Fostering An Animal: What You Need to Know

Fostering an animal is one of the most rewarding things you can possibly do for an animal in need.  Without foster homes, many rescues would not be able to bring in and save the animals they do and they are constantly in need of people to foster animals until they find their furever home.

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Today, I’m going to talk about everything you need to know about fostering an animal and hope that I can help answer and address some of the questions and myths regarding fostering.

To help get some accurate information, I spoke with an individual who fosters with a local rescue organization here in Edmonton.  They have been fostering animals since they were a child and are currently fostering their 73rd dog.  I’ve left the individual anonymous to respect their privacy.

What the biggest myths regarding fostering? “it’s too painful and difficult to let the animal go.  Another big one is that rescued animals are just too damaged to be saved.  That is simply not true.”

How hard it really is to say goodbye to an animal? “It gets a bit easier as time goes by. Knowing that I’m making a difference in that animal’s life makes the tears worth it.  I must admit that I cry every time but it’s short lived. I’m blessed to see where all my fosters go to live and that’s great closure for me.  The great thing is that all adopters keep in touch with me and provide me updates on how the animal is doing.”

If you follow any rescue organizations, you may or may not have heard of the term “foster fail”.  This refers to a person who is fostering an animal and becomes so attached to that animal that they decide to keep and adopt that animal.  While it’s always wonderful to hear that, it does create challenges such as potentially losing that foster home (though that’s not always the case in that animal is good with other animals). People who foster often hear “well why don’t you just keep the animal?”.

“It would be foolish to think that I’m the only one who could love these animals.  There are so many people waiting for a pet and the need for foster homes is so great that I need that spot in my homer another deserving animal.”

Like anything, there are challenges.  Fostering an animal is no different.

What is the most challenging parts of fostering an animal? “Getting people to understand the importance of spay and neutering your animals.  People also need to understand the  expense of vet care.  It’s not cheap and people need to be aware of that.  Alberta has one of the highest costs in the country for veterinary care, and trying to find more foster homes is always a huge challenge.  There are so many animals we have to turn away due to not having enough foster homes.  It’s heartbreaking.”

As I stated at the beginning of this post, fostering an animal is also incredibly rewarding. What the most rewarding part about fostering? “Helping a pet find their new home and seeing how happy they are.  I love seeing the transformation of these animals who often do not come from the best circumstances.  They learn what it’s like to be safe, nurtured and loved.  Plus, as I stay in contact with people who have adopted an animal I’ve fostered, I’ve made some wonderful new friends because of it.”

Why should people foster an animal? “My life is more complete and happier since rescuing animals.  Being surrounded by like minded people who are compassionate, empathetic and caring individuals has been a blessing.  If you have children in your home, teaching them empathy, compassion, responsibility as well as teaching them the values in volunteering will help shape them into caring and compassionate adults.  Also helping at risk communities stay safe from abandoned animals.  So many animals are able to give back by becoming therapy and emotional support dogs.  You are able to help give these animals an opportunity at a better life.”

One of the best parts about fostering is that it is very lost cost and depending on the rescue, FREE!  Rescue organizations will pay for any medical expenses and provide you with anything you will need.  All you need to do is provide a loving and safe home for them. While fostering that animal, they will have an opportunity to go to adoption events (great for exposure for that animal) as well as their bio will be up on the rescue organization’s website and on social media.  Most fosters are also involved with things like home checks for that animal and will definitely have a say in the adoption process of that animal.

If you are thinking of fostering an animal, please contact local rescue organizations and fill out an application.  Not sure who needs foster homes?  Then drop me a comment and I will help connect you to local rescues in your area.

You can make a difference and you can save a life.

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