’re willing to be Florence Nightingale, you are saving a life by your selfless act of being willing to help the animal in need.
  • If you are afraid of getting too attached to an animal, then perhaps fostering isn’t for you. You need to be able to give your love freely while you help that dog or cat, then be able to let them go to their forever home when the time comes.

When it comes down to it, fostering is a noble and true act of goodness. You are simply helping one who cannot help itself, and there is little that is more rewarding. And when you know the animal you helped is now sleeping protectively beside a child who will love that critter for the rest of its days, it will be then you know why you foster.