Have you ever wondered about fostering an animal? Have you ever heard about programs for fostering animals? Well someone I know is deeply involved in fostering puppies for a local shelter. I gave her a call and talked to her all about the experience of fostering. She has two preschool aged children and is at home with them. She is aiming to teach her kids the responsibility of having a pet without the commitment. She gave me some pointers about fostering and things to consider if you are thinking of helping local shelters and rescue organizations by becoming a foster home yourself.
What types of animals are in need of fostering care and where do they come from?
There are many different fostering experiences you can have. There is a need for foster homes for puppies, kittens, and elderly animals. Many shelters, especially no kills shelters, simply do not have the space to house animals. Also some young animals would do better to be separate from adult animals until they can get their vaccinations. These animals come from all sorts of places ranging from individuals who find them on the streets to other rescue organizations who have partnered with shelters who have fostering programs. Some rural areas have problems with dogs having puppies all the time because people have their dogs roaming who are not spayed or neutered. There is a great need for foster homes for these animals and shelters are always looking for volunteers.
What is the most important thing to consider if you are thinking about fostering an animal?
You need to look at your lifestyle and do some research on what you can handle. For example, I took into consideration the size of my house, the age of my children and what time constraints I have. I discovered the best foster situation for my family and for the animals. Therefore, I made it very clear to the shelter from the start about what sort of commitment I am willing to make. We foster puppies from 3-8 weeks old; until they are ready to be spayed or neutered and can get all their vaccines. At this time they are adoption ready and can be brought to the shelter to find a forever home. I let the shelter know I was not able to be up every few hours bottle feeding a kitten or puppy and I did not want a large animal in my home. I also do not have the time to “litter train” a bunch of kittens when I have young children of my own. We figured out what works best for us and that way we can help the shelter and these pets the most. During the 2-3 weeks I typically have the puppies I need to be at home most of the day and cannot go out of town. It is difficult to find volunteers who have this type of availability.
Do you get attached to the puppies and have a hard time giving them back to the shelter?
No, and my kids don’t either. We pick them up together, have a large pen for them and take care of them. However, we don’t have the puppies in our home and sleeping with us in our beds or on the couch. I am very careful to have my kids wash their hands well before and after handling the puppies to help prevent the puppies or my kids from getting sick. They know what to expect and are used to it.