Did you know that May is National Pet Foster Care Month? This month is dedicated to the wonderful people who open their homes and hearts to those in need. If you’ve ever considered becoming a foster parent, read on – we break down everything you need to know before you bring home a foster cat or dog!
Why is fostering a pet
Foster pet parents play a critical role in the adoption process.
Not only are they with these pets day in and day out, making sure that they’re
loved and cared for until they find their forever homes, they often play an
active role in matching their foster with a family. We could go on forever
about why fostering is important, but we’ll start with these four reasons.
- Fostering helps pet’s show off their best side: Unsurprisingly, many pets experience high levels of stress while in the shelter. This can result in some animals withdraw and become timid, while it can cause others to display hyperactive or even aggressive behavior. When you foster a pet, you give it a safe space where their true personality can begin to shine through.
- You’ll know what they need in a forever home: As your foster pet settles into life in your home, you’ll get to know them as an individual. You’ll learn their likes, dislikes, and any quirks that they may have. This is especially important when matching a pet with a forever family, as you know first hand what type of home would best meet their needs.
- You can teach them important skills: Whether you’re fostering a puppy, kitten, or pet that hasn’t spent much of their life indoors, fosters play an important role in teaching pets how to be comfortable in a home. Whether this is getting a head start on house training or simply getting them used to the sounds and smells of inside, you’re helping them have an easier transition to their forever home.
- You’re saving more than one life: When you take an animal out of a shelter, whether temporarily as a foster or forever as an adopter, you’re making space for another animal in need. This is especially important to keep in mind when it comes time to bring your foster to their forever home. As hard as it is to say goodbye, by doing so you’re able to help more pets.
How can I become a
foster pet parent?
If you’re ready to jump into the world of fostering, the first
thing you need to do is figure out which organization you would like to foster
through. In most cities, you will have a few different options, such as
municipal shelters, non-profit shelters, and non-profit rescue groups. Each
organization will have their own guidelines when it comes to fostering, so take
the time to read through them all to determine which will be the best fit.
Once you’ve found an organization you want to work with, you’ll
be asked to fill out an application where you share information about yourself,
your living situation, your experience with pets, whether there are any other
animals in the home, and the reason why you’re interested in fostering. This
will help the rescue get a better idea of what pet would be a good fit for you.
As part of your application process, a staff member or volunteer may come to do a home visit to get to know you a bit better and ensure that your house is pet-safe. After this, you’ll either be matched with the pet they think would suit you best or you can start to look through the profiles for different fosters looking for homes. Once you’re matched with your foster, you’ll set a time to pick up your new housemate and ask any outstanding questions you may have.
What are some tips for
first-time foster pet parents?
If you’ve never fostered a pet before, you might be a little bit
nervous before your new friend arrives and that’s okay! Taking on a pet,
whether for the short or long term is a big responsibility. To help you feel a
bit more prepared for your first foster, we’ve put together some tips you might
want to know.
- Have everything prepared before your foster arrives: Start by doing a walkthrough of your home and making sure that everything is 100% pet-safe. Next, check with the organization your foster is coming from to ensure that you have all the necessary supplies. While many provide the basics, you may want to pick up a few items, such as toys, as a welcome gift.
- Be prepared to be flexible: One of the aspects of fostering that some first-time foster parents struggle with is the fact that you don’t know how long a pet will be with you. Some pets may be with you as little as one day while others could be there for months – though the average tends to be a few weeks. You can rarely know exactly how long a pet will be in your care, so you need to be flexible when it comes to timelines.
- Saying goodbye is the goal: You’ll inevitably bond with your foster, especially if it’s your first, but try to remember that saying goodbye is the goal. When you say goodbye it means you’ve helped your foster find a family that will love them forever, and you are opening up space in your home to help another pet in need.
If you’re ever considered fostering a pet, there’s never been a
better time! We hope that we’ve given you a good overview of what you need to
know about becoming a foster parent, but if you still have questions don’t
hesitate to reach out to your local shelter or rescue. One of their team
members will be happy to answer any other questions you have about becoming a
foster pet parent.