If you want to allow a furry friend into your life but cannot commit to adoption, you may want to consider fostering. There are thousands of animals across the country stuck in shelters that would love a chance to spend time with you until their forever home becomes available. However, it’s important to remember that fostering is really for the good of the animals, not you personally, so there are several key points to know and remember before becoming an animal foster parent.
Fostered animals have much better long-term placement results than those adopted from shelters because of the additional human interaction and love that foster carers provide. However, this means that animals who come fresh from the shelter to your home may be difficult and have behavioral or emotional issues that you need to address. Before you foster, ask yourself if you are ready for potential difficulties, which can include soiling, aggression and noise. Support with any of these issues is available from the placement organization, and there are many online resources that can help. However, you are the one on the front line making a difference, and you need to be prepared.
It’s also important to realize that, just like fostering a child, you are responsible for the animal all day, every day. This does not mean you have to be present the whole time, but it does mean that you have to carefully consider safety, environment and the animal’s physical and emotional needs when you are not around. Avoid leaving fostered animals alone for longer than necessary to help them acclimatize to household life. Many animals will have to get used to their humans’ work schedules though, so you should not feel bad about leaving them in a safe environment with the necessary food, water and entertainment for periods when you have to be away.
Fostering animals rather than adopting them is a choice often made by those on low incomes, as the fostered animal is supported by the organization that places it in terms of vet bills and other medical essentials. Some foster placements are even considered to be permanent fosters because the animal would be unlikely to ever be adopted, and the additional support provided to the foster parents allows the animal to have a better life. However, everyday costs such as food, equipment and toys will still fall to you, so be sure you are ready for the hit to your finances.
On the other hand, some foster placements are very short, and this can be difficult if you fall in love with the animal. Ask yourself if you are willing to do what is best for your furry foster no matter what, as this may mean you have to put her needs above your own and let her go to her forever home.
The process of adoption also means that potential adopters visit the foster in your home to check compatibility. You need to be sure that you are ready for strangers to visit, possibly on short notice, and for them to try to bond with the animal. If you have issues with this, talk to the placement agency, as it may be able to arrange visits elsewhere.
Fostering an animal is a wonderful way to have a positive impact. However, it is important to be aware of the demands it makes on you and of the resources available to help you meet those demands before you begin. Check out The Animal Rescue Site for more ways to make an immediate difference to the lives of homeless pets.
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