As I write this blog post, a 10-week-old pittie puppy is curled up on my feet, snoring. I look down and smile, momentarily distracted by her adorable wrinkles, enormous feet that are far too big for her body, and the random white patches on her toes and forehead. I laugh at the way her forehead wrinkles, giving her a permanent expression of concern even as she sleeps peacefully. I resist the urge to put aside my work to take a quick snuggle break and pull myself out of the intoxicating cute puppy vortex.
This sweet puppy is only a visitor, which is why I want to soak up all our moments together. Soon, I will pack up her belongings and take her to meet a kind family who will more than likely fall in love with her as I have. I will tell them everything I’ve come to learn about this sweet pooch in the short time we’ve shared together and will make sure to give them her favorite stuffed toy that she sleeps with every night. Then, I will bend down to kiss my sweet girl’s forehead for the last time as I tell her I love her and that she is going to have the life she deserves with her new family. I’ll watch her family pick her up, get in their car, and drive off to start their new life together. A few tears will roll down my cheek, but they will be happy tears. Another pet saved, but so many more are in need.
Fostering a pet is an extremely rewarding experience, and I’m sharing my story to encourage you to explore becoming a pet foster. Whether you would like to foster a pet yourself or have clients who may be interested, we need to spread the word about this life-saving opportunity for animals who need homes. After learning about the process and being connected with an animal rescue, many people who have never considered the role have become extraordinary, lifelong fosters. I hope these five good reasons for fostering a pet will inspire and encourage you to make everyone aware of this life-saving opportunity, and perhaps become a foster yourself.
#1: Save two lives by creating more space
When you take a shelter animal into your home, you create space for another pet in need of refuge. Every pet in a shelter requires the facility’s time and resources. When you foster, you help the animal shelter stretch those resources further.
#2: Shelter pets thrive in a home environment
An animal can feel frightened and stressed in the shelter environment. They aren’t able to let down their guard and show their true personality. However, a foster home provides a calm, predictable environment where a pet can relax and let their personality shine, which provides potential adopters a better sense of an animal’s needs, setting up a pet with a good match for a successful adoption.
#3: Test the waters before adopting a pet
Adopting a pet is a big decision and a lifelong commitment. If you’re interested in adopting a pet, but want to make sure you are ready, fostering allows you to test the waters and gain experience caring for a pet before you commit.
#4: Enjoy a pet without a long-term commitment
If you aren’t in a position to adopt a pet but still want to spend time with an animal, fostering allows you to experience the fun and enjoy a pet’s companionship without making a long-term commitment. Most shelters and animal rescue organizations can accommodate a foster who has limited availability, which may include taking care of a pet short-term, such as for a few months or just for the weekend.
#5: Pet fostering is easier than you think
While fostering requires patience and commitment, accepting this role is usually easier than most people think. Some people mistakenly assume that every shelter pet has behavioral or medical problems. However, this belief couldn’t be further from the truth. Pets end up in shelters for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with them, such as an owner’s disability or death. Don’t worry that you won’t be able to handle fostering a pet, because shelters and animal rescue groups are experienced in finding good matches between pets in need and potential fosters, especially when you clearly express your expectations about the type of pet that would do best in your home.
Every pet I have fostered has taught me something valuable, and while the role is not always easy, I am continually inspired and grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a pet.
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