I’d like to foster pets in my home. Any advice on what to expect and what I’m getting myself into?
Ready to Foster in Oak Forest
Dear Ready to Foster,
Bravo to you for your selfless gift! Anyone who has worked with rescues and shelters knows that the fosters are the behind-the-scenes support system and the real heroes. These kind folks perform the selfless act of taking in and loving a pet as their own for a short period of time, assessing the pet’s temperament and tolerance of children and other pets (which is invaluable information that helps get a pet adopted to the right family), in the comfort of their loving home–all before placing them in the hands of their new, adopted family. Is this something that you think you have the guts and the resources for?
Here are a few things to consider before jumping in head-first into the world of pet foster care.
Prepare your home
First up, you need to have adequate space in your home and (preferably) a spacious, comfortable place to separate a foster from your own pets–at least initially. Also, think about the time commitment. While you most certainly don’t have to quit your day job in order to foster a pet, it’s helpful not to have any big vacations looming or other commitments that would take you away from home for long periods of time for the time being. Additionally, if you don’t own your home, discuss your plans to foster with your landlord because he or she might not allow you to foster pets in the home.
Short-term or long-term fostering
When you sign on to become a foster, the shelter or rescue group will work with you to come to a mutually agreed upon time commitment to your fostering. There are short-term fosters (who often take in litters of puppies or kittens that need a place to nap and play until they’re at an adoptable age) and long-term fosters (typically pets that have been in a shelter for a long time and just need a break and a refresher course on good household manners). If the shelter is lucky enough to have supplies or monetary resources earmarked for their fosters, they’ll help in that way as well, but many shelters rely on their fosters to provide the basic needs of the pets they’re fostering. Medical care, however, is typically covered by the shelter or rescue group.
You will be a hero!
No matter what sort of pet you choose to foster, rest easy knowing that the mere act of removing an animal from a shelter–if even for a short period of time–momentarily reduces the strain on the shelter and allows the shelter or group to save more lives. Fostering is an incredible, generous gift that you can give to a shelter that will greatly enrich your life and the lives of the animals that you help. It’ll change your life, I promise.
Do you have a question for Tabby? If so, email her at email@example.com.
Pet of the Week
Meet Huey. Huey is a fan favorite, due to his infectious smile and his sweet disposition. Huey loves to play and be active, but he’s also an expert snuggler. Huey is about 2 years old and is a mixed breed who has great house manners and knows when it’s appropriate to play hard and when it’s time to settle down. He also knows several higher-level commands and is eager to please. To learn more about Huey, visit www.friends4life.org.