I have two college students who are home for the rest of the semester due to the COVID-19 crisis. We thought that this would be a great time for our family to foster a pet. Any advice on what to expect and what we’re getting ourselves 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. Most of us are home for the immediate future right now, but once this period of sheltering in place is done, consider what your life might look like and if you can still commit to caring for a foster pet. 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 their home.
Short term or long term?
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 who need a place to nap and play until they’re at an adoptable age) and long-term fosters–typically pets who 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 chose 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 enrich your life and the lives of the animals that you help greatly. It’ll change your life, I promise.
Pets of the Week
Meet Chocolate and Bambi! This mom and daughter are a bonded pair who fell on hard times after their owner died. They are playful and love everyone: people, little people, dogs and even cats! There is no one they won’t love! These two are good little ladies and know to take their business outside, as well as patiently wait in their crate while you are away from home. To learn more about Chocolate and Bambi, visit www.k-9angelsrescue.org.