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RESCUE ME: 8 Reasons to Be a Pet Foster

“Rescue Me” is a recurring column by Samantha Randall, editor-in-chief at Top Dog Tips. She’ll provide personal anecdotes and perspective about her life as a pet lover with a passion for cat and dog rescue. Today, she takes a look at all the reasons you should look into the world of fostering pets.

When you agree to become a foster pet parent, you volunteer to take a homeless pet into your home and care for them until the shelter or rescue group finds the animal a forever family. Some people are afraid of bringing home a foster pet because of the potential difficulties and worry that giving up the animal later will be easier said than done. But despite these concerns, there are many reasons you should consider becoming a foster parent for pets. Here are eight of my personal favorites.

You Are Saving Lives

Animal shelters and rescue groups, in most cases, don’t have the capacity to keep all the animals that come their way. This story is just one of many such examples, and many of the shelters across the U.S. have the same problem.

With these kinds of adoption issues, rescues are sadly forced to euthanize some unadopted animals to make room for new ones. When you decide to become a foster parent for a pet, you not only help that animal but also free up space and resources for other dogs or cats in need, saving several lives in the process.

Fostering Helps with Adoption

Animals that end up in foster care are more likely to get adopted than animals that spend all of their time at the shelter. Dogs and cats in foster care are usually less stressed, better socialized and don’t have as high of a chance of getting sick as animals in shelters. If you also take the time to teach your foster pet additional house manners, that further increases their chances of getting adopted.

You Will Get to Know Your Foster Pet

Another way that fostering a dog or cat helps with adoption comes from the fact that you can learn about the pet’s personality and share your findings with the shelter. When people consider adoption, they often want to know whether the pet is shy, energetic, outgoing, anxious, etc. Any information that you provide about the pet’s personality will help the shelter or rescue group find a better home for them.

Fostering Is Temporary

Fostering is not a long-term commitment like adoption. It makes it easier to accept the responsibility and find the time to take care of the animal when you know that it’s only temporary. For anybody who wishes to help shelters and save animal lives but cannot enter into a long-term arrangement, this is a rewarding option.

Fostering Is Flexible

Fostering can be flexible, and you can find the model that suits you through communication with your local shelter or rescue group. For example, you don’t have to become a full-time foster parent if you don’t have the time. You can take an animal over the weekend and give them a break from the shelter environment or agree to some other arrangement that fits your schedule.

It Can Be a Test Run for Adopting

If you are thinking of adopting a dog or any other pet, fostering can be a good way to see whether you are truly ready for this responsibility.

Whether you never had a pet or you are considering adding another one to your household, fostering will provide you with all the answers without having to commit long term, both in the financial department and in your time. In fact, shelters and rescue groups usually cover medical costs for fosters, and in some cases they also cover other expenses related to the pet in question.

It Can Be Good for Your Other Pets

If you already have other pets, bringing a foster dog or cat into your home can help them learn more social skills, improve the ways they deal with stress and decrease their discomfort when meeting strangers. In addition to all this, you’ll provide them with a bit of variety for their daily lives, and they are likely to have fun with their new playmate.

It’s Good for You and Your Family

It is well known that pets are good for your health. Fostering a pet can help you and your family feel happier, physically and mentally. Pets can also help you heal emotionally. After all, adopting a dog or cat is basically like bringing a big bundle of joy into your lives, and if you need some help now but are unsure about long-term commitment, then becoming a foster is an ideal choice.

If you have children, they will benefit from having a pet around, too. Caring for an animal can teach your kids responsibility and empathy, and they will love playing with their new pet.

Overall, fostering does require some effort on your part, just as you would expect. But there are several good reasons why you should consider fostering a pet — particularly if you’re looking to test the waters about adoption. It all comes down to your desire to help homeless animals and the immense satisfaction that comes from the fact that you have saved and improved someone’s life.

The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.

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