Did you know that with many rescues and shelters you can check a pet out for a day, night, or even a weekend? If you’ve ever thought about fostering but recognize that you can’t make the commitment, yet you’d still like to give an animal a break, this could be the answer. So, consider being a temporary foster. Animal shelters are overfilled and frequently don’t have enough staff or volunteers to take dogs out for walks and other activities that are good for the animals. They count on community members to come in and check the animals out for a short period of time. This could be just a drive around town, a trip to the park, or a stop at a Starbucks or other establishment for some doggy ice cream or a Puppachino, Starbucks’ signature doggy treat. Any day outside of a shelter, no matter how nice the facility, is a huge treat for dogs.
Cortisol and Stress in Dogs
Animals in shelters are under a lot of stress. Because of this, many struggle to survive during the wait for a forever home, much less thrive. The noise, the strangeness of the situation, and the anxiety that fills the air can be debilitating for the poor animals. Recent studies have shown their cortisol levels also rise significantly in these situations. Cortisol is a stress hormone that both humans and animals manufacture under certain conditions. It’s sometimes called nature’s built-in alarm system. It works with certain parts of your brain to control mood, motivation, and fear. With dogs, as with people, it can lead to hair thinning and other unpleasant side effects. With dogs that physically and emotionally shut down in noisy shelters, staff work extra hard to find them foster homes to await long-term homes.
Be a Temporary Foster
Shelters and rescues are ecstatic when someone can lighten their load and help make an animal’s life better, even for a few hours or a day. Contact your local shelter or neighborhood rescue and ask what their policies are regarding temporary fosters. You will likely have to fill out a brief application to get approved, but it’s totally worth the small amount of time and effort involved. Once you’re given the green light, you can come in and take a pup out on an excursion or spend the night. This is a terrific opportunity for people experiencing loneliness, families that are considering getting a pet, or anyone who would like to do more in the animal welfare arena but doesn’t have the time to do more. Who Knows. You may end up being a foster fail, as they’re known, and keeping ol’ Rex.
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