There are many reasons why people choose to become a foster parent to a dog or cat, but many reasons revolve around the love for animals and wanting to give back to the community. Whatever your reason, fostering is a great way to provide relief to animal shelters, care for dogs and cats, and learn more about animals.
Shelters for dogs and cats are often overcrowded and overtaxed, and resources aren’t always readily available. As a foster parent, you’ll provide relief for shelters, while accommodating for the animal’s basic needs, including food and exercise.
How long does fostering take?
The time length for fostering is variable. Fostering can take as little as one day, or up to a few months. Your local shelter may have specific requirements or requests for a foster parent, so be sure to check with them. In addition, the animal may have specific needs. For example, kittens and puppies need to reach a certain age and weight before they are ready to be adopted out, while an older pet may need care for longer. Just know that whatever the time length, you’ll be providing an invaluable service.
What types of pets need to be fostered?
From puppies and kittens, to older dogs and cats, there are all sorts of pets that need to be fostered. Depending on the age of the animal, care will be different. Puppies and kittens need to be taught all the basics, and you may need to help them get their vaccines and get healthy and strong enough for adoption. Other pets may need to be nursed back to health and will need you to administer medication. Older animals can still benefit from gentle care, instruction, and socialization as they prepare for adoption.
What’s the goal?
The goal of fostering is to help homeless dogs and cats get adopted to a loving family. You’ll be helping to provide invaluable training for the animal by teaching them how to live peacefully and pleasantly in a home with people (and possibly other pets). Be sure to monitor behavior patterns and document anything you notice about what the animal prefers or what might trigger behavioral issues. This will be great information for potential adopters.
What do you need to successfully foster?
Shelters usually send all the basics home with a foster parent, including food, medications, bedding, litter boxes, etc. You may also want to set up a specific area just for your foster, especially if you are fostering puppies or kittens. Baby gates and crates are great ways to create areas for your foster pet.
When is it time to say goodbye?
Fostering may end either with adoption or with your foster going back to shelter. Likely, you’ll have grown attached to your foster pet – but know that you have done an important service for both the animal and the family. What if you want to adopt your foster? Discuss the terms with the shelter to see if that is an option.
To get started with your fostering journey, contact your local shelter. Thank you for considering this option to help pets thrive – we at Primal are grateful for your service.