Ah, the joys of pet pawrenthood. I can't imagine life without our rescued fuzzes and freshwater fish tank. However, it's not for everyone. Many friends think we're nutty for having seven four-legged kids. If you're considering pawrenthood, fostering pets is a terrific way to discover if giving a homeless pet their furever home is for you. So today, we're going to discuss the benefits of fostering.
What does fostering pets entail?
According to the National Mill Dog Rescue,, an award-winning rescue near us in Colorado Springs, CO, "Being a foster home means sharing your home with a rescued dog; providing food, shelter, toys, walks, and lots of attention, as if the dog were your own, until a permanent home for the dog is found. We count on our foster homes to observe behaviors in a variety of situations. We ask that foster families work to house-train and leash-train the dog. We also have specialty fosters who might have experience or skills caring for nursing moms or dogs struggling with health conditions. In addition, foster families may be asked to bring the dog to adoption events so as to help him/her find their forever home."
You should check with the rescue or shelter you're contemplating working with about their fostering program.
Benefits of fostering
Fostering has many advantages for you, the pet, and the rescue. While we already mentioned that fostering allows you to try out being a pawrent, here are some other examples of the benefits of fostering:
Foster to adopt
When we discussed adopting Mac and Iggy from Colorado Pug Rescue (CPR) in January 2022, we had concerns about their interaction with cats and rabbits. Their foster home had one elderly pug but no other species. The only concrete behavioral information we got was that they feared strangers and showed aggression. Additionally, they didn't walk regularly, so we didn't know if they'd be a good fit for Harper, our deaf Australian Cattle Dog. We wanted a dog that could keep up with her activity level and enjoyed playing. Harper needs at least one fast, long walk daily.
We were relieved when CPR offered to let us foster to adopt for a few weeks to see if Mac and Iggy were a good fit for our furamily. Fortunately, they were! Harper was so excited to have two new BFFs, and our doggie daycare voluntarily collaborated with us to help them with their fear of strangers. A year later, we are proud of their progress.
Kade (bonus son), Mac (female pug), and Harper
: Jessica Sullivan
Iggy (male pug) and Harper
: Jessica Sullivan
Frees up space to rescue more animals
When you foster a homeless pet in your home, it reduces the number of animals at the facility. As a result, they can help other homeless pets.
Home environments help rehabilitate animals
Many pets don't do well in shelter or rescue facilities. Therefore, many animals excel in a homey environment where they get extra attention in a peaceful setting. For instance, my BFF Beth has fostered Charlotte for Rocky Mountain House Rabbit Rescue for the last six months.
: Beth Skinner
Some good Samaritans found Charlotte in a backpack next to a railroad track. Charlotte wouldn't even let Beth touch her for two months, but she has blossomed into a sassy bun who loves making noise 24/7. Her other fave activity, besides eating, is bunstructing Target cardboard cat scratchers like this one.
The most significant benefits of fostering are saving a homeless pet's life. No matter how long a precious pet is in your life, it improves the pet's quality of life and yours too! We know many of our valued customers and supporters are foster pawrents, and we'd love to hear your stories. Please comment on our socials or email the stories to us.
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VETERINARY DISCLAIMER: We are not veterinarians, and none of our information should be construed as veterinary advice. If your pet is acting unwell, you have concerns for their well being, or before adding any new product, please contact your veterinarian immediately.