A Basic Guide For Fostering A Pet

Fostering A Pet

Photo Credit: Marcelo Rabelo

In honor of May being National Foster Care Awareness Month, 1-800-Charity Cars, one of the nation’s first car donation charities, would also like to spread awareness about fostering a pet, since having already touched upon fostering our nation’s youth with our previous article May Is National Foster Care Awareness Month. Fostering a pet is similar to fostering a child; you care for them temporarily until a permanent home is located for them. We would like to offer this basic guide for fostering a pet, in hopes that people will open their hearts and homes to our nation’s pets in need of loving homes. You can read one of our staff member’s experiences with pet fostering here.

There seems to be a common misconception that the majority of pets in shelters are animals that are in some way tainted, or unwanted for undesirable reasons. However, the reality is pets end up in shelters due to many varying reasons and they are not always because the animal is unsuitable to be in a home setting.

Common reasons animals end up in shelters:

  • The animal has suffered abuse and/or neglect.
  • The owner must move and their new place of residence does not allow pets.
  • Family members have developed allergic reactions to the animal.
  • A pet has become ill and the owner cannot afford their medical care.
  • A pet had a litter and the owner has no space for the offspring and/or could not find homes for them.
  • The owner fell ill and is dealing with medical issues preventing them from caring for the pet.
  • The pet has compatibility issues with kids or other pets.
  • The owner lost their job, and/or faced eviction and can no longer provide a home or care for their pet.

While there are times a pet has compatibility issues in a home, there are other unrelated reasons why these animals end up in shelters. One of the saddest of those reasons being when a pet is abused, neglected, the owner has fallen sick or is having hard times and cannot care for their beloved pet anymore.

Shelters across our Nation are filled with animals that are waiting to be adopted, and becoming a foster parent to a pet gives them the opportunity to be in a loving nurturing environment while they await adoption.

Reasons why fostering a pet can be a rewarding experience:

  • By taking in a pet and offering them a home while they await adoption, you can help to prevent an animal from being euthanized.
  • You can save the lives of a whole litter of kittens or puppies by opening your home to them to care for them until they are old enough to be adopted.
  • You can provide a safe comfortable environment to a pet who is recovering from an illness or medical procedure, thus helping to prevent euthanasia or discomfort to the pet as a possible result of recovering in a shelter.
  • You can help a pet to recover more rapidly from whatever previous situation they were in or removed from, just by giving them the extra love and care you can provide in your home that they could not get in a shelter.
  • By fostering a pet, you free spaces in the shelters so they have room for more animals.
  • You can help to provide the animal with much needed socialization they would not get in a shelter, which will help prepare them to live a life of normalcy once they are permanently placed.
  • Helpful tips for fostering a pet:

  • Get in touch with your reasons for wanting to foster a pet and what skill set you have to offer. Knowing what time and space you have to offer and your experience with pets is vital to ensure your fostering experience is beneficial not only to the shelter, but to yourself and the pet as well.
  • Contact your local shelter and see exactly what their needs are. They may be in need of care for cats, dogs, puppies, and kittens, but they may also need care for exotic animals. Knowing what they are in need of can help you decide which pet you are best suited to care for and invest your help where it is needed most.
  • Be sure you are prepared with supplies to care for the pet. While most shelters cover the costs, medical care and all supplies to care for the pets, not all of them do. Discuss this with the local shelter and know ahead of time what will be your sole responsibility, so that you are prepared with everything the pet will need.
  • Be aware of your emotional limitations because providing a temporary home means eventually saying goodbye, or caring for a sick pet could mean they may pass away. Also, getting attached could result in you wanting to adopt the pet yourself. Be clear with yourself about what you can and cannot deal with emotionally before taking on a pet.
  • If you are interested in fostering a pet, here is a list of places you can refer to for further information and to get the process started:

    We would also like to share a unique pet fostering opportunity, where you can help our Military personnel by providing temporary housing and care for their pets while they are deployed:

    If you feel that fostering a pet is not something you can personally take on, there are still other ways you can help pets in need. You can help to spread awareness, make a donation of money or supplies or volunteer your time. Any effort that you make can help make a difference for the animals in shelters across our nation.