Animal shelters constantly deal with being full and overextended. Many shelters offer fostering opportunities to allow animals to live in a home as opposed to the shelter and to give the shelter more room to care for more animals. If you’ve ever considered becoming a foster pet parent, here are some things to know before jumping in and becoming one.
Being a foster parent to pets takes a significant time commitment, anywhere from two weeks to two months depending on circumstances. Just as with any pet, you don’t have to be home all the time, but you should consider your schedule and if you are home enough to properly care for a pet. Also, if you have a trip planned, know that you will have to consider accommodations for them whether that means bringing them with or leaving them at a kennel.
Shelters need foster parents for a variety of animals, including puppies, kittens, animals needing medical care, or those with behavioral issues. While you can choose (to an extent) what kind of animal you want to foster, there’s some training required by most shelters and rescues in order to ensure all of them are cared for. Fostering, though, is needed in all of the categories, so a shelter may ask if you can open up your options.
As with any pet, there are requirements beyond feeding and making sure they get exercise. Many need grooming, basic training, and help with temperament. Some pets need to be housetrained, while others need someone to work to break bad habits like chewing the wrong things, jumping on strangers or other issues. For pets with medical issues, you may need to bathe them more often, keep them quarantined, and give them medications on a regular schedule. Time isn’t the only requirement in dealing with these issues, they also require adjustments for you such as not leaving shoes, clothes, or important items laying around for pets with a chewing issue or altering your schedule to let the pet out, give them exercise, or give them medication.
Finally, if you are someone who quickly becomes attached to pets, remember that adopting them could mean you no longer can foster other pets. Adopting a pet is a wonderful thing, but it is something to keep in mind when committing to be a foster pet parent.
For more information about fostering a pet or seeing whether you have the opportunity, contact a local shelter or rescue, such as the following:
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