Fostering a dog is a great way to help out your local animal shelter and pets in need. If you don’t have the time to adopt a pet, or need space to heal after the passing of a favorite pet, fostering can fill that much-needed animal connection. Yet it’s not all snuggles and long walks. When you foster, you take on the responsibilities of caring for a pet and addressing any underlying issues that affect that dog’s chances for adoption. Here’s what you need to consider before you sign up to be a foster pet parent.
- Will your existing pets and family members welcome the new addition?
If your dog dislikes high-energy dogs, fostering a pup might place more stress on your own pet. That’s not fair. If you have babies or toddlers at home, introducing a poorly socialized pet can cause trouble. In a worst case scenario, that dog could snap at a curious toddler who pulled his ears.
From including her on leash walks to spending time playing with her or teaching her basic obedience skills, fostering is a lot of work for you and your family. Only agree to foster when it’s in the best interests of your whole family, human and animal.
- Do you have the time and money to care for this dog?
Many of the pets who need fostering have been abandoned by their owners or may have never had a home. They might not be housebroken or socialized. Some may have been abused and still carry trauma from that experience. Others may need surgery before they can be adopted. Even puppies and kitties need special care and training.
Before you agree to foster a pet, make sure you have the time to work with your foster pet on any underlying issues so she can become adoptable and the money to spend on her care and enrichment. The shelter will often pay for medical care, but may not pay for needed supplies like puppy wee pads or special food if you have a picky eater. If you do not have the time and money for fostering an animal, there are other ways to support pets in need.
- Are you prepared for the realities of fostering?
In a best case scenario, your fostered pet will find a good home quickly, but this doesn’t always happen. Some pets stay with their foster parents for months. You could become attached while fostering. No matter how long the pet stays with you, you will have to say goodbye when she’s adopted. Can you give up your foster pet when it’s time?
Spend time thinking through these considerations. After reading this, if you feel ready to become a foster parent, go ahead with confidence. There are many rewards that come with fostering a pet, from knowing you made a difference to that animal to creating an empty kennel at your local shelter so another pet can find a forever home.