Am I Ready for Pet Fostering?
When shelters are over capacity, they often look for temporary families to help care for pets. Below, you’ll find answers to common questions about pet fostering. With so many wonderful animals in need of a loving home we’re so glad you’ve taken an interest in finding out more about this truly admirable deed.
What is fostering?
When you foster a pet, you provide a short-term home for an animal that needs love and care until they’re adopted. Under your care, you’re enabling the pet to blossom so that prospective families will see his true personality. Plus, you’re removing many of the stresses that cause animals to “show” poorly in a shelter environment, such as constant barking, continuous introductions to strange people, and not being walked or played with on a regular basis. Best of all, by opening your heart and home, you are actually saving the lives of two animals: the one you are fostering and the one you’ve made room for at the shelter.
Why is fostering necessary?
Simply put, many shelters have too many animals. In many cities, pets that find themselves in shelters only have days to find a new home. Fostering saves the lives of these pets, giving them the time they need to get adopted.
Additionally, government animal care organizations, SPCAs, humane societies and foster-based rescues also need foster homes for animals that are not ready for adoption for any of the following reasons:
- They may need a temporary foster home until they are big enough or old enough to be adopted or undergo spaying or neutering.
- They may have problems with an illness or injury, which means that they need closely supervised time to recover in a loving environment.
- They are not able to become accustomed to staying in a shelter.
- They need the opportunity to experience in-home socialization and one-on-one behavior modification.
- Newborns might need to be bottle-fed on a regular schedule.
How do I benefit from fostering?
Here are just a few of the many benefits:
- You get the satisfaction of knowing that you were personally responsible for helping save an animal’s life.
- You make new friends. Fostering is a great way to meet people who care about animals.
- You learn about different breeds. Working with various breeds can help you make a more informed decision when and if you consider adopting in the future.
- You experience the joy of knowing you’ve saved the lives of multiple animals: the one(s) you’re fostering and the one(s) you’ve helped make room for at the shelter.
- Your fostering efforts are tax-deductible! Ask your tax professional for advice.
- You can engage children in a family project that not only teaches responsibility, but is also fun and rewarding at the same time.
How long will for the foster animal live with me?
The answer to this question can depend on the situation and the animal. For puppies and kittens, you may be asked to help get them to an adoptable age, which can be up to 12 to 16 weeks old. Adult cats and dogs that are recovering from an illness or injury may need additional rehabilitation time before they can attend an adoption event. In other cases, your foster’s stay could be short if you regularly attend weekend adoption events and actively participate in sharing the pet’s picture and details on social media and on flyers posted on community billboards.
Are there any requirements to become a foster pet parent?
There are some basic requirements:
- Time. Many shelters ask that you attend some adoption events with your foster pet or post them on social media, or post flyers to community bulletin boards.
- Dedicated space. You will need to provide enough space in your home for the foster animal to be comfortable and safe. Space in shelters is limited, so your home will provide a much calmer, welcoming arrangement.
- TLC. Some of the animals may be in need of some extra TLC, and all of them just need basic care and your compassion.
- Paperwork. You will need to comply with age requirements and show proof of vaccinations for pets currently in your home.
- Toys, bedding and food. While some shelters will provide supplies, such as prescription medicines, along with toys and food, others cannot. Be sure to talk with the shelter to determine what they can provide for the pet.
What supplies do I need?
You will need to provide healthy food, treats, toys and possibly a crate for your foster pet. We recommend natural nutrition for optimum health benefits. Your veterinarian or Petco store partners can help you choose the best products for the complete care of your foster pet.
Can I foster if I already have a pet?
Depending on the animal rescue and the pet, you might need to initially keep your own animals separate from your foster animals. This will prevent any possible spread of illness and gives your new foster animal time to settle in. You are encouraged to eventually allow the animals to interact while under supervision.
Is it possible to adopt the animal I foster?
It’s understandable that a foster pet might steal your heart. If you’re interested in adopting your foster pet, make sure to tell your foster coordinator as soon as possible.
How do I get started?
Once you have decided that you would like to be a foster parent, get in touch with a local animal rescue. Depending on the organization, you might need to fulfill certain requirements. Foster organizations can help you find an animal that is the best fit for you.