Fostering Pets Is a Win for Everyone

Pet foster programs are on the rise, and why not?  Fostering pets is a win for everyone.  Here are some reasons why you should consider becoming a pet foster parent.

Experience all the love without long-term commitment

I have heard too often from people who have recently lost pets that they will not replace their beloved friend.  For some people, the grief associated with losing a companion of many years outweighs the joy they share with their pets while they are alive.  Fostering provides a great solution for these people, who otherwise would miss out on the benefits of pet parenting.  The foster relationship is meant to be temporary, and knowing that at the outset can help prevent grief when the foster pet is adopted to a forever home.  Plus, the anticipation of bringing in and getting to know a new foster pet can also help ease the pain.

Fostering is perfect for those who may not want to commit long-term to a pet due to life circumstances.  Those whose work requires extended business travel or frequent moves and those anticipating a major life change may find that fostering provides a way to enjoy a pet for the short term.   Fostering is a great solution for those who are older and fear making a long-term commitment to a pet for health or other reasons.

A word of caution: fostering is probably not the solution for those who are on the fence about pet ownership.  Pets that are fostered may have special needs for attention and training that only a truly dedicated foster parent can provide.  Fostering should not be viewed as a rent to own program.  It’s a serious, if short-term, commitment.

Increase adoptions

Pets that aren’t adopted quickly from the shelter may need a loving foster home to help them shine.  Whether there are behavior issues that must be addressed, or simply a need for affection and confidence, these pets may become more adoptable after they are fostered.  Foster parents have the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of these pets.

Free up space in shelters

Shelters struggle to find places for all the pets that need help. Fostering pets reduces stocking pressure and provides homeless pets with a safe and nurturing environment while they wait to be adopted.  In extreme cases, fostering a dog that otherwise may not find a place in a shelter can prevent euthanasia. Some rescue organizations work solely through fostering.  This practice eliminates land, building, and maintenance costs.  Donations may go farther when the costs of sheltering and feeding a pet are assumed by foster parents rather than a centralized shelter.

Build community

Most rescue organizations provide training and support for foster parents.  Foster parents often build rich and lasting friendships through local networks.  And foster parents build the community of pet owners by helping a loving family adopt a new pet.  Parents of a foster animal often keep in touch with the forever family and provide additional support.

Are you a foster parent?  Comment below and share your story!

photo credit: Yvonne Kubo

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