While many people think that bringing home a dog or cat from an animal shelter or rescue organization means a lifelong commitment, it doesn’t have to be. There is great need for foster parents, which is a commitment that can last as little as a few days. If you love pets, you’re likely to find that providing a foster home for a dog or cat can be as fulfilling for you as it is for the pet you’re rescuing and preparing for a happier life.
Many people open their homes to a foster animal after their own beloved pet has died, finding that the process of providing love and shelter to an animal in need also helps with their own healing. It’s encouraging and rejuvenating to see a pet that might have been in bad shape in a shelter begin to thrive under the love and care you can provide. And if you have children, they get to see what it means to help a creature in need.
If you’re thinking about fostering a dog or cat, [ask the animal shelter or rescue organization] a few questions to get started. You want to know how the pet came to be at the shelter, how long it’s been there, and whether it has any special medical needs or behavioral issues. If you head to work each day, it’s also key to know how the pet behaves when left on its own. Does it have anxiety issues? Is it young and easily bored if left alone for long periods?
Make sure you know as well who is going to pay for any medical expenses, and what the process is if the fostering doesn’t work out or if you’re no longer able to care for the pet. Most responsible shelters will have support systems in place for their carefully-screened foster families, ensuring access to care and professional advice.
When you foster a pet, you save an animal from being euthanized. Many rescue organizations make it easy to get started fostering a pet. In most cases, the shelter provides all the medical care needed, and sometimes even food as well. And of course, there’s always the possibility of foster failure — which is poorly coined, since it means a happy ending for all parties. Who knows? When you foster an animal in need, you may end up finding the next beloved member of your own family
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